I will be spending four nights in Florence at the beginning of June. Then going to a Farmhouse a mile outside of Sienna for three nights. Then off to Venice. Is it better to rent a car in Florence on a Saturday, and drive to Sienna and return car in Florence on a Tuesday to catch the train to Venice? Or take the fast bus round trip from Florence to Sienna and catch train to Venice? I've heard renting a car near the train station in Florence is challenging due to the rental stations being inside the ZTL. I also want to be able to catch the 11:23am train from Florence to Venice and wasn't sure if I rented in Sienna if I could return the car and get to the bus station early enough to make that Venice connection. Please advise.
Roundtrip b/n Florence and Siena, I would take the train (or bus - same time, but bus stops in 'downtown' Siena; I don't know where your car rental location is). Rent a car for Siena if you need it, then train straight to Venice (via Florence). Or, take the bus to Florence (bus station is at the train station in Florence), and go from there. There are several Siena > Florence trains before your desired Florence > Venice train; I don't have the bus sked pulled up, so I don't know how early you can arrive in Florence.
If it's 2 or more people I would rent a car in Florence (or Siena, but ZTL is not an issue on exiting The city) drive to the farmhouse near Siena, then, drive to Venice from the farmhouse and return the car in Venice. From your farmhouse to Venice it is likely a 3 hour drive. Maybe 50 euro in gas and freeway tolls max. If you return the car in Florence or Siena and take the train it's a lot of hassle with luggage lugged around, if you ask me, and you won't likely save money unless you have a super economy ticket (if that). The full fare for 2 people is over 85 euro from Florence, and I'm not considering the cost of getting from Siena to Florence. You won't save time either because the train option, when everything is said and done, from Siena is going to be 4 hours.
If you we're staying in Florence and not renting a car at all, the train would be the way to go. But you are renting a car anyway, and you are in the countryside in the Senese area (not exactly served by high speed rail). Keep the car an extra 3 hours, drive to Venice and save yourself a lot of time, money and hassle.
Hi I am doing the same route on the exact same days but late april, I was proposing on dropping the rental back to Florence but will persue Roberto's suggestions, the following may add something. You will find adding the extra hours, you're basically hiring for another day, while returning elsewhere adds about 50E FWIW hire small car (not fiat 500) through Europcar 10.00 saturday, to 2.00 or 3.00 tuesday with all the insurances single driver gives Florence pick-up then drop-off at Mestre at 497E Florence pick-up/drop-off 435E, add 44E for Alfa Giulietta or Fiat Bravo Or 10.00 saturday, to 10.00 tuesday with all the insurance
Florence pick-up/drop-off is 368E, The train is 45E per person This site will give guides on distances petrol and tolls http://www.viamichelin.com Perhaps someone will chime in on rental cars ex florence experiences eg what are SIXT like ? regards