We are traveling to Italy in September. I would like to rent a car in Florence and then spend several days in a villa in Chianti or San Gimignano to explore the beautiful Tuscan countryside. How difficult is it to get a rental car out of Florence without making a traffic blunder? We will be arriving and leaving Florence via train. I see several car rentals nearby, but I'm also hearing many complaints about renting a car. We have driven in Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and France. I'm not concerned with getting around outside of Florence. I just need advice on the best place to rent a car for a quick escape. Thanks!
I rented a car from Hertz (through AutoEurope), and picked it up on Sansovino--2 miles from the train station by taxi. They gave me a map that took me out of town (to the south) far from the downtown ZTL.
You could take a bus out to the airport, but rental cars picked up in any airport will always have additional taxes and/or tolls that city rentals might not have.
If you can handle a car successfully in Ireland, you'll find the roads of Tuscany a breeze. They're well paved and well marked but just crooked. ZTL's are easily spotted in cities, but most are not as comprehensive as the ZTLs in Florence.
I got hit for a ticket going out to Venice on the causeway by a radar/camera for 1.8 mph over the 35 mph speed limit. The fine was worth every cent.
We rented a car from the Florence airport using Auto Europe (our go-to-rental consolidator for Europe) and had a rental car from Hertz. Note that I am Hertz Gold and I got a significantly lower rate from Auto Europe. We chose the airport because we were heading south and we knew we would not accidentally hit a ZTL zone. It was less than 5 minutes to the motorway.
Driving was a breeze in Tuscany, parking more of a challenge with a SUV. We used WAZE which has good information about traffic cameras and this helped us to avoid speeding issues. I was joking with my friend last night in dinner that this was the first time driving in Europe (France, Italy, UK) that we didn’t get a ticket :)
We did same as David- Hertz thru AutoEurope at the Sansovino location. Super easy- we took a cab there from our hotel - headed south- no problems, and driving in Tuscany was a breeze.
While a taxi is often more convenient, you can also take the T1 tram to the Sansovino Hertz location. The Sansovino tram stop is literally in front of the Hertz location.
There is no risk renting in the city center. All rental companies are now located at the Garage Europa, a multistory parking structure, on Borgo Ognissanti, practically at the corner with Via Curtatone.
I agree with Roberto. The auto Europa website has great directions and google maps keeps you out of the ZTL
I rented from a company (Hertz?) located at the Garage Europa on Borgo Og... and they gave me very clear directions, with a printed map, on how to drive south out of town (toward Montepulciano) without encountering any dreaded ZTL zones. It worked well. They also gave me directions, with a map, of how to drive back into town to bring the car back to that location. This was 4 years ago; I didn't have a GPS at that time.