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Rental cars in Italy - cost

I checkd the prices for a compact size rental car ( automatic transmission)) on AutoEurope and was shocked. 4 days of rent cost ~ $900!
A car with a stick-shift is almost half of that, which is still very expensive.
I drove manual car about 20 yeara ago and maybe able to recall how to do it. But my wife will not be able to drive it.
Any comments or advice?



Posted by
440 posts

Dimitry, I have used They probably have a US site, but have a look and compare their prices. Four days' manual (which I prefer) is less than US$250. Good luck and safe driving.

Posted by
74 posts

It also depends on where you're picking up and dropping off the car -- try to avoid airports (there's a nontrivial airport fee), but at the same time, try to avoid city centers (crazy driving + local traffic zone fines).

Try a variety of sites --, hertz, avis, etc... don't just assume autoeurope will get you the best deal every time.

good luck!

Posted by
8293 posts

In 2006 our travel agent arranged a car rental for us through Maggiore (they're all over Italy) and we paid Cdn$409 for 10 days. Nice small Alfa Romeo manual, which we picked up in and returned to Catania, Sicily.

Posted by
1589 posts

" Any comments or advice? "

Take the train.

Posted by
1358 posts

I have rented cars all over the world and have learned that there is no agency with lowest rental rates in ALL towns. Research them all.

If the automatic is twice as costly as a manual, take the manual and re-learn. You can do it. I have done it several times and I am past 80.

My wife doesn't want to drive in Italy; so I do it all. Always reserve the economy size because many agencies will have to upgrade you.

And avoid the airport tax by taking your car at your hotel or some other point. You can take public transportation or a taxi from the airport.

Posted by
7711 posts

Just a few words: Yes, the cost is high, look at your itinerary and assess if you really need the car all four days, or even at all. Many automatically assume a car is best, in Italy, that is not always the case. Does your quote include insurance? If so, there may be a third party carrier than can offer it cheaper, if not, and you are planning on using coverage via your credit card, check to make sure you are covered, many cards do not cover you in Italy (and Ireland as well, something about "I" countries?) Finally, do a search on traffic tickets on this board. Italy is notorious for it's restricted zones (ZTLs) and now I have read, their Red Light Cameras. If you think the car is expensive, even one of these fines can runs you several hundred dollars, some get 3 or 4 tickets.

Posted by
10344 posts

IMO Paul makes a good point when he says: "Many automatically assume a car is best, in Italy, that is not always the case." I would go further and say: that is often not the case. I'd say trains are a better choice in Italy for most of the destinations most travelers want to see: notable exceptions to this are the Tuscany and Umbria "hill towns" and Sicily.

Posted by
27 posts

Thanks everyone for the resposnse. Strange thing: the prices for compact size automatic car on US and UK AutoErope sites are very different: $800 vs $529 after currency conversion. Although I did not specify US country of origin on UK AutoEurope site when it askes me to do. Any thoughts on that?



Posted by
7711 posts

Dimitry, I have no answer for you, but I get the same thing. Using the US site, for a Nissan Micra, four days, out of the Florence Airport, I get $552. Using the UK site, I get the same car,days and location for 253.7 GBP or $362 USD. If I designate my home country as Italy, same days, etc. that car does not even show as an option! Now I did not clear cookies, and as for why it assumed you were in the US, it picks up your ISP address to default settings.

Posted by
40 posts

We rented a car from Il Girasole car rentals last
April and it was 145.00 euro for 5 days. It was the smallest car they had and was a manual but we loved they freedom it gave us. Plus we got GPS (a must) for only 6.90 euro a day.

Posted by
22 posts

Dimitry - often you will get a much better quote if you book a rental car on a European site rather than a U.S. site (for the same car agency). Also, the European sites will often give you much better insurance coverage. Always check the coverage - if you get a quote that seems to good to be true, it probably is, and is just the quote for the rental, and may not include taxes, fees, and insurance. Italy requires that you get theft insurance when renting a car, so expect to pay for that.

Posted by
223 posts

We go to our vacation house in Italy often and always rent a car...and I do not drive manual!! (I know, I really should learn one of these days!!) You need to keep searching around...I have found that one site may be the cheapest for one trip...and the most expensive for the next. no rhyme or reason really - just supply and demand I guess. I compiled a list of the ones I've found to have the best rates on my blog: (scroll down towards the bottom of the page) I also have found the best rates to be picking up[ and dropping off from the Rome airport...but hey...others have said they have better luck staying away from airports ;-) so, again...just keep on checking different companies and consolidators. (and yes, you will pay a ton more for an automatic - I do happen to think it's worth it though!)

Posted by
15 posts

I have rented a car from Hertz in April for 6 days. Cost is $400 on Hertz vs. $486 on AutoEurope. I am renting from Malpensa airport and dropping in Rome.

Good luck.

Posted by
48 posts

Dimitry, I am renting a compact size rental car as well. Mine is manual with pick up and drop off at the same place. My price for 7 day rental (Saturday to Saturday) is $304 through the AutoEurope US site. I am not sure why your price was so high.

As in another previous post on car rentals in Italy...
Kent and Paul make some very good points. Are you sure you need to rent a car for only 4 days? The only reason I am renting a car is :
1. to drive around Tuscany and Umbria.
2. I will be in one place for a week and want to explore.

Even given that...I seriously thought about riding trains and busses.

Posted by
27 posts

Thanks everyone for the response.
Yes, I need the car for only 4 days to drive around Tuscany ( we are staying in an agriturizmo near Siena). I will be picking the car in Venice and dropping in Orvieto. Comapact size car ( similar to VW Golf) with automatic transmission will cost $448 ( after currency conversion). I ended up renting it from AutoEurope UK as AutoEurope US was in the range of $700. AutoEurope subcontract it from AVIS. I checked many sugested rental agencies and found that most of them do not even offer Orvieto as a drop in location. Herz on the other side does not have compact size automatic cars for my locations ( only very small and larger cars).
So far this is the best I was able to find.