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 rented a 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.

As I live in Italy at the moment, but don’t actually own a vehicle, I’ve been renting cars numerous times in different areas of Italy and from different providers. 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

(last updated: August 2019)


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. Plus, many Regionale type trains have no AC which during the summer is a nightmare.

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 not just because of traffic but also because many main attractions are only accessible by foot anyway), if you want to see some off the path spots in the countryside 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.Is it a Good Idea to Rent a Car in Italy?


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 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 upfront 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 Cars, as there are no gimmicks with them.


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 depending on the provider.renting a car in Italy


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

The best site to book your car at is Discover Cars. 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 costs up to 30 Euros! Always carry cash with you for a toll, as not all tolls 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.

(!) EXTREMELY IMPORTANT(!): Regardless of the company you’re going to book your car from, I highly advise you to book it from your home country or continent. For instance, if you’re from the US and traveling to Italy, book your car online from the US. Why? Because it’s significantly cheaper.

If you have a non-European driver’s license you’ll not be paying extra taxes that Europeans will have to pay when renting in another European country. I’m talking about significant differences in prices here.

However, beware that if you try to cheat the system and book a car for the US while you’re in Europe, unless you have a European driver’s license to show at the rental car counter your reservation won’t be valid.

Cost to Rent a Car in Italy
I’m receiving a lot of questions regarding driving on the Amalfi coast. Here’s a glimpse of it.

Laws Tourists Should Know When Driving 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

Italy didn’t use to care about non-Italian licenses, but things have changed now. These days you NEED TO HAVE international driver’s permit if you’re coming from a non-EU country. 

You still might be able to rent a car without any issues using your American (or any other non-EU driver’s license), but you might get fined when stoped. 

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.

Driving on the Amalfi Coast.

If you rented your car full of gas unless you return it completely full, your best bet would be to leave it 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.

Also, lines to rent a car at Milan Malpensa Airport and Rome Fiumicino are consistently always long, regardless of the time of the year. You might need to wait in line for an hour.

However, if you indicated on your reservation that you’ll pick your car up at 10 AM and you’re waiting in line until 11 AM, do yourself a favor and make yourself known to the attendant before 10 AM. Quite often they might give your car away if you don’t pick it up on time!


 DON’T FORGET ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE

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


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 to get out of the snow. Having a vehicle can you give freedom to explore as and when you want to, and avoid crowds.



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



190 thoughts on “Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Italy”

  1. 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.

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  2. 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.

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    • Hi! We are planning a trip to Puglia region in October. Does the credit card have to match the driver’s license’s name?

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    • Hi. We are wanting to fly into Milan or maybe Venice then rent a car and drive through countries into Gremany and on in Switzerland then back to where we fly into about 6 days later to depart back to US. Is this possible and the best choice for us. 2 adults? We plan to go it on out own and pre rent places to stay along the way with airb&b. So clueless here. Can you travel that far in rented cars?

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      • Yes, it’s possible, but what do you want to see? It’s a lot of driving considering you only have 6 days. Remember about toll prices in Italy. Plus for Germany and Switzerland, you’ll need to purchase travel vignette the border for about $45 each.

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        • Hi Anna, awesome site. I’m taking my wife for anniversary to Italy. We have two weeks. I am flying into Venice and leaving out of Rome. We also wanted to stop in Florence . Would you bother renting a car? From whom? I know this is a lot but do you recommend hotels to? Any information on this newbie would be much appreciated! Thanks!

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  3. 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?

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

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  5. 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!

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    • Hi! We are planning to rent a car in Rome from Villa Borghese location going to Montepulchiano for a night and dropping off the car next day somewhere near Florence’s train station. The problem is Traffic Limited Zone around Florence. Any advice for a good location to return the car there? We are staying for 2 nights in Florence and going to Venice by train after.
      Thanks,
      Inna

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  6. 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

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  7. 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?

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    • 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.

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  8. 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!

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  9. 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.)?

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  10. 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.

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  11. 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!

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  12. 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

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  13. 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?

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    • 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.

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  14. 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?

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  15. 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!

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    • 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.

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  16. 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?

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    • 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.

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  17. 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.

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    • 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.

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  18. 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 ?

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    • 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.

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  19. 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!

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    • 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 🙂

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  20. 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!!!

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  21. 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

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    • 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.

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      • 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!

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  22. 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. 🙂

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    • 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 🙂

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      • 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.:)

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        • 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 🙂

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          • 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. 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!

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    • 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.

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  24. 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?

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  25. 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?

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    • 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.

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  26. 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)

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    • 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.

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  27. 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

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  28. 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

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  29. 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

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    • 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.

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  30. 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???

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    • 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.

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  31. 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

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    • 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.

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      • Anna
        Thank you. We are taking the train from Paris to Milan Porta-Garibaldi and are now thinking of renting the car at MXP airport instead of the city. Do you have any recommendation on which agency is the best to rent from? We will be traveling to Artogne after picking up the car.

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        • I always get the cheapest option that I check on bigger websites, like the one I mentioned for Discover Car Hire 🙂 I rented a car myself at Malpensa from Hertz (twice), Budget (twice), and Locauto (once) and never had any major issue.

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  32. 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

    Reply
    • 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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  33. Hi Anna,

    Last summer I rented a car at Europcar Pisé to drive with my 2 children to Umbria.

    I took a ful covered insurance at carflexi.

    I unfortunately got an accident. I entered a roundabout without notice as it was very badly indicated.

    I was of course in error…now because of negligence ( not compliant with the trafic rules) I need to pay 7845 euro for the damage to the Fiat Panda.

    I took a full coverage just to cover these kind of accidents in a foreign country with my kids.

    But, they now say it it in the T&C stipulated no coverage in case of negligence…

    I want to warn everybody and please check and double check as in case of an accident where you are in error, there is NO coverage….

    Did you hear this horror story before?

    Reply
      • Hi,

        I Am from Belgium and drive a car accident free ( beside Some minnor ones in parkings etc) since 30 years.

        But shit happend…

        None of my Belgium friends who also regular hire A car in Italy were aware about such A risk.

        Everybody ( myself included) believes accidents especially the ones where you are in error are Made by ‘ the others’ But it can happen to all of us and than you should be able to rely on your full coverage CDW and BA also in case of error for violating the traffic rules as nobody does this on purpose But by accident… therfore A full coverage which they make you pay exists…. I believed…

        Also after the accident I tried to reach fir more than 3 days from my holiday destination to reach Carflexi/ Europcar without result… nobody answers the phone, waiting music etc…

        I had on top no longer A car available while I was with 2 kids in the mountains in Umbrië far from shopping area…

        I had to travel further with public transport….

        I took A lawyer and hope we Will come to an honest settlement

        Reply
  34. Anna,

    Wonderful site. When you rent a car flying into Florence, do you do prior to leaving US by going on rental site of Budget. I have 3 mature women with luggage, first time renting car in Italy.

    Reply
    • Yes definitely 🙂 As I said in the post you can compare different car rental providers on Discover Car Hire and pick what suits you best from there 🙂

      Reply
  35. Hi Anna,

    Thanks for this.

    Just confirming as I will use the site you recommend above, select all insurance options, pay them now online and I should be good to go. (I know you can’t promise that of course)

    In Mexico they held our rental ransom, was brutal.

    Thanks,
    Mark

    Reply
    • You don’t have to pay any extras if you book everything online. I rent a car basically every week or two (since we cannot buy our own car) and never pay any extras 🙂

      Reply
  36. Hi Anna
    Renting a car in Florence ( borgo oggnasanti ) with the co you recommend “discover car hire “
    It says” optimo rent” on the website … is that another co ?
    And they won’t give the street address till you actually book ….is this legit ?
    I imagine it has to be legal to drive in and out -on that street in that area
    Sorry if this has been already answered
    Thanks so much
    Donna

    Reply
    • It is legal to drive in and out when you rent. Optimo is a cheap car rental company, so don’t expect a luxury service, but the cars and company are legit – don’t worry 🙂

      Reply
  37. Anna-
    We DO have insurance coverage with our credit card , but it seems the same basic coverage as what the car rental includes .
    Do you recommend not to sign the waiver and just go with the basic insurance they provide? Vs trying to recoup your cost from your card co.
    Maybe take photos of any dents or scratches beforehand?
    Thanks ! Your site is so helpful !
    Donna

    Reply
  38. Hi Anna. Thank you for So much good information here! We are going to Rome for a 3 nights then wanted to rent a car for 5 days to go to Florence, Pisa, and Venice Is it just the very downtown of Florence that you can not drive in?? We were then going to drop the car back in Rome and take the train to Amalfi Coast staying in Sorrento for 5 days. Would you recommend keeping the car for that? Or even keeping it the whole time including the 3 nights in Rome? We will then fly out of Rome back to United States

    Reply
    • While you can rent a car I actually don’t think you need or should rent a car to go to Florence, Pisa and Venice. Definitely not in Rome, you don’t want to drive around Rome and there’s no need for that. All these places are walkable and you can easily take a train between them.
      If you drove to Venice then it would be a hassle to leave the car somewhere, then bus or train to vaporetto from a parking lot. It’s much easier when the train drops you off.
      However, I do recommend a car for the Amalfi coast! I’d recommend getting a car in Rome and driving to Amalfi 🙂

      Reply
  39. Anna, all great information. If flying into Milan or Rome is it less expensive to rent a car at airport or someplace else outside of city or not much difference? Does it present a problem to rent in one town and drop off in another. If driving the Amalfi coast is hazardous, how would you suggest seeing the towns along the coast? Also, sounds like you usually book auto online, is that correct?
    Thanks, Earl

    Reply
    • The price might depend on time and a deal. Quite often it’s cheaper at airports, but if you count the cost of getting to the airport if you’re already in the city it might not make a difference. You always need to pay a fee for dropping a car at a different location, but it’s not an issue.
      I’m heading back to the Amalfi Coast next week actually, so will report back how busy it is at the moment 🙂

      Reply
  40. Hi Anna
    Optima IS indeed so much cheaper than the rest …do you know why?
    you said not to worry – I am fine with no frills but the cars have to be reliable and in good condition right?

    The xtra charges addressed above maybe are
    The 500$ deposit ?that will be deducted if there are no damages .
    Do they add a fuel charge beforehand if you bring it back empty?
    And finally, do you usually take the extra coverage ?
    Thanks so much

    Reply
    • Optima? I’ve never heard of this car rental company to be honest. The deposit on your credit card is a standard procedure everywhere with car rental companies tho. Fuel charges are added later.
      Personally, I don’t take the extra coverage, but many people prefer it so it’s really up to you and how comfortable you feel driving.

      Reply
  41. Hi, i am renting a car from Milan MXP Airport for 14 days trip in Italy and France. Instead of renting a GPS from the car rental company, i am planning to use my cell phone Google map. So i plan to buy a local SIM card come with data/internet. Will this works and how much for a 5 or 10GB local SIM card cost? Thks in advance for your valuable advice

    Reply
  42. We are going to be in Italy for 11 days and will be trying to see a ton of Italy while we are there. We are going from Rome to Amalfi Coast, up to Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre and back to Rome. I was planning on renting a car for the entire time, but do you think some parts of this would be better to just take trains or buses for my wife and I?
    Thanks for the input,
    Adam

    Reply
    • Technically, unless you’re planning on stopping in smaller towns you can easily take a train between all these places. I liked having a car in Amalfi thought, because buses were overcrowded and you need to wait forever.

      Reply
  43. Anna
    Thank you for details. Do you have any recommendations on outlet shopping malls around Milan? How are the prices in comparison to outlets in the US.

    Reply
  44. Hi! I’m in the last stretch of planning for my trip to Italy June 22-28. I’m flying into Milan and then getting myself to Bellagio SOMEHOW – right now I’m torn between renting a car and driving an hour, or doing the bus/train route for three hours. I’m only in Bellagio for a couple of days (22-25) then wrapping up the trip in Milan.

    I should take the train, right? Enjoy the view?

    Reply
  45. Anna

    I will be in Vicenza this summer for about three weeks. I will flying from Philadelphia to Venice (Marco Polo). My initial idea is to spend the first couple of days sightseeing in Venice, then on to Vicenza for four days. Over the first weekend I would like to visit Milan and Florence. The second weekend I am heading North to Germany, and then back to catch a flight back to the US in Venice
    Does it make sense to rent a car? If so, what is the recommended insurance.
    Is there a place at the airport in Venice where I can leave my luggage.

    Reply
  46. I was reading someplace, can’t find it now, there can be a problem renting a car or getting insurance if your current US drivers license expires in a year and some require it to be current for 3 years. Any validity to this?
    Thanks Anna,
    Earl

    Reply
  47. Hi so glad I found all this info… 3 girls taking a trip …leaving from Venice .. need to get to Rome (same day ).. then stay in Rome for 3 days ,,then back to Venice the same day we leave (in 1 day).. want to take both sides of the coast each way.. one side there and the other way back..we love road trips and small towns.. is it totally dumb to rent a car both ways? Are there bridges that rental cars arnt allowed to go on at all from Rome to venice?,,or do you think it’s better to do the train one way?(note each day to and from is only 1 day travel) is this do~able?I need advise from you cause I’m totally clueless ,, first time to Europe.. mom trip with 2 adult daughters,, wooo hooo girls trip!! (I’m the mom!!) keep in mind we could leave from each morning by 8am in July and we don’t love night driving but will do,,, wanna see it all!!any advise on where to stop along the way “must sees” lol thanks so much.. oh and by the way travel is in July!!! We’re leaving soon!!!

    Reply
    • You could rent a car from Venice Marco Polo Airport and return it there too. If you want to drive down the coasts it would take you about 9h on the Adriatic Coast and even longer on the other side. To compare, the fast train takes about 3,5 hours. You won’t be able to see much with a car in 1 day because this is how long it takes without even stopping for a photo, leave alone exploring anything or finding parking especially in a busy month of July (parking in Italy is a pain).

      What do you mean about bridges? You can drive anywhere with a rental car, however driving in Rome is pointless because you can’t enter most streets as it’s a limited traffic zone, plus you can easily walk everywhere or take a bus.

      Reply
  48. I really like your blog and you have shared the whole concept really well. And Very beautifully soulful read, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  49. Hi Anna
    We are driving from Florence to Lucca & back and going to Montepulciano , Sienna etc .
    Can you give us some info on the tolls . We are clueless and want to be prepared.
    Do they want exact change ? What small bills and change should we carry ?
    Thank you
    Donna

    Reply
  50. Hi,
    Really nice article and great tips.
    I’m visiting Italy with family this August and planning to rent a car in Bolzano for 5 days, however, I couldn’t find in any rental company the car category we need, i.e. 7 seats automatic car. It can easily be found in big cities but not in Bolzano. Any advice?
    Regards

    Reply
    • I’d be surprised if you would be able to find it to be honest as Bolzano is a small place with no huge amount of tourism comparing to other cities in Italy and Europeans all drive manual. I’d recommend getting the car elsewhere and just driving to Bolzano if you really need a 7 seater.

      Reply
  51. A word of caution if you are booking at the airport make sure you reach the rental companies desk within 2 hours after your pick time. We had rented a van with Budget at the Milan airport. We waited in line for an hour to get to the available agent to be told they didnt have a car available for us and we were late by 10 mins. We had prepaid for the rental but the agent told us we were out of luck and had to check with another rental company. So we ended up renting two cars from locauto. Their rental agent was better than the ones working at Budget and Hertz.

    Reply
  52. Anna,
    I don’t think that is the case. I have picked up rental cars (at Budget) after the 2 hour window. If I had known about it, I would have tried to speak to an agent earlier instead of waiting in line for hour for my number to called.
    I guess we have been accustomed to the rental companies in the US where it does not take an hour to get to an agent. Since I had already paid for the car they should have kept one for me.

    Reply
    • It’s usually on a case by case basis and whether they’re actually busy or not, but I can tell you that in Boston that’s always an issue and it could take up to an hour. But I agree, in Italy it takes forever at big airports.
      As I mentioned in the article though, even if you actually pay in full but your license is from a different country than the IP you booked the car at you won’t be given a car at all unless you pay for a new booking and it’s worldwide which I had no idea before until it happened to me in various places.

      Reply
  53. Great support; thanks. We are 3 people flying into Fiumicino late July and departing from there 12 days later. Just 2 nights in Rome without a car, then traveling through the Parco Nazionale di Abruzzo to Vasto; then the Gargano (and Tremiti for 2 nights – no car), Matera, and back to Fiumicino via one night on the Amalfi coast. I want to drop the car off at Fiumicino, but am thinking either to pick it up in Rome or perhaps at Ciompino. Also thinking the smallest car that will do 3 people with not that much luggage, but enough power to go up and down mountains – subcompact? Any thoughts? Should I skip Amalfi, given the traffic at this time of year? I doubt that there is any logic to dropping the car off at the Tremoli station and picking up another car 2 days later, rather than parking it for 2 nights. I am very interested in your thoughts.

    Reply
    • You can through the mountains with the smallest car in the summer without any issues, but how much luggage is not much? Because the smallest car is a 3-door Fiat 500C usually and let me tell you – a big suitcase is going to fit in the trunk but not much else, leave alone more than one big suitcase 😛
      You can still do Amalfi, but check if there’s still any accommodation left.
      I would def keep the car with you for the 2 nights.

      Reply
  54. Thanks so much. In Rome we are staying near Campo dei Fiori. Going back to Fiumicino to get a car, and then head NE to the A24 seems a bad idea. If I pick up elsewhere, then where? Does it make better sense to pick up at Termini or Ciompino? Do you know what the extra charge might be? I suppose I could drop off at either of these places and take a bus or train to Fiumicino on my last day, but I prize convenience over cost, and there is the price of the train for 3 from e.g., Termini to Fiumicino. So I think it makes most sense to pick up at Stazione Termini and drop off at Fiumicino. Yes?

    Reply
  55. I assume from the dates on your readers’ comments that the helpful information you give here about renting a car in Italy (where I’ve been many times but have never rented a car!) is recent and therefore up to date? I’ll be renting a minivan (7-seater) August 10th at Fiumicino to drive to and have for a week in a villa in Umbria with my large family, and returning it to FCO before spending a week in Rome. I was wondering how important it is to have an international driver’s permit, and to get extra insurance coverage offered through rentalcars.com through which I got my car at Avis (I never get it in the U.S. because my American Express card covers it), etc. I originally reserved the same car with Budget but when I looked at the reservation voucher today it was no longer offering me the car I wanted (with automatic transmission) but a smaller car for the same price. Avis is charging me $300 more for that same original larger car now.It sounds as if I should expect long lines at the rental agency….

    Reply
    • Yes, absolutely. All my posts are constantly being updated 🙂

      You don’t need an international driver’s license, just your US one is fine. In terms of extra coverage if you want to feel safe, then do it. It’s better to book it through them, as it’s usually half-price of what you’d pay at the counter. However, in case of any damage, you’d need to pay for everything out of pocket first and then claim it back from rentalcars. If you got an extra coverage at the counter you just walk away and don’t pay anything.

      What do you mean though? You booked your car and the reservation suddenly changed? That’s so strange.

      Long lines are standard, especially at Rome and Milan airports,

      Reply
  56. At last I found a car with 7 seats in Bolzano from a local rent a car office using Booking.com, I also purchased a full coverage insurance. My question, will they accept it or will force me to pay their own insurance? If so, I can cancel the full coverage insurance I paid for as it’s purchased separately with cancellation possibility.
    Regards

    Reply
    • It really depends on the company. When I was in France a week ago they forced everyone to get their own insurance or pay over $2000 deposit.

      Reply
  57. Just an update – the price difference between picking up at Stazione Termini and Ciampino was around 25% or more of the total rental fee! I am picking up at Ciampino. Now I have to deal with the cab ride from the center of Rome to Ciampino.

    Reply
  58. Thanks, Anna for your helpful advice! So to “feel safe”, you think I should book the extra insurance through rentalcars.com (that’s how I booked the car) rather than the Avis counter at Fiumicino. What happened was that through rentalcars.com I reserved a Ford Galaxy 7-seat minivan with automatic transmission (not all the adult drivers in my family of 16 drive a stick and several of us will be driving) with Budget in early June for $768. When I went back a few days ago to confirm it, they were only offering me a smaller automatic Renault Espace (5-seats with 2 folding seats, but then no room for baggage) for that price. So I canceled it and through rentalcars.com got the same Ford Galaxy now at Avis, but for $1100 (not including the extra coverage!) I didn’t know they switch out the specific car you reserved–or change the price!

    Reply
  59. Hi Anna
    Trying again with this question

    We are driving from Florence to Lucca & back and going to Montepulciano , Sienna etc .
    Can you give us some info on the tolls . We want to be prepared.
    Do they want exact change ? What small bills and change should we carry ?
    Thank you
    Donna

    Reply
    • It really depends on the toll and route taken. I usually have coins with me. Sometimes they have a lady collecting money, sometimes there are machines but both will you give change.

      Reply
      • Renting a car easy but then it got real get pull over and am told I need to go to the us Embassy to get my license translated I got a $348 eur citation hahaha how about that.

        Reply
        • I said in the post that “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.”

          Reply
  60. Hi Anna! This is amazing! Thank you for posting. I’m going to Italy with my mom at the end of September, and I really want to rent a classic car to drive to the countryside. We will be in Rome for a few nights, then hoping to make it to Siena for a night or two, and then to Florence.

    Would it be easy to take the car from Rome to Florence? I’m assuming maybe the outskirts of Florence considering you mentioned you can’t take a car there.

    Also, do you have any suggestions for classic cars? Or do you suggest against it? Is it a thief attraction?

    Thanks so much in advance!! 🙂

    Reply
    • You can’t really get a classic car and return it in a different location I’m afraid. Unless there’s some new company doing it, but I’ve never heard of this possibility. You could take Fiat 126p for a day from Florence or Rome, I know about that.

      Siena is like Florence in terms of cars (any city is really) that there’s a ZTL zone where you can’t drive. Plus, it’s a small-time so no need for a car there. Your car will basically just sit at the parking lot.

      Reply
  61. By the way, with regards to trains, and from your experience, is it necessary to buy tickets a week or so in advance or it’s ok to do so one day before trip? (Price wise).
    Thanks Anna

    Reply
    • Regional trains don’t change the price, but any fast trains (Frecciarossa, Frecciabianca, Frecciargento) the price can be even 5-6 times more a day before than if bought 2-3 weeks in advance.

      Reply
      • Hi Anna

        My friends and I will be coming to Italy from South Africa in a couple of months. We will be doing Rome, Milan and Venice, and for relative ease, we have decided to use trains for this.

        Im guessing we will be using the fast trains? how far in advance will we be able to buy our tickets?

        Reply
        • You don’t have to use fast trains, but you should haha! You can book even a few months in advance, but there’s no need. If you want to pay less just 2-3 weeks is enough.

          Reply
  62. Anna,
    Your information regarding car rental is tremendous. We are planning a trip to Italy in October and will be flying into Florence. I will need to rent a car to get to our place at Castellano in Chianti. There are four adults with at least one bag apiece. Would you have any suggestions? We are returning to Florence at the end of the week. Yes, I can drive a stick shift. 🙂
    Thanks
    Joe S.

    Reply
  63. Hi Anna, Thank you so much for this blog and just need clarification. Flying into Napoli in early October of this year and going straight to Sorrento. We’ll be staying there until Friday when we fly to visit family in Sicily.

    We want to explore the Almafi coast…go to Capri, Pompeii archeological site, vineyard tour in Pompeii, and some other small cities to explore the churches. As you said that to visit small towns/villages you really need to rent but then you told someone not to in Almafi.

    Are there buses that will take you up and down to various towns in Almafi? I’d just assume take public transportation but if you think it best to rent, we’ll go that route. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Why did they tell you not to rent a car? Because of narrow small roads? Probably.
      There are pros and cons.
      However, Pompeii can be easily done by train from Napoli and Capri well, can’t take your car there. There are buses and they’re cheap but can get really packed, but in October it will be off season so you should be good. On the other hand parking in the Amalfi coast (anywhere really) is a pain and costs an arm and leg usually.

      Reply
  64. Hi Anna,

    I’m traveling to Italy with my family next month. 6 of us in all – all adults over 25. Landing in Rome, driving to Barberino for several nights in a villa. The then driving south to the Amalfi Coast (Furore) – another villa before driving back and spending our last two nights in Rome (hotel). I rented a van. Should I ditch the van upon arrival in Rome? I understand there is a train station I can offload the vehicle at.

    Reply
    • Yes definitely ditch the vehicle. You don’t need a vehicle for Rome, and more importantly, you don’t want to have one.
      However, if you’re picking the car at the airport and want to return it in the city there will be a one-way fee for dropping it off at a different location. Check what kind of fee as often it’s just easier to drop it off at the airport and take a half an hour train back to the city than to pay it 🙂

      Reply
  65. Very helpful and informative article. Thanks for sharing your insights about this topic. This is worth reading and sharing.

    Reply
  66. B”H

    Hi,

    Thank you for very useful information

    One question, you show a picture of 2 traffic lights the one above red and the one below green

    What does it mean ?

    Thank you

    Reply
  67. Your trip has been an inspiration for many! Keep blogging, we love it! Can you tell me how much it charged you to rent a car in Italy?

    Reply
  68. Thanks Anna for all the helpful information. I am planning on visiting Italy in Sept/Oct. I fly into Rome and then head to Arezzo/Sansepolcro for a wedding. I will then like to explore Tuscany for a few days before heading to Venice and then back to Rome. In Tuscany, I plan to see Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa but possibly Cinque Terre as well. Should I rent a car in Rome and then head to Tuscany or wait until I get to Arezzo to rent the car? If I rent in Rome, is it best to rent at the airport or the train station? Is a car truly necessary in Tuscany based on where I have to go? I have gotten mixed reviews. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Wait I’d say. Renting at the airport is better as then you avoid driving in Rome. You don’t need a car though to see Siena, SG and Pisa. Unless you wan to keep stopping on the way in small villages.

      Reply
  69. Anna,

    This is so helpful, thank you. I am flying into Milan in late October/early November for our honeymoon trip to Northern Italy. We plan on mainly staying in Piedmont’s, but are considering spending a few days near Aosta or Lake Maggiore. Do you think a compact car would be able to make it up in the Alps, or do you recommend a larger SUV with 4 wheel drive?

    Thank you,
    Elizabeth

    Reply
    • I drove a small Fiat 500c in the mountains and it made it (it struggled going up from an underground garage at the hotel as it was icy, but otherwise it was fine).

      Reply
  70. Hi Anna,

    Thank you for the wealth of information. My wife and I will be traveling to Florence in May for a week in Tuscany, then travel from Florence to Lenola for a wedding. After the wedding we plan to spend a few days with friends along the coast near Gaeta, before heading to Rome for a flight home. I’m struggling with whether we should drive from Florence to Lenola, then return the car to FCO. Or take the AV train from Florence to FCO and drive from the airport to Lenola/Gaeta. Driving from Florence to Lenola seems to take about 4-5 hours (depending on the time of day). But probably less stressful and time consuming than taking the AV to FCO, waiting on line to rent a car and then driving to Lenola. Can you give me your thoughts on this?

    Reply
    • Renting a car at FCO does take forever regardless of the time of the year, but getting to FCO by train is easy and stress-free (even with a newborn and cat, like I usually do this haha!). There are many pretty spots to stop at on the way from Florence to Rome that I’d recommend extending the drive and spending the night somewhere on the way (for instance, check out Castello Orsini). That said, I’d probably keep the car for the entire trip.

      Reply
  71. Hi Anna, your blog is a wealth of information, thank you. I am planning a visit to Italy in April for the whole family (me, my husband and son). We want to go from Napoli to Catania, stopping to see the villages along the way. It looks like it is not possible to rent a car on the mainland and drive it down to Sicily. What is the best way to travel Napoli-Catania in your opinion? We hope to be flying out of Catania to France. We are thinking of about 3-4 days in Sicily. Any advice on where to go? What are your thoughts on Sicily vs Matera-Lecce?
    Many thanks!

    Reply
  72. Hi Anna

    We are planning our trip next summer with our two girls age 11 and 7.

    We are planning Florence, 2 nights, 2 nights rome then 3 nights the Amalfi Coast. We would like to drive and after reading your blog I would think hiring a car at the end of our two day stay in Florence, driving to Rome drop the car off then hire another to take us to the Amalfi coast would be the best way? if you can advise please

    Reply
  73. Hi Anna,

    Wonderful post about renting car in Italy.

    Is it a good idea to rent a car from Rome to Amalfi Coast for a day trip? During first week of December.

    Regards
    Brian

    Reply
    • For a day trip nope. It’s about 4 hours one way to for instance, Positano and that’s without stopping or possible traffic. Also, Amalfi Coast is kind of dead in the winter.

      Reply
    • Totally Agree with Anna. We’ve just come back from a holiday in Italy. It’s started to rain in most part. We were Sorrento/Positano/Amalfi all the places were dead and deserted. And yes driving from Rome to Positano is way too long. We drove from Naples to Sorrento that itself was nearly 2 hours. Positano is another 40-45 min from Sorrento.
      Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • Thank you Rajni
        Appreciate it.
        we prefer to drive late afternoon or evening, so no waste of day time. Just wondering if it is safe.
        Regards

        Reply
        • Most Welcome Brian. I can comment on the part we drove i.e, Naples – Sorrento, which isn’t bad at all. Sorrento – Positano is not bad drive- just winding roads and mostly huge buses that ply people. Certainly you wouldn’t want to drive back 4 hours after reaching there. It’s safe if you’re a good driver on mountain region.

          Reply
          • Hi Rajni,
            Thanks.
            No problem to drive 4 hours or more. we would like to see all around.
            how and where did you book the car?
            Regards
            Brian

  74. Hello Anna. Great site. My family and I are planning an Italian trip from June 4 – 17th. We will be landing in Rome on the 4th and flying out of Venice on the 17th. My question is: there are 5 of us, and I think taking trains to the places we want to see is going to be too expensive.
    We were going to spend 5 days in Rome, then down to Naples/Sorrento/Pompeii. The up to Florence, and finally, end the trip in Venice.
    While in Rome, I had no plans to rent a car. But once we head south, I thought it would be the best option. And then from the south up to Florence and then over to Venice.
    I am not afraid at all of driving, but am most worried about parking.
    What advice would you give.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • You could rent a car once you finish your sightseeing in Rome and drop it off before you head to explore Venice. However, unless you’re planning on driving around Tuscany to smaller towns or down through Amalfi Coast, I don’t think it makes much sense. Trains might seem expensive for 5 people (Are you all adults? Becuase kids under 7 ride for free), but you can book them in advance to get it for much less (eg. if I was going from Rome to Florence and booking for next week it would cost me 35 EUR, but for next month I could pay 25 EUR).

      You won’t be using the car in Florence at all because you cannot, and frankly driving around Naples or Sorrento is a nightmare, so you’ll also most likely just drop your car off at a garage outside of the old town as it’s all a ZLT zone. That said, your car will be stuck in a parking lot and you’ll be paying about 25-30 EUR per day for it.

      Reply
    • Hello Anna,

      Thank you for your posts. It is very helpful. I want to rent a car from Rome to the Tuscany region. My family will be in the Tuscany area for a few days in July. Since it’s five of us, what size vehicle do you recommend? I want to make sure I can find parking but also have a comfortable riding experience. I also see additional insurance options that require no deductible but provide collision, fire, and theft coverage. How can I find out if, God forbids, the car is totally ruined, I won’t have any out of pocket costs? Who covers injured passengers? Thank you in advance for your response.

      Reply
      • If you don’t want any out of pocket costs up-front then you need to purchase full-coverage from the rental agency when picking up the car. A regular-sized car should be fine, assuming you don’t have much luggage.

        Reply
  75. Hi Anna,

    Thanks so much for this article! The last picture in the article – the one of a long winding road down a mountain – do you know where that is? We would love to visit/drive it when we’re in Italy later on this year. It is beautiful!

    Thanks!
    Kristin

    Reply
  76. Anna,
    We will be staying outside of Florence in late January. I see from Google street view that some of the roads we have to drive on require winter tires or chains in board in the winter. Would I expect the car I rent at the airport to be so equipped or is there something more I should do?

    Reply
    • Every car I rented so far in Italy had to have chains in the trunk, whether you want to use them or not, so I’d probably say yes. However, it might work differently if you rent from warm places like Rome. I’d call and double-check with them.

      Reply
  77. Hi there,
    based on the information above a car is probably not wise. I guess my concern is I want to fly into Rome, then do Venice, Florence and a few other major attractions. Is there a train, is it cheaper for a family of 5 to rent or take the train? What about beaches, do I need a car or can we walk?

    Reply
  78. Hey Anna,

    I’m planning a trip to Greece, Italy, and France. For Italy I was planning on going for a week and planned on going to Naples, Rome, Florence, Pisa, back to Florence, Verona, and finally Venice. I was just wondering with all of this would it be best to just rent a car or to just ride the train like I was thinking? Or to cut down on how many places I go to in Italy?

    Reply
    • Definitely do the train. You’ll spend a ridiculous amount of money on parking fees and you cannot drive into these cities anyway so your car will be just stuck at the parking lot outside of old towns anyways.

      Reply
  79. Hello!!!!! So we are flying into Milan and then from there renting a car and driving into the mountains.. I was wondering where you recommend picking a car up from.. we will be close by the Milan central train station but would it be best to go back to the airport to pick it up there?? Thank you for any advice!!

    Reply
  80. Hi,
    We are traveling to Italy in March. We are renting a car in order to see smaller towns as we travel, and we fly in/out of Rome. We will be in a small town north of Genoa on Friday, and then will make our way back down to Rome to fly out by Sunday morning. Do you have a suggestion of a place to stay near Rome on Saturday night, close enough that we could get to the airport and drop off the car by 9 AM?

    Reply
  81. we will be in Venice around 3rd week of April and planning to drive to Milan and stopping over at Verona. Is there only one route and what other interesting place can we see along the way

    Reply
    • If you take a highway, then yes, there’s pretty much one route on Venezia – Milano A4 highway. But, you could stop at Lake Garda (Sirmione and Lago di Tenno), go see Madonna dell Corona, Brescia, etc.

      Reply
  82. Hi Anna, I am from Australia and my hubby and I are visiting Italy in September. I just wanted to know some information about the car insurance. I have been looking at the page you suggested which is awesome however I wanted to checked if the insurance is included in the price per day or is it a lump payment of several thousand on a credit card?? I just want to prepared to know how it will all be charged.
    Thanks and I have found all of your articles helpful.

    Reply
    • No, insurance is always extra – you can add it at the end of the process. Car rentals will take a deposit on your credit card of about 500-1000 EUR if you don’t purchase the insurance directly from them upon arrival (which is a few times more expensive than any other online ones).

      Reply

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