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Advice on car rental from Rome to Val d'Orcia

Hi everyone. The trip planning is coming along great. Just needing some advice on car rentals and drop off. My wife and I will be spending a few days in Rome and then travelling to an agriturismo near San Quirico d'Orcia and we will be renting a car to travel around the Val d'Orcia.

Which would be the best way to go about this? Rent a car from Rome and drive up there? If so, where should I rent it from in Rome so I don't have to drive too much in the city and can hit the A1 quickly?

The other option is to take a train to Chiusi and rent from there, or rent from Siena and drive down the scenic route?

Also, any ideas if EuropCar accepts debit Mastercards that are not issued in the EU?

Lastly, if I wish to drop off the car at Florence, which is our next destination, the Borgo Ognissanti area is a bit tricky I have read, in terms of ZTL. Also read previously on this forum about some changes to the directions of traffic around there, but I can't find the post now. I believe it was by Roberto. Can anyone advise on the latest changes? Thank you very much.

Posted by
4343 posts

Don't use Europcar. They ripped me off on our recent British car tour.

Make sure you have a GPS or cellphone with google maps. Europcar will say that the car you reserved for a great rate doesn't include a GPS and the GPS will cost almost as much per day as you pay for the car, forcing you to take a costly vehicle is you want a GPS.

Posted by
4024 posts

Don't use Europcar. They ripped me off on our recent British car tour. Make sure you have a GPS or cellphone with google maps. Europcar will say that the car you reserved for a great rate doesn't include a GPS and the GPS will cost almost as much per day as you pay for the car, forcing you to take a costly vehicle is you want a GPS.

Every rental agency is the same, the GPS rip off is not confined to Europcar.

For the most part new cars are coming equipped with built in sat nav. I've had everything from a Mercedes ML350 down to a Renault Clio and they've all come equipped with built in sat nav. Of course the rental agency won't tell you this as they want you to rent a separate unit at an extortionate rate. Some unscrupulous agencies such as Hertz at Palma airport will remove the SD card containing the maps if they can, they will then charge you to have them back!

Posted by
43 posts

Thank you for the heads-up. I don't plan to rent a GPS from the rental agency. I'll probably be relying on apps like Google Maps and Waze.

I've seen AutoEurope being recommended many times on this forum, but have also come across threads like this elsewhere : https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/ShowTopic-g1-i12334-k5758007-o80-Beware_Auto_Europe_car_rental-Holiday_Travel.html

To be honest, this is a bit of a concern. Am I missing something here or are the bad experiences actually avoidable, as I've read many good reviews as well. Also, I'm not sure if the zero excess package given by AutoEurope is by them or the rental agencies like Europcar or Hertz themselves? I have realised the AutoEurope.com site and AutoEurope.co.uk site has different excess programs. The US one says "No deductible with extended cover" and the UK one says "Refundable excess program with super cover". In this case, I'm taking this to mean that in UK, you have to pay the excess, and then get a refund from AutoEurope, whereas in the US one, the insurance is provided by the rental agency themselves, so we get a zero excess.

Hope someone can shed some light on this.

Posted by
287 posts

I rented through AutoEurope last summer, picking up a Hertz car near Tiburtina train station, and then headed for Montepulciano; returned the car a few days later in Siena. It was a smooth process and I'd do the same thing again in a heartbeat.

I'm not sure if it was AutoEurope or Hertz who provided the zero-deductible insurance, but I'm thinking it was Hertz.

Posted by
43 posts

I rented through AutoEurope last summer, picking up a Hertz car near Tiburtina train station, and then headed for Montepulciano; returned the car a few days later in Siena. It was a smooth process and I'd do the same thing again in a heartbeat. I'm not sure if it was AutoEurope or Hertz who provided the zero-deductible insurance, but I'm thinking it was Hertz.

Thanks Melissa! That seems to be somewhat the exact journey I'm planning. Is renting from Tiburtina much easier than, say, Via Veneto? How easy was it to follow the roads out to the highway? Would you suggest that I forget about renting from the other towns like Chiusi and just rent from Rome?

Posted by
2903 posts

We once picked up a car in Rome. The agent gave us very clear instructions for getting onto the A1. It was very straightforward and took 10 to 15 minutes. Taking a train to Chiusi will waste a lot of your time.
I often return cars to airports, because it’s usually clearer where to go and how to get there. However, I have never done so for Florence. If Roberto doesn’t chime in soon, why don’t you send him a pm, asking about the Borgo Ognissanti return?

Posted by
1700 posts

The negative reviews often read like the one above.
Someone clearly upset but about what? That they charged for GPS??? Every rental company charges for GPS ; some times you may get lucky and without paying for it the car you get has a working GPS installed but consider that your lucky day not your expectation. Maybe there is more to it than that and the poster has a legit issue but it is too hard to tell based on what was written.

Would feel much more comfortable in your shoes if you were using a credit card not a debit MasterCard.
I am not sure if they will accept that or not, maybe if you buy there max insurance or they put a larger enough hold on your card. Better to use a credit card and not worry about it.

Borgo Ognissanti is where the rental offices are but fairly certain the drop off for these locations is on a different street (so you can avoid entering a ZTL). If you are willing to take some risk you can try it I would just make sure to get exact instructions from the agency of how to get there and follow them to a T. Otherwise find another place to drop it off ; airport or otherwise.
I found it easy to rent from this location and drive out but I believe it will be harder to drop off.

Posted by
11983 posts
  1. Go to the rental car websites and pick the one that is most to your liking. Tuscany is north of Rome, so you may want places that aren’t on the opposite side. These are the two companies I use the most in Italy. Europcar: https://www.europcar.com/station-finder Hertz: https://www.hertz.com/p/car-rental/italy/rome The Tiburtina station rental offices are easy because from there you can take the circonvallazione Tiburtina to the A24 Tangenziale going East. Then at the junction with the GRA, you simply follow directions to FIRENZE (Florence) to head north to the A1.
  2. You can take the train to Chiusi if you want, but I consider that a extra hassle because first you need a taxi from your Rome hotel to the station, then the train to Chiusi, lastly you walk to the rental in Chiusi, which is a small office, therefore if you have special requests (like auto transmission) you may not get it. If you rent in Rome, all you need is a taxi from your hotel to the rental office.
  3. If your card works, it will be accepted. Country of issuance doesn't mean much. Mastercard is a global network.
  4. First find the car on AutoEurope, then, depending which one you select (Hertz? Europcar?Avis-Budget?) we will talk about return. For now in the AutoEurope website select Borgo Ognissanti location, then you can change your mind on the fly. There is no extra charge if you decide to return it at the airport or any other location.
Posted by
43 posts

Thanks everyone for the extremely helpful replies! I hear you about renting from Rome itself and not heading out anywhere. That was what I had in mind as well to save the hassle of the transfer between from hotel to train to rental agency, but I was a bit concerned about driving out of Rome. Now that is one less worry.

These are the two companies I use the most in Italy. Europcar: https://www.europcar.com/station-finder Hertz: https://www.hertz.com/p/car-rental/italy/rome

Thanks for the reply Roberto. Do you book direct with them or through AutoEurope? I believe I have read you saying you used AE. Given your experience with them, what can you advise me on the difference between the US and UK sites, like I mentioned above? And are my worries on using them unfounded?

Would feel much more comfortable in your shoes if you were using a credit card not a debit MasterCard.
I am not sure if they will accept that or not, maybe if you buy there max insurance or they put a larger enough hold on your card. Better to use a credit card and not worry about it.

If your card works, it will be accepted. Country of issuance doesn't mean much. Mastercard is a global network.

I have checked with Europcar directly on their chat box about using debit cards, and they claim they accept them. And on the matter of buying their max insurance, I wonder if they tend to be biased towards booking directly with them rather than through a consolidator like AE, as the charges are more expensive booking direct. For example, for the same model of car, I find there is a difference of around 200 Euro. Given that, would they tend to find more problems with the car/any other issues when going through AE, as compared to directly with them?

Posted by
11983 posts

I used to rent directly from the rental companies but since I discovered AutoEurope and their affiliate kemwel I use those consolidators for Europe. Better pricing with those consolidators especially once you include zero deductible insurance. Also less hassle.
I always select the zero deductible option in the AutoEurope website. They acknowledge that at the agency when I pickup and they don't try to upsell anything more. They don't even care to check scratches when I return.
When you go to AutoEurope you will notice that when you select the zero ded option it is available only on their Europcar or Hertz cars. That is why I end up using only those 2.

Posted by
43 posts

I used to rent directly from the rental companies but since I discovered AutoEurope and their affiliate kemwel I use those consolidators for Europe. Better pricing with those consolidators especially once you include zero deductible insurance. Also less hassle.
I always select the zero deductible option in the AutoEurope website. They acknowledge that at the agency when I pickup and they don't try to upsell anything more. They don't even care to check scratches when I return.
When you go to AutoEurope you will notice that when you select the zero ded option it is available only on their Europcar or Hertz cars. That is why I end up using only those 2.

Yes I have noticed that mostly Hertz and Europcar have the zero ded option. Oh it is surprising to know that they don't check, as I was thinking they would really try to find something to make you pay. Have you rented from Rome, and if so which branch? And which one is it that you return to and they don't really check? Might want to use that one haha.

There seems to be something funny on AE. If I choose Rome all locations I can't find any choice for Tiburtina. However, if I choose Tiburtina in particular, they show me Tiburtina as well as Termini. By the way, I take it you use the US site all the time? As I have heard that the rates might be cheaper on the other sites, however with the lack of a zero deductible on those sites I might as well go with the US one.

Posted by
11182 posts

If you are interested in AutoEurope, do look at Kemwel as well. As Roberto says, they are now under one corporate umbrella, but they don't necessarily have the same prices. I now know of three people who were able get a MUCH better rate with Kemwel, but of course these things are a moving target, so you have to shop around.

Posted by
1025 posts

Zero deductible directly through Europcar is expensive, through Hertz it is ridiculously expensive. Use AutoEurope. Note, some zero deductibles do not include tires, windshields or roof damage, but that should be explained when ordering.

I am not clear on what the GPS rip-off issue is. If a person is handed a vehicle with a GPS, without requesting one, that person cannot be charged for it - unless he or she inadvertently signs for it at the desk?? In the early days of the GPS, I was twice handed cars which included a GPS - I did not order the option and was not charged either time. (The first time I was so unschooled in the technology that I was afraid to turn it on, in case a fee was applied for each use). Since then I always order one through AutoEurope.ca, just in case: a GPS is a godsend, even Ned Ludd would have appreciated one. Last year it was 60 (maybe 80?) euros for 23 days, Europcar through AutoEurope (Frankfurt). Each dealer will have a diifferent rate.

Posted by
2523 posts

The link to someone’s original dissatisfaction with AutoEurope is far from current; it began in September of 2012. My last two rentals in Italy - 2016, 2017 - were Europcar through AutoEurope both with $0 deductible. The cost was substantially less than going directly with Europcar. I’ve used them in Germany, France, Spain and Portugal and never had a problem. I’ve already booked two rentals in Italy with them for my trip this autumn. Both are with Hertz, $0 deductible and cheaper going with AutoEurope than Hertz.

Posted by
43 posts

If you are interested in AutoEurope, do look at Kemwel as well. As Roberto says, they are now under one corporate umbrella, but they don't necessarily have the same prices. I now know of three people who were able get a MUCH better rate with Kemwel, but of course these things are a moving target, so you have to shop around.

I shall look at Kemwel as well, thank you!

Zero deductible directly through Europcar is expensive, through Hertz it is ridiculously expensive. Use AutoEurope. Note, some zero deductibles do not include tires, windshields or roof damage, but that should be explained when ordering.

Exactly, it is way more expensive going direct. The zero deductible does cover those things, which is great.

Last year it was 60 (maybe 80?) euros for 23 days, Europcar through AutoEurope (Frankfurt). Each dealer will have a diifferent rate.

Wow that is some rate. Did you get it during a sale or something?

The link to someone’s original dissatisfaction with AutoEurope is far from current; it began in September of 2012. My last two rentals in Italy - 2016, 2017 - were Europcar through AutoEurope both with $0 deductible. The cost was substantially less than going directly with Europcar. I’ve used them in Germany, France, Spain and Portugal and never had a problem. I’ve already booked two rentals in Italy with them for my trip this autumn. Both are with Hertz, $0 deductible and cheaper going with AutoEurope than Hertz.

Yes I agree with you that it started long ago. However, there have been posts all the way from then till as recent as this month, which is what made me worried. It's good to hear positive experience such as yours and others. One thing I would like to know is if there was actually any damage to the cars after you used them, and how they handled it. Was it waived off, or did you have to otherwise prove that it wasn't your fault etc? Did you also experience that they were not as strict in their checks of the car since you had the $0 deductible.

One other thing is that I have been going through the terms and conditions of rental, and there is a clause that makes me a bit uneasy. It's stated that the insurance is void if you drive on unpaved roads. However, in rural Tuscany I am bound to come across a fair share of unpaved roads. How do I get around this? And also, when I collect the car I understand I should take as many photos as possible. How I get a picture of the undercarriage? As far as I can tell, the package doesn't cover undercarriage damage, and I don't want them to later say it was damaged by me.

Posted by
1025 posts

"Last year it was 60 (maybe 80?) euros for 23 days, Europcar through AutoEurope (Frankfurt). Each dealer will have a diifferent rate.

Wow that is some rate. Did you get it during a sale or something?"

Just checked for this year, same price for the GPS in Frankfurt - 8 euros per day, 60 euros maximum. Rome will no doubt be more expensive.

Posted by
43 posts

My apologies. I didn't realise you were referring to the rental of the GPS and I was thinking it was for the rental of the car.

I have done my booking with AutoEurope with zero deductible with extended cover, and dropping it off at Borgo Ognissanti. The office closes at 1230 since it is a Sunday. Does the ZTL apply on a Sunday? And hope someone can chip in to help with my other questions above. "Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) including damage to wheels, glass, underside and roof of vehicle with zero deductible" is included in the coverage and that's good to know.

Posted by
181 posts

We rented a house in San Quirico in 2015. You will enjoy the town and the area. It's a good location to explore the area. We picked up a car at the Rome airport and drove to San Quirico. I scoped put the drive before hand so I was familiar with the drive but I used the GPS in the car. It's an easy drive. You will enjoy Tuscany.

Posted by
43 posts

No ZTL on Sunday. It’s open.

Oh that is great! That means I don't have to worry about driving into Florence and returning the car at all. I can just drive into the city without having to worry and look out for the ZTL.

We rented a house in San Quirico in 2015. You will enjoy the town and the area. It's a good location to explore the area. We picked up a car at the Rome airport and drove to San Quirico. I scoped put the drive before hand so I was familiar with the drive but I used the GPS in the car. It's an easy drive. You will enjoy Tuscany.

Thanks for that! I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by
43 posts

Hi everyone. I've just realised that even though ZTL is not active on a Sunday in Florence, I have to contend with the bus/reserved lane. Is there only one on Via Senese going towards the city centre, or are there more I have to take note of when returning the car? Any tips or directions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Posted by
43 posts

It they are still in use, use Porta Romana or Piazza Michelangelo on this map and walk into town.

https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-maps/parking-lots-in-florence.html

Thanks for the info Gundersen, but I think you might have misunderstood. I'm not planning on parking the car in Florence. I wish to return the car to Europcar at Borgo Ognissanti (or is it at Garage Excelsior?) after Val d'Orcia. Heading north into Florence, there is a bus lane on Via Senese that I have to be careful of. I'm wondering if there are any other bus lanes on that route, or is there an alternative route where I don't have to worry about any bus lanes?

Posted by
1025 posts

Ah, I read your last 2 posts but not the one previous regarding the drop-off. With that I cannot help unfortunately.

Posted by
2822 posts

Roma Tiburtina is an easy pick-up location. It takes just couple turns on wide straight streets to get into the expressway out of town, no cramped streets, no confusing semi-pedestrianized areas.

Posted by
43 posts

Roma Tiburtina is an easy pick-up location. It takes just couple turns on wide straight streets to get into the expressway out of town, no cramped streets, no confusing semi-pedestrianized areas.

I have booked through AutoEurope with Europcar, and picking up at Via Sardegna. I shall definitely keep your suggestion in mind as well, and maybe I might change it. Thank you.

I hope someone can please help me with my question about the bus lanes. Dear Roberto could you please help?