Before the fast trains started operating (Trenitalia Frecciarossa and Italo) the car service companies in Florence used to do many more long distance transfers to Venice, Rome and Milan. The reason was that the driving time to those cities was the same as the train journey time but with the advantage of a doorstep to doorstep service, without the need to carry your luggage around or to catch taxis to and from the train stations. Nowadays, instead, the train journey time is much less and the trains are very comfortable, making them a preferable option to limousine services.
Now, the only times that we get requests for long distance transfers are:
- when there are train strikes
- when the destination or departure location is not easily reachable by trains
- when customers need to catch an early flight from Rome or Milan airports
- when customers want to make sightseeing stops along the way
- when they still prefer the luxury of a doorstep to doorstep service
On a few occasions I have witnessed examples of bad planning by travel agencies, when, in my opinion, they have wasted some of their clients’ precious time.
Once I picked up a family in Rome and drove them straight to their hotel in Florence, except for a short stop to use the toilets and have a coffee at a rest stop on the highway. Three days later I picked them up again, as instructed by the travel agency, and drove them to Venice, where they were going to spend a couple of days before flying back to the United States. I asked them if they had enjoyed their stay in Florence and they said they loved their trip to the Tuscan countryside but wished they could have had a little more time in Florence. They told me that on their day trip they went to Montepulciano, Montalcino and did a wine tasting of Brunello wine at a local winery, with a minivan and private driver just like me, and it had all been organized, like their transfers, by the travel agency. I didn’t say anything; I didn’t want to criticize the agency that, after all, was giving a lot of work to the car service company I used to work for, but honestly, I think they could have organized the sightseeing tour and wine tasting on the way from Rome to Florence. That family could have had, that way, the little extra time in Florence they had wished for, maybe to visit one more museum or do a little more shopping. Not to mention that they could have saved some money too.
So, if you are thinking of hiring a private driver for a long distance transfer in Italy, from city to city, it’s always a good idea to have a look at the map and see if along the way there are places you’d like to see or things you’d like to do. Diversions and stops are going to be charged extra but still less than doing another day trip.
These are some of the most popular sightseeing stops that chauffeurs in Florence are asked for:
From Rome to Florence or vice-versa:
- Siena and San Gimignano
- Montepulciano, Pienza and Montalcino
- Civitanova di Bagnoregio
- Prada and The Mall shopping outlets
From Florence to Venice:
- Barberino shopping outlet
From Florence to Milan:
- Ferrari museum in Maranello
- Balsamic vinegar tasting in Modena
- Barberino shopping outlet
In future we will be adding posts in a category called “places to see and things to do during a long distance transfer” where you will find more detailed suggestions and descriptions of places.