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affordable rental car locations.

Hi! I keep seeing posts about car rentals being affordable in Italy but when I'm looking into rentals for my trip they are close to $100 per day. Looking at renting in Venice and returning in cinque terre area, or renting in Venice and returning in Rome. Could also consider renting in cinque terre and returning in Rome or even renting in Venice and returning in Florence but everything I look at seems quite expensive.

I was hoping to travel from Venice to CT then down through Tuscany to Rome (why there are so many options). I'm flexible on using trains instead but would like to stay in counteyside in Tuscany hense the car.

Trip is in September, we can drive manual and looking at most affordable option. Am I using the wrong site? Are there certain locations that are cheaper to rent from than others? Airport vs small town etc? Thanks!

Posted by
6673 posts

$100 a day is about the average and about what we paid last rental in Italy 2022 ( when most rentals were a lot more than that-post pandemic)
That includes full insurance-no deductible for an automatic

We rented in Switzerland last year and that was about $100 a day
Our rentals in the US in 2022, 2023 were all in the $100 range (California)

Pickups at airport locations will usually cost a bit more

For your plans you really only need the car in Tuscany
Pick it up in La Spezia-return in Florence or Rome or a good small town option for return is Chiusi
-and use the very efficient train service for the rest
You’ll eliminate some days/cost, tolls, parking and gas costs plus the headache of having the car where it’s not needed.

We always book our cars thru Auto
I’ve been getting daily emails from them -must be a big sale going on though I dont know the qualifying dates of rental

Posted by
8872 posts

What site are you looking at?

What rental agencies do you rent from in the states?

What rental cost do you consider reasonable?

Where in Tuscany? It’s a large area?

Train travel in Italy is easy. Don’t forget to pay for insurance. Many roads are tiny. Some cobblestones.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks Claudia! I saw posts saying you could rent for $20 a day. I rent with Avis at home usually for around $40-50 a day so I expected similar. Sounds like that's outdated. I haven't exactly figured out where we are going to stay. I just know we will be in Venice then Rome and trying to figure out what to do in between and would love to go to CT and also experience some countryside and vineyards.

Thank you!

Posted by
4298 posts

I can't be useful by an experience in Italy, however I've noticed in the past couple of years, whether it's the US or France where I have rented, that $100/ day is the new normal. It also didn't seem to matter anymore whether it was a airport pickup or other location. What did matter was the availability of cars and hours the location was open. Airports seem to be the most reliable.

Posted by
8872 posts

OP word of caution….never expect anything to be the same when exploring other countries. Simple reality.

After 50+ years of traveling I’ve enjoyed experiencing the differences from an American way of life. Animals and children in English pubs. Unisex restrooms in Amsterdam. The lack of ice in soft drinks. Mercedes Benzes as taxi cabs in Munich. Lovely and large public parks. Pull chain toilets. Great train systems…

I recall my first visit to Windsor in the 70’s. Trained from London and was upset to see a Pizza Hut as we walked up to the castle.

Posted by
16894 posts

You do not want a car in Venice, Rome, or Cinque Terre, And driving the distance between those locations is not pleasant, in our opinion. We have rented cars in Italy for the Dolomites, for visiting small towns in the Veneto, and for a short time around Siena to reach our agriturismo. The limited time we have spent on the autostrada was most unpleasant—you are in a small car (Fiat Panda in our case) with large trucks whizzing past.

If you want to poke around the back roads of Tuscany that is fine; just rent your car in Florence or other town and return it before continuing on to Cinque Terre. For our agriturismo near Siena, we rented in Lucca and returned at Pisa before taking the train to Cinque Terre.

This price is what it is. Anyone who says they rented for $20 a day is probably neglecting to include all the add-ons for insurance, etc.

Posted by
6095 posts

Have you tried Autoeurope? I am renting out of Bolzano and returning to the Venice train Station and my quote is $360 for 7 days. I believe the agency is Avis this time. Some people think that credit card insurance is not applicable to Italy. That is not necessarily the case. My Delta AMEX will not cover Italy (and Australia and New Zealand) but my AAA Visa does. I typically rent my car when I start planning the trip, perhaps about 4 months in advance. With Autoeurope, I check frequently for declining rates and rebook for savings when rates go down.

I should say we pretty much always will take the least expensive car available and almost always manual transmission..

We typically will take a train to a smaller city and pick up a car there, usually they are by the train station. We've always picked up at a city location, never an airport though we returned to CDG once which went amazingly well.

Posted by
453 posts

Just did a search on Auto Europe PU Venice Drop Rome 7 days inJuly 8-15. $235 economy manual Europecar. You've got a lot of time before Sept to shop around.

Posted by
15482 posts

Every year, including this year, I use or (same company now after the merger, so prices might be similar). It’s a consolidator company born in Germany but now based in Maine which works with major rental companies. For my current June to July rental I’m paying $956 for a 20 day rental (the AutoEurope rental deal is with Hertz). The car is a Opel Mokka (compact SUV/crossover similar to Toyota RAV4, last year I had a Jeep Compass in the same category). The deal includes NO DEDUCTIBLE insurance coverage, which I always get since deductibles are generally €1,000. So in my case it’s about $50/day all inclusive. Note that if I picked up the car on July 1 or later the price would have jumped over 50% above what I’m paying. August even more. In your case in September I don’t know. Therefore a lot depends on when you pick up and where (airport pick ups, like my case, is generally at least $40 more a week than a city pick up). Give it a try for your dates but limit your rental to places where you need, such as Tuscan countryside or Dolomites, or similar rural settings. You don’t need cars for big cities or to move between big cities. For those use trains and public transit.

Posted by
18 posts

I would agree that you don't need to rent a car to get to all those locations. I rented one in Florence for a day to go do a truffle hunt experience. And I've rented one for a few days when not staying in Florence. So you might be better off just renting for the time you need to travel through Tuscany. But I saw you mentioned vineyards and I want to caution you on drinking and driving over there (not saying even being drunk but they have different limits there so be careful)!! So it might be worth hiring a car service to pick you up in Florence or Siena or wherever you're staying and take you to different wineries. That way you can just enjoy!! And for this trip or the future, I've found a little, slightly inconvenient, work around for the current expensive car rental situation. Italy has some of the most expensive car rental rates (for several reasons). I usually get one for an extended period so it's really pricey. I actually found it cheaper to fly in Ljubljana, Slovenia and rent a car there and then drive into Italy with it...even with the drop off fee it can be cheaper than a just Italy rental (or you can return it back to avoid that fee). For reference, Ljubljana is about a 3 hour drive to Venice (where you would need to pay to park the car while you're there if you're staying on the islands). Have a great trip!!