Home>Car rental italy>Tips

What I need to know about renting a car in Italy

Things to know before renting a car in Italy

Reading time:
9 minutes
Date:
May 4, 2022

Renting a car in Italy becomes so much easier after reading about our tips and experiences. What specific traffic rules should you consider in Italy? How many glasses of Italian wine can you enjoy over dinner if you must drive afterwards? If you want to enjoy a carefree vacation, it's important to be aware of this.

Below we give the answers to these questions, among others. We like sharing our tips and experiences for renting a car in Italy with you. This way, you will be well prepared for the road with the rental car that suits you best.

Planning to rent a car in Italy?

Use the Road Trip Car online platform to find car rental companies best suited for your trip.

start search

Things to know before renting a car in Italy

In this article, we will give you tips on what to look out for when renting a car in Italy. Of course, there are some important tips you should always keep in mind when renting a car in Italy. Roadtripcar.com has written a separate article about these tips and made a handy checklist for you.

Tip

The best tip for renting a car in Italy is to get a credit card if you don't already have one. Now all rental companies require a credit card for the deposit.

Which car should I rent in Italy?

If you want to rent a car for a vacation in Italy, you don't have to worry about the quality of the roads. If you go more to the south, that quality will be a bit less. In Sardinia the roads will also be worse than in northern and central Italy.

Are you alone or is it just the two of you and are you a quiet rider? Then any car is suitable for the occasional mountain, a few sharp curves and the road to the beach. Is your vacation going to look different? Then one of these cars might appeal to you:

  • A van for when you go on vacation with 6 or more people. When everyone brings their own suitcase, the available space may be too small. We were able to make a good choice on one of our trips by looking at the car at a garage in or home country in advance;
  • An SUV/4WD offers you comfort when you go on a roadtrip in Italy. You can easily reach the beautiful, somewhat less accessible beaches and villages with an SUV. These vehicles are also great if you even want to spend the night in your car;
  • Would you like to rent a car for two weeks and visit the eye-catching Amalfi Coast in Italy? A convertible makes your trip a unique experience! To complete the Italy feeling, choose of course a Fiat 500;
  • Most rental companies in Italy offer you a nice choice of beautiful exotic cars. You'll give yourself a dream vacation if you travel in style along the beautiful lakes of Italy.

Tip

Tip

Some companies might offer the possibility to choose a 'model warranty'. If you are not presented with this option when booking, you will automatically book on 'class'. This means that you could get a different model of car than the one you booked. This depends on how the rental company manages the fleet.

Important traffic rules to know if you rent a car in Italy

Traffic rules in Italy

The traffic rules in Italy are almost the same as in the rest of Europe. However, there are some rules that are good to know before you go out in a rental car.

The speed limit for passenger cars

The speed limit for passenger cars on 6-lane roads in Italy is 93 mi (150 km) per hour on certain points. It is also 31 mi (50 km) on urban roads, 55 mi (90 km) on rural roads, 68 mi (110 km) on highways and 80 mi (130 km) per hour on freeways.

In bad weather and rainfall, speed is reduced to 68 mi (110 km) per hour on freeways and 55 mi (90 km) per hour on freeways.

Have you had your driver's license for less than three years? Then you can drive up to 55 mi (90 km) per hour on freeways and up to 62 mi (100 km) per hour on freeways.The speed limit for passenger cars on 6-lane roads in Italy is 93 mi (150 km) per hour on certain points. It is also 31 mi (50 km) on urban roads, 55 mi (90 km) on rural roads, 68 mi (110 km) on highways and 80 mi (130 km) per hour on freeways.

In bad weather and rainfall, speed is reduced to 68 mi (110 km) per hour on freeways and 55 mi (90 km) per hour on freeways.

Have you had your driver's license for less than three years? Then you can drive up to 55 mi (90 km) per hour on freeways and up to 62 mi (100 km) per hour on freeways.

Renting a car in Italy, quick and easy to book.

Search for a rental car

Hands Free Calling

As in most other countries, it is forbidden to drive a car if you are holding a phone. Hands-free calling is allowed. You may also use a headset if you only have one earpiece in it.

Driving in the mountains

On mountain roads, climbing traffic takes precedence over descending traffic, which can mean that you sometimes must drive backwards. If you come across a bus you always must give it room to pass.

Tram on the road

If you are stuck behind a tram, you are not allowed to pass it, unless there is an escape hill. You can pass a moving tram on the right if there is room. You can also pass on a one-way street if you can pass it on the left.

Spending the night in the car

Spending the night in the car on public roads is sometimes allowed in Italy if it doesn't look like camping and doesn't inconvenience you.

Traffic light on red

At dangerous intersections you may encounter traffic lights that stay on red. You are only allowed to drive through them if the green light is on at the same time.

Who has priority?

Trams and line buses always have priority.

Traffic on the traffic circle has priority, unless there are no traffic signs on the roads leading to the traffic circle. In that case, traffic from the right has the right of way. This is not always clear to everyone, so be careful.

With a glass of wine behind the wheel?

In Italy, it is forbidden to drive a car if you have had alcohol and have had your driver's license for less than three years. For other drivers, there is a maximum limit of 0.5 grams per liter. On average this is about two glasses of beer/wine or whiskey.

Driving under the influence of narcotics is completely forbidden.

Smoking in the car

You can get a high fine if you smoke in the car while there is a pregnant woman or someone under 18 years old with you in the car.

How to rent a car in Sicily or Sardina, Italy

Parking

It is sometimes very unclear whether you can park somewhere or not. To avoid uncertainty and for convenience we advise you to park in a parking garage or paid parking zone. Parking against the direction of travel is prohibited except in a one-way street.

Is sounding the horn allowed?

An auditory signal may only be given in built-up areas if there is a risk of a collision.

Children as passengers

Children weighing less than 36 kg (79 lbs) or less than 59 inches (150 cm) may only be transported in a child seat or on a booster seat in the car.

Breakdown on the road

As a driver and passenger, you always wear a reflective safety vest in case of a breakdown on the road. And outside built-up areas, you place a warning triangle at 50 (164 ft) to 100 (328 ft) meters (on freeways) distance from the car.

Access ban

Driving a rental car in Italy you’ll see  these roadsigns

This sign indicates that only cars with an exemption are allowed to enter the area.

Renting a car in Italy and driving to France or Switzerland

The north of Italy lends itself very well for a road trip where you visit the neighboring countries. Border crossing to France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia is accepted by most rental companies.

In the north of Italy there are several beautiful cities such as Milan, Genoa, Turin, Venice and Bologna. The rental companies have offices at most airports in these cities, so your road trip can start right away.

When booking, please indicate immediately which countries you would like to visit so that the rental company can reserve a car suitable for you to cross borders.

Also, before you start planning your route, check if you can return the car to another country. Often this is not possible, and the drop-off location must be the same as the pick-up location, or at least in the same country.

Island hopping by rental car

Traveling by rental car from the mainland to Sardinia or Sicily or vice versa and leaving the car at that other location (=One-Way) is very expensive. This also applies if you want to go from island to island.

The costs can quickly add up to about €500 (604 USD)! So, if you do not plan to travel back to the pick-up location of the car, it is cheaper to rent another car at your next destination.

With a rental car you can make a wonderful tour in Italy

One-Way rentals in Italy

We've mentioned it before, one-way rental: you pick up the car at one location and drop it off at another location. In Italy, within the mainland or within one island this is possible with most rental companies. However, you need to make this request when booking and the costs are around €50 (60 USD) (for certain car models this can be as much as €150 (181 USD)).

Even renting a car in Italy and returning it in another European country or the other way around, is possible with some suppliers. These kinds of bookings are always on request. At that time, the rental company can also indicate what the extra costs will be.

Where to rent a car and at what cost?

Is renting a car in Italy a good idea?

Italy is one of the most favorite countries in Europe to explore with a car. It’s safe to drive and there just isn’t a better way to explore all the beautiful things this country has to offer.

At every airport you will find the offices of car rentals. Want to make sure a car of your choice is available? And do you think it's important that you don't under- or over-insure your rental car or sign an overly expensive rental agreement?

In Italy, in that case, it is advisable to book a car online and well before your vacation starts. Most major car rental companies rent cars in Italy. Which rental company you choose depends on what kind of car you want to rent and what kind of insurances you consider important.

For your convenience, we have researched various rental companies on points that are important to most people. On this page you will find the results of several rental companies in Italy.

What is the price of a rental car in Italy?

Ideally, you would like to rent a car in Italy at a cheap price. Of course, the cost of a rental car depends on what you want. It's nice to rent a cheap car, but often there are hidden costs, so you'll end up losing more money. Roadtripcar.com has conducted a broad research into the costs and conditions of car rental companies.

In our research, we compare rental cars that are fully insured and have zero excess. The rental period was 14 days, the rental location Milan. Please note: the list below is an estimate. During busy periods, the costs can be up to 55% higher. Also, another rental location can affect the price.

The cost, for a rental period of 14 days, of a rental car in Milan, Italy, with the cheapest rental company with all-inclusive insurance:

Tip

Pay Attention! The rents below are based on the period before the disruptions in the market. It is not yet possible to say whether the price level will recover in the coming period. Currently the prices are considerably higher than normal. Please take this into account when looking for a rental car.

  • €20 (24 USD) per day for a small car, such as a Toyota Aygo;
  • €35 (42 USD) per day for a medium sized car, such as an Alfa Romeo Giulietta;
  • €38 (45 USD) per day for a large car, such as a Fiat Tipo Combi;
  • €86 (104 USD) per day a luxury car, such as an Alfa Romeo Stelvio;

With a shorter rental period, the price per day will be higher than with a longer rental period. If you come across an offer that is very different from the above-mentioned prices, please be wary.

How to rent a car in Italy

Which rental companies can I contact?

Now that you're fully familiar with driving and renting a car in Italy, you'll probably want to tour Italy with the perfect rental car as soon as possible! At Roadtripcar.com we have made this a lot easier for you.

With our online tool you can compile an overview of rental companies where you can rent the car you want and need. Within minutes, you will have found the ideal rental company.

Planning to rent a car in Italy?

Use the Road Trip Car online platform to find car rental companies best suited for your trip.

start search
Reading time
9 minutes
Date
May 4, 2022

Best rental price?

Compare the available options

Full comparison

Find best insurance

Check out offer

Also good to read

Rent a car in Italy

From what age can you rent a car in Italy?

Want to rent a car in Italy but no credit card?

All about insurances of an Italian rental car

The best tips for renting a car in Italy

The best tips for car rental

What would you like to know more about?

When sending your message by clicking the button below, you agree with our privacy statement.

Up