Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Italy

I was nervous about driving in a country that’s notorious for its aggressive drivers. Everyone told me not to rent a car in Italy, but as I was going to small towns in the Alps, I knew there was no other way. I picked up my car in Milan and drove off. I’m so glad that I rented a car, as it turned out to be easier than I thought, and in my opinion, the stereotype of Italian drivers is surely exaggerated. Here are some basic things to know about renting a car in Italy in order to make your experience painless and convenient.

Renting a Car in Italy




Is it a Good Idea to Rent a Car in Italy?

Renting a car anywhere in the world comes with a bit of risk, but so does getting on a train. You shouldn’t be discouraged from renting a car just because it’s a foreign country. If you’re using trains (as good as they are in Italy) your schedule is dictated to you and many times it causes stress.

While renting a car isn’t necessary or even advice if you’re only visiting major tourists city (you can’t even bring your rental car into Florence, and having a car in Rome is a very bad idea), if you want to see some off the path spots it’s a must.

Some roads are surely more narrow than those in the US, so when you pass other drivers be careful.

Be aware that theft from rental cars is a chronic problem in southern Italy, especially Sicily. You’re safer parking your car with an attendant than on the side of the street. Don’t leave valuables inside.


Car Rental Insurance in Italy

Unlike in many other European countries, basic CDW car rental insurance is mandatory in Italy. You are legally required to have this coverage while driving a rental car in Italy, and the rental companies won’t let their car off the lot until they are sure you’re covered.

If you’re planning on using an insurance from your credit card company,  you will be asked to sign a waiver stating that you do have such insurance on your card and that you’re responsible to pay for everything up front and then you can claim it back from your credit card company.

IMPORTANT: Almost all credit card companies don’t offer car rental insurance in Italy! Don’t lie that you have insurance with your card when you don’t, as if something happens you’ll be in big trouble.

Including CDW and theft insurance in a prepaid car rental rate when you book your car is almost always significantly cheaper than booking a basic car rate ahead of time and opting in for insurance at the pickup desk.

You will read online that car insurance is cheaper if you book with Auto Europe. I never used them myself after reading numerous reviews, I see that they’re avoiding paying insurance excess according to TripAdvisor.

This is why I stick to bigger services like Discover Car Hire, as there are no gimmicks with them.

IMPORTANT: Remember to switch the website to your own country’s flag (the one that issued your driver’s license). Otherwise, your price might not be honored.


Renting a Car in Italy: Manual vs Automatic

The good news is that Italy is one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe to rent an automatic car. Most cars in Europe are manual, so unless you specify on your reservation that you want an automatic car you will be given a manual.

While I always rent an automatic car, it’s convenient to rent a car that has an option of both transmissions if you’re traveling in the winter. It’s easier to get out of the snow with a manual transmission


How Old Do You Have To Be to Rent a Car In Italy?

The legal driving age in Italy is 18 years old, but you need to have your license for at least a year. Most car rental companies will charge you an extra fee if you’re a young driver under 25.

Insurance companies set a maximum age for car rental. Usually, the cut-off is 70 or 75 years old.


How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in Italy?

The best site to book your car at is Discover Car Hire. They offer competitive rates as it searches all the big car rental companies and finds the best price. Even though renting a car in Italy is cheaper than in some other European countries, there are extra costs that you simply cannot avoid spending money on. I’m talking about tolls and gas prices.

Tolls are expensive in Italy. If you want to use some major highways, be prepared to pay a lot. For instance, getting from Bolzano to Milan can cost up to 30 Euros! Always carry cash with you for a toll, as not all toll accept credit cards.

Gas is more expensive in Europe than in the US. Gasoline is known as petrol. Prices might appear cheap to Americans at first, but remember that in Europe a price is displayed per Liter, not per Galon (1 Gallon = 3.78 Liters). If you can, and while it’s still legal, rent a diesel car as it will be much cheaper than unleaded petrol.


Laws Tourists Should Know When Renting a Car in Italy

Do not drive in an area with a sign that says Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL) or Area Pedonale, limited traffic or pedestrian zones. There is most likely a camera that takes a photo of your license plate and you may get a fine in the mail or through your rental company even if you don’t get stopped.

The maximum speed limit on a highway is 130 kilometers per hour, with some curvy parts or town zones 60 kilometers per hour. You will see everyone driving faster, but as a foreigner, you shouldn’t do this.

Europe loves roundabouts. They’re as common as one would say stop signs in the US. Traffic continually flows in a circle around a center island. Don’t be scared of them, but signal when you want to exit it.

Never turn right on a red light. It’s illegal across all Europe unless a sign or signal specifically authorizes it (most common in Germany).


Renting a Car in Italy as American: International Driving Permit

No car rental place will ever ask you to show an International Driving Permit. You’ll be able to rent a car without any issues using your American (or any other non-EU driver’s license). However, since officially foreigners are required to have an International Driving Permit (IDP), if you’re unlucky you might get stopped by the police and get fined for not having it.

In my personal experience, I was never once asked to show any driver’s license (I was once asked to show my passport to border police), but if you want to play it safe apply for your IDP.

The IDP costs just $15, and you can apply for one through either AAA or the National Automobile Club. There are, however, restrictions that apply to those seeking this type of permit. You must be 18 years or older and a legal resident of the United States and your permit is only valid for a year from date of issue.


What NOT to Do When Returning a Rental Car in Italy

While a GPS will come in handy for navigation, don’t rely on it. Use Google Maps as well, and if there are any highway closures make sure to ask local police rerouting people where to go.

If you rented your car full of gas unless you return it completely full, your best bet would be to leave the as empty as possible. Even if a tiny bit of gas is missing in the tank you will be charged for a full tank. Unless there’s a gas station next to the place you’re dropping your car off, don’t try to fill your tank. It happened to me before.


 DON’T FORGET ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE

Don’t forget to arrange health insurance before heading to Italy. The easiest and the most reliable travel insurance is World Nomads Travel Insurance. Get it before your trip to skip unnecessary troubles that might ruin your holidays!


Why Should You Rent a Car in Italy?

While traveling by train in Italy is comfortable and easy, if you want to explore smaller towns and drive around the mountains, you need a car. Small towns would have been inaccessible otherwise, as even shuttles and buses don’t reach them.

I usually drive an automatic car, but in the winter I preferred to have a car that allowed me to switch to a manual transmission. Having a vehicle can you give freedom to explore as and when you want to, and avoid crowds.


MORE TIPS FOR VISITING ITALY:

Practical Tips for Visiting Florence

Best Day Trips from Florence

Tips for Visiting Venice

How To Move to Italy: Step by Step Guide


Any questions? Don’t be afraid to ask me anything in the comments below!

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72 Comments

  1. Gupta
    Jul 31, 2018 / 10:52 am

    You have a good design of post with the best detail of car rental in Italy and valuable information about it which is really nice to know about it.

  2. Henry Collins
    Aug 13, 2018 / 3:38 pm

    Good to know. I didn’t know it was this simple to rent a car in Italy. I though that there would be more restrictions. Thanks for the information.

  3. Jen
    Oct 9, 2018 / 11:44 pm

    We want to drive out of Naples to Rome and dump the car there. It’s the only part of our trip where we have time to drive ourselves and go the coastal route. Any tips on dropping off a rental near Rome? The train terminal?

    • Anna
      Author
      Oct 10, 2018 / 5:16 pm

      Depends on the car rental company. When you pick the company it will give you options of different drop off points.

  4. Eli
    Nov 15, 2018 / 1:46 pm

    Thanks for such a helpful article. BTW, the last time we visited Naples we rented a car with carngo.com. Everything was good.

  5. Tim Dornan
    Nov 25, 2018 / 10:42 pm

    Wow. This is the more exhaustive and information car rental guide I have ever seen, anywhere! Thank you for putting it together. This will be super helpful in Italy!
    Thanks again!

  6. Patricia Daniel
    Nov 27, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    I have heard if you rent a car on he mainland of Italy, some car rentals don’t allow you to take the car on the ferry to Sicily (we are planning to stay on Sicily a week), is that true? Also do you need special insurance to cross on ferry?
    Thank you

    • Anna
      Author
      Nov 27, 2018 / 3:42 pm

      It varies from supplier to supplier, so call everyone and double check.

  7. Heather
    Jan 9, 2019 / 12:44 am

    We are going to Italy this summer. My mom wants to stay somewhere in the Tuscan countryside which will require a car. There will be 5-6 in our group. How likely is it that we will find a place that will have a car big enough? Is it a safer bet to just plan on renting two cars for budgeting reasons?

    • Anna
      Author
      Jan 9, 2019 / 5:38 pm

      Good question, you’d have to compare prices at each specific company and places you want to rent your car at. Either way, Italy is getting pretty booked up for the summer already so start checking for such a big car already.

  8. Peter
    Jan 12, 2019 / 1:17 pm

    We are looking to drive from Certaldo to Rome, stopping off at different villages along the way. How can we prevent luggage theft from our vehicle?? Thanks for all the great information!

    • Anna
      Author
      Jan 13, 2019 / 7:03 am

      Put everything in the truck and make it look very nasty so no one will want to touch anything 😀

  9. Petros
    Jan 16, 2019 / 12:53 pm

    I’ve read that some car rentals charge you for already existing damages to the car, especially if you don’t buy the full insurance package. Do you know any trustworthy places to rent a car (besides the big companies like Sict, Hertz etc.)?

    • Anna
      Author
      Jan 16, 2019 / 2:10 pm

      I usually rent from Budget.

  10. Mary Ellen Rudee
    Jan 20, 2019 / 5:34 pm

    Hi. I am planning our trip to Palermo. I see that flights from Manchester to Palermo arrive very late at night. Are the car rental places open that late? Can I reserve a car to pick up at the airport? Thanks.

    • Anna
      Author
      Jan 22, 2019 / 1:04 pm

      You’d have to check with each one, but there’s usually always a way to rent a car late.

  11. Debra Todisco
    Jan 20, 2019 / 6:51 pm

    Anna, your posts are amazing and informative! Just this one blog on driving in Italy saved me time googling for answers to my questions. Molto successo futuro!

  12. Julie
    Jan 21, 2019 / 3:25 am

    Hello, my boyfriend and I are both 19 years old and we are planning on going to Slovenia this year, but will arrive in Europe in Trieste, Italy. We want to rent a car, but the minimum age for car rental in Slovenia is 21. Can we rent a car in Trieste and go to Slovenia with it?
    Thank you, Julie

    • Anna
      Author
      Jan 24, 2019 / 10:01 pm

      Yes, I rented a car in Croatia and brought it to Slovenia 🙂

  13. Cara
    Jan 24, 2019 / 8:04 pm

    We’re going to Italy in May. Milan-> Venice -> Rome -> Florence -> Pisa -> Milan.
    It’s mostly going to be north/central Italy.
    The only two places we would want to rent a car is in Florence and Milan.
    We want to see a walled city outside of Florence, that I have found bus tickets for.
    It’s called Monterrigioni.
    The other place is Lago Maggiore and Lake D’Orta.
    It’s north of Milan close to Alps.
    I found a train that does go to Lago Maggiore/D’Orta (don’t remember which).
    Otherwise, everything is going to be by train but I’ve been told the more south you go, the less timely Italians tend to be so that makes me nervous.
    My other friend who traveled Italy said the trains she took were always over an hour late.
    She likes buses more but that doesn’t seem time efficient either.
    My boyfriend is hesitant to rent a car in Italy but I’m not sure.
    Advice?

    • Anna
      Author
      Jan 24, 2019 / 10:05 pm

      Train aren’t always an hour late, your friend just got unlucky. They could be late, but usually no more than 10 minutes. I always rent a car in Italy since I don’t own one and it’s fine, but you can’t enter Florence with a car since it’s mostly limited traffic zone.

  14. Cara
    Jan 24, 2019 / 11:50 pm

    So the bus would probably be the best bet from Florence to monteggiore then? What do you think about from Milan to the Swiss alps border for lago Maggiore n d’orta?

    • Anna
      Author
      Jan 26, 2019 / 7:23 am

      In the mountains anywhere outside of Trento or Bolzano you do need a car.

  15. Christine Marraccini
    Jan 28, 2019 / 3:22 pm

    We are going to Italy in June. We will fly into Rome and spend one night, then plan to go to Pompeii for the afternoon on our way to the Amalfi Coast. We are staying in a small town up on the hillside, Agerola for 5 nights then traveling to Lucca for 5 nights then back to Rome for 2 nights before we fly home. Sounds like we need to rent a car or we will be waiting alot for buses. Where would you rent the car? Is there a place in Rome or maybe outside of Rome would be better so we do not have to drive in the city. What do you think? Also, I welcome any suggestions you have for me about driving in the areas I mentioned. Thanks!

    • Anna
      Author
      Jan 28, 2019 / 5:05 pm

      Yeah, small towns without a car is a mission impossible. Are you thinking of going to central Rome for this one night you have after your arrival? As there are many awesome places to stay outside of Rome (I highly recommend Castello Orsini for instance). That way you could get the car at the airport, then drop it off at the airport again before spending your last 2 nights in Rome.

  16. Lena
    Jan 31, 2019 / 3:12 pm

    Hi Anna, I’ll be visiting Fermo this year. I’m confused about the gas part. Do I fill up the tank if I was given a full tank, or no?

    • Anna
      Author
      Feb 1, 2019 / 7:11 pm

      Yes, but only if you can really fill it up entirely as even if a tiny bit of gas if missing (aka if you haven’t tanked right next to the drop off point) they’ll charge you like for a full tank anyway.

  17. ann cushion
    Feb 3, 2019 / 6:19 pm

    Can you give some advice regard CDW insurance and personal injury insurance whilst hiring a car in Italy. I’m unsure if it is best to do this in the UK , may be it will be cheaper.

    • Anna
      Author
      Feb 3, 2019 / 7:07 pm

      What exactly are you wondering? Does your credit card offer any car insurance? You can always sign a waiver that you don’t want to pay for any insurance, but then if something happens to the car you’ll be charged for it.

  18. ann cushion
    Feb 4, 2019 / 6:49 am

    We’ve heard that insurance with the car hire company can be expensive and wondered if it is best to arrange insurance in the UK beforehand ?

    • Anna
      Author
      Feb 4, 2019 / 9:33 am

      You cannot arrange car insurance for Italy in the UK. It can only be done through your credit card company, but even if you use your credit card coverage you’ll still have to pay everything out of pocket first before they refund you which can take a while.

      It’s not expensive though. It’s usually $10-30 per day depending on coverage.

  19. Angela
    Feb 8, 2019 / 4:15 am

    Hi! We’re headed to Rome in October, hanging out for several days, then taking a train to Florence where we’ll spend a few days before hitting the Tuscan/Umbrian countryside. Is it preferable to rent a car right in Florence or do you have any tips for renting outdide of Florence? We’ll then take a train from Florence back to Rome for our return flight. Thanks!

    • Anna
      Author
      Feb 8, 2019 / 9:33 am

      You can rent in Florence no issues, but you technically can’t drive your rental in Florence or park there if you’re staying in town 🙂

  20. Feb 9, 2019 / 7:45 pm

    Hi Anna, after reading your blog I decided to try to rent a car in Sicily (even though I didn’t have my International Driving License). I booked through Budget and was able to successfully pick up the car and drive for the duration of my stay there. I wanted to let you know my experience and thank you for your insight. I am so happy we got the car and were able to visit many places we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

    As for people who are concerned about driving in Italy or Sicily. If you are a city driver then you will be fine. I drove in Boston for 10+ year and I am from NJ. I can an aggressive driving style when needed. In Catania you need to drive that way. If you are not an aggressive driver and shy away from city driving then I wouldn’t recommend driving in big cities. Again, thanks so much for this post. We had a wonderful time!!!

  21. Lisa Kaufman
    Feb 17, 2019 / 9:39 pm

    Hi there. We are planning to be in Italy in May. We would like to pick up a rental car in Italy, exact place not yet decided, and take it to Sicily. I am finding that this may not be possible? Seems the ferry is an issue, but my research shows that you can take a ferry, with a car, from mainland Italy to Sicily. We want to take the Messina Ferry. If this is not possible, can you drop off the rental car before the ferry, walk onto the ferry and pick up a rental car in Sicily? We are hoping to fly out of Palermo on our way back. (we are landing in Zurich from the US to start and will fly back out of Zurich on the way home) Any thoughts on which rental company to use, or ones that will allow this? Thank you, Lisa

    • Anna
      Author
      Feb 18, 2019 / 9:07 am

      You’re right, many companies do not allow renters to take the car on ferries. You can pick up another car in Sicily no problem though. You’d have to call some companies and find out if there are any extra fees. Your best bet though would be Sicily by Car.

      • Lisa Kaufman
        Feb 18, 2019 / 1:20 pm

        Great. One other question. Do you know if there is a drop off on the mainland side near the ferry and a pick up on the Sicily side near the ferry? I tried to call multiple companies yesterday and no one would give me an answer. They just kept telling me I had to book the car to find out. Sigh.
        Thank you!

        • Anna
          Author
          Feb 18, 2019 / 1:46 pm

          No clue 🙁

  22. Pat
    Feb 19, 2019 / 6:02 pm

    Hi, thanks for such an insightful article and responding to queries. I’m planning to be in Italy in July this year. As of now, my schedule looks like Milan -> Venice -> Florence -> Amalfi Coast -> Naples ->Rome -> Milan (for my flight back).

    I was planning to rent a car for most part of my trip (except Rome to Milan) and have a few questions, stated as below:

    1. Is it convenient to rent a car and drive to Venice ?

    2. I was planning to drive from Venice to Florence but after reading your article, I’m thinking of taking a train instead. I want to stay 2-3 days in Florence and explore places in and around Florence. Would you suggest renting a car in Florence for that duration to drive outside Florence?

    3. After my stay at Florence is done, would it be a good idea to rent a car and drive to Amalfi Coast and later to Naples?

    Thanks in advance for your time and sharing your experience. 🙂

    • Anna
      Author
      Feb 19, 2019 / 6:37 pm

      Judging from your itinerary you really don’t need a car, to be honest. You’d spend way more money driving to all these places than taking a train.
      1) In Venice, you’d have to find parking somewhere, drop the car, then take a bus from there to the nearest vaporetto. You’ll be better off just taking a train from Milan to Venezia Santa Lucia station.
      2) Where do you want to visit outside of Florence? A car is useful if you want to drive to Val d’Orcia or Tuscany countryside. You could just take a car for a day then you don’t have to worry about parking.
      3) Do you really want to drive for 6-7 hours from Florence to Amalfi coast? Might be faster to take a train and rent a car again in Naples. In terms of driving around Amalfi coast… many people find this experience scary. There are only winding, very curvy road with tons of buses, cars and motorbikes especially in July, and not much space (remember to fold your mirrors, sometimes even when driving, because a giant bus won’t care haha!). Parallel parking ability and starting a car from uphill/downhill is a MUST. That said, I probably recommend a scooter over a car in that region 🙂

      • Pat
        Feb 19, 2019 / 8:28 pm

        To begin with, thanks a lot for your quick response!!

        1). The only reason I wanted to drive from Milan to Venice is so I can stop by at small towns and explore from not so touristy things like a local (that’s my favorite part of travelling – lose yourself in local colors)!!!! Please feel free to suggest some places, if you know some between Milan and Venice. I thought of returning the car to the rental company once I’m in Venice, to avoid any parking/ driving issues.

        2). For a day or two outside Florence, yes Tuscany is definitely one of the places I’m planning to visit for a day. Would be happy to take suggestions if you know any other scenic towns/ cities I can explore, as I plan to spend most of my time in Florence.

        3). The only reason I wanted to drive from Florence to Amalfi Coast is what I have seen/ heard about beautiful (although scary) roads. But I will definitely take your advice into consideration, before making a final decision.

        Once again, thanks a lot for your wonderful blog!!! It’s so refreshing to interact with fellow travel enthusiasts.:)

        • Anna
          Author
          Feb 20, 2019 / 12:47 pm

          1. That changes things 🙂 How much time do you have? You could visit Verona (where I live actually) – while it’s still touristy it’s not as busy as Venice and see Madonna della Corona nearby. From very small towns I think an interesting spot would be Cannale di Tenno village on Lake Garda (it’s stuck in time).
          2. I have an article on the best day trips from Florence coming out next week actually 🙂

          • Pat
            Feb 20, 2019 / 2:04 pm

            Yes, Verona and Lake Garda are actually some of the places I’m considering to visit. I’m planning to spending at least 3 days in or around Florence. Would be glad to get some suggestions on things to do when in Verona / Lake Garda.

            And an article on day trips from Florence would be great!!!

            Also, if possible – it would be great if you can suggest some places to visit in and around Amalfi Coast and Naples (the birthplace of Pizzaaa!!!)

            Last but not the least, heartiest Congratulations on soon expected addition to your family. Wishing the best of health and happiness ahead. (Side note: I was also born in the month of April and turned out to be Okay. I’m confident the kiddo would do wonderfully well with the wisdom and guidance of his courageous mother and family members by his side!)

  23. Ellen
    Feb 22, 2019 / 9:33 am

    Hi Anna, thanks so much for posting this insightful article full of great advice. My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy in July (peak season) with our two little boys (6yo and 3yo). We are flying into Rome and spending 3 nights there and then heading to Naples/Pompeii/aAmalfi Coast. We’re planning to use public transit while in Rome and I was planning to head down to the Southern parts of Italy by train but after reading your article I’m now thinking perhaps renting a car when leaving Rome would be better, especially traveling with two little kids? But then driving along Amalfi Coast really makes me nervous as well! Any advice on what would be a better bet for us? After Amalfi Coast we’re heading over to Milan then Southern France to Bercelona (final destination). Thank you!

    • Anna
      Author
      Feb 22, 2019 / 11:30 am

      In terms of driving around Amalfi it really depends on how adventurous of a driver you are. Many people opt for the option with a private driver, but truth to be told – many people don’t want to drive abroad at all 😉
      I wouldn’t be afraid of train there are always many kids on Italian trains, often way younger than yours and it’s not an issue (in fact, they don’t have to pay for tickets until they’re 15 years old). That said, it’s really up to you if you feel more comfortable having a car with you, but then parking can get expensive.

      For the last leg from Amalfi to Milan I’d take a domestic flight. It’s cheaper and no point of sitting on a train for so long 🙂

  24. Christine
    Feb 22, 2019 / 1:36 pm

    How do I get a copy of the best day trips from Florence. I could not find it on your blog.

    • Anna
      Author
      Feb 22, 2019 / 7:03 pm

      It’s coming out on the blog in a few days 🙂

  25. Laura
    Feb 24, 2019 / 10:57 pm

    Hi Anna. Thank you for such a helpful blog! My husband and I will be in Italy in May. We are flying in to Rome, then taking a train to Venice. We would also like to visit Florence, Tuscany, and Cinque Terre. We will be returning home from Rome. Can you recommend the most efficient way to accomplish this? We are comfortable with both trains and/or driving. Thank you!

    • Anna
      Author
      Feb 27, 2019 / 7:08 pm

      You could take a train from Venice to Florence, see Florence, then rent a car and explore Tuscany, Cinque Terre, and possibly Umbria (highly recommend it!) on the way to Rome.

      • Laura
        Mar 2, 2019 / 1:26 pm

        Thank you Anna! Your recommendation sounds like the perfect plan. Is there a particular location in or around Florence you would recommend for renting a car?

        • Anna
          Author
          Mar 3, 2019 / 10:12 am

          Last time I rented from Hertz on Borgo Ognissanti and it was fine 🙂

  26. David Joyce
    Mar 1, 2019 / 5:24 pm

    I rented on expedia and picked it up in Palermo, Sicily. I paid in advance and it was about $350 US. When I got to the counter they added almost $500 in fees. Is this normal? I thought that the price I paid would be the final price but it was not. Is this normal or did I get screwed?

    • Anna
      Author
      Mar 2, 2019 / 8:17 am

      No, it’s not normal. What were the fees for?

  27. Caroline
    Mar 3, 2019 / 5:49 am

    We are planning a trip to Italy in July. We are a family of 6. Is there a 6 passenger car we can rent in Rome to drive to Salerno? We will be staying in a small town not far from Salerno. Or do you think it is better to take the train from Rome to Salerno and then rent the car?

    • Anna
      Author
      Mar 3, 2019 / 10:09 am

      There are big cars in Italy, but they don’t come cheap. There’s a promo that kids ride for free on Italian trains, so it might be cheaper to take a train, but your choices of cars might be more limited in Salerno than in Rome.

  28. Ip
    Mar 3, 2019 / 4:39 pm

    Hi Anna, have you heard of welcome pick up website service for getting from Milan in my case to Lake Como?
    They say a taxi ride is the same fee ( 91 E)

    • Anna
      Author
      Mar 3, 2019 / 6:00 pm

      Not sure what do you mean by a welcome service? Like a pre-booked shuttle? Lake Como is quite far from Milan, so this price sounds about far. You can also take a train there.

  29. Ip
    Mar 3, 2019 / 6:43 pm

    That’s the name of the company- welcome pick up

    • Anna
      Author
      Mar 3, 2019 / 6:54 pm

      Nope, haven’t heard of them, but looks like a good price for a private transfer.

  30. Ip
    Mar 3, 2019 / 7:51 pm

    So looked into it further- though this company has great overall reviews, specifically for Milan are not so great. But more importantly they wait only one hour from the plane landing. Coming from international flight, that is concerning. So will stick to taxi

  31. Carlo
    Mar 5, 2019 / 6:30 pm

    Hi there you mentioned kids are free on trains. Do you still need to book them a ticket? I noticed when I went on trenitalia or Italo they showed promo but when I add my kids (3 of which are 10 and under) at
    Check it still charges them. Thoughts?

  32. sim choon ping
    Mar 11, 2019 / 7:05 am

    Great stuff Anna!! Do you recommend buying a full insurance protection online when booking at rentalcar.com or over the counter during pick-up? I assume it is cheaper online but is the coverage T&C the same? Is there a surprise clauses on the one we buy online? Thanks

    • Anna
      Author
      Mar 11, 2019 / 12:12 pm

      It’s always cheaper if you pre-book 🙂 I personally haven’t head any surprises in Italy.

  33. sim choon ping
    Mar 12, 2019 / 12:02 am

    Thanks Anna. As i was about to book thru rentalcars.com i did a final check on Google map on users reviews of AVIS,Herts…etc located in Milan Malpensa T1 airport counter. There are more negative and bad experiences from the tourists on these reputable rental company eg downgraded their car even if they pre-booked, charged for minor damages not caused by them, or being charged for unknown fee/fines to their credit cards few months after their trip…..all sounds like a total scam!!!
    Now i hold back on renting a car for my 1st trip to Italy!
    DO you encounter any of this bad experience? Or do you think those are not genuine comments or this only happens for pickup in airport counter and advisable to pick up a car outside of the airport??

    https://www.google.com.sg/maps/place/Avis+Malpensa/@45.624831,8.7090903,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m10!1m2!2m1!1scar+rental!3m6!1s0x0:0xedc864b762e0a86f!8m2!3d45.6248281!4d8.7112784!9m1!1b1

    • Anna
      Author
      Mar 12, 2019 / 10:37 am

      First question: do you absolutely need a car on your trip?

      Remember that most people will not go on google and write reviews if you had an ok experience. Have you ever written a review on google maps if the service was just ok, or only when you’re mad? 😉

      I rented a car myself at Malpensa from Hertz (twice), Budget (twice), and Locauto (once) and never had any major issue. I also rented from Rome Fiumicino from Hertz and Alamo, and Verona Airport and center from Europcar and Locauto. The only thing was the fuel charges as I said in the other post. I was never charged any extras and when I asked for an automatic car it was always automatic.

      – In regards to fines: yes, you can be fined for breaking rules months later because that’s how things work in Italy because tickets from things caught on cameras are being sent later to the rental company. I got a fine once after two months for entering ZTL. It does say in your agreement that you have to pay fines later.
      – You book a specific car, but on most reservations it does say for eg. Fiat Panda or similar, so the car can be different, but in the same category.

  34. sim choon ping
    Mar 13, 2019 / 8:27 am

    Tqvm Anna…What a relieve, i can go ahead to book my car now…and get ready my favorite Madonna’s playlist for this Italian roads!!!
    BTW, on the full protection insurance between pre-book online and buy over pick up counter. Some say there will be a different when it come to claim – eg if there is a damage to the car you don’t have to pay upfront or do anything if you buy at the counter as it is cover by them. Whereas if you pre-book online from an agent say thru’ Rentalcars.com, it is a third party insurance company that cover your excess – which means you have to pay the damages to the car rental company first and claim back from Rentalcars.com and do all the hassle yourself. Is it true???

    • Anna
      Author
      Mar 13, 2019 / 11:07 am

      If you have insurance from an online company like rentalcars or through your credit card you ALWAYS have to pay for things yourself and then claim it back.

  35. Mar 17, 2019 / 10:41 pm

    Hi,
    I came across your blog. Thank you for the details. I am planning to rent a van in Milan for a week but have read bad reviews about the two rental companies in Milan (Budget and Hertz) located near the Centrale train station. Have you rented from either of them and if yes, how was your experience. I would appreciate your feedback.

    Have you driven from Milan to Rome? How is the drive?

    Thank you

    • Anna
      Author
      Mar 18, 2019 / 10:51 am

      Yes to driving from Milan to Rome (not in one go, I made several stops), but no to ever renting at the station. Just rented at the airport in Milan I’m afraid.

  36. William
    Mar 18, 2019 / 4:24 pm

    Hi Anna, have a family trip with 16 people. Picking up rental in Florence, staying in Tuscany and then to Carpineto for a few days. With the large group plus luggage, a small compact car is not an option. Just looking to get from point A to point B. Do you see renting SUVs, full size passenger van an issue. Or with the small roads, a standard or midsize car as our best option? Thanks so much

    • Anna
      Author
      Mar 18, 2019 / 5:49 pm

      There are big cars in Italy and even on tiny roads you can still see giant buses and delivery vans. While you won’t be able to park easily in places like Florence (you wouldn’t be able to anyway without a permit since you can’t really drive around Florence as it’s ZTL mostly) it’s not an issue on a highway or roads in general 🙂

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