car rental

Looking to rent a car for about a week or so to tour tuscany and the assisi areas any suggestions

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17783 posts

Kid, You'll also need the compulsory International Driver's Permit for driving in Italy. This is used in conjunction with your home D.L., so you'll need to take that as well. IDP's are easily obtained for a reasonable cost at any AAA office. Failure to produce an IDP if requested may result in fines on the spot! You will need to be somewhat aware of the Zona Traffico Limitato zones. Florence seems to have more of these than other places in Italy, but these exist in other cities as well, including Rome. In many smaller cities, the only warning is a sign at the entrance to the ZTL area, and those can be easy to miss (not all of them have lights). Some only apply during specific hours, and unless you're able to read Italian quickly as you're driving past, you could inadvertently enter the area. THIS website provides a few examples of what to look for. Happy travels!

Posted by Karen
Atlanta
800 posts

We like using AutoEurope - a rental car consolidator. They are easy to use both online or on the phone.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3349 posts

You should try the various travel search engines (Kayak, Orbitz, Expedia, et al.) and see where you can find the best option. Also try the individual car rental websites. Most major US car rental companies operate in Europe either independently (Avis/Budget, Hertz) or through affiliate companies (Alamo/National for example is affiliate of Maggiore Car Rental in Italy). If you are interested in touring Tuscany, maybe an option would be to go to Florence by train (or fly to Florence directly) and rent in Florence. But, if you fly to Rome, you may want to consider visiting Rome for the first few days and at the end of the city visit (you don't need a car while in Rome) you could rent a car from a downtown location and head North to Tuscany and Umbria (Assisi). Consider that unlike the US, renting from a downtown office is almost certainly cheaper than renting from the airport. Airport fees in Italy are a true extortion.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

Simple. Use kayak.com. Uncheck any boxes except carrentals.com. Pick the cheapest that suits your needs. Pay the cdw since your credit card won't cover the insurance. Disbelieve any of the dire warnings about ZTLs. Unless you're blind, you can spot and avoid them. Do so. Disbleive any of the dire warnings about not picking up a car in Florence due to ZTLs. Get it from near the train station as you leave and you have a clear escape route. Roberto is the only one that seems to agree with me on this - - but, since he's the expert (and he agrees with me) he's bound to be right.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3349 posts

That's right Ed. I'm also originally from Florence where I grew up therefore I know that city like the back of my hand. Nearly all car rental offices in Florence city center are in the same spot: the intersection of via Borgognissanti and via Finiguerra (in either street). Both streets are outside the ZTL. Just go west on via Borgognissanti and you'll be fine (check Google maps to become familiar with the area, if you intend to rent in Florence). At the entrance of the ZTL entry point (during the hours in which is in effect) there is a permanent bright red light brighter than a street light. If it's not green don't go through it or a camera will take a picture of your car and send you (your car rental company) a hefty fine that will end up in your credit card.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5770 posts

Dont' confuse Autoeurope.com with autoeuropa.com. They're two different companies. The first one gets great reviews. The second one gets terrible reviews.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1972 posts

We had good service @ AutoEurope.com in April on a Ford Fiesta. In Florence, you'll pick the car up at a Hertz locationat a cheaper price. Our only problem was when a radar with a camera caught me speeding on the causeway going into Veniceand charged Hertz later for a ticket. We found Tuscany easy to drive in, even without a good map or GPS. Their roundabouts have good signage, and we just rambled around. Even at $9.50 per U.S. gallon, Tuscany is worth it since the cars get almost 50 mpg.

Posted by Tom
Chicago
2876 posts

@David - if you get a charge from Hertz related to a traffic offense, that charge isn't your fine. That is Hertz's fee for providing the traffic authorities with your identifying information. You'll get your ticket in the mail directly from the Italian authorities, and it may not come until next spring.