Car rent in Italy Reviews and Practical Guidance | Elena Kazantceva's Blog 2btravelerIn this article, I provide practical information and personal advice on renting a car in Italy and its price.

 

The article contents:
3 ways to rent a car in Italy
Car rent in Italy on autoeurope.com
Tips on renting a car in Italy by the author of the blog
Main conditions of renting a car in Italy
Documents for renting car in Italy

How much does it cost to rent a car in Italy
Roads in Italy. How much are toll roads in Italy
How to pay for roads in Italy
Car parking in Italy
Entry to the historical city center
Basic traffic regulations in Italy
Winter equipment in Italy
Fines in Italy
Petrol price and petrol stations in Italy

 

If you want to see the maximum during your trip to Italy, to be mobile, not to be tied to the public transport schedule, and perhaps visit some unique remote places in Italy that are located far from the tourist trails, then I recommend renting a car.

3 ways to rent a car in Italy

  • Already in Italy, rent a car from local rental offices. Advantages of this method: it may be cheaper, you can negotiate a discount, ask to reduce the deposit amount or to provide a car without it, to do without a credit card and pay in cash. Disadvantages: in Italy, few people speak English; respectively, in a small company you will have to negotiate in Italian, or use gestures. There may be no suitable car (for example, only expensive cars will be available) – during the tourist season, cars are booked in advance. To find a car, you will have to visit several companies and spend precious vacation time. If the worst comes to the worst, you may have to deal with an unscrupulous rental operator, who will blame you of all the damage to the car and issue an invoice. In this case, you will have to negotiate and prove innocence in Italian as well.
  • Rent in advance or upon arrival from major international car rental companies such as Europcar, Hertz, Avis, Budget, etc. Advantages of this method are that it is reliable. Should the need arise, they will provide you with support (as far as I know, many companies already have support service speaking foreign languages). Since these companies value their reputation, in a conflict situation, the problem is likely to be resolved in your favor. However, advance booking is also recommended. Disadvantages of this method: first of all, the high price; secondly, large deposits and deductibles; thirdly, to compare prices and conditions in different companies, you will have to spend time visiting and studying every website.
  • Rent in advance using special services such as rentalcars.com or autoeurope.com. I have used both of them to rent a car. The rental process was a success. Before the trip, I just compare the options on both websites and choose the most appropriate offers (read my review about renting a car in Florence). These are brokers that offer to rent a car from various companies (both international and a few local ones). Advantages of this method: on one site you can compare dozens of options; the renting price will be 10-15% lower than on rental companies’ websites (such services offer cars at “wholesale” prices, as they can afford it due to large sales volume); international support, free cancellation up to 48 hours prior to the rental time, sometimes bonuses are provided (for example, a second driver for free). Disadvantages include necessity to plan in advance and pay a deposit; you also should have a credit card, where the rental company (upon arrival) will “freeze” the deposit; the contract also sets a deductible (an amount that is not covered by basic insurance), but you can get an additional insurance for it.

Car rent in Italy on autoeurope.com

You can read review about renting a car via autoeurope.com here. I booked a car in Spain from Hertz car rental company.

In this section, I will show you how to book a car in Italy via avtoeurope broker. First, follow the link to open the website. Enter your data in the search bar, for example:

car rental through autoeurope

Then, click Search. It has found more than 400 options from different rental companies, cars, and packages.

The site shows more then 10 rental companies – both international and local, and various car classes.

car rental on autoeurope website

Here, you need to decide what car class you need, or what price limit you want to meet. Moreover, you can choose a car with automatic or manual transmission and specify the insurance option – this will reduce the number of cars.

 

auto europe rental

Pay attention to the companies’ rating and of course compare the prices. They are clearly presented in the table. It may happen that in one of the companies you will be able to rent a higher-class car for the same money.

autoeurope rental

Let’s see what Hertz offers. And offers for such a price only a mini Lancia

car rental in italy corsa

If you rent in Sicily by Car, then for almost this price you can take a full VW Golf on the machine, with air conditioning

car rental in italy golf

A little more expensive you can rent an Mercedes A class in Avisa

Audi rental in Italy

In general, you choose a car depending on your budget, on your preferences and, of course, focusing on the rating and reviews of the rental company.

After choosing a car, click Book, check all the data once again and choose insurance coverage.

how to rent a car in Italy in advance

Here, don’t forget to check the tariff rate conditions – it is especially important to find out information about deductibles, deposit, and fuel policy.

 

what to look for when renting a car in Italy

Then, enter all the necessary information

car rental in Italy via the Internet

If you need additional equipment, tick it

 

how much does it cost to rent a child seat in Italy

Enter the payment information

 

payment of a rented car

Tips on renting a car in Italy by the author of the blog 2btraveler

Unfortunately, on the Internet there are many reviews about problems related to car rental in Italy. They occur mainly due to dishonesty of rental companies (especially local ones, but international ones can also “screw up” sometimes). Perhaps, in some cases, it’s the car travelers’ blame, since they suffer from their carelessness. Therefore, to avoid unpleasant situations, I would like to give you a few advice (from me personally), so that you remember the car trip to Italy only with positive emotions

  1. It is preferable to rent a car in large companies – international and Italian. It is better to rent it in advance, especially during the tourist season. To save money, use such services as rentalcars.com and autoeurope.com
  2. When you receive the car, inspect it very carefully, you should specify ALL existing damage in the inspection report. Sign documents only after studying their contents. It’s advisable to take a picture of the car with your camera. Just to be on the safe side.
  3. Get the full insurance. Of course, it’s not cheap, and sometimes insurance costs as much as car rental. However, first of all, the Italian roads are unpredictable, and secondly, this will save your money and nerves if the rental company turns out to be dishonest.
  4. Read feedback about the selected rental company, and especially about its work in Italy.
  5. When using the car, follow the traffic regulations and safety rules – don’t leave documents and valuables in the car, put all things from the cabin to the trunk.

Main conditions of renting a car in Italy

  1. If you are between 21 and 24 years old, you will probably be considered a “young driver” and will have to pay an additional fee (about 15€ per day). If you are younger than 21 years, you will face certain difficulties when renting a car: this is the minimum age for car rental.
  2. The minimum driving experience. Set by every particular company – check this before booking or concluding a contract. Please note that for a driver with less than a year of driving experience it will be difficult to rent a car.
  3. The best case is to have an unlimited mileage, otherwise you will have to pay for exceeding the specified mileage.
  4. Fuel policy. As a common rule, if you have taken a car with a full tank, you will need to return it with a full tank as well.
  5. Crossing the borders and driving to other countries. Before renting a car, check whether your car can cross the borders. You may have to pay extra for driving to other countries.
  6. Deductible, or the amount that is not covered by the basic insurance. If the car is damaged, the basic insurance won’t cover the deductible amount and you will have to pay for the repair yourself. To avoid this, it’s better to get the full insurance. In Italy, the deductible amount starts from 1000€ and reaches 3000€. It can be even higher for luxury cars.
  7. Deposit – as a common rule, this amount is blocked on your credit card; if you manage to find a company where the deposit will be accepted in cash (or is not required at all), then you are lucky:) In Italy, deposit starts from 500€. Please check this amount in advance, since your credit card limit should cover this amount.
  8. Credit card in the name of the main driver. If in some countries you can use a debit card instead of a credit card, in Italy the equipment recognizes the card type very clearly, and if you don’t have a credit card, the company may refuse to give you the car. Moreover, it’s better not to hold real money (you must admit, the 1000€ hold, or even 1500€ will be quite tough for the budget); on the credit card there is the bank’s money; moreover, it is not withdrawn, but receive the “hold” status and will be unblocked in 1-1.5 months (depending on the bank).
  9. One-way rental. In some cities and companies, you can order a one-way rent; for example, receive a car in Turin and deliver it in Rome. This service is usually additionally charged.
  10. Receiving or delivering a car outside regular hours. If you rent a car on weekends or outside of regular hours, you may also be charged an additional fee. But given the fact that in Italy (especially in the south) there is an ongoing siesta (yes, it happens not only in Spain), at this time the office will be simply closed (the offices at the airport usually work without breaks and weekends)

Documents for renting a car in Italy

  1. National driver’s license
  2. Document of identification (international passport)
  3. Credit card in the name of the main driver.
  4. Voucher (when booking on the website)

How much does it cost to rent a car in Italy?

Here, I will give you approximate prices for car rental. In different regions, the price will vary, but after examining the rental prices in various cities, I can say that this difference is not critical.

The car rental price in Italy starts from 10€, if you rent the plainest car for a week (mini-class cars). The prices shown in the screenshots are for weekly rentals.

how much does it cost to rent a car in Italy

Renting a car with automatic transmission, for example, VW Golf will cost 20€ per day on average.

 

rent a car in italy Price

On Sicily the mini-class car will be slightly more expensive than on the mainland – from 12€, the compact and economy class (for example, Opel Corsa) will cost from 25€ with zero excess

 

how much does a car rental cost in italy

Luxury-class cars – from 100€ per day.

 

luxury car rental in italy

Renting a Alfa Romeo for 6 days will cost around 760 €

alfa romeo rental in italy

Renting a Ferrari for 6 days will cost about 9000€

Roads in Italy. How much are toll roads in Italy

 

entry to Italy by car
Entering Italy. No checkpoints.

The Italian road network consists of toll highways and free roads. Usually, there is a free alternative to toll highways. There are also several toll tunnels in Italy.

According to my experience of driving in the northern part of the country, I can say that a highway is not always faster or better. Both toll and free roads are good. But sometimes there are traffic jams on highway, which results in braking from 100-120 km/h to 50 km/h, while a free road runs along and you can drive 70-90 km/h there, slowing down only in towns:) By the way, if you drive from Austria in the direction from Innsbruck to Bolzano, you will be charged 9 euros as early as on Austrian territory:)

The cost of roads in Italy depends on such factors as the vehicle class, the type of highway section (flat or mountainous), and the management company that prescribes rates. The average cost is 7 euros per 100 km. To calculate the cost of driving along toll roads in Italy I recommend using the official website of Italian roads autostrade.it  (there is an English version).

On this site, you can watch videos from road webcams, build your driving route, and find other useful information.

Italy road site

For example, let’s see how much it will cost to travel from Verona to Bergamo.

Enter the data and the system builds the route.

Italian road site

 

Length 105.7 km, travel time 1 hour 10 minutes. Toll amount 7.5 euro.

For driving along this road segment we paid 6.90 euro (September 2017)

You can also see where the best petrol prices are, what is the weather at the points of departure and arrival, and whether there are closed roads along the route.

how much are toll roads in Italy

In the northern part of the country there are many tunnels, some of them are toll. One of the most popular is the Mont Blanc tunnel. A one-way drive through it costs 44.20€. The panoramic road Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road is also a popular tourist attraction. It runs across the border between Italy and Austria. The round trip will cost 21€ per car. By the way, this road is open only in the summer – from July to October.

 

roads in italy
Northern Italian scenery

How to pay for roads in Italy

motorway entry italy
This is how a highway entrance looks like

To use the toll highway, you should:

Take a ticket at a highway entrance (don’t drive the lane marked TELEPASS, as it is intended for clients of this system only, who have already paid for the road). Surprisingly, but sometimes the ticket already sticks out (before pressing the button)

italian toll roads
The tickets look something like this
  • When leaving the highway, return the ticket (to an official or in a self-service machine) – be careful and again don’t take the TELEPASS lane

lane telepass in italy

  • There you can also pay the required amount

You can pay by:

  • By cash or bank card to an operator (the amount is shown on the screen) on a lane with the sign:

payment of roads in Italy to the operator

  • By cash or bank card at a self-service terminal (a terminal gives change), on a lane with the sign

toll roads in italy self-service

  • By bank card at a self-service terminal on a lane with the sign:

toll road italy

 

By the way, if you accidently missed a place where you can get a ticket, stop right after the booths, approach an employee and explain the situation (even with gestures), he will give you the card. I tell you this from my Sicilian experience, when we were hitchhiking and the guys who gave us a lift accidentally missed the terminal.

 

Car parking in Italy ( Parcheggio )

In Italy, there are both paid and free parking zones. You are unlikely to find a free parking in the center of large tourist cities; you will have to use paid ground or underground parking. Perhaps, you will be able to park your car for free only in the city suburbs or in very small towns or villages.

Parking zones in Italy are divided into three types and marked with different colors:

Blue zone – paid parking zone. It is marked respectively with blue color. Depending on what the parking sign indicates, you should either pay for parking at a parking meter (you should leave the ticket in the car under the windshield, so that a traffic police officer could clearly see the payment time), or set the arrival time on the parking disk.

In Italy, the blue parking disc (Disco Orario) is about 10*15 cm in size and looks like this

what does a parking disk look like in italy

You should use it if it is prescribed by the parking sign.

You can buy Disco Orario in a Tabbachi kiosk, at petrol stations, or in a bank.

We stopped at one of the petrol stations, there was no blue disk, but they gave us a notepad (green) with this disk and said that it was “OK”. I have found the disc on AliExpress; it is cheap, but you should order it in advance (2-3 months before the trip).

You should set the starting time of parking on the disk and place it under the windshield.

White zone – marked with white color, you can park here for free.

Yellow zone – parking is prohibited in this zone, parking is reserved for disabled people or delivery vehicles.

Parking price varies in different cities. For example, in Verona 1-2 euros per hour (in the city center, it reaches up to 4 euros per hour), in Florence up to 30 euros per day, in Torino – from 0.5€ on the outskirts to 1.5-2€ in the center (by the way, in this article I gave a link to the map of parking areas in the center of Torino), in Bolzano – 2 euros per hour, in Bergamo – 1.80-2 € per hour. Underground parking zones are usually more expensive (not always), but they are more convenient since you pay afterwards depending on actual time. And if you leave the car at the ground parking, you have to “estimate” how long you will walk and pay for that time. And then keep monitoring to make sure that you will be able to get back in time.

Entry to the historical city center

In many Italian cities, entry to the historical center is prohibited. This is marked by a special sign with the inscription Zona Traffico Limitato:

 

zona traffico limitato

 

If your hotel is located in such a zone, you should ask the reception to put your car number to the list of permitted vehicles. You can stop for a few minutes to carry the luggage, and then you will have to drive the car to the parking anyway.

 

Basic traffic regulations in Italy ( Codice della Strada )

In this section, I will write about the main traffic regulations on the Italian roads, which will be useful to you if you decided to rent a car. Let me start with the most important thing: the speed limit on the Italian roads. For passenger cars and motorcycles:

50 km/h — inside localities

90 km/h — outside localities

110 km/h – at motorways

130 km/h – at highways

Motorways are marked with this sign

roads in italy

And highways with this one

 

freeways in italy

In case of rain, fog, or snow, speed limit is 90 km/h – on motorways and 110 km/h on highways.

Taking into account that Italy and wine are almost synonymous, the question about driving and drinking becomes topical. The rules allow up to 0.5 ppm of alcohol in blood (no more than a glass of wine or beer). If you are under 21 years and/or have less than 3 years of driving experience, then alcohol in blood is not allowed. Fines for exceeding the norms – from 527€ to 6000€. I’ll give you a personal advice – get to your destination, park the car and only then enjoy Italian wine with a clear conscience

 

What to try in Roma and What to try on Sicily – two relevant articles

 

In Italy, using the low beam is mandatory when leaving localities, entering tunnels, or in case of poor visibility (rain, fog, snow).

Traveling with children. If you are traveling with children under 3 years old (or older than 3 years, but below 150 cm), a special restraint (a child seat or a booster) is mandatory.

Children older than 3 years and over 150 cm can use ordinary seat belts.

Seat belts must be used by ALL the passengers in the car, regardless of whether they are travelling on the front or back seats.

It is also forbidden to talk on a mobile phone while driving. The only exception is phones equipped with a hands free device.

Radar detectors are strictly prohibited. The fine exceeds 800 euros!

Winter equipment in Italy (winter tires, chains)

In winter in the northern parts of the country, it is recommended to use winter tires, but this is not necessary in other regions.

Exceptions are Valle d’Aosta (winter tires or antiskid chains are mandatory in winter – from October 15 to April 15) and Bolzano regions (from November 15 to April 15, driving is only permitted on winter tires).

Tires with studs are allowed for passenger cars (up to 3.5 tons) only during the period from November 15 to March 15.

Fines in Italy

In Italy, fines are rather high.

  • Red light run — from 162€ to 646€
  • Prohibited overtaking – 162€ to 646€
  • Excess drink-drive limit – from 527€ to 6000€
  • Special child restraints not used — from 80€ to 323€.
  • Seat belts not used — from 80€ to 323€.
  • Using mobile phone without hands free device — from 160€ to 646€.
  • Use of radar detectors – from 820€
  • Speeding fines in Italy:

less than 10 km/h – from 41€ to 168€

from 10 km/h to 40 km/h – from 168€ to 674€

from 40 km/h to 60 km/h – from 527€ to 2108€

more than 60 km/h – from 821€ to 3287€

  • At night time (from 22:00 to 7:00) the fine amount for serious violations increases by 30%.
  • Cars that violate parking rules can be evacuated (the invoice will be issued to the car owner and to you accordingly)

In Italy, fines can be collected on the spot – a police officer is entitled to it. At the same time, you will have to pay ¼ of the maximum fine amount. The officer must give you a receipt. Don’t try to “negotiate” with the police officer or give a bribe – in Italy this will have very serious negative consequences.

Keep in mind that video cameras are widely used in Italy, as well as there is the tutor system in some places. This system calculates the average speed of driving along a highway based on the time of entry and exit from a highway.

If the violation is fixed by a camera or the above-mentioned system, the fine will be sent to the company that gave you the car, and they, in turn, will debit the fine amount from your card (that is why the deposit is blocked). Therefore, try not to break the rules if you don’t want to receive a “luck SMS” after your vacation.

Petrol price in Italy

Petrol prices in Italy are among the highest in Europe. The average petrol price in April 2019 is 1,62€ (95), 1,64€ (98), 1,51€ (diesel or gasolio in Italian).

We got fuel only once in Italy, and probably it was the most expensive petrol station. The liter cost 1.8 euros. You should better fuel the tank in cities; on highways the prices are higher. If you travel to several countries, you should refuel in Austria. The prices there are among the lowest (about 1.2 euros per liter).

Where to refuel in Italy
48 euros for 26 liters — that very incredibly expensive petrol station

Petrol stations in Italy

In Italy, there are both classic and self-service petrol stations. In the latter, the petrol price is 0,10€-0,12€ lower. Please note that in small cities, petrol stations are closed for a few hours during the day, just like any other services. Round-the-clock petrol stations are available on highways only.

I also recommend having cash, as international bank cards are not accepted everywhere.

I’ll finish at this point, if you have any questions or additions, leave them in the comments. Don’t forget to share the article with your friends on social networks.

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