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Renting a car -

I would love the option to "roam" throughout Tuscany as I may have 5 days or so to spend there. I have found through my research that so many of the lovely cities that near Florence are not train stops, some have bus tix you can buy. The idea of driving free to see the scenery and take my time without a schedule seems nice. Am I seeing this correctly?? A car can cost as little as $7 a day but the rental companies will add upwards of 10x that a day in taxes, fees and required insurance!??? Is that correct!!?? Any tips on where to get a car that doesnt cost an arm and a leg in FEES!?? Thanks! :)

Posted by
10344 posts

Unlike most of Italy, a rental car is the best way to explore Tuscany hill towns. Train service is limited and buses are a challenge. Rent a car for Tuscany. Rental cars are not cheap in Italy, compared to here. If you wanna play, you gotta pay. It will be a good value. But don't expect the kind of rental rates you get in N. America.

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks Kent -
It does seem this could be one of the "funnest" things I do in Italy......exploring Tuscany with no timeline or schedules to obey. I am travelling alone - so another no backseat drivers either. :) Aside from booking through Budget, Enterprise, etc (which I have priced through Expedia) - any tricks to finding a rental in Italy? I realize i need my Int Lisc and I'll need to call my insurance co to see if I am covered at all. Is parking more or less easy when you get to the surrounding cities in Tuscany?

Posted by
32273 posts

joie, "I'll need to call my insurance co to see if I am covered at all" It's highly unlikely that your U.S.-based insurance will provide any coverage in Italy for rental cars. I'd recommend accepting the CDW offered by the rental firm (although it likely won't be cheap). If you're ever involved in an Incidente Stradali, you'll be very relieved to have proper coverage! Also, be sure to check some of the posts here regarding "ZTL" areas, which are becoming more prevalent in many towns (especially Florence). EACH PASS through one of the automated Cameras will result in a €100+ ticket. Happy travels!

Posted by
30 posts

Hi: We're renting a car for a week in March through Kemwel, which is a broker that handles rentals through major car rental firms. Their 800 number is to their main office in Maine. They have the cheapest rates that we have found. Our Kemwel rental is through Hertz. We'll be driving in Tuscany and Umbria and are looking forward to this part of our vacation in Italy. Hope this helps.

Posted by
10403 posts

I have used AutoEurope several times, including last September in Italy. They are a consolidator, located in the U.S. You pay in USD, not euros. I doubt your U.S. car insurance will cover you. I opted for the full coverage, which will increase your cost. It is worth it though, to have a car in Tuscany. I also suggest using a GPS. Bringing one you are familiar with is best, but if you don't have one, you can rent a car with one. Since you are traveling solo it would be very helpful, although I also recommend bringing (or buying there) a paper map. Familiarize yourself with what the sign for a ZTL zone looks like. If you know what you are looking for, you won't unintentionally drive into one. I almost did, but saw it and made a U-turn.

Posted by
25 posts

My friend just returned from southern Europe. She had rented a car w/GPS. There were enough times where the GPS provided incorrect info that she highly recommends having a paper map along with you.
Happy Trails!

Posted by
25 posts

My friend just returned from southern Europe. She had rented a car w/GPS. There were enough times where the GPS provided incorrect info that she highly recommends having a paper map along with you.
Happy Trails!

Posted by
23 posts

All such great feeback!! I just ordered my International DL online. Should arrive in a few days. :) The ZTL signs have me alittle freaked out - i guess you have to keep pretty aware! And I found out you can only park in BLUE spots........not white. And if your hotel is in a ZTL zone they much register you. OY VEY! I have a GARMIN that has european access - I will bring just in case. I've priced out rental cars and I am finding about $325 for a week. Sound about right?? Joie :)

Posted by
42 posts

Since you're planning on driving in Tuscany, you'll find that driving and parking are relatively easy in most all other towns aside from Florence. The center of Siena is surrounded by walls so it is really hard to get into the ZTL by accident. All the entrances into the ZTL have parking lots right there at the entrance right before you go into the ZTL so you can park there without actually going into the limited traffic area. Parking is easy in the small towns, just follow the "P" signs for parking lots or find street parking on the main road in the town.

Posted by
1018 posts

I suggest you look at autoeurope.com or europecar.com. They are brokers and have always been cheaper than the big names. They may assign you o a big name agency, but their prices are better. You should/must take the inclusive package which includes insurance. Your credit card will \probably not cover you because Italy, Ireland, and Israel are exempt due to the huge number of accidents/thefts. Also, when you look for a rental company try to find one that has a location outside of Florence because of the ZTL areas. These are limited traffic areas where they take pictures of the license plate and send huge, costly tickets months later. You could take a train or bus to the location. Buon viaggio,

Posted by
12197 posts

Make sure you bring a GPS with maps for Italy. You could rent one with the car but it works much better if you are familiar with how to operate it (plus your Italian car may not have the GPS you reserved). The time you save avoiding wrong turns is worth more than a decent GPS costs. While getting lost can be fun, planning to see two or three towns in a day of driving and ending up only seeing one is an expensive mistake.

Posted by
11497 posts

$325 for a week would be very good. Other stuff will add cost, though. We paid about $500 for car, insurance, second driver, tolls, parking, and fuel for 5 days last fall, but I rented too large a car -- would be economy in the US, but it was huge by Italian standards! Did not find ZTLs hard to avoid. My husband was a good spotter (I did most of the driving), and if you know what you are looking for it helps. I found this guide http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_signs_in_Italy very helpful. We printed it an took it along. Be prepared to make a last minute turn right before a ZTL sign if needed, and ask your hotelier for safe routes, as well as asking them to register you. Laurel

Posted by
23 posts

Oh my goodness!!! I just went to the link you gave and I have to laugh. Man the Italians seem to make things so complicated! :) I'm trying to learn the language and now I cannot believe how many signs one country thinks they need!! lol

Posted by
211 posts

Joie For the most part, it's just driving. Dont overthink it. You will really enjoy the backroads of Tuscany. Unless you are staying inside of Siena there are many well marked parking areas around the edge of the city that are an easy walk into town so less of a problem re no driving zones. We like the Porto Romana area to park and walk in. Much of the signs become self evident after a day or so. Most of the small towns have parking areas. Best sign to learn is do not enter or you will be going down a one way street the wrong way. But there probably won't be anybody coming the other way so no worries!! Enjoy. While it costs a little more, you won't want to
take another train or bus to get to the out of the way places because of the freedom the car allows outside the big cities.