Which airport?

There are three main ways to get to the Lunigiana by air:

Bergamo: 2hrs 14m: 24.90eu toll ( to Pontremoli – 2019)
Genova:     1hr 40m: 14.60eu toll (to Pontremoli – 2019)
Pisa:     1hr 01m: 10.40eu toll (to Pontremoli – 2019)

In general, Pisa airport is the most convenient, especially since the Genova bridge collapse of 2018 which resulted in long delays for traffic heading East. Furthermore, the drive from Pisa is straightforward and there is limited scope to get lost.

How to get to the Lunigiana from Pisa Airport

When you arrive at Pisa airport, proceed through passport control, baggage reclaim and customs to enter the main concourse. Walk straight ahead through the exit doors to outside. Turn right. After 100yds or so you will see the bus stop at which you get the bus to the hire car pickup area (no charge). The first stop for the bus is the hire car terminal building which contains reception desks for all the main hire companies – Hertz, Europcar, Sixt, Thrifty etc – together with a bar (WCs to RHS of bar). For advice on car rental please consult our short guide, available here.

Having checked in you walk to the car compound. Before starting off do check the controls – we once got to the first toll booth and couldn’t work out how to lower the windows to pick up the entry ticket!

Leaving the car hire area (hire terminal your left), turn right at the T-junction and continue a short distance until you come to a (very busy) roundabout where you turn left. Continue parallel to the autostrada for a short distance, going straight on at the next roundabout. Take the second turning on the right (signed A12 Autostrada Genova). Go up the slip road and join the autostrada. After a couple of miles you will encounter toll booths. Use any booth (except ones signed “Telepass” & “ViaCard”) and pick up a ticket. Leaving the booth, take the A12 slip road to the right.

Continue on the A12 for about 40 minutes until you see signs for the A15/E33 to Parma and follow these up the Magra valley until you come to your preferred point of exit – typically Aulla or Pontremoli.

How to get from the Lunigiana to Pisa Airport

You simply do the route in reverse. A few miles after you have passed the Aulla junction you need to turn South from the A15 onto the A12. The signposting is very confusing; you need to follow the sign to Florence (Firenze) which only comes into view just as you reach the beginning of the slip road. If you get it wrong you end up heading for La Spezia!

The Pisa Galileo Gallilei Airport exit on the A12 is well signed (aircraft symbol). After leaving the toll booth you will find yourself on a dual carriageway. Proceed until you see the airport terminal buildings on your right. The slip road is 1/4 mile further on. This brings you straight to the mini-roundabout near the car hire area.

To access the local petrol station go straight ahead at both the slip road roundabout and at the next roundabout you encounter. At the third roundabout take the fourth exit – the API petrol station is immediately on your left.  Fill up there (open 24hrs, usually self-service – rejects UK credit cards but accepts bank notes, so keep a range of denominations handy). On leaving the petrol station turn left and immediately left again at the roundabout. Follow the one-way street (multi-storey car park to your left, mass transit railway to your right), keeping in the left hand lane (but watch out for traffic merging from the left). After passing the Short Stay Car Park (P3) exit barriers this eventually merges with the road that leads back to the hire car terminal – be sure to give way to traffic coming from the left.

Points to watch …

  • Don’t go into a credit card operated toll lane – they don’t accept UK issued credit cards!
  • Don’t go into any toll lane marked “Telepass” or “ViaCard” unless it is the only one open.
  • Adding extra drivers to your car hire agreement is expensive – avoid it if you can. Note that some car hire companies have promotions which allow a second driver for free.
  • The premiums charged for reducing the hire car accident excess from the usual 1600 euros to nil is often extortionate. Either take out an annual policy (see here) or book your car through a decent UK agent.
  • If you go out in the late autumn to early spring period, you will need snow chains. These are usually provided free of charge by the car hire company (for full details click here).
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