Renting a Car In Italy: 25 Tips to Avoid Scams and Headaches!

Today! In this post, you can find the best and perfect car rental services in Italy. Renting a car in Italy at an affordable cost in Italy The first two things that come to mind when contemplating renting a car in Italy are self-rule and flexibility. With a vehicle, I have extensively explored the country, experiencing unique landscapes and the mythological cultural heritage of the small towns and villages. Opting to hire a car in Italy will give you an opportunity to discover local hotspots and subconscious gems often missed with public transport.

I have been renting and driving in Italy for at least 20 years. I have placid in this guide everything you should know based on my very experience, and the possible scams that you can hands avoid. But let’s swoop into it. Driving to the Etna Mountain, Sicily, with the lava all virtually very picturesque and unique.

Should You Unquestionably Rent a Car in Italy

Want to know more information about renting a car in Italy? Look no further! How much does it cost to rent a car in Italy? Whether you should rent a car in Italy depends on your plans. You might want to rent a car if you want to visit areas that aren't served by the train system. However, you might not want to rent a car if you plan on visiting major cities like Venice, Rome, Bologna, Florence, Milan, or Naples. These cities are well connected by high-speed trains and can be difficult to explore by car.

Rent a Car in Italy

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Renting a car in Italy vs. Taking Public Transport, Renting a car in Italy comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. On one side, it provides flexibility and convenience. Moreover, it allows for exploring off-the-beaten-path locations. However, dealing with unfamiliar driving laws, navigating ZTL zones, and finding parking can be stressful.

I have organised unelevated a table for a quick comparison between renting a car and public transportation. I have moreover written increasingly extensively well-nigh getting virtually Italy with 2 specimen scenarios and a cost/time comparison well-nigh having a vehicle or taking trains/buses.

Using Public Transportation in Italy Renting a Car in Italy
Schedules and routes unswayable by the train and bus network Freedom to roam at your own pace
May require multiple transfers Direct travel
Often crowded (especially during peak hours, virtually the cities and during public holidays) Private and comfortable
Inexpensive More forfeit upfront, but potential savings if travelling in two or increasingly people
Faster on uncontrived train routes, possibly slower with buses, definitely slower in specimen of multiple transfers Slower compared to High-Speed trains between major cities. Faster on any other route. Incredibly faster in the countryside.
Limited late-night options Available 24/7
Might not reach remote attractions. You may need a taxi to the last leg of the trip Access to all areas, except most of the historic centres (ZTL, I will talk later well-nigh it)
Environmental friendly More stat footprint
No worry well-nigh parking Parking in Italy can be challenging in the main cities
No driving stress Driving in Italy, expressly for the first time, can be challenging. I have organised 33 tips you may want to read

Public Transportation Vs Renting a car in Italy

Is it Worth Renting a Car in Italy: 11 Scenarios

Looking for the best rental car services in Italy? Visit *The Vacation Finder* for the best rent-a-car services in Italy. When you have come to the right places to choose the best car rental services at an affordable cost in Italy, Deciding whether to rent a car in Italy can be influenced moreover by your travel itinerary.

rental car services in Italy

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Here are 11 scenarios worth considering, tent the most popular destinations in Italy.If not interested, jump to the next session on the weightier way to rent a car in Italy.

Art Cities Trip Weightier by Train

For journeys between major art cities like Milan, Verona, Venice, Florence, Perugia, Rome, and Naples, renting a car can be less user-friendly due to limited and expensive parking, and ZTL zones. In these cases, public transport such as trains can offer a increasingly stress-free alternative. The major cities are nowadays unfluctuating by High-Speed trains served by two companies:

1: Trenitalia: the main government-run operator, connecting the major cities with FrecciarossaFrecciargento and Frecciabianca trains. From the most important centres, you have local trains to the towns and villages in the area.

2: Italo: a private visitor offering service uniquely on the high-speed tracks. Usually, they provide a largest service, however at a higher price too.

For example, if you plan to visit only the municipality centres of Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome, then you are largest off moving by train which is quicker, less expensive and you victorious straight in the centre of the city. Basically, a no-worries experience. The Adriano Temple facade in Rome.

Cinque Terre - Weightier by Train

The five picturesque villages of Cinque Terre are car-free zones, making public transport such as trains and boats the platonic nomination for exploration. If you are planning a trip to visit Cinque Terre and a few other cities, like Milan, Florence or Rome, then the train works best.

Tip on Cinque Terre by Car: If you are driving virtually the country already, you are planning to visit this wondrous corner of Italy, and you are wondering where to stay in the Cinque Terre with a car, then you should momentum to Monterosso, the easiest of the five towns to wangle with a vehicle.

Looking for low cost car rental services in Italy?

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Here you can find a few accommodations that include parking in the nightly rate, like Seaside Apartments or Mansarda 5 Terre which works so well for families. Alternatively, you can park the car at the Parcheggio Loreto or the Parcheggio Monterosso (up to euro 25/day, based on the season). They are marked as sealed on Google Maps, however, they still operate. Pre-book your spot.

Dolomites Trip - Weightier by Car: For a trip to the Dolomites, renting a car is a must. It will indulge you to reach remote locations and enjoy the incredible landscapes at your own pace. The road conditions here are moreover very good. I will talk increasingly later well-nigh driving in winter. Renting a car for a sky trip in the Dolomites is a mythological idea. The zone is huge and you can visit most of it in a week by car. Just make sure to have winter tyres and snow villenage when you pick up the car. Keep reading other cases or jump to the next session on the weightier way to rent a car in Italy.

Como Lake - Weightier By Train/Ferry/Bus

With frequent and reliable wend services, renting a car is not necessary for Lake Como. You can hands take a train from Milan to Como municipality and from there visit the lake destinations or take a remoter bus/train/boat to your accommodation. Boats serve very well most of the trappy towns on the lake.

Tip on Como Lake by car: If you are driving once virtually Italy and you are wondering where to stay in Como Lake with a car, then you should typesetting your hotel in Bellagio, my favourite town (I was born virtually Como Lake, so many memories)

Here you can find a few accommodations that have private parking like Villa Serbelloni. Otherwise, you can typesetting at the Residence la Limonera and use the self-ruling on-street parking (20 minutes walk) or pay for off-street parking (around 25 Euros/day) Travelling by ferry with the car through the Como Lake.

Skiing Trip in Italy – Weightier by Car

For a skiing trip in Italy, having a car could be a practical option. I had a fantastic stay in Livigno for example, north of Lake Como, and the car was essential to reach the place and explore other towns around, like Bormio and the famous spas.

Huge Tip. If visiting the area, have a walk to the natural spas (free access) withal the river. A real unique experience, existing since I was a kid and still a subconscious gem. If you plan to visit the Val d’Aosta & Mont Blanc, or the Dolomites, a car is once then a must. You would not need a car only if you buy a ski package where they pick you up and waif yu off at the airport.

Visiting Tuscany - Weightier by Car

Renting a car in Tuscany is highly recommended. It will be easy to move by trains and buses between the major centres (Florence, Siena, Arezzo, Pisa, Lucca). However, public transport doesn’t reach all the wonderful rural areas and hilltop towns this region is famous for. A car would let you fully explore this trappy region. For example, if you are wondering where to stay in Chianti, be enlightened that using the buses would take at least 3 times longer to reach your destination, sometimes including taxi rides too.

More Reading Well-Nigh Driving in Tuscany

1: Renting a car in Tuscany, all you need to know, including possible scams.

2: Is driving in Tuscany difficult?

3: Is it recommended to rent a car in Tuscany? With 3 specimen scenarios of possible trips in the region.

4: Best itineraries of Tuscany from 3 to 14 days.

Keep reading other cases or jump to the next session on the weightier way to rent a car in Italy. Renting a car in Tuscany.

Amalfi Tailspin - Weightier by Bus/Boat

Staying on the Amalfi Coast is a really dreamy experience. In saying that, don’t momentum there, leave it to the bus driver. Honestly, it is so much largest to seat on the when and revere the trappy coast. Parking is a nightmare (typically costing 50 Euro/night, at least) and there are only a tuft of viewpoints where you can stop anyway, and these are full too.

Suggested PostTraveling Aesthetic: A Journey of Discovery

If you’re not an experienced driver, getting virtually the Amalfi Coast with public transport and ferries might be safer, and honestly largest anyway. For example, you can take a train from Naples to Sorrento (not technically on the Amalfi Coast, but so beautiful). From there you can opt for a bus to Positano and Amalfi, or a increasingly romantic wend trip.

Tip. If you are once driving through Italy, then Sorrento is the weightier wangle point. There is increasingly parking than anywhere else on the Amalfi Coast. This town is moreover a unconfined transportation hub to explore Naples, the islands and the Amalfi Coast.

Puglia - Weightier by Car

Are you looking for the best and perfect way to rent a car in Puglia at the best price? Visit The Vacation Finder offers a wide range of the best car rental services, including renting a car in Puglia at a reasonable cost in Italy.

rent a car in Puglia

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Renting a car in Puglia is moreover recommended. The region is rich with trappy towns and countryside that is weightier explored with the flexibility of a car. You can organise an amazing road trip of Puglia including the unique Matera, in the Basilicata Region, not too far from Bari.

More Reading Well-Nigh Driving in Puglia

1: Renting a car in Puglia, all you need to know, including possible scams.

2: Is driving in Puglia difficult?

3: Is it worth hiring a car in Puglia? With 3 specimen scenarios of possible trips in the region.

4: Best itineraries of Puglia in 7-10 days.

5: A unconfined Puglia road trip in 2 weeks.

6: Getting virtually Puglia: Car vs train/bus with 2 specimen scenarios.

Sicily tour - Weightier by Car

Renting a car in Sicily is flipside unconfined idea, expressly if you’re planning to explore the many trappy but sometimes remote locations the island offers.

Getting virtually Sicily is not as straightforward with public transportation and it takes so much longer compared to driving.

Yes, you can think to visit only the major cities (Catani, Palermo, Agrigento and Trapani) and explore from there with organised tours, but having the flexibility of the car is going to be really something else. Driving and renting a car in Sicily.

Sardinia – Weightier by car

Sardinia has some fantastic beaches and historical sites spread out wideness the island, making a car necessary for exploration.

Public transportation would make any trip so much longer, sometimes plane impossible.

More reading well-nigh driving in Sardinia

1: Renting a car in Sardinia, all you need to know, including possible scams.

2: Is renting a car in Sardinia expensive? And how to save some money.

3: A unconfined Sardinia road trip in 2 weeks

Renting and Driving a Car in Sardinia

Capri & Ischia – Weightier by ferry/bus

Given that these are small islands with efficient public transport and strict traffic limitations, renting a car is not suggested at all, besides stuff not practical. You can hands reach both from Naples by ferry. If you have a car I personally suggest leaving it in Naples.

How to Rent a Car in Italy

Booking your car in Italy: This is the easiest part, booking your car on the Internet. But, is it really? Selecting the right provider is unchangingly the making or breaking decision. Is the local provider largest than the global player? Why that car rental is so cheap? Are all of the insurances included? Do they offer a variegated excess? These are a few of the questions that come to my mind whenever I typesetting a car. Luckily much less in the last 2 years, and I will tell you why.

Rent a Car in Italy

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But first, if you have a favourite hiring booking site or visitor you trust and used multiple times, then probably it’s weightier to go for that provider for a smoother experience. Personally, for the last two years, I have been booking my cars through the DiscoverCars website. This is an aggregator with 3 unconfined advantages.

Internation Driving Permit (IDP) for Italy

If you are driving a car in Italy as a tourist and you do not have a UK/EU license, then you need an IDP besides your driving license, as once explained. You can find a step-by-step process on how to do the IDP for Italy in my wide-stretching guide. This is where you will find moreover the offices to tideway and an estimate of the cost.

Typically the process to obtain an IDP takes virtually a week, but it could take longer based on the country. Bring unchangingly with you both the IDP and your country license when driving in Italy, otherwise, you may be fined during a police check. Free thermal baths in Umbria, tropical to the verge with Tuscany. Reachable only by car.

Pick Up Your Car

Once you victorious at the rental location, review and sign the rental agreement, and pick up your car. Inspect the car for any forfeiture surpassing leaving the lot. That is a must. Ask the car rental to add any new forfeiture that is not in the rental agreement.

Do this for both the inside and outside of the car, expressly if you rent the car in a waterfront destination. For example, if you are hiring a car in Puglia, make sure to trammels if the seats have any white halo coming from the salty water.

Finally, make photos of every corner of the car that you can possibly use in specimen of any disagreement at the drop-off time. This has saved me hands 500-600 Euro on one occasion. 

And don’t unchangingly think they want to scam you. Sometimes they miss for example a wafer from the previous renter and they may requite the car to you without having marked that wafer on the contract agreement. Do your due diligence to stave these situations.

Returning Your Car

Always return the car at the well-set time and location. If you have any delay, let the car rental visitor know. They may have rented your car to someone else without you waif it off.

Expect a late return fee, unfortunately. One of the car rental scams in Italy that I heard from other drivers is the exorbitant fee they ask for a short delay. So try to stave it, largest older than later.

Make sure the car is wipe and has the agreed-upon fuel level (usually full-to-full). The last time I rented a car in Sicily, I was so unlucky to wits a sandstorm. You can imagine that without that.

I decided to wash it in one of the 10 Euros will-less car cleaning places. It avoided the possible pain and discussions with the rental company, and that was for just 10 Euro, totally worth it in my opinion.

Cost of Renting a Car in Italy

I have organised a table with the stereotype price of renting a car in Italy based on the municipality and the month/period. This data has been pulled out from a huge database of misogynist cars, with booking at least 2 months in advance. The price can transpiration based on many factors, including timing, public holidays etc. In saying that, this table gives you a good idea of what to expect.

City May (€) June (€) July (€) August (€) September (€) October (€) Winter (December, €)
Milan 41 42 48 49 50 41 42
Venice 34 35 40 41 44 25 20
Florence 37 38 39 40 41 42 43
Rome 39 41 43 44 40 39 40
Naples 39 40 41 42 40 39 35
Bari 33 34 35 36 37 38 19
Catania 33 34 32 53 30 25 16

Average forfeit of renting a midsize car in Italy Another snowy day in Livigno

Renting a Car in Italy in Winter

Renting a car in Italy during winter has its challenges, expressly if you decide to use the car to go skiing, and you may have to momentum in snowy or icy conditions.

Of course, Winter tires are essential, and in some regions (north of Italy and all the mountain areas), snow villenage are mandatory. Make sure they are in the car when you pick it up. Another tip I can requite you is based on flipside wits I had during my stay in Livigno, a ski resort north of Lake Como. The temperature in some of the mountain villages can waif well unelevated zero Celsius. During my week there, -25°C (-13°F) was the norm at night.

Make sure to typesetting the hotel with an underground garage and anyway typesetting only petrol cars. Diesel fuel starts gelling at unprepossessed temperatures, unelevated -12°C (10°F).

Choosing the Right Vehicle for Italy

Today! In this Sentance, You can find the right vehicle for rent in Italy. Looking for the best car rental services in Italy? The type of car you rent can profoundly stupefy your driving its in Italy. From small municipality cars to larger SUVs and vans, there’s a wide variety of options. And it’s not the size but moreover the type of transmission.

Automatic vs transmission car rental in Italy

Automatic cars are often easier to drive, expressly for those unaccustomed to transmission transmission.

However, transmission cars are usually cheaper to rent.

If you’re not well-appointed driving manual, be sure to specify you want an will-less when booking.

Check out my detailed vendible on rental cars in Italy with will-less transmission.

Scenario Name Suggested Transmission Reason
Cities of Art Automatic Easier to handle in rented municipality traffic
Dolomites trip Manual More tenancy over the car in hilly terrains
Skiing trip Manual Gives largest tenancy in snowy conditions

Automatic vs. Transmission – In a nutshell

Best Car Size to rent in Italy

When it comes to the size of the car, you should take ur visualization based on these 3 important factors

  • number of passengers
  • amount of luggage
  • where you’ll be driving.

Small cars are easier to navigate in cities and crowded places, while larger cars offer increasingly repletion and storage space, platonic for long road trips.

I have written a increasingly specific guide on the best car size to rent in Italy. The table unelevated gives a quick summary of the nomination based on the type of trip.

Size of Car Best For Pros Cons Average Rental Cost/Day
Compact/Economy Solo travellers or couples Fuel-efficient, easy to manoeuvre, lower rental cost Limited luggage space, less well-appointed for long drives €20 – €45
Midsize/Sedan Small families, longer trips More spacious, comfortable, good wastefulness of size and cost Higher rental cost, harder to park in tight spaces €30 – €70
SUV Large families, exploring rural areas Comfortable, spacious, good ground clearance Higher rental and fuel costs, harder to manoeuvre €50 – €100
Luxury/Premium Special occasions, those seeking a luxury experience Stylish, comfortable, high-end features Expensive rental and fuel costs, harder to park €80 – €200

Renting a car in Italy – Weightier car sizes. You can unchangingly find surprising cars on sale in Taormina – Just in specimen you are tired of renting car in Italy.

Renting and Driving a Car in Italy with Children

I am going to leave the generic tips (plan regular breaks, snacks, entertainment, etc) to jump straight to the most important part.

Italian law requires all children under 36 kg or 150 cm to use a child restraint system towardly to their weight and size. The car seat laws in Italy are exactly the same as in any other EU country.

Here unelevated I have widow a table with all the important information if you are driving with kids.

Group Weight Range Height Range (approx.) Car Seat Type
0 Up to 10 kg (22 lbs) Birth to 1.5 years Rear-facing infant carrier
0 Up to 13 kg (29 lbs) Birth to 2.5 years Rear-facing infant carrier
1 9-18 kg (20-40 lbs) 1.5 to 4 years Forward or rear-facing child seat with a harness
2 15-25 kg (33-55 lbs) 4 to 6 years High-backed booster seat with a seatbelt
3 22-36 kg (48-79 lbs) 6 to 12 years High-backed booster seat or a booster cocoon with a seatbelt

Italy follows the European ECE R44/04 or ECE R129 standards for child car seats

My tip: if your kids need only a booster seat you are surely largest off if you take it from home. When I decided to hire a car in Puglia for four weeks I bought the car seat (35 Euro) in a shopping centre tropical to the airport, much cheaper than paying 8 Euro/day.

Understanding Car Rental Insurance in Italy

All rental cars in Italy are required to have third-party liability insurance (TPL), which is usually included in the rental price.

However, this may not imbricate forfeiture or theft of the rental car, so you should consider spare insurance coverage.

Collision Forfeiture Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection are moreover often included in the hiring price but with a very upper excess, usually 1,000 Euros or more.

I have written extensively well-nigh car rental insurance in Italy. As once said, I have driven everywhere in Italy, streets can be narrow and parking plane narrower.

As a result, it is so easy to scratch or wafer a car. If you have an glut of 1,000 Euros you may end up with a big snout once you waif off your car and the holiday turns into a bad memory. Which should not happen.

That is why I usually rent my car from DiscoverCars. Besides the unconfined price, I can add for just 7 Euros a Full Insurance (No excess), so I never worry well-nigh the drop-off time. In specimen of problems, it’s all paid for. I had once a 3,000 Euros forfeiture and it was such a relief to have full insurance. DiscoverCars paid when everything.

Here is a quick summary table, however, trammels out my guide to car rental insurance in Italy for a few specimen scenarios, based moreover on my experience.

Insurance Type Best For Pros Cons Estimated Price (per day)
Third-Party Liability Insurance Coverage of liabilities outside the rental car Covers damages to other vehicles, property, or people Doesn’t imbricate damages to the rental car itself Usually included in the rental price
CDW/LDW Basic protection of the rental car Covers damages to the rental car High deductible; doesn’t imbricate other vehicles, property, or people €15-€25
(often included but upper excess)
Zero Excess/Super CDW/Full Insurance Comprehensive coverage with minimal out-of-pocket expenses Reduces or eliminates deductible for CDW/LDW Additional cost; not misogynist with all rental companies €10-€40
(just €7 with DiscoverCars)
SLI/Excess Liability Insurance Extra protection vastitude vital third-party liability Increases coverage limit for third-party liability Additional cost; may be unnecessary for some €10-€20
(not needed if fully insured)
PAI Medical expenses and personal wrecking coverage Covers medical expenses and personal wrecking compensation May be redundant if you have travel insurance €5-€10

Summary of the possible car insurance in Italy

Taking the ferry from Sicily to Calabria

Taking the ferry from Sicily to Calabria

Navigating Rental Agreements

Rental agreements contain important terms that you should understand.

This includes insurance coverage, fuel policy, mileage limit, and more.

Watch out for subconscious charges, such as early or late return fees, spare suburbanite fees, or cleaning charges.

Also, make sure you understand the company’s policy on damages and their procedure for reporting any issues with the car.

Here is a table with most of the terms you will have to deal with

Rental Aspect Description
Rental Age Requirement The minimum age to rent a car in Italy is often 21, with some companies requiring a minimum age of 23 or 25.
Driver’s License Requirements EU/UK driver’s licenses are accepted. Non-EU license holders need an International Driving Permit (IDP) for Italy.
Insurance Coverage Typically includes Collision Forfeiture Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection (TP); Full insurance is highly recommended.
Fuel Policy Usually “Full-to-Full”: Pick up the car with a full tank and return it full to stave refuelling charges.
Additional Fees Possible fees include young suburbanite surcharges (usually for drivers under 25), uneaten equipment (e.g., GPS, child seats), and spare suburbanite fees.
Cancellation Policy Most companies offer self-ruling receipt up to 24-48 hours surpassing the pick-up time; cancellations within this period may incur charges.
Penalties for Late Returns/Modifications Late returns can lead to uneaten daily charges and possible penalties; modifications to reservations may result in spare fees or changes in rental rates.

Typical rentals terms you can expect when renting a car in Italy

Driving in Italy: Rules and Regulations

Italian driving laws may differ from those in your home country.

Expect similar rules if you come from flipside EU country.

Signs are usually in Italian, except in the north east of the country where you will often find German and maybe moreover Italian.

In Italy, they momentum on the right side of the road, similarly to any other country in Europe, the USA, Canada and most of the world.

If you come from a country that drives on the left (as I do from Australia), then unchangingly pay uneaten sustentation in the first couple of days. That’s usually the time that the soul and smart-ass take to transmute to the new system.

It’s not complicated, honestly but alimony in mind these two quick tips:

  • in the first two days, try to go slower than usual and follow the traffic. Having a reference car helps immensely!
  • if your car is the only one on the road and you are suddenly unsure of which lane is correct, stop immediately on the side of the road and wait for other cars to come. You are probably once on the incorrect part of the road.

I wrote extensively well-nigh driving in Italy as a tourist, where I have highlighted all the differences between Italy and most of the countries in the world.

I have widow moreover a section specifically for Canadians and Australians on how to get an International Driving Permit for Italy.

I moreover organised a specific guide well-nigh driving in Italy as an American where I go into major details with special tips.

Shortly, alimony in mind these important things:

  • the speed limits vary depending on the type of road (these are indicated in kilometers per hour),
  • the legal swig limit is lower than in many countries,
  • using a mobile phone while driving is strictly prohibited,
  • don’t park in orange areas (assigned to disabled people). I have increasingly on parking below
  • don’t venture into areas with the ZTL signs, which indicate restricted traffic zones. I have increasingly on this later, too,
  • always wear your seatbelts, both front and when seats
  • keep an eye out for motorbikes, scooters and cyclists, expressly in cities, they are everywhere
Type of Road Max Speed (km/h) Max Speed (mph)
Autostrade 130 81
Superstrada (similar to Autostrade but only two lanes and no tolls) 110 68
Urban Roads 50 31
Non-Urban Roads 90 56
School Zones 30 19
Residential Zones 30 19

Typical speed limits in Italy (check local restrictions)

A lovely corner of Venice, reachable by car (parking outside the heritage city)

Navigating Italian Roads as a Tourist

Understanding Variegated Types of Roads in Italy

Driving experiences in Italy can vary dramatically depending on the location.

Cities like Rome and Florence often have heavy traffic and challenging navigation due to narrow, winding streets.

Nevertheless, if you plan to explore the outskirts, renting a car in Rome or renting a car in Florence, is surely a unconfined idea.

The Autostrada, or the highway system, offers a faster way to travel between cities like Milan and Venice but involves tolls.

However, driving in the countryside is a unique experience.

I had an wondrous time when I rented a car to explore the Val D’Orcia in a great itinerary of Tuscany.

I moreover still remember when I rented a car in Sicily to explore the tailspin and interior of the island, otherwise untellable by bus/train. These regions have usually much less traffic, trappy landscapes, and a scenic, relaxed driving environment.

Drive to Milazzo Cape - Flipside wondrous tour you can organised when you rent a car in Sicily

Drive to Milazzo Cape – Flipside wondrous tour you can organise when you rent a car in Sicily

Tips for Using GPS and Maps while driving in Italy

A GPS can be a valuable tool for navigating in Italy, expressly in cities with ramified road systems.

However, a physical map is a useful backup, expressly in remote areas where signal coverage might be poor.

If you’re planning to use your phone for navigation, make sure you have a car charger and a suitable phone mount.

Based on my experience, use Google Maps or Waze to navigate Italy. I had in a few occasions the car GPS system, but it was never updated with the last work on the roads.

Moreover, the Apps have real-time traffic information, which is a life safer once you tideway the big cities.

Tip: Download the Italian map when you have wifi, you will save a ton of data. Alternatively, use Sygic or MapsMe but you won’t have real-time traffic conditions.

Here unelevated is a quick table of the pros and cons of all systems.

Navigation Option Pros Cons Comparison
Google Maps Free, easy-to-use, comprehensive, offline maps available Requires data connection for real-time updates and route changes More feature-rich and flexible than most in-car systems
Waze Real-time updates from users, integration with music apps, route suggestions to stave traffic Requires unvarying data connection, less well-judged in rural areas Better at lamister traffic than in-car systems, but less reliable in remote locations
Sygic Offline maps, premium features, heads-up display Requires a one-time payment, occasional map inaccuracies More wide features than in-car systems, but at an spare cost
In-car Navigation No data connection is needed, unchangingly available Less feature-rich, map updates may be less frequent, and limited search options More user-friendly in some situations, but smartphone apps often offer a largest experience

GPS and Navigation Apps – What works weightier in Italy

Parking in Italy

Finding parking in Italian cities can be challenging.

Be enlightened of parking regulations to stave fines.

  • blue lines indicate paid parking,
  • white lines are for self-ruling parking,
  • yellow/orange lines are reserved for specific users (like residents or disabled drivers).

Also, be enlightened of ZTL zones where parking is typically restricted to residents. Sometimes the hotel may requite you a temporary pass for the ZTL but it is increasingly of a special occasion than the norm.

Once again, I wrote extensively well-nigh parking in Italy, including how to save money. Here is a quick table that summarizes Most of the information.

Parking Type Description Typical Costs
On-street Self-ruling Parking White-lined parking spaces, no payment required Free
On-street Paid Parking Blue-lined parking spaces, payment required (usually via parking meter or mobile app) €1 – €3 per hour (varies by area)
On-street Accessible Parking Yellow-lined parking spaces, reserved for individuals with disabilities (with proper permit) Free for eligible individuals
ZTL (Limited Traffic Zone) Restricted traffic areas, usually in historical municipality centres; fines for unauthorized entry Fines for unauthorized entry
Private Parking Paid parking lots or garages, often operated by private companies €10 – €50 per day (varies by area)
Hotel Parking Parking offered by hotels, may be included in the room rate or charged separately €0 – €50 per day (varies by hotel)

Summary of Parking in Italy

Usually, you can pay for parking at the local ticket machines or at the newsstands.

Apps are rhadamanthine moreover very popular, with EasyPark probably the most used of all.

The unconfined thing well-nigh it is that you can proffer or cut short the time at the parking spot from the mobile, so practical when the dinner takes longer than originally planned.

Pay you parking at the station or download the EasyPark App to save money

Pay your parking at the station or download the EasyPark App to save money

Handling Fuel and Maintenance

Italy has numerous petrol stations spread throughout the country, offering both petrol (benzina) and diesel (diesel or gasolio).

Prices fluctuate and are typically higher than the European average.

Also, stations in rural areas and on Autostrade tend to be increasingly expensive than those in urban settings.

Nowadays, I unchangingly use Google Maps to squint for stations. The petrol/gas prices are advertised directly on the App so I can compare and get the best.

When filling up in Italy, you have the nomination between ‘self-service’ and ‘full-service’ (servito).

In self-service, you fill-up the car yourself, usually paying at an streamlined machine.

In full service, an retrospective fills up the car, and you pay them directly, usually at a slightly higher rate.

Attention. There is typically a difference of 10-15% between the two services, so you can save quite a bit of money with servito on a long trip.

Petro stations usually ventilate how much increasingly expensive is the petrol in the serviced areas

Petro stations usually ventilate how much increasingly expensive is the petrol in the serviced areas

Basic Car Maintenance Expectations During the Rental Period

It’s important to alimony an eye on the vehicle’s vital maintenance during your rental period.

This includes checking the oil and coolant levels, tire pressure, and ensuring the lights and wipers are working correctly.

When renting a car, ensure you have all the necessary phone numbers in specimen of a breakdown. This includes the rental company’s hotline, roadside assistance, and the local emergency number.

If your rental car breaks down, contact the rental visitor immediately. They’ll teach you on the next steps, which might include sending roadside assistance.

Even in specimen of small issues, unchangingly undeniability your rental organ to ask for the next steps. Do not go to a mechanic to do any work considering it has to be first tried by the provider.

Type of Emergency Phone Number
General Emergencies 112
Roadside Assistance – ACI 803116
Roadside Assistance – Rental Company Varies (Check rental documents)

Roadside Assistance and Emergency Numbers

Understanding the Restricted Traffic Zones (ZTL)

Restricted Traffic Zones (ZTLs) are areas in Italian cities where wangle is limited to unrepealable types of vehicles or at specific times.

Unauthorised vehicles inward a ZTL are unprotected on camera and automatically fined.

The weightier way to stave ZTL fines is by planning your route in whop and stuff enlightened of ZTLs in the zone you’ll be driving.

Always alimony an eye out for ZTL signs (white signs with a red circle).

Most GPS systems can zestful you to ZTL zones, however, do not fully trust them, the red whirligig signs are still the most important reference to squint after.

Here is a detailed guide on ZTL zones in Italy with a few maps that may help navigating around.

I just want to add a simple thing. In most cases, ZTLs are there to preserve the old heritage centres. These are places with small narrow lanes you don’t want to venture with a car anyway.

In my guide to parking in Italy, I highlighted the parking areas to leave your car surpassing walking or taking a bus/metro to the centre of the major cities of Italy, including difficult ones like Venice and Rome.

ZTL - Zona Traffico Limitato - in the trappy Scicli

ZTL – Zona Traffico Limitato – in the trappy Scicli

Returning the Rental Car

When returning your rental car, ensure it’s in the same condition as when you picked it up.

This includes the fuel level, cleanliness, and no new damage. Be prepared to pay for any discrepancies.

If you decided to take the 7 Euros Full Insurance with DiscoverCars, then be enlightened that you will have to pay for any forfeiture to the Rental visitor and send your snout to DiscoverCars for a full refund, as easy as that.

Avoid dropping off the car extremely dirty. If, for any reason, your car is not clean, organise a quick wash otherwise they may tuition an uneaten fee for the service.

Most rental companies tuition a full day’s rental fee for late returns, so ensure you return the car on time. Trammels your rental try-on for the word-for-word late return policy.

My Tip. I usually rent the car for longer than I need. Dropping off the car prior to the organised time typically doesn’t forfeit anything. For example, If I pick up the car at 6 pm on Friday and I have my flight when home at 5pm on Sunday, I usually rent for exactly 48 hours with the waif off time at 6pm plane if I will be very likely at the airport at 3 pm on Sunday. This gives me a buffer of three hours in specimen of my delays or if the flight is moved forward and I could use the car for a bit longer. Remember that renting a car for 48 or 45 hours has exactly the same forfeit that increases when you put in 49 hours, or three days for the booking system.

Avoiding Car Rental Scams in Italy

Scams can happen anywhere, and the car rental industry is no exception. Be enlightened of scams such as overcharging, forfeiture scams, fuel scams, and insurance upsells.

Also in this case, I have written a full guide well-nigh the 10 most worldwide car rental scams in Italy, and most importantly, how to stave them. This is flipside unconfined read surpassing starting your trip.

Here is a quick table of them

Scam Name Example Avoidance Tips
The Upgrade Trick Jane was pushed to pay uneaten for a ‘superior’ model. Insist on a vehicle in the same matriculation you booked, with no spare charges.
Fuel Tuition Scams John was charged a upper fee for fuel. Opt for the ‘full-to-full’ fuel policy.
Insurance Scams Lucy was coerced into ownership spare insurance. Know your insurance needs and existing coverages.
Damage Charges Scam Mark was billed for ‘damage’ he didn’t cause. Document the vehicle’s condition at pick-up and drop-off.
Additional Charges Scam Anna found unexpected charges on her card. Review the rental try-on thoroughly surpassing signing.
GPS and Spare Equipment Scams Peter was charged daily for a GPS. Consider bringing your own traps or checking prices in advance.
Wrong Car Scam Emily booked a luxury model but got an junior car. Insist on the model you booked or a largest model at no spare cost.
Late Return Scam Tom was charged uneaten for tangibly returning the car late. Document the return time and get acknowledgement from an employee.
Prepaid Toll Scam Sarah was offered a prepaid toll service at a upper rate. Research toll financing and decide if prepaid services are worth it.
Drop-off Scam Carlos was charged a hefty fee for returning his car to a variegated location. Check terms and conditions related to one-way rentals.

Quick summary of the 10 most worldwide car rental scams in Italy

Exploring the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento

Exploring the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, hands reachable by car

Best road trips in Italy

I am very honest with you, there are so many “best road trips in Italy” based on who you ask.

It really all depends on the region you are planning to visit.

In this section, I just want to highlight a few tent Sardinia, Sicily, Puglia and Tuscany.

Once again, don’t bombard me with emails asking why did I leave out this one or that one. This post would wilt a typesetting if I had to include all of the wondrous road trips of Italy.

A Puglia road trip – Itinerary in 14 days

On this road trip, you will be worldly-wise to wits most of the region including a detour to the trappy Matera, one of the most unique cities in the world, in the nearby region of Basilicata.

The trip starts in Bari where you will spend the first day without a car. You can moreover think to skip Bari altogether, rent the car and spend the first 2 nights in Polignano Mare

Day Overnight Suggested Hotel Approx Km driven Main sites Morning activity Afternoon activity
1 Bari B&B L’annunziata 0km Basilica di San Nicola, Bari Vecchia Arrival, Transfer to accommodation Explore Bari Vecchia and visit the Basilica
2 Polignano a Mare Mareluna 35km Polignano a Mare, Lama Monachile Beach Drive to Polignano a Mare Relax at Lama Monachile Beach
3 Alberobello Il Gabellota Resort 30km Alberobello Drive to Alberobello Explore Alberobello and its trulli districts
4 Ostuni Biancofiore 40km Ostuni Drive to Ostuni Explore Ostuni, “The White City”
5 Lecce Palazzo
80km Lecce, Basilica di Santa Croce Drive to Lecce Explore Lecce and visit Basilica di Santa Croce
6 Otranto Maison d’O 50km Otranto, Otranto Cathedral Drive to Otranto Explore Otranto and visit Otranto Cathedral
7 Santa Maria di Leuca B&B Leuca In & Out 60km Santa Maria di Leuca, Basilica Sanctuary Drive to Santa Maria di Leuca Visit Basilica Sanctuary
8 Gallipoli Il Giardino Della Regina 60km Gallipoli, Old Town Drive to Gallipoli Explore Gallipoli Old Town
9 Matera (Basilicata) La Casa di Ele 140km Matera, Sassi di Matera Drive to Matera Explore the warmed-over municipality of Matera and its Sassi
10 Matera (Basilicata) La Casa di Ele 0km Matera, Parco della Murgia Materana Visit Parco della Murgia Materana Further explore Matera
11 Vieste (Gargano – North of Puglia) B&B La Rosa dei Venti 260km Vieste, Gargano National Park Drive to Vieste Explore Vieste and its surroundings
12 Vieste (Gargano) B&B La Rosa dei Venti 0km Vieste, Gargano National Park Explore the Gargano National Park Continue exploring the Gargano area
13 Vieste (Gargano) B&B La Rosa dei Venti 0km Vieste, Gargano National Park Further exploration of the Gargano National Park Relax and enjoy the eyeful of Gargano
14 Bari   240km Bari Drive when to Bari Relax or explore Bari

Puglia road trip – Itinerary in 14 days on a table

You can read increasingly in my detailed Puglia Road Trip, including moreover the weightier restaurants with local supplies withal the route.

PUGLIA ROAD TRIP - Itinerary in 14 days

PUGLIA ROAD TRIP – Itinerary in 14 days

A Sardinia road trip – Itinerary in 14 days

Another wondrous part of Italy that you really need to explore by car. It would be untellable to see and wits so much using public transportation.

Also in this specimen you can read the detailed plan for the Sardinia Road Trip that I have summarised in this table below.

Day Accommodation Approx Km driven Main sites Morning activity Lunch Afternoon activity
1 Cagliari 0km Cagliari city, Poetto Beach Explore Castello area, Cathedral Ristorante Martinelli’s Poetto Beach, Parco di Molentargius
2 Cagliari 0km Roman Amphitheatre, San Benedetto Market, Sella del Diavolo Promontory Visit Amphitheatre, explore the market Trattoria Lillicu Hike to Sella del Diavolo Promontory
3 Oristano 100km Giara of Gesturi, Sinis Peninsula Visit Giara of Gesturi Da Leonardo Explore Sinis Peninsula, visit Tharros ruins
4 Oristano 50km Cabras, Is Arutas Beach Visit Cabras, Museo Civico Agriturismo Pinuccia Visit Is Arutas Beach
5 Alghero 90km Bosa, Alghero Old Town Visit Bosa Locanda Di Corte Explore Alghero Old Town
6 Alghero 20km Neptune’s Grotto, Capo Caccia Visit Neptune’s Grotto Ok Pizza Evolution Alghero market streets, Le Bombarde Beach
7 Alghero 150km Porto Torres and La Pelosa Beach, Stintino Visit Porto Torres Ristorante Pizzeria San Gavino Visit La Pelosa Beach, Stintino
8 Santa Teresa Gallura 150km Arzachena, Nuragic complex, and Costa Smeralda beaches Visit Nuragic complex Ristorante La Terrazza Visit Santa Teresa Gallura and Rena Bianca beach
9 Santa Teresa Gallura 55km La Maddalena Boat tour of La Maddalena Archipelago Boat tour lunch Continue wend tour of La Maddalena Archipelago
10 Santa Teresa Gallura 20km Capo Testa, Rena di Ponente Beach Trekking in Capo Testa Martini Waterfront Restaurant & Bar Relax at Rena di Ponente Beach
11 Porto Rotondo 60km San Pantaleo, Capriccioli Beach Visit San Pantaleo Trattoria da Tito Visit Capriccioli Beach
12 Porto Rotondo 50km Porto Cervo and Capriccioli Beach Visit Porto Cervo Il Pomodoro Visit Capriccioli Beach
13 Porto Rotondo 40km Promontorio di Capo Figari, Prima Spiaggia, Golfo Aranci Trekking in Capo Figari Packed lunch Relax at Prima Spiaggia
14 Cagliari 350km Orosei and Arbatax      

A Sardinia road trip – Itinerary in 14 days

Sardinia – Scenic Strada Statale on the Sea Coast

Five unconfined road trips in Sicily

For this region, I have unquestionably organised 5 scenic drives virtually Sicily that you can do in sequence or from you base, for example, Taormina or Palermo, possibly plane on a day trip by car.

Click on the scenic momentum for the full route and interesting attractions withal the drive.

Scenic Drives of Sicily Number of KM Total Driving Time Number of Stops List of Stops Short Description Best For
Taormina to Savoca 63 km 1h 55m 4 Taormina, Castelmola, Savoca, Forza d’Agrò A scenic momentum through the East Coast, exploring mannerly villages, historic sites, and stunning coastal views. History lovers, movie buffs, those seeking stunning views
Palermo to Cefalù 76 km 1h 40m 4 Palermo, Santa Flavia, Capo Zafferano & Sant’Elia, Cefalù An exploration of the North Coast, featuring stunning sea views, archaeological sites, and enchanting coastal towns. History enthusiasts, waterfront lovers, those seeking scenic views
Agrigento to Capo Bianco 48 km 1h 15m 5 Agrigento, Porto Empedocle, Scala dei Turchi, Le Pergole Beach, Capo Bianco & Archaeological Zone of Eraclea Minoa A journey through history and nature, combining warmed-over temples, mannerly port towns, and pristine beaches. History and nature lovers, beachgoers, families
The Baroque towns of Val di Noto 88 km 2h 4 Avola, Noto, Modica, Ragusa, Scicli A momentum through the UNESCO World Heritage site of Val di Noto, featuring exquisite Baroque tracery and captivating landscapes. History and tracery enthusiasts, wine and chocolate lovers
Mount Etna and the Alcantara Gorges 147 km 3h 20m 4 Catania, Zafferana Etnea, Rifugio Sapienza, Alcantara Gorges An weird journey through nature’s raw magnificence, featuring a mighty Mount Etna tour and the stunning Alcantara Gorges. Adventurers, nature lovers, seeking scenic landscapes

5 weightier scenic drives of Sicily

Scenic drives in Sicily

Scenic drives in Sicily

A Tuscany road trip – Itinerary in 10 days

Here unelevated you will find a map and the full itinerary for 10 days in Tuscany.

It is a unconfined road trip that will indulge you to imbricate the weightier of the region.

Day Location Activities
Day 1 Florence Visit the Uffizi Gallery, Panini Toscani, and the historical center, finishing at Piazza del Duomo.
Day 2 Florence Visit Piazza Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Oltrarno and the historical centre. Consider visiting Forte di Belvedere.
Day 3 Lucca Drive through Carfagnana Valley, stop at Bagni di Lucca, visit Canyon Park and Villenage Bridge, stop at Castelnuovo di Carfagnana, and if time allows, visit Carrara. End in Lucca.
Day 4 Lucca Visit Pisa and Leaning Tower in the morning. In the afternoon, return to Lucca to visit the Ducal Palace and the pedestrian wall.
Day 5 Chianti Area Drive to San Gimignano, wine tasting, lunch at RiccaPizza or Le Vecchie Mura, visit Montefioralle. Trammels into your hotel in Chianti Area.
Day 6 Siena Travel withal the Chianti Road with stops at Greve in Chianti, Panzano, and Castellina in Chianti. Trammels into your hotel in Siena.
Day 7 Siena Explore Siena in the morning, including Piazza del Campo, the Public Palace, and Duomo Cathedral. In the afternoon, visit Montalcino.
Day 8 Val D’Orcia Drive to Val D’Orcia, visit panoramic viewpoints and Gladiator Point, lunch at Podere Il Casale, visit Montepulciano, and wine tasting at Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano.
Day 9 Val D’Orcia Enjoy a relaxing day at thermal baths, such as Terme di Petriolo, Bagni di San Filippo, Cascate del Mulino in Saturnia, San Casciano dei Bagni or Chianciano Terme.
Day 10 Arezzo Visit Cortona, then momentum to Arezzo. Visit Piazza Grande, Santa Maria della Pieve and the Arezzo Cathedral.

A Tuscany road trip – Itinerary in 10 days

If you do not finger like driving so much, then you should trammels my other increasingly relaxed 10 days in Tuscany by car

Tuscany itinerary – The weightier options for 3, 5, 7, 10 and 14 days


Renting a car in Italy offers the self-rule to explore at your own pace.

While there may be challenges, the benefits of having your own vehicle make it veritably worth the choice.

Remember to segregate the right vehicle, understand the rental try-on and insurance, and familiarise yourself with Italian driving laws.

By stuff prepared, you can enjoy your road trip through Italy’s stunning landscapes, historical sites, and vibrant cities.

From the scenic drives virtually the Dolomites to the hilltop towns of Tuscany, and from the rugged landscapes of Sardinia to the historical sites of Sicily, Italy offers a wealth of experiences to discover by car.