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Renting Car in Italy? – Read Things to be consider before hiring a car in Italy

Are you an Italy resident or you consider visiting? Italy is an amazing place to be and that’s why they have a high rate of tourist visits. Whatever it might be either as a tourist or you seem not to be a permanent resident in Italy, then you might need to rent a car to ease your movements around the city. Cars can be very instrumental if you are new to a place as it helps you ease the stress of moving from place to place and also gives you a deluxe comfort.

Renting cars becomes the most ideal option as you cannot consider buying a car for a short trip or for quick movements around. If you have decided to rent a car in Italy then this article is just right for you. There are certain things to look out for and also questions to ask before you go about car rentals in Italy.

For quite a number of people, they feel a little bit uncomfortable renting a car outside their home countries –well, if this is you then you don’t have to be scared anymore as all the questions that require answers to reassure you of driving confidently are embedded right here.

Would it be a bad idea to rent a car in Italy?

My first time in Italy was a bit of a tricky one. I have heard lots of stories about Italy and their drivers and how it might be unsafe for a total newbie to be driving on the roads of Italy –all of these was a single-sided story biased that set me off on a wrong path when I got to Italy. Little did I know that renting a car in Italy was as easy and affordable and also as comfortable as any other country in the world.

I wouldn’t neglect the fact that renting a car comes with a bit of risk and this applies to just any country and not peculiar to Italy. In as much as it’s a foreign country is not good enough reason to be scared of renting a car. If you’re one that likes to have things happen spontaneously and not on repeated schedules then using the train system might be very uncomfortable. Renting a car gives you all the time you need and also the ability to do things in your time –this gives you a more relaxed state of mind rather than rushing out just to catch the train.

All you need to do when you rent a car is drive safely which is a regular cautionary measure that applies in just any country. Also, they have some very narrow roads in Italy which are not as wide as some in the UK and US roads so you want to maintain a steady pace and drive carefully. Also, you should avoid excessive overtaking of drivers and do it with care. You also need to be security cautious when in Italy and avoid parking cars in random places as the rented car can easily be stolen –to avoid this you might need to get an attendant to look over it for you. Thefts are particularly high in Southern Italy so stay alert while renting the car when you park.

Car Rental Issues in Italy

There are some issues that are commonly associated with renting cars in Italy. Unlike the usual in many European countries, getting your car insured is a very compulsory task in Italy. Every driver is required to be legally insured while driving in Italy. This is a very good one for me though as I don’t have to panic too much in case of mishaps. No car rental company gives out their car without ensuring you have an insurance.

If your credit card company is your bailout plan for insurance then you would want to make sure you have enough balance for an up-front payment as requested by the car rental company on your card.

Make sure you look for a car rental company that have good insurance bargains.

Best and Worst Car rental companies in Italy

Italy is filled with numerous car rental companies –finding the right one can be a dicey task. Here are some of the suggested companies if you ever consider rental of cars and also a list of companies to avoid so you don’t get into trouble or get into a bad deal.

Here are some of the companies to always avoid

  • Goldcar Rental Agency, especially at Pisa Airport- This company should be avoided like a plague –they are well known for selling extremely high and unnecessary insurance. They overcharge for petrol and try as much as possible to extort.
  • Auto Europa – This company has an issue of extremely long hours of delays, overcharging and also sullen service. They have a very poor response to the communication with customers.
  • Lacauto – They have a silly behavior of asking for payment for existing damages and large deposit prior to the rental.

Here are some good car rental companies to reckon with

  • Auto Europe – The name is a variant of the Auto Europa to be avoided. They are known to arrange for cheap car rentals for car owners which makes their service one to reckon with.

Many of the other rental car rental companies are good and may have bad reviews due to personal user satisfaction but there are still a lot of good ones out there.

Documents needed to rent a car in Italy

There are several legal documents needed in order to ensure you safely renting and driving in Italy and some of them are listed below.

-You need to present a driving license either local or international

-Identification of documents such as ID or passport

-A valid credit card

-Young drivers below 21 will pay a “young driver surcharge”

The Italian government rules on driving and renting a car must be adhered to.

Renting a Car in Italy: Manual vs Automatic

Car transmission is a very important factor to consider when renting cars in Italy. I am a fan of automatic cars and choose automatic transmission wherever I go. If you are like me and a lover of automatic cars then you are in the right place as Italy has one of the cheapest automatic car renting. If the period of your trip falls within winter then you might need a manual car as it is easy to navigate and get out with a manual car.

You might also consider renting a car that has the option of both in case it’s winter and you are more of a fan of automatic.

What is Max and Min Age to Rent a Car in Italy?

Age is a very vital determinant in who drives a car in most countries –Italy is not left out of this norm. Car rental has a different age from the permitted age to drive.

The minimum rental age in Italy is 25 –if you’re lesser than 25, you are sure to be denied the chance to rent a car in Italy. Most companies tend to charge you more if they find out you’re lesser than that age before they allow you to rent their cars.

If you are above 75, then you might also have hiccups in car rentals. Insurance companies have a certain age set up for rentals and that is from 70 – 75.

What is the average cost of renting a car in Italy?

A wide number of us look out for affordable prices when renting cars. In Italy, you can make use of online sites to check out for the best deals to rent a car at an affordable cost.

Using an online car rental site is a good idea as they sum up the best deals from the best and big car rental companies in the country so you are sure to find a deal that suits you. According to personal experience and research, it I noticed that Italy has one of the cheapest car rental deals. All you need to do is take charge of this opportunity and have a good time. There are several factors that might also cost you such as tolls while driving.

Road Laws domineering Italy as a tourist when Renting a Car

Every road user in every country is bound by certain laws in order to ensure a free and safe driving environment.

Certain areas have signs that read Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL) or Area Pedonale, limited traffic or pedestrian zones –all of this areas should be avoided. In most cases, CCTVs are set up in order to take pictures of your license plate so you can be penalized.

The highways have a maximum speed limit of 130km/hr. to ensure safer highways while the curvy roads are pegged at 60km/hr. -Everyone might drive faster as they are used to the routes but is strongly prohibited for foreigners.

Toll gates and other information

If you are going to be using some major highways then get ready to pay a lot of tolls. Getting from Bolzano to the very popular Milan can cost you up to 30 Euros. Try to use more of cash than credit cards as you can’t use credit cards at some points. Here is a list of the Toll gates In Italy.

Renting a Car in Italy as an American Driver (USA)

If you are an American driver, you wouldn,t have to bother yourself too much as to whether you can drive here or not –you will never be asked by a car rental company to show up your international driving permit. It is required of American drivers to follow the transportation and driving rules in Italy so that you don’t get fined for driving without a needed document.

Getting the IDP is very cheap and goes for a token of only $15 so you don’t have to worry. You must be 18 years and above and have legal jurisdiction to drive for a duration of one year before renewal. You must also be a legal resident of the USA.

Tips to avoid car rental companies RIF-OFFS

If you rented a car filled with gas, try to return it completely full as it was rented or you should drain the fuel completely. This is because every bit of fuel reduction in the car from the state it was given originally will be billed on you.

Tips to help you save during car rentals in Italy

There are a lot of things in Italy that will make your car rental experience an expensive one. Stick to the tips below to save cost

-Book from the comfort of your home

-Be flexible

-Rent by the week as it is cheaper

-If your stay is more than one week, lease one rather than rent

-Try to return the car with sufficient gas and without a scratch

Important Contact Numbers

There are some vital numbers to call in case of emergency or directions. Some of such emergency numbers are listed below.

  • Medical services -061
  • Police – 113
  • Traffic accidents -803116
  • Domestic Violence or stalking – 1522
  • General emergency – 112
  • Traffic information – 1518
  • Fire service – 115

Interior ministry


Renting a car in Italy shouldn’t be a scary deal anymore as with the well-outlined tips above, you are sure to have a smooth and fun-filled time in Italy.