About Italy (IT)
The Mediterranean country of Italy has some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, making it a popular destination for international visitors. Its capital city of Rome, also known as the Eternal City, has many of Italy’s best-known attractions, including the Roman Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
The central region of Tuscany is the perfect place to rent a car in Italy, for a leisurely road trip, offering scenic wineries and idyllic villages, as well as the storied cities of Pisa and Florence. The northern part of Italy is equally beautiful, with cities including Milan, Como, Venice and Turin. Car rentals in Italy are also ideal for a seaside holiday. The southern islands of Sicily and Sardinia have world-class beaches; other stunning Italian coastlines include Cinque Terre in the north and the Amalfi Coast in the south.
In and around major Italian cities such as Rome and Naples, driving can be a somewhat intense experience, especially during rush hour. Also keep in mind that some zones, such as the historic city centers, may be closed altogether to car traffic. If you enter one of these restricted zones, you may be fined.
On the highways (“L'Autostrada”), where Italian drivers tend to go quite fast, stay in the right-hand lane unless you are passing another car. In the small villages, you may encounter very narrow roads that can be difficult to navigate with larger vehicles.
Choosing your car
You will find a range of different car rental companies in Italy, including major providers such as Enterprise, Europcar and Sixt. If you are driving to more rural agricultural areas, you may want to rent a 4x4 or SUV, which can handle dirt roads. On the other hand, in cities a more compact option, such as a Fiat or Volkswagen (also a great choice for a cheap car rental), can more easily navigate narrow streets. Other options for your Italy car rental are a convertible, a sports car, a luxury sedan, or a 7—12 person people mover or mini van.
Tips and advice
In Italy, recall that you drive on the right-hand side of the road, as in most European countries.
Be sure to respect the speed limit, as there are control cameras, notably along highways, that can issue a ticket and fine automatically.
For a unique local experience, try booking an “agriturismo,” a rural rental that is usually located on a working farm. This is one of the best ways to discover a truly authentic Italian experience.
Note that if you have more than 0.5mg of blood alcohol when you take the wheel, you may be found guilty of drunk driving. As this is a low limit (about one glass of wine), it’s better to avoid driving after drinking alcohol.
Italy, a southern European country, can get very warm in the summer. It’s therefore a good idea to book a car hire with air conditioning.
Italy has two independent republics within its borders: Vatican City, home of the Holy See, and the micro-republic of San Marino. If you plan to crossing into one of these, double-check with the rental car company to make sure that you don’t face an unexpected border crossing surcharge.