Renting a car in Italy is an inexpensive pleasure, and almost any holder of an international driver’s license can rent a car, regardless of the existing driving experience.
However, when planning a trip to Italy in a rented car, it is worthwhile to familiarize yourself with the rules of travel around the country in advance to avoid unpleasant situations. Blogoitaliano carefully studied the issue of car rental in Italy and is ready to share all the useful information that may be useful when planning a trip.
The content of the article
1. Necessary documents for car rental
2. Prices for car rental in Italy
3. Refueling a car
4. Toll roads
5. Choosing a car
6. Rules of the road
7. Parking rules in Italian cities
8. Possible fines
9. 5 useful services for a trip in Italy
→ Rentalcars: car rental in Italy
→ Viamichelin: plan everything!
→ Prezzibenzina: gas prices in Italy
→ Autostrade: all about Italian Autobahns
→ Booking: the best hotel search engine
Documents required for car rental
To rent a car in Italy, you must have national rights with Latin transliteration; sometimes distributors may ask for an international driver’s license, but in most cases this is not necessary.
It is also worthwhile to be prepared that some rental companies take credit card information and block a certain amount in the account as collateral. This money is unlocked at the end of the rental period if the car is returned without damage. So it is better not to break the rules of the road in Italy.
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Prices for car rental in Italy
The Apennines are considered one of the most interesting regions for car rental in the world, and the competition between car dealers is one of the most intense. As a result, car rental prices in Italy “do not bite,” and with some planning, you can get a car cheaply.
On average, prices start from 10 Euro per day for the simplest models for long periods. At the same time, a long period is considered a rental period of more than a week. The shorter the rental period, the more expensive the car will be.
You also need to consider seasonality. Traditionally, in spring, early autumn and during the Christmas season, the demand for cars increases and prices tend to rise.
If you are planning a trip to the islands of Sicily or Sardinia, then this is the peak of the season and, accordingly, prices fall between May and the end of September. During these periods, the choice of affordable cars may be reduced.
Car rental prices in Italy do not bite
Usually, the price of a car rental in Italy already includes: unlimited mileage, the simplest insurance against theft and accident (with a deductible) and local VAT. But these are just those moments where you should be extremely careful, since car rentals can very much create the basis for hidden payments here.
For example, daily mileage can be limited, insurance - only within the bounds required by law, etc. Additional fees may apply for adding another driver to the rental agreement or for renting the car at a point other than the point of receipt.
All these tricks of car rental eventually created the basis for the rapid growth in Italy of price comparison services. Their main function is to bring all conditions “to a single denominator”, so that it is easier to compare the same machines at different points. About one of these services - Rentalcars - we will talk in more detail below.
Before you rent a car in Italy, calculate your travel budget correctly
Refilling the car
You can refuel a rented car in Italy with unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel. Diesel cars cost a little more, but the fuel itself is cheaper than gasoline.
It is worth remembering that Italy has very expensive gasoline. Be sure to consider the cost of fuel when planning your travel budget.
The useful service prezzibenzina.it will help you find gas stations with the cheapest fuel. Read more about it below.
Gasoline is more expensive in Italy than in Russia
Unfortunately, you can’t buy gasoline at any time of the day or night. Round-the-clock gas stations are only on the freeways. Outback gas stations can be closed at night and at weekends.
Small roadside refueling stations may sometimes not accept foreign payment cards. Always have cash on hand to pay for fuel.
In the budget of a trip on a rented car in Italy, it is necessary to include the cost of travel on motorways.
As in other European countries, Italy has many toll roads, and the fare on them can be quite high. At the entrance to the paid site, you must drive up to the machine and take a ticket indicating the place and time of entry. When leaving the paid site - pay for the fare. Blogoitaliano has already written more about motorway traffic here.
Special payment is also provided when traveling through tunnels.
Map of Italian Autobahns
Choosing a car
Traditionally, Italian car rental has a very wide selection of local cars. As a rule, this is especially true for budget models.
But this is just the case when you can pamper yourself by renting a colorful Italian car. For example, Fiat 500 or Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
In order to make driving in a rented car in Italy as comfortable as possible, you must strictly follow the established rules of the road.
- Traffic on the roads of Italy is right-hand, it is customary to leave the left lane free for overtaking, turning or turning left.
- High-speed mode: within the village - 50 km / h, on suburban roads - 90, on the highway - 110, on the Italian freeways - 130.
- Moving along the roads of Italy in the daytime is only possible with the dipped headlights on, but fog lights can only be used if necessary.
- It is strictly forbidden to use a mobile phone while driving without a “hands free” system connected.
- Entry into restricted traffic areas is prohibited without special permission. Typically, such zones are found in the center of large cities. If your hotel is in such a zone, you can safely go, just inform the hotel in advance your car number.
- The driver and all passengers in the car must be wearing seat belts.
- Children under three years of age are transported in a special child seat, which should be additionally ordered when renting a car in Italy. Children from 3 to 12 years old must use a booster or child seat, which must be installed in the back seat. When the child’s height reaches 150 cm, it can be transported using standard safety belts.
- Do not drink alcohol while driving. The permissible blood alcohol level in Italy is only 0.5 ppm. This norm is set for drivers over 21 years of age with a driving experience of 3 years. Beginners on the road for a minimum dose of alcohol in the blood are immediately punished by a fine.
To understand the allowable rate of alcohol, we give an example: 0.5 ppm is about 2 bottles of beer of 0.5 liters with a strength of 5% for a man weighing 80 kg.
Parking Rules in Italian Cities
With parking in Italy, the situation is the same as everywhere else - they are sorely lacking, especially in large cities. Of course, shopping centers, attractions, administrative buildings, have ample parking, but leaving a car somewhere on the street is quite problematic.
Pay attention to the color of the markings in the parking lot
Be sure to pay attention to the color of the markings in the parking lot:
- White lines indicate free parking spaces. Often, free parking is limited - information on this can be found on the corresponding index. To fix the parking time, you will need a parking disk - it sets the parking time, from which the countdown goes.
- Blue lines indicate paid parking. Payment is made in the machine or at the nearest kiosk. The cost of a paid parking space ranges from 1 to 3 euros, depending on the location and time of day. Be sure to stock up on small coins. Automatic machines do not give change! The parking ticket, which indicates the start time of the parking lot, is fixed on the windshield of the car.
- Yellow lines indicate parking lots for cars of privileged categories of the population.
- Green - parking places that can be used only on weekdays from 16:00 to 9:30.
- Black and yellow markings mean that parking at this place is strictly prohibited.
Violation of the rules described above, including parking rules, is punishable by impressive fines. All penalties will be automatically debited from your credit card, the details of which are available at the car rental company. Payment for the violation can be made on the spot to a police officer. For non-payment of a fine, they may be refused in the future when applying for a Schengen visa.
The police in Italy are empowered to fine traffic violators on the spot
Here are just a few possible penalties:
- reverse motorway - 390 EUR
- violation of the rules for overtaking 80-323 EUR
- speeding - from 41 EUR and depends on the degree of speeding
- use of the phone while driving - 160-646 EUR
- Entrance to the restricted traffic area - up to 100 EUR
- non-use of seat belts - 80-323 EUR
- parking violation 35-90 EUR
- violation of the rules for the transportation of children 80-323 EUR
- drivers who drive while intoxicated are particularly severely punished - such violators may face not only a substantial fine (up to 6000 EUR), but, in some cases, imprisonment.
At first it seems that renting a car in Italy is something incredibly complicated and can cost a fortune. However, it is not. Follow all the rules, take into account the peculiarities of the road, and then traveling around Italy with a rented car will become truly unforgettable.
5 useful services for a trip in Italy
Rentalcars: car rental in Italy
Rentalcars.com is a popular European car rental price comparison service. It is indispensable when planning a car rental anywhere in the world, because it allows you to compare the conditions in numerous car rentals in a few seconds and find the best price-package ratio. As of the fall of 2016, Rentalcars database contains up-to-date data from 800 car rental companies at 49,000 rental locations.
By the way, Rentalcars.com is part of the same holding as the famous hotel search engine - Booking.com, which already speaks of quality and a wide selection. Also, it should be noted that with a preliminary reservation, the cost of car rental is 15-20% lower than when renting on the spot, and the choice of vehicles at Rentalcars is much greater.
The process of renting a car in Italy is simple: it is only important to enter the correct information on the places where you receive and return the car, the date of arrival, the duration of the rental, as well as information about the driver.
If necessary, you can easily manage your reservation through your account in the service, including canceling it if the plans have changed. Therefore, even making a reservation, you do not risk anything. Another plus is the excellent Russian version of the site.
Viamichelin: plan everything!
This incredibly convenient service, created by Michelin, a well-known manufacturer of car tires, allows you to plan a trip in Europe and, in particular, in Italy, taking into account all the possible nuances of the trip. The service is useful both for tourists traveling by their own car, and for those who plan to rent a car in any of the regions of Italy.
Use Viamichelin to get directions
Using Viamichelin, you can create the optimal route for the upcoming trip, taking into account the distance between points, the route’s travel time, local gas prices and toll roads, maps of gas stations and parking lots, current traffic and weather, and many other useful things for a motorist.
In order to make the calculation as accurate as possible, you must enter data on the departure and arrival points, preferably with the indication of intermediate points, as well as full information about the car in a special form that you will find on the website. The system will calculate everything else online.
The planned route can be exported to the navigator or mobile device, and the text version can be printed. Perhaps the only drawback of the Michelin service is the lack of a Russian-language version.
Prezzibenzina: Italy gasoline prices
The Prezzibenzina website will be useful for tourists who want to clearly plan their gasoline budget - here you can find fuel prices in all regions of Italy. The relevance of prices is not in doubt, since the information is constantly updated.
It does not matter if you plan to go on a trip by your own car or are preparing to rent a car, prezzibenzina.it will help to significantly reduce gas costs, which often make up the lion's share of all expenses. Having studied the prices at gas stations of various companies, you can plan a route so that you can only refuel at those that offer the best prices.
Autostrade: All About Italian Autobahns
Autostrade.it is the official website of Italian freeways (available in both Italian and English). For car travelers, this service will be useful by having a special map of the Italian motorway network indicating the current traffic situation (traffic jams, road repairs, bad weather conditions), as well as maps of the location of gas stations, recreation areas, cafes, etc.
Here you can also plan the most optimal route and calculate the fare to plan your budget in advance.
Booking: the best hotel search engine
When planning a trip do not forget about the hotel.
Created back in 1996, the Booking.com platform is one of the most popular and widespread online hotel reservation systems in the world (especially in Europe).
Description of accommodation options, numerous photos and a single booking interface are abundantly supplemented by reviews of real travelers, on which the rating of hotels in the system is based. In general, if you have not tried Booking, you should definitely fix this defect and rent a car in Italy - perhaps the best reason to do this.