Road trip: Venice-Rome-Nice (France)

I will be visiting Italy in June and the first destination is Venice. I will be renting a car in Venice for about 9 days and the last stop will be Nice (France). It would be great if someone could suggest some places to stay/visit along the way. My plan is to drive down from Venice to Abruzzo, then Rome and Nice. I want to visit small towns/villages/etc in between, such as Portofino or Manarola or something less tourist crowded.
Please post your suggestions! Thank you.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2797 posts

That's a lot of ground to cover in 9 days. I don't have particular suggestions, except to say that if you want to drive, you should focus on smaller towns not easily accessible by bus or train. Have you checked what it will cost you to rent in Italy and return in France? Reports here say it's hundreds of dollars extra, compared with returning in the country you initially rented the car in. You could return the car in Ventimiglia (if they have rental offices) or somewhere else on the Italian Riviera, then take a train to Nice (which will likely connect in Ventimiglia).

Posted by Julie
Frisco, Texas, US
54 posts

I agree that is a lot of driving, and a car is not necessary, or practical in Venice. Rome is very difficult to drive in (I have done it when I lived there) and the public transporation is much easier. My suggestion would be to arrive Venice, train to Rome, then get the car after you have seen Rome. Drive north and stop in Orvieto, Montepulciano in Tuscany, Pisa, if you want to see the Tower, then Cinque Terre, then Portofino (by boat from Santa Margherita), then Monte Carlo, then Nice.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2797 posts

If you want to drive, start reading about ZTL's. These are restricted zones in the center of almost every city. If you drive into one, even accidentally, cameras record your license plate and you get a fine. The catches are: 1. If you're lost and drive in and out of the zone 3 times in 10 minutes (and once you see Italian cities, you'll see how this could happen), you get 3 fines. 2. Your rental car company will charge you for forwarding your information to the ticket collection agency.
3. You will then get a fine months later, usually after it's too late to contest it (and with photo evidence and not living in Italy, it's hard to contest it anyway). There are also speed cameras around (the causeway out of Venice has been mentioned here as having very strictly enforced speed limits; again, you won't find out until months later that you've gotten a ticket). That's why we're recommend that, if you want to drive, you not go to large cities - it's just more trouble than it's worth. But for small towns and rural areas, a car is great. You must also have an International Drivers Permit, in addition to your Canadian Drivers License. You probably won't need it to rent the car, but it is the law, so if you're stopped by the police for any reason, you'll be in trouble without one. In the US, one gets them at AAA offices; I don't know how it works in Canada. Here's Ron In Rome's tips for driving in Italy: http://www.roninrome.com/transportation/driving-italy I'm not trying to stop you, but I do want to make sure you understand what's involved in your plan. Julie's idea of getting from Venice to Rome by train (less than 4 hours), then getting a car when you leave Rome to visit smaller towns, is a good one.

Posted by Pavel
Toronto
2 posts

Thank you for your suggestions! I am aware of the International Drivers Permit and will be getting it through CAA. I will be renting the car with Aeroplan miles, so it is technically free for me. I should have mentioned that I will be renting it after I finish the visit to Venice.
Also I wanted to visit Abruzzo area, maybe someone knows good places to visit there? Thank you!