We are spending 2 wks in Italy with 4 days in Rome. We will have a rental car but don't need it in Rome. Rick recommends parking at Orvieto and taking the train into Rome. Is parking there safe (vandalism, theft). Other books recommend the public parking garage below Villa Borghese. The same question--is it safe?
Are you planning to leave the car for 4 days? Why not just drop it off and be done with it?
Leave Rome for last before flying back, and you can drop off your car early. Keeping a rental car for 4 days parked in a garage is a waste of money. Even if you didn't plan to leave Rome for last and need to have a car rental later, you are better off having two separate rentals. One for before Rome, and one for after Rome.
Agree with Roberto to save Rome till the end and get rid of car. On the times we went to Rome with a car it was at the end of our trip. We dropped our car at the airport and took a taxi to our hotel or apt. Driving in Rome would not be fun.
There are 7 people on our trip. The trip includes Switzerland and Italy. We fly into and out of Geneva because airfare there was $350 a person less than Rome. The rental is an MPV (because of 7 people) and hard to arrange in Rome. Dennis
You're right about Geneva being a little less expensive than some other European destinations, but it would only be a $50-75 savings up until 3/27/2014 for me. After that, Geneva's flights are pretty expensive. Bad weather/low ridership earlier? I'd hate to think how expensive a 7 passenger van is, especially since you'll be paying about $9.50 per U.S. gallon. Luggage space will be at a premium when you fill up a van with people. And backtracking (to Geneva) will cost you substantial money and time that would be better spent in Italy. Most people are now traveling from city to city by train. When in Tuscany last year, we rented a car after leaving Florence and dropped it off at Orvieto when we took the train into Rome. Sometimes the lowest price flight is not actually the best value in time and money. It might be better in the long run to fly into Milan or Venice and out of Rome.
Traveling anywhere with 7 people is difficult. You should choose the path of least resistance.
Saving $350 per person on airfare should about pay for the van. The drive will be pretty, I am sure, and you can stop where you like, so take or leave the advice on trains. I think any public garage would be as safe as anywhere. As you are driving into Italy, you will be required to take comprehensive coverage anyway, so do not worry too much about damage to the van. But DO NOT leave anything in the van unguarded for even a short time. No luggage, no cameras, etc. Valuable or potential valuables beg for a break in. That goes for anywhere you park your van, small town or big city. If you stop for lunch, park where you can see it. Crimes here are crimes of opportunity. Don't give "them" the opportunity.
You won't have to worry about theft while parked because YOU WILL NOT LEAVE ANYTHING IN THE CAR. ANYTHING! Period! Don't follow that advice and you're on your own...