Where do you find safe parking when traveling into Venice, Florence, or Rome? We are a family of 6 traveling to Italy for the first time. Being short on planning time, this is a large learning curve. We have rented a mini van for our week in Tuscany and have planned to keep it the second week.
Thank You Steve,
I will look each of those up!
At this point I was counting on the long term parking lots at the airports and joining in the public transportation as though we had just landed.
The price has looked low but I am not clear on where it is safe to leave a van.
The rental insurance is a whole other long double talk. Any thoughts?
We just got back from our fifth trip to Italy. Whatever you do, take along your Washington drivers license, your International Drivers Permit, and YOUR GPS; that you know how to operate proficiently. You will also want a good Michelin map. We use the Michelin "Italy Touring and Motoring Atlas"......it has great detail, for all of Italy.
Collison insurance is mandatory in Italy, and is part of the price of your rental. "Super CDW" is not usually neccessary, since the dedutables are ususlly cheap. For our two week rental, theft was $350 and collision was $200EU; much less than the rider. Bodily injury and property damage to others was also part of the auto policy, but there was no "personal liability" insurance; that was covered (up to $500K) by our VISA...if we rented the car using the VISA.
We always buy a trip insurance policy at the Squaremouth.com. web site. We pick the one that suites our needs, and use it to cover any holes we may have in coverages.
Good advice! We were told by the rental car company that an international drivers license is now a must. It seems difficult to take the GPS for a test run. The option is to use theirs for $40 (a special), or load ours and hope it all works. Any advice on how handle the additional auto insurance options? Did you have any difficulty in parking?
Re overnight parking in Rome and Florence: a number of travelers have reported greater challenges than they expected in getting overnight parking in Rome and Florence.
Use your personal GPS. Like Steve says, it does the same thing here as it will do in Europe. And you should be able to pre-program your EU routes here. If you use the rental car GPS it will take you two days to figure out how to get it to speak English, and then three days to figure out how to use it.
We always rent our car here using the Auto Europe web site. They have great rates and their web site has lots of options (since they are a broker). You get a complete and easy to read contract. Once you read it you can fill in the holes with additional insurance, if need be.
For Florence, we stayed at the Hilton Florence Metropole Hotel--their address is Via del Cavallaccio 36, 50142 Florence, Italy. This hotel is right off of the autostrada. Right next to the hotel is a shopping mall with parking--not sure how much it costs to park (if any). There is a bus stop at the mall, however, I do not know its route into the city. We stayed at the Hilton and took their free shuttle bus in/out of the city.
For Rome, we parked the car for 4 nights at the free parking lot at the train station in Orvieto. We then took a 1 hr. train ride into the city. The parking lot has security--we had no problems. Whenever we do park the car, we make sure all maps and tour guides are out of sight. We also put local newspapers/magazines on the seats. We also store the luggage under the hatchback or in the trunk. For a van, I'm not sure what you could do.
I know others do drive into Rome as a previous poster mentioned. We don't want to deal with the traffic lights, one-way streets and the mopeds.
Have a great trip making lifetime memories with your family--we did.
Calll your credit card compnay first. Make sure they cover rental insurance. Also they will tell you which insurance to make sure to not accept at time of rental
Also watch your speed limits when driving in Italy
if you're going to large cities well served by trains that go right to the heart of the downtown area, why do you want a van for these places? Get the van for a few days for Tuscany, then get rid of it and the headache of parking it in those cities. And BTW if you don't take it into Florence then the extra cost of a train (if any) will come back to you a hundred-fold since you won't rack up expensive fines for violating the ZTL.
The van will be a BIG expensive hassle for the second week. Just take trains when you visit the big cities. You will enjoy more, have no worries and save money in the long run.
Some driving tips for you Yakima:
Bring a GPS.
Check the insurance card in the rental to be sure it's still current.
You'll have a parking wheel in the windshield. Whenever you park in a spot with a time limit set it for the time you arrived. You can get a fine for it.
Don't leave valuables in the car.
Pieno means fill it up. Diesel is diesal and benzina is gas.
Have cash for pumps without attendants. You could have problems with cards at the pumps.
Be ready for scooters, bikes and pedestrians. They've been a bigger hassle to me than drivers.