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GPS in Italy

We will be renting a car in Italy for a week in Tuscany/Umbria and wondered what experience folks have had with GPS units brought from home: which kind is best, etc. (Seems like it will be cheaper to buy one here rather than utilize the one offered by AutoEurope). Thanks for your help!

Posted by
9110 posts

Yep. I tote mine everywhere and it's a good four or five years old without any map updates. Works just fine since they really don't move roads around that much.

Posted by
1449 posts

Absolutely a good idea! Would never rent a car again without bringing one. Make sure the unit can download a European map; some have the US map installed and it can't be changed. Don't pay too much extra for a unit that speaks the directions; with 2 people in the car one can watch the unit so we never found speaking units necessary. Also bring a good map of the region so that you can plan places to go; its hard to see the towns on the tiny screen of a GPS. What we did is say "X sounds interesting and we're near it; lets go take a look" and then use the GPS to get us there.

Posted by
32265 posts

Elizabeth,

I agree with the others, take a GPS from home. I've been using a Garmin Nüvi for the last few years, and it's been a big help in some cases. However, be sure to also take a good Map for "backup", as GPS units are NOT infallible!

One other point to note regarding driving in Italy is that EACH Driver will require the compulsory International Driver's Permit. These are easily and inexpensively obtained at any AAA office (Passport-style photos required). Drivers can be fined on the spot for failure to produce an I.D.P.!

Also, you may want to read some of the past notes here regarding the dreaded "ZTL zones" which are especially prevalent in Florence but also in other cities as well.

Cheers!

Posted by
10401 posts

I recommend bringing one from home that you already know how to use. I also recommend getting one that speaks the street names instead of just saying something like "left turn in half a mile." Even with two people in the car there is no guarantee that the non-driver is a good navigator. I am usually the driver and my dear husband is supposed to be the navigator, but frankly he is not a very good one. I constantly either have to look down at the GPS myself or ask him to tell me the street I am looking for. The portable GPS I have was purchased by my employer, so I can't complain. If I ever buy one it will speak street names!

Have a great time in Italy!!!

Posted by
32265 posts

One point to add to Andrea's reply is that even if the GPS unit can speak the street names, they frequently mis-pronounce foreign names so don't count on that too much. My GPS unit even mis-pronounces local names here!

Cheers!