I would appreciate any suggestions on good car rental locations/companies for Tuscany. Also, has anyone dropped off a rental car at any of these places after hours? Were there any problems with doing so? I'll be traveling from Rome and will take a train to Varenna after visiting Tuscany for several days. We were planning to stay in either Pienza or Montepulciano.
We have stayed in Montepulciano in years past and have picked up cars after getting off the train in nearby Chiusi. The rental office was close to the station.
Just ride up to Orvieto and get off the train there. Hertz' office is just across the street100 yards. You may can get the same car thru AutoEurope.com for cheaper price. And then you get to see the fantastic hill top fortress town of Orvieto. The drive north to Florence is easy and quite beautiful. And Tuscany is best seen from behind the wheel of a rental car.
I agree with the suggestion to pick up the car in Orvieto. We attempted to do that and it was an easy train ride to Orvieto and then the rental offices are right across from the train station and the agency that we were going to rent from even agreed to let us store our luggage in their office all day while we visited Orvieto. (We didn't end up getting to pick up our car there due to an issue with AutoEurope, but in terms of the logistcs, it would have worked out well. We used the car for the Tuscany portion of our trip and then dropped it off in La Spezia en route to the CT. Do you want to drop your car off in Tuscany or somewhere close to Varenna? If you plan to drive it towards Varenna, you can drop it off in Bergamo, Monza or Lecco. It would be a short train ride from those towns to Varenna.
From what I gather, after you visit Rome, you have chosen to have bases outside of big cities (Pienza/Montepulciano in Tuscany, Varenna in Lombardy).
Based on these facts I would rent a car in Rome at the end of the Rome visit, and keep it until your return flight, which I assume might be from Milan if Lake Como is your last area you visit. Any place in or around Rome will work, however renting at the airport will cost you more. Do a price search and select one of the rental locations inside the city. Getting out of Rome is not difficult. Just avoid driving out of Rome during the afternoon rush hour. A car is the only sane way to visit Tuscany's countryside and small towns. The only nuisance might be visiting a big city like Florence, but all you have to do is park in one of the many parking lots outside of the historical center and leave it there for the day while you visit on foot. In some places you can even park for free. Keeping the car beyond Tuscany all the way to Varenna, will give you the flexibility of visiting lots of nice places along the way and also lots of locations in the Prealpi area that would not be easily accessible with public transit.
I too am looking to rent a car, probably at the train station in Orvieto. Looking at AutoEurope, Hertz, and Europcar are lacking in some details. I've read various car rental reviews on TripAdvisor where people were surprised with additional charges once they arrived. Do all companies offer prices that include CDW with no deductible or 'excess' charges for collision and theft? Do all online prices include all taxes? Any suggestions on how to decide which company to rent from and what their online price includes?
We rented a car at the Rome airport in Sept. 2011 and spent two weeks driving around Tuscany. Make sure you have a GPS as without it we would have been lost. Once you get off the highway the roads are narrow and very winding. There are no street lights, so night time driving is very dark. Driving near any of the big cities is not easy and you must avoid the no traffic areas which can come up very fast with no warning. Parking in the small hill towns is terrible. Rent the smallest car you can as it will help with parking. Distances may seem close but it took much longer than we expected to get to mist places. A 20 mile drive can take 45 minutes or longer.
We are flying into Rome and taking the train to Orvieto to pick up our rental car, per a RS helpline suggestion. I made the reservation with Hertz and received a confirmation number and did not have to give any personal or credit card info. If you decide to rent with Hertz,you can find the estimated (weekly) charges for super cover and personal accident, along with additional driver, so that you will have an idea of the true cost when you arrive. The reservation seems almost to simple to be held with just an email address. From those of you who have rented a car before, can we expect to get there and have it with just a confirmation number?
After several days in the Tuscany area, we will be leaving Siena to drive to La Spezia to return the car on our way to CT. We plan on stopping in Volterra. Any tips? From there is it an easy drive to La Spezia?
Last trip we booked through Gemut (travel agent mentioned on the helpline), who reserved through Auto Europe, and had a good experience. Gemut owners were available to answer my many questions, and the reservation was very clear on what was covered and what was not. I found that the Hertz/Avis websites were not always crystal clear on what the extra charges were if not included in the quote. We did have an issue with Eurocar charging us the drop charge, even though we'd prepaid, and AutoEurope was very helpful in crediting fixing the problem.
For our upcoming trip in April, we reserved through Kemwel, picking up in LaSpezia (after CT) and dropping off in Orvieto. Note that non airport locations are not open on Sundays for pickup or dropoff.