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Tuscany Trip

Outlander 8 77
7 Dec 2012 4:08PM
Hey Folks,

Off to italy in a few months, i plan on hiring a car at Pisa airport, so anyone been there -done it and got the t shirt, any info on your experience would be appreciated.( just the car hire bit )

Thanx in advance.


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Geoffphoto 11 13.5k United Kingdom
7 Dec 2012 4:13PM
What ever you do DO NOT drive into Florence, It's a complete nightmare !! ( full of mad Italian drivers and scooterists, lunatic bus drivers and absolutely nowhere to park ) !!! Park in a small town outside and take a train ( somewhere like Montelupo where parking is free and easy) . Pisa (apart from the Leaning Tower ) is not worth a visit, but Florence is stunning !!!!

PS the Italians drive on the wrong side of the road, and don't give way to hire cars joining the autostada outside Pisa airport !!! )
Geoffphoto 11 13.5k United Kingdom
7 Dec 2012 4:20PM
I meant autostrada !!! BTW.
adrian_w Plus
10 3.7k 4 England
7 Dec 2012 5:50PM
We did it a few of years ago. Hired from Avis, pre-booked & collected on arrival. Be minded that the price you will pay has an airport surcharge so will be more than the original quote.
Dead easy to get from the airport to the autostrada ( actually route SP12), but heed Geoffs comments about the loony driving. You actually join the main road very quickly so be alert.
Remember to have plenty of change/notes for the tolls that occur at frequent intervals on the autostrade.
Definitely not worth driving in Florence centre, it's a nightmare. Park outside & use train or bus.
Well worth visiting is San Giminano and Siena. Both places are easily reached & you can park just outside & walk into town.

Any other info, just Pm me.
Outlander 8 77
7 Dec 2012 7:38PM
Cheers guys,really appreciated,first time planning a trip on my own, got the flights/acommedation booked , just the motor hire to sort out, so your comments really helpful.
puertouk 6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
7 Dec 2012 10:28PM
The tip is do not drive in any large city, as the traffic is manic, even in Santa Cruz, capital of Tenerife. All of the Spanish, Italians and South Americans drive like lunatics, cutting you up and driving reckless. BEWARE!!!
dathersmith 10 559 12 England
7 Dec 2012 10:31PM
We did it this year and it was a lot easier than I expected. There was a large queue at Pisa airport for the bus that takes you to the hire car depot but I was advised to walk as its only 10 minutes and they were right, I walked and avoided a long wait in the queue. Leaving the airport and getting on to the motorway was a doddle and I took a satnav which made the journey to Montepulciano very easy. Driving around Montepulciano and the surrounding towns was easy but the biggest town we drove to was Siena, again very easy. We did venture into Rome but took the train which was probably the right decision.

Hope this helps.

stevie Plus
14 1.2k 2 United Kingdom
8 Dec 2012 9:00AM
I have a place there and go via Pisa a lot.
Best tip - as Darren says above - is just to walk to the car hire place which is only a few hundred yards from the terminal, it's in a separate large dedicated building, just come out of the terminal, turn to the right and walk along the road and you can't miss it. There is a bus but you'll then go with everybody and end up in a queue with all the rest of your flight. If I'm with other people, one solution is for one person to get the hire car whilst the others collect luggage. For several years now I've hired through carhire3000.com and they seem to give a decent deal at various hire firms. Note in Italy hire is usually a bit more expensive than many other European places.
Newdevonian 5 466 United Kingdom
8 Dec 2012 10:14AM
We stayed in Tuscany a year or two back in a self catering hire property and this is what I wrote in the visitors book:

"I always like to give a realistic report when I stay away in self catering accommodation, so here I go again!

Roads: We arrive in Pisa fairly tired, and followed your directions as far as Esselunga, where we picked up a few groceries; thence onto Castello di Valdotavo. The drive from Valdotavo upwards I can only describe as interesting! The choice of either scraping the car along the rocks on one side, or plunging into oblivion on the other, was a point of considerable discussion between my wife and I, in either direction. Happily, we managed to steer a roughly central path during our stay.

Italian Drivers: I believe they call it “Brio”. Given the brow of a hill complete with a blind corner and a double white line seems to be an invitation to overtake; not just occasionally but all the time. Bearing in mind that I was probably exceeding the given speed limit, I could never understand why they needed to get past me, usually only to turn left 100 metres further on. That together with the method of coming out of side turnings with the accelerator down and the eyes closed! I can just see a TV sketch, perhaps with Rowan Atkinson as the surgeon having just performed a total lobotomy on a potential Italian driver, saying, “Now, Signor Vitorelli you are now qualified to drive on Italian roads”

Florence: An amazing city with some of the most beautiful architecture I have seen anywhere, spoiled a little by the commercialization and their tendency to add 50% to the price of anything that could equally be found in Piza or Lucca. Still well worth spending a day just wandering and wondering.

Piza: After Florence, Pisa was a little disappointing. The sight of the Duomo and the Tower were incredible but that is all we found of interest, so we only spent half a day here. Incidentally we used the train to both Florence and Pisa. It was both on time and cheap. Even better, it kept me away from Signor Vitorelli!

Lucca: A beautiful little town, relatively unspoiled by commercialism. Just the right mix of shops, architecture, markets and walks. The parking across from St. Donato gate, once you managed to find it, was very convenient, and free for the first two hours.

Serchio Valley: This was a mixed experience with Bagni di Lucca being a disappointment. Barga was a delight, especially for my wife, being a Scot, found she could talk to people in her own language at last, with both the restaurant and the ice-cream shop being staffed by Scots. The Devil’s bridge is definitely worth a visit. Finally Castelnuovo di Garfagnana’s interest was limited to the town gate.

Castello No.6: I am saving the best bit until last! Once I had managed to climb the stairs from the car park to the bedroom with my wife’s suitcase, I started to enjoy myself – That View! We could look at it for ever, which is what we did for the first 24 hours. Then we ventured down to Valdotavo via the mule track – much safer! Valdotavo, a delightful village with some useful little shops. My wife even bought a pair of shoes, not that that takes much effort!
We, on another occasion, walked to the yellow church on the other side of the valley. That took some time and we knew we had been on a walk by the time we had finished. We did require to stop in Valdotavo both going and returning, for an ice-cream: Cone with two different flavoured scoops and a smile: 1 Euro!
The most memorable experience of our holiday was the walk to the restaurant at Guzzinello. The lady in charge – another Scot! kept bringing separate pasta dishes, explaining what they were, until we cried surrender. The meal was absolutely delicious and cost only 15 euros a head all in. I was thankful that the walk back was downhill!

Conclusion: A brilliant holiday, for us just the right combination of rest and exploration, helped by excellent weather. I would recommend it to anybody. I even learnt eventually how to outguess Signor Vitorelli!"
Outlander 8 77
10 Dec 2012 5:34PM
Great stuff chaps ,once again thank you for the advice and tips.

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