We will be traveling in Italy for 3 weeks. The first portion of the trip we will travel via trains, but after leaving CT we will be spending 1 week in the Chianti region of Tuscany with a car. We will get rid of the car before going on to Rome for the remainder of the trip. Where is the best place to pick up a car after leaving CT? I was thinking La Spezia or Pisa. And then where would be best to drop it off on the way to Rome? I'm not sure if the train stations are in close proximitry to the car rental agencies or is it necessary to take a taxi?
Karla, One option would be to arrange the car rental in Pisa. Based on some recent posts here concerning tickets, renting from somewhere outside the city centre would be a good idea! Drop the car in Orvieto, as it's an easy one-hour trip from there to Rome by train. One important point to note is that for driving in Italy, each driver must have the compulsory International Driver's Permit, which is used in conjunction with your home D.L. These are valid for one year, and easily obtained at any AAA office (two Passport-sized photos required, which in some case is offered at the issuing office). Failure to produce an IDP if requested can result in fines on the spot! Have a look at This Website for more detailed information. A GPS along with a good Map would also be a good idea. Be sure to also give some thought to the question of CDW. If you accept the CDW offered by the rental firm, it will be expensive but will provide "peace of mind". Some "premium" credit cards provide rental vehicle insurance, however I've found this to be somewhat complicated so I just accept that offered by the rental firm. Check the Car Rental section in Europe Through The Back Door for further information. Happy travels!
Ken is right on the money. I'd pick up at the nearest convenient spot to your last night (but not Pisa airport). If Lucca is on your itinerary, it's also a good place to pickup a rental car. Orvieto is my usual choice for pick-up or drop-off handy to Rome. Orvieto itself is worth the visit. There is a big car park with a funicular up the hill. The car rental companies are very close to both it and the train station, and it's easy to find off the highway. Chiusi can also be quite handy for a car drop-off. Just be very, very careful to be mindful of week-end hours. Apart from being closed on Sundays, most of the smaller rental car branches in Italy have very limited hours on Saturdays, if even open at all! Your plan will work best if you avoid a week-end pick-up or drop-off altogether!
Great advise,thanks for the guidance!