What websites do you all use for car rentals in Tuscany region and sicily?
I have used Auto Europe twice, for France and, just this month, for Italy and I was very satisfied with the service. You don't rent directly from them; they are an aggregator, among other things, for car rental companies. They work with many rental companies (i.e. Hertz, Europcar, etc) and you contract through them. The companies they offer depend on the locations you need for pick-up and drop-off and other variables.
We rented from Europcar both times and were very satisfied with the vehicle. Make sure, however, that if you rent from Europcar (and this may be true for any company you rent from) that you pick the car up at the time you say you will or call to tell them you're going to be late. We scheduled a pick-up in Lucca for 9 AM and assumed that any time after that would be OK as long as they were open (and they were supposed to be open from 9 - 2) but they were closed when we got there at 11:00. We called and found out that they had to go deliver a car to someone so they just closed up shop for an hour! Luckily we had flexibility so it wasn't a big deal but still...I guess that's Italy. And being in Italy is worth it no matter what!
I have rented through Auto Europe 5 times in different countries. As mentioned above, they are a consolidator. I have ended up with cars from Hertz, Avis, Budget and Europcar. All experiences have been fine. You won't know what company the rental is through until you make your reservation. Auto Europe has an excellent cancellation policy.
Another AutoEurope fan. Best prices I have found over the years.
I was quoted a cheaper rate through AutoEurope.com than from Hertz.com. And I could tell by the 60 Sansovino, Florence address that my car was a Hertz car. And there were no drop off fees when I left it at Hertz in Orvieto, north of Rome. They gave me directions out of town that kept me away from the ZTL.
Tuscany is best seen with an automobile, as rail lines don't go to all the hill towns. Some of the towns can be reached by bus, but it's not a very efficient manner of travel vs. automobile.
I got a better price directly through Hertz than Autoeurope for travel next week. I did not pay ahead, and the price was still better.
Figure it out. A consolidator buys X cars at Y price for Z period based on some kind of estimate. He can then resell them at X plus something. If he screwed up, he might have to resell them at only X plus a little bit or even at X minus something. Based on some other estimate or maybe what's staring him in the face, the guy who owns the car might be doings something entirely different. Consolidators sometimes have an edge since people pay them in advance and they're making a bundle on interest on the deposits. I usually order cars about five minutes before the airplane door closes and generally do better dealing directly. This trip was starting within hours of another one ending and I knew I was going to be pooped so I ordered the car several weeks ahead. I went with AE for the deal. I was foisted off on National. AE had only given me an interim reply because it was a second-city drop. Never a final reply, no satisfaction with a phone call. Digging around on the AE site, I found the voucher. When I got to the counter it was a joint National/Alamo/Europcar operation. The car I got was from the latter. AE had told me I'd have to pay a drop fee at the counter - - there wasn't one. Curious about other threads where AE had told posters that cars couldn't go on ferries to the islands of Scotland, I asked what the case was. The folks looked at me like I was an idiot and told me I could darn well take it anywhere I wanted with their blessing.