Italy Car Rental Tips
Car Rental Locations in Italy
- Rome (98 Car Rental Locations)
- Florence (76 Car Rental Locations)
- Venice (9 Car Rental Locations)
- Milan (94 Car Rental Locations)
- Sorrento (9 Car Rental Locations)
- Catania (76 Car Rental Locations)
- Naples (69 Car Rental Locations)
- Siracusa (12 Car Rental Locations)
- Ostuni (4 Car Rental Locations)
- Turin (73 Car Rental Locations)
- La Spezia (8 Car Rental Locations)
Renting a car in Italy as an American Citizen:
You can rent a car with your US or Canadian driver’s license.
Car rental companies will not ask you to show an International Driving Permit. In rare cases, if you are stopped by police, police may ask for International Driving Permit (IDP).
While it is not likely that police will pull you over, you may get an International Driving Permit (IDP) from either AAA or the National Automobile Club. Price for International Driving Permit (IDP) is $15-$20.
Should I rent a car in Italy?
Short answer is yes! Compared to carrying heavy bags from stop to stop, researching train schedules, renting a car in Italy is a great idea. Renting a car in Italy allows you to explore the country, set your own schedule and enjoy the low rates of car rental.
What is the advantage of renting a car?
- Renting a car is cheaper compared to European trains and taxis.
- You can explore more.
- You can set your own schedule.
- You can store your luggage in the trunk. So there is no need to look for lockers in train stations or leaving your luggage in the hotel reception.
- You are prone to strikes. It is common that there are public transport strikes in Italy.
Is renting a car cheaper than train?
Yes. One way cost of a train ticket is around €30. For 2 persons, total price will be €120 for a round trip while car rental prices start from €14 per day.
Italy Car Rental Tips
Book the right rental car category: Book an intermediate or standard size car. Economy cars are always cheaper but car rental companies always have economy cars in stock and you will get what you pay for. On the other hand, intermediate and standard car inventory is limited and it is likely that you will get a free upgrade. What will you get with a free upgrade? Built in GPS, diesel, automatic transmission. Again it is most likely that if you book a standard size car VW Passat for instance you will most probably get BMW 4 Series Automatic transmission with GPS.
Use Carla app to save: Use Carla Car Rental app to compare all car rental companies for you to get best prices. Carla works with all the major and local car rental companies in Italy to ensure best value deals. You can search all companies at once and book your rental car at a glance. Booking 4-6 weeks in advance will get you a lower rate. If you are not planning ahead, there are also last minute deals on Carla.
Don’t worry about ZTL: Internet is full of frustrating reviews about Zona Traffico Limitato ZTL. When you park your car at your hotel or in a garage, hotel or garage registers your plate with authorities and you can freely drive your car in ZTL.
Parking prices are average: Again, you will read a lot of reviews about expensive parking prices in Italy. Reality is parking prices are similar in all over Europe. Parking in a garage is €20 per day in most of the cities in Europe. In Italy the same rate applies. In Florence and Venice, parking can be a little bit higher at €25 per day.
Tolls: Some of the roads are paid in Italy. You can get a ticket at the entrance of the toll and pay at the exit. Paying with credit card, cash are possible. Some tolls are self service working with coins and banknotes.
Gas: You can prefer diesel cars to save on fuel consumption. Gasoline is €1.6 per liter and diesel is €1.5 per liter. Most of the gas stations are self service. You first fill up the tank and then go inside to pay. On Sundays, some stations only work on automated machines.
Speed limit in Italy: 130 km/h on highway, 110 km/h on 2 lane roads. Note that speed limit is reduced by 20 km/h when it rains. It will be 110 km/h. There will be signs showing that speed limit is reduced.
Traffic cameras in Italy: There are signs on highways that there is a radar calculating your average speed between two points. The system is called as Speed Tutor. Recently, SPEED TUTOR machines have been turned off on Italian highways. The removal of this system was based on an Italian court decision following a lawsuit for patent infringement brought to court against the Freeway operating company by the inventor of the system. As a result the Autovelox fixed machines to register the speed only as you pass them. However, the information provided here is not a guarantee that the system will not work. So it is always better to obey rules.
Drive on Sundays: If you are planning to drive a long way on highway, try to schedule your trip on Sundays. On Sunday, there are few cars on the road and no trucks at all. Italy having a strong industry has an active goods transportation with trucks. On Sundays, truck drivers are not working - leaving the whole highway to cars.