Renting a car in Italy these days requires some serious thick skin. But I always saw the process as a bit of an obstacle course, no matter what year it was. There is no such thing as a car rental company anywhere that has perfect reviews. No such thing. Renting at Florence's train station requires research and a learning curve. It's not the best choice for a first-time visit to Italy.
If you must secure an automatic transmission, be sure to ask if you can get that guaranteed. Not all locations in Italy will guarantee an automatic. A question you must ask yourself, "What would I do if, without warning, there is no automatic vehicle at my pick-up time?" This has happened to me, more than once, but I know how to drive Manual. It's less likely to happen at airports and larger-city train stations, where they often have more cars in their inventory. If an automatic vehicle is mandatory for your safety and pleasure, the way you plan your car rentals in Italy will become more crucial.
If you speak no Italian, you'll want to work with a company like AutoEurope. If anything goes wrong, they offer 24/7 customer service in English.
Pricing for car rentals changes by the hour. Due diligence may find you a deal. Some companies claim to price match. It's important for consumers to hold these claims to the fire.
These days, I never rent a car in Europe without taking clean photos of the car before leaving the lot. You need to make sure your photos are in focus. Another important thing I do is wash my car before returning it. If there is no damage, a clean car will look clean. If the car arrives dirty, some attendants will scrutinize it to death. I see this tactic over and over again.
Car rental companies in Europe are not as forgiving as their U.S. counterparts. If you bring your car back with so much as a scratch, expect to receive some difficult customer service. They are particularly vigilant against customers they suspect of throwing shade.