Italy - To drive or not to drive ?


marcwang

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Jan 9, 2003
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#1
I'll be going to Italy some time in October over 2 weeks.
Probably covering Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan and maybe Luzern in Switzerland.
I know the rail system is quite good in Italy, but anyone has experience driving instead ?
I always like the comfort of having a car, and not lugging the luggages around.

I have driven before on the right, so it should be no problem in terms of the technical part
of driving.

What I am concern is , is parking (lack of), and road signs etc. I think nothing beats having a car
to chuck your tripod , water bottle , maps etc.
I could imagine driving in the tuscany countryside, just brilliant. But it does seem
everyone advise against driving.

Anyone tried this , and do you recommend ? I'll be renting a GPS or buy a Euro GPS map for my Garmin.
 

zurisnap

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Jun 19, 2010
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#2
Why would people advise against driving? It would be great!
 

tyongchi

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Oct 14, 2009
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#4
We've (me, my wife n daughter) been to Europe tour in the last 2 years. During both these trips, we drove and we love it - maximum freedom and staying in those B&Bs are simply lovely. We visited large part of Germany, Switzerland and major cities of Netherlands, Belgium and France. Driving is hassle free. But we have not driven in Italy though. Car rental in Germany is the cheapest. For Italy, we understand rental rates are higher due to the 'not-so-safe' environment as compared to Germany. Nevertheless, we're now planning for Italy driving trip next year.
 

Jul 8, 2009
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#5
Been to Rome, Milan, Florence, & Luzern few years back..Hope it is still the same...Venice is a "water-bus" zone. Best to be on foot or on "water-bus" as there aren't many roads to drive on. Be sure to visit the smaller islands, Burano and Murano too when you are in Venice. My experience with the rail systems, the Italians trains do always seems to have some very stretchable "rubber-bands" timings.
 

May 4, 2004
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#6
What coincidence, I plan to visit Germany-Italy-Switzerland in October, and plan to cover part of the trip by driving a car also.

The current plan is the rent a car from Munich, take a detour to Austria (Hallstatt) to see its beauty, then to Venice.

How's your plan? Where will you spend more time visiting, e.g. large cities, tourist attractions, small towns, nature, or others?
 

John Ho

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Aug 30, 2011
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#7
I have had a 2-week holiday in Italy a year ago. Here's my advice:

1) Make sure you have done some home work on the various places you intend to visit.
2) Get a good GPS with an updated map. I used a Garmin. And make sure you also have a paper map to give you an overall view.
3) Drive only when you are visiting the smaller cities. Yes, parking is a problem. While in cities like Rome, Florence or Venice, return the car; you don't need it, and you'll be far better off on public transport.
4) Make sure you have a partner who can drive. The journey itself between various towns are very scenic; if you're driving you can shoot, and while on a highway, you can't simply stop anyway.

Enjoy, you'll love it!:)
 

aosis

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Oct 22, 2002
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#8
Me too going to Italy in Oct for 3 weeks. I was thinking about driving initially. Then read about the busy and confusing traffic in the cities, plus expensive car rental rates I gave up. The rates are just so much higher compared to the other European nations. So the most I will do is to (hopefully) rent a vespa to see the cities.
 

nemesis32

Senior Member
Oct 16, 2003
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#9
I think Italy is not easy to drive as the locals are quite RUDE! LOL... also, in some places like those medieval cities like Siena/Assisi, you will prob get lost and sometimes your car can't even go through the lanes! Parking also a problem, some places you need to park at bottom of the city and walk all the way. In Venice, as mentioned, you will park in another city, take the water taxi in.
 

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