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When it comes to getting around Tuscany, renting a car is the way to go. With so many little towns and countryside villages, renting a car is the best way to see everything on your own schedule. Public transportation (particularly the buses), is decent, but if you don't speak Italian, it can be frustrating to get info and timetables. Many towns are linked to the train lines but some (the ones you will want to visit with your rental car) are not. With a car, you can do your own thing without worrying about your language skills. That said, you WILL NOT need a car to get around once you are already in any Tuscan town; cities like Florence, Pisa, Siena, Lucca etc are small and walkable and easy to get to by train or bus. Driving IN to cities can often be problematic for those not familiar with the unusual traffic laws. Read on to find out more.
Some Car hire Companies:
A word to the wise - there's a reason that the Italians have been stereotyped as fast, crazy drivers. While the locals may fancy themselves Mario Andretti, that doesn't mean you have to drive like a maniac. Right turns on red are forbidden, expect people to tailgate you and be careful where you park.
Make sure to ask for an automatic if you can't drive a stick - most Italians drive stick, but automatics are available for an extra fee. Before you rent, check to see if your credit cards or personal auto-insurance covers because you're responsible for any damage or theft to the vehicles in Italy. Most rental companies require that you purchase the collision-damage waiver.
Parking can be an adventure in some towns - especially if you dare to attempt parking in the city center. Not only is parking very limited in cities and towns but it can often be expensive. See this other article about parking in cities like Florence (including free parking): http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g18...
Be WELL AWARE of the different rules that exist in Italian cities! Every historical/ancient Italian city has a Limited Traffic Zone (shortened to ZTL) which limits parking and driving into the historical center to authorized vehicles only.Your rental car is most likely not one of these.
For more on the ZTL see this article as well as the one linked below: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g18...
See also this very thorough article on driving in Italy and what anyone thinking of driving here should be aware of: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g18...
If you'd rather not brave the highways and test your racecar driving skills, hail a taxi. They're white and yellow and you probably won't be able to hail them straight from the street, it's better to hail them from the ranks. All the taxis are metered, so you won't have to haggle on prices.
In Florence there are two taxi companies. Their phone numbers are: (39) 055 4242 and 055 4390.Getting a taxi to Florence airport from Florence's centre costs around 20-25 euro (some hotels have a set price of 20 euro organised with the cab company, ask at your hotel).
From Florence, there is a set price to get to other cities/airports (in this case, luggage and tolls are included in the price). It is obivously considerably more than public transport and these towns can all be reached by local train or by a local bus company for a fraction of this price, but for an idea, from Florence by taxi the set price is: