When we travelled to Italy, one of the things that I was set on doing was renting a villa in Tuscany for a week. The villa that I ended up choosing was located near the medieval town of Figline Valdarno, located about 30kms south of Florence. Although there is public transportation to the town, there was none that went near our villa, which is the main reason that I decided to hire a car.
It turned out that economy car hire in Italy is very affordable, so it didn’t eat into my budget too much, and this turned out to be the best decision that I made.
After picking up our car in Florence, it was a lovely drive out to our villa which is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. The narrow winding roads in the area passed centuries old farm houses and little villages, with the rolling hills covered in vineyards, olives and forest on the way to the famous Chianti wine region.
Our first adventure in Chianti was a picnic looking out at the beautiful Tuscan countryside, followed by a visit to the interesting town of Greve in Chianti.
Each day, we passed through the beautiful Chianti region, sticking to the more minor roads and visiting little villages on our way to the more popular medieval towns of Siena and San Gimignano. There is a train line from Florence to Siena, however there is no easy way to get to San Gimignano without a car, and it would have been a real shame to miss this perfectly preserved medieval town, which, by the way, also has the world’s best gelato!
Away from the towns and villages that we could only visit by having a car, I think the greatest thing of all about renting a car in Tuscany was the pure freedom that we had to go and do what ever we wanted. There was no need to worry about leaving a place in time to catch a bus or train, and if we saw something on the way to somewhere we could simply pull over and have a look. There were no restrictions at all, and this was a great feeling.
Our week in Tuscany was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Italy, and renting a villa and a car was by far the best way to do it.
Via Mariano Pallottini, Good Things From Italy