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By Plane

Many visitors choose to fly into Rome's Fiumicino Airport (FCO; tel. 06-65951; www.adr.it) or Milan's Linate Airport (LIN; tel. 02-7485-2200; www.sea-aeroportimilano.it) or Malpensa Airport (MXP; tel. 02-2680-0613; www.sea-aeroportimilano.it), and then transfer to Florence, Tuscany, or Umbria either via another flight or by train or car.

Flying directly to Tuscany or Umbria is obviously the most convenient option, but it's nearly impossible if you want to fly non-stop from another continent. One exception to this rule, however, is the non-stop New York to Pisa flight on Delta, which runs from JFK to Aeroporto Galileo Galilei (summer only), otherwise known as Pisa International Airport (PSA; tel. 800-018-849; www.pisa-airport.com). Flying directly to Pisa is much more convenient than arriving in Rome or Milan and then taking a car or train.

You might consider flying to another Italian or European hub, and then transferring to a flight to Pisa. Iberia, British Airways, Air France, and Lufthansa service Pisa airport. Pisa airport is also serviced by budget airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair from a variety of locations in Europe and the U.K.

The other major airport in Tuscany is Florence's airport, known as Amerigo Vespucci Airport, but best known locally as Peretola (FLR; www.aeroporto.firenze.it), after the neighborhood where it resides. There are only a dozen airlines that fly into it, none of them major international budget carriers, but it might make sense for you to arrive somewhere else in Europe and transfer to Florence on Air France, Alitalia, or Lufthansa. While it might be more expensive to fly directly to Florence, you will most likely save money on the trains or taxis you would have taken to get there.

The only major airport in Umbria is just outside Perugia, the Aeroporto Internazionale dell'Umbria S. Egidio (tel. 075-592-141; www.airport.umbria.it). It's a small airport that only serves a handful of destinations, the most useful being London Stansted (via Ryanair) and Milan Malpensa (via Skybridge AirOps).

Getting to Tuscany or Umbria from Rome's Airports -- Most international flights to Rome will arrive at Fiumicino Airport (FCO). Some inter-European and transatlantic charter flights may land at Ciampino Airport (CIA), which is closer to the center, but not connected by an express train. You can connect to a plane at either to take you to Pisa's or Florence's airport, but it's often simpler, almost as fast in the long run, and cheaper to take the train. You can also rent a car at either airport.

Fiumicino (tel. 06-659-51; www.adr.it) is 30km (19 miles) from Rome's center. You can take the Leonardo Express train (14€) from Fiumicino to Rome's central train station, Termini. A taxi to the station costs 40€. From Termini, you can grab one of many daily trains to Florence, Pisa, and most other destinations. If you happen to fly into Ciampino Airport (tel. 06-7934-0297), 15km (9 1/4 miles) south of the city, a COTRAL bus 1€ will take you to the Ciampino Città Metro station every 30 minutes, where you can take the Metro to Termini (15 minutes). A taxi to Rome's center from Ciampino is 30€.

Information on getting to most major Tuscan and Umbrian cities and towns from Rome by train is included under each destination guide.

Getting to Tuscany or Umbria from Milan's Airport -- Flights to Milan land at either Linate Airport (LIN; tel. 02-7485-2200; www.sea-aeroportimilano.it), about 8km (5 miles) southeast of the city, or Malpensa Airport (MXP; tel. 02-2680-0613), 45km (28 miles) from downtown -- closer to Lake Maggiore than to Milan itself. Some budget airlines also serve Bergamo-Orio al Serio Airport or Milan-Bergamo, some 45km (28 miles) from Milan, but a lot more inconvenient.

From Malpensa, the 30-minute Malpensa Express (www.malpensaexpress.it) train departs half-hourly to the Cadorna train station in western Milan rather than to the larger and more central Stazione Centrale from which most trains onward to Tuscany will leave (you'll have to take the Metro to get there). This train costs 11€. Alternatively, slower (50 min.) and cheaper (7€) trains run every hour direct to Stazione Centrale. To grab a bus instead, which will also take you directly to the central downtown rail station, take the Malpensa Shuttle (tel. 02-5858-3185) for 7€, which leaves two or three times per hour for the 50-minute ride to the east side of Milan's Stazione Centrale. A taxi to the city center runs about 70€.

From Linate, Starfly buses (tel. 02-5858-7237) make the 25-minute trip to Milan's Stazione Centrale every 30 minutes daily from 6:10am to 11:30pm for 5€ (6:30am-10pm weekends). The slightly slower ATM (tel. 800-808-181) city bus no. 73 leaves hourly for the S. Babila Metro stop downtown (1.05€ for a regular bus ticket bought from any newsagent inside the airport, but not onboard).

From Milan's Stazione Centrale, you can get regular high-speed trains to Florence.

By Bus

Italy is connected by Eurolines (tel. 055-357-059 in Italy, 08705-143-219 in the U.K.; www.eurolines.com), long-distance buses to a variety of European countries. Though fares are relatively cheap, budget airlines can be just as competitive and far less time-consuming. For example, London to Milan can take 26 hours, involve a change at Paris, and cost 70€.

By Car

Tuscany and Umbria are most accessible by car. In fact, one of the most common and convenient ways to take a tour of this area is to fly or take a train into Florence, see the city, then pick up a rental car to wind your way through Tuscany and Umbria toward Rome, where you can drop off the car and fly home.

Getting to Tuscany and Umbria by car isn't hard from either Milan or Rome. The A1 autostrada runs straight down the peninsula, connecting Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome, and Naples in a straight shot. The trick is getting to it. Both city beltways (in Rome it is the Grande Raccordo Anulare; in Milan, the tangenziale) feed right onto it, but getting onto the GRA or the tangenziale can be nightmarish procedures for an out-of-towner. Insist on specific, detailed directions from the car-rental agencies or make use of a GPS. Drivers used to the traffic in L.A., New York, or London should have few concerns about Italian roads, but driving in Italy can still be nerve-racking -- for both the winding roads and the Italian penchant for driving a Fiat like a Ferrari. (And driving a Ferrari like one, too, for that matter.)

Officially, it is a legal requirement for all foreigners driving in Italy to obtain an International Driver's Permit (IDP; not to be confused with the International Drivers License), though in practice few rental companies will ask to see anything more than your home driving license and a credit card. Nevertheless, should you be stopped by police, they'll expect to see an IDP. In the U.S., only the American Automobile Association (AAA; tel. 800/222-1134 or 407/444-4300; www.aaa.com) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (through the National Automobile Club; www.nationalautoclub.com) are authorized to issue IDPs (usually $15). In Canada, the permit is available from the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA; tel. 613/247-0117; www.caa.ca). If you have an E.U. driving license it's not usually necessary to obtain an IDP.

Italy's equivalent of AAA is the Automobile Club d'Italia (ACI), a branch of the Touring Club Italiano. They're the people who respond when you place an emergency call to tel. 803-116 for road breakdowns, though they do charge for this service if you're not a member. If you wish, you may join online at www.aci.it or at one of the club's regional offices (in Florence, Viale Amendola 36, tel. 055-24-861; in Rome, Via C. Colombo 261, tel. 06-514-971).

By Train

Traveling around Tuscany by train may not always be the most convenient option, but getting there on a train from Rome or Milan couldn't be easier. The high-speed Frecciarossa and Frecciargento trains stop in Florence (some stop in Arezzo as well), and the slower trains make stops in the smaller cities. It is the best route to Florence from airports in Milan (1 3/4 hr./53€) and Rome (1 1/2 hr./45€). From Milan you can be in Paris in 7 hours, and London (via the Channel Tunnel) in around 10 hours by train. Another option from Paris is the Artesia overnight sleeper train (www.artesia.eu); it departs Gare de Bercy at 6:54pm and pulls into Florence at 7:13am the next morning. The cheapest tickets range from 76€ for a bed in a 6-couchette compartment, to 140€ for a bunk in a 2-bed sleeper compartment.

Getting to Perugia from Rome and Milan by train takes a lot longer, although southern Umbrian towns -- Orvieto, for example -- are under 2 hours and just a few euros from Rome.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.