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Do we need a car?

Iowa City, Iowa
Level Contributor
3 posts
3 reviews
Do we need a car?

We are traveling to Italy in July - flying into Rome, then planning to take the train to Florence. Our villa is in Romola (I couldn't find a separate forum for Romola, and this seemed to be relatively close) and we were not planning to rent a car, but hoped to get by using the bus system and the occasional car hire or taxi. Are we crazy? We will be at the villa for two weeks, and plan to visit Florence, San Gmignano, Siena ... as well as do some exploring around the area.

On a related note - if we do not get a car, what is the best way to get to our villa from Florence? (We are staying in Le Vasche, Romola).

Thanks so much!!

7 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
2,983 posts
57 reviews
1. Re: Do we need a car?

Some years ago we stayed on the outskirts San Casciano. We hired a car and found it a necessity as local transport was very patchy and geared to the demands of village life only. Romola is even more remote.

What travel advice have you been given by those you are renting from?

Le Marche, Italy
Level Contributor
37,738 posts
29 reviews
2. Re: Do we need a car?

I can't find any buses at all that serve Romola. I think you should rethink either the villa or the transportation. If it were only a few days, it would be one thing, but two weeks in an isolated area with no car would be a bit tedious. Is there a quaint little village in Iowa you can think of? Would you advise someone to stay there for two weeks without a car?

Iowa City, Iowa
Level Contributor
3 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: Do we need a car?

We were kind of afraid of that. - and good point about the little Iowa towns! And maybe I'm just being a nervous Nellie, but all the posts about driving in Italy (esp around Florence) have me a little spooked! The villa owner says that the public bus system (N. 25) does service Romola, but I can imagine that it won't always be convenient or useful.

If we are taking the train from Rome to Florence, is it best to pick up a car in Florence (the airport, from what I'm reading) or is there somewhere else that would be easier?

I do appreciate your help very much - this feels a little overwhelming!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
15,498 posts
65 reviews
4. Re: Do we need a car?

You really do need a car....being out in the country with no car and no access to public transportation will be a very frustrating endeavour.Driving in the country in Italy is generally not a problem at all. Just drop your car at the Florence airport before going into Florence.

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
Level Contributor
8,670 posts
68 reviews
5. Re: Do we need a car?

I would say Florence airport is the best place to pick up and drop off. You can take a taxi or a bus from the station in Florence out to the airport.

Don't worry unduly about having the car, but do read up all about the restricted zones etc:


Don't let it put you off driving, just don't drive into central Florence. There is a bus, use that to get in and out of Florence. Here is a timetable:


Edited: 08 February 2013, 14:40
Panama City, Florida
Level Contributor
10 posts
22 reviews
6. Re: Do we need a car?

On our trip to Italy, we rented a car in Milan, drove to Venice, from Venice to Florence, thru and around Tuscany and back to Milan. The only part of driving that scared me to death was on the route from Milan to Venice. Driving in Tuscany was as easy as driving on country roads in the US. You will definately benefit from having a car. There are so many small towns, winerys, markets and beautiful scenery to enjoy and you can do that best on your own, with a car. It was a decision I definately don't regret.

Florence, Italy
Level Contributor
989 posts
7. Re: Do we need a car?

I can see Romola from my kitchen window. We're only 17km from Santa Maria Novella station, yet this is Chianti! Remote? Yes and no! The advantages of staying here are many: only 30 minutes from the center of Florence yet surrounded by beautiful hills covered with vineyards and olive groves, friendly village life, fresh air, quiet, and in summer, cooler temperatures because we're higher up in the hills. There's no shortage of interesting things to do and see around here - art, history, archeology, wine, food...! The only disadvantage? As Joannaspencer pointed out, public transportation is geared to village life, not to the needs and schedules of visiting vacationers. So yes - rent a car.

My advice: go for it! This is a great area - beautiful and authentic. Rent a car so that you can explore and discover. There's so much around here! And you can drive into Florence and park your car without ever even tickling the ZTL.

By the way, people from Florence drive out to Chiesanuova, which is the teeny village down the hill from Romola ("La Romola" to the locals) just to buy the legendary schiacciata all'olio! When you taste it, you'll know why!

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