Car rentals in Italy can provide a great way to experience all this country has to offer, with the added benefit of having the freedom to move at your own pace and following your own itinerary. Italian Trains will get you just about anywhere near major cities and main attractions, however some destinations - especially those in the southern part of the peninsula will require an auto rental in Italy.
Italy car hire options are endless, with many reputable companies offering their services at fair prices. Economy cars, luxury vehicles and even motorhome rentals are all options to consider while allowing the ability to personalize your vacation. Renting a vehicle gives you the chance to see some of the sights and attractions that are off the beaten path and may not be included in many of the popular tours. It is also an excellent choice for families, especially those with young children, who may not enjoy the stricter pace of a guided tour.
Auto Italy rental can definitely be the way to go on your next vacation here, and navigating a vehicle through Italian streets can be both an exciting and a frustrating experience. In some parts of Italy a car is a must, like if staying in a remote southern town in a beautiful sea-side villa which is a good hike from the nearest train station for example.
Italy is also known for its fast and somewhat aggressive drivers and if you are unfamiliar with the rules of the road or the street signs used, then it is important that you learn these and are comfortable with them before embarking on your journey. Also, in many cities such as Rome, Milan, Naples to name a few - having a car is unnecessary and may be more hassle than a convenience.
Below, are a few helpful hints and tips about driving in Italy:
Many of the sights are more easily accessible by foot or public transportation and parking your car in these areas can often be challenging. For example, when visiting Venice, many areas of the city are not accessible by car at all. Taxi services are readily available pretty much everywhere in Italy and you can now request an Uber in Rome and Milan. The legal blood alcohol level in Italy is 0.05% while operating a vehicle which means more than one drink could result in a very unpleasant experience with the police and the judicial system.
If thinking of RV-ing in Italy with your family, you could be in for a real treat of a vacation. There are plenty or rest areas called "aree di sosta" for RVs and motorhomes as well as a vast amount of campsites available to those who prefer travelling in a camper van. Some of these rest areas and campsites are fully equipped so if you need power, water, showers or what have you - they will be available, however - do the research ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
You may want to plan your fuelling stops when travelling across Europe. Countries such as Italy and France are generally pretty expensive on diesel and other types of fuel. Consider filling up elsewhere before crossing the border. Do some fuel pricing research ahead of your trip and you can save quite a few bucks especially if travelling long distances.
Tolls will also apply just like regular vehicles when using the Autostrada. The fees are reasonable (about 1€ for every 7km) and it's a pleasure to drive on the well maintained roads. You can try to avoid these paid highways by using side roads, however your trip will take much longer - but maybe slow travel is what you're into and the scenery will not disappoint.
Speed limits for motorhomes and camper vans are the same as regular vehicles and are explained on our Italy road map page. Also, there are many bridges and tunnels to help navigate your rig through the mostly mountainous terrain that is Italy - be aware of fast passing cars, it is best to just get out of their way whenever safe.
All EU issued driver's licences are accepted when driving in Italy. For short stays - under 6 months, a valid foreign driver's permit from a non-EU country, with the exception of Switzerland - is usually accepted when presented with a passport and a visa stamp indicating the date of your entry. Be sure to check the date of your arrival into Italy at the time of your car hire, it must not exceed 6 months for your foreign licence to be usable here.
For longer that 6 months stay, non-EU visitors will need to acquire a temporary International Driver's Permit to drive in Italy, in most cases it's a simple document valid for a year and can be acquired in your home country from companies like CAA if in Canada or AAA if you are from the states, for example. The temporary permit will have your photo, basic info and a verification stamp confirming you hold a valid licence in your country of citizenship. If stopped by police, you must present both documents, your temporary International Driver's Licence (IDP/IDL) and the the licence from the country you reside in.
Often times, getting the best deal on auto rentals in Italy can be achieved by booking prior to departing on your trip. This method allows you to compare rental companies and get the best price available. Booking last minute - upon arrival, can often end up being way more expensive and your vehicle options might be limited depending on what's available that day.
When considering auto rental in Italy it is important to note that most rental companies require you to be at least 21 years of age. Some companies will allow 18 year olds to rent a car, however - you must have had your license for at least a year. Anyone under the age of 25 will pay a young driver's surcharge. Also anyone over 65, is subject to a surcharge as well - a senior driver's fee. You must also have a valid driver's license and opting in for extra insurance is always recommended.
Car hire in Italy can be the perfect option for many - depending on where your journey will take you. As you cruise along the Autostrada with the wind in your hair while taking in the beautiful landscapes all around, rest assured - you will make memories with you that will last a lifetime.