Handy Tips For Driving Around Tuscany
Posted by Kiri (03/06/2016)
During my recent road trip around Tuscany, I picked up some handy driving tips. It’s helpful to know some things about driving in Tuscany before you set off, so you can be prepared for what to expect. If you are planning on driving anywhere in Italy, you need to always have your driving license, car registration document/log book and car insurance.
If you want to see as much of Tuscany’s spectacular scenery as possible, then driving is the best way to uncover the region. It’s only by car or by cycling that you stumble across small charming towns and hidden treasures. Here are my top tips for driving in Tuscany and some things we learned on our trip.
In the countryside the roads can get very windy, and it can take quite a while to travel a few miles. However, it’s usually worth it for the beautiful scenery. Take care on country roads as some of the bends are extremely sharp, and come out of nowhere.
If you get car sickness you may want to take some sickness tablets to get around the backroads. Don’t worry if a couple of crazy Italian drivers are right behind you, take your time manoeuvring around the bends.
On some of the more scenic routes there are special spots in the road designed specifically for stopping and taking photos. Like us, you will probably be tempted to stop at every single one because you don’t want to miss an incredible view.
In most towns if you want to park you need to set the timer on your dashboard to show when you arrived, as they have time limits on how long you can stay (some are only 30 minutes). Your hire care should come with a timer badge, just make sure you remember to use it or you could get a ticket. You also have to pay for parking in some towns, so always double check.
Tuscany is an amazing place to go cycling, so naturally there’s quite a few cyclists on the roads. It can take quite a while until it’s safe to overtake them, especially when there’s lots of blind corners and bends. Don’t rush to overtake cyclists and give them plenty of room.
Our most scenic drive was from Radda in Chianti to San Filippo where we captured some incredible footage. As you move from southern to central and northern Tuscany, the scenery changes so much. Siena to Grosseto is also a fabulous drive. For more info about scenic driving routes click here.
Driving in Florence
Driving in Florence is a bit of a nightmare, and I would advise against it. If you can, get the train into the city. Some of the city is a no driving zone, and you get fined if you venture into these areas. It’s not that clear as the locals who have a permit can drive in, so it’s easy to accidentally follow them. We managed to avoid the restricted areas and parked in the station car park, which was about 3 euros an hour.
We found a fair few petrol stations while we were driving, and luckily there was one nearby where we were staying. However, there aren’t always petrol stations out in the countryside so make sure you fill up in plenty of time. There are 24 hour petrol stations on the Motorways.
Keep in mind that there are some toll roads in Tuscany, but if you are happy to go the longer, scenic route, you can easily avoid them. We decided at the beginning of our trip to avoid the motorways. When you go on the back roads, that’s when you stumble upon impressive sights and adorable little towns and villages. For a toll calculator, click here.
There’s a more in depth guide to driving in Italy with details about road signs, speed limits and driving laws here.