Plotting a course in Tuscany
Plotting a course in Tuscany

The way to see Italy is by car, and is your best resource for Car Rental in Italy.

The driving distance from the northern Italy mountain town of Bolzano, to Ragusa in Sicily, is about 1500 kilometers. Meandering trips to Venice, Florence, Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Naples on the Mediterranean, Bari on the Adriatic, the vineyards of Tuscany, and thousands of other treasures, could mean another 1500 km. Though Italy has a fine rail system, the way to see the country is by rental car. Using the latest Michelin Italia Red Guide, the auto traveler can explore quiet back roads with no pre-set itinerary, using Michelin to book hotels and restaurants as the spirit moves.

Virtually every Italian town is accessible by highway, but many cannot be reached by train.

Each of the major rental car companies—Europcar, Hertz, Avis, Budget, etc.—maintains hundreds of offices, many in smaller cities, making one-way Italy car rentals (pickup in one town, drop in another) simple and convenient. Some companies, though not all, have begun charging fees ranging from about $45 to $140 for one-way rentals within the country.

The questions on the minds of many customers approaching Italian car rental desks are:

  1. Will the rental company have my reservation
  2. If so, will it be the right car, and
  3. What about hidden fees and charges?

When you rent with, you’ll have a confirmed booking number with a major, multinational supplier (usually Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Alamo or Dollar) and your written reservation will clearly set out all charges, terms and conditions…no hidden fees. But best of all, if something goes wrong…at the rental counter, with the car, or with the final bill…you’ll have our third-party, in-Europe support. English-speaking help is just a phone call away.

International One-Way Car Rental

International one-way car rentals are a different story. Those who plan to rent a car in Italy and return it in another country (or vice versa) will pay a steep price. Depending on rental company, car category, and return location, these one-way fees range from about €400 to over €1000.

Car Rental Insurance in Italy

The traveler planning a rental car in Italy is strongly advised to become familiar with CDW (collision damage waiver) and theft insurance, coverage for damage to or theft of the rental car. By law, many millions of euros in third-party liability insurance (property and persons outside the rental car) is included with every rental car allowed on the street by the top-tier rental companies mentioned above. And, though CDW/theft, is also included in the price, there is almost always a deductible of 1000 to 3000 euros. To reduce the amount of the deductible may require the purchase of additional insurance. Please visit our Italy Car Rental Insurance article to see our advice for covering this deducible.

Because all Italy rental car customers must accept rates that include collision and theft insurance, and because value added taxes and premium station fees (airports, rail stations) are high, Italy is one of Europe’s more expensive countries in which to rent a car. This is particular true for the driver that requires more than an ordinary economy, compact or intermediate sedan with manual transmission. A seven-passenger van from the Rome Airport, for example, is about 75% higher than the same vehicle at the Frankfurt Airport and about 40% higher than at Paris Charles de Gaulle.

Rental car fleets are mostly stocked with Italian and French makes such as Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Renault and Peugeot, plus some Fords, Opels, Seats and Skodas. BMW and Mercedes dominate the full-size, premium and luxury categories. Cars with automatic transmission in the economy, compact and intermediate categories are scarce, especially outside major cities, and thus more expensive.

Italian Toll Roads and Traffic Tickets

The Italian Autostrade are toll roads. The driver must take a ticket when entering and pay via credit card, cash, or pre-paid Viacard or Telepass, upon exit. Rental companies do not offer electronic toll transponders.

The country maintains thousands of traffic cameras that issue tickets for a wide variety of driver transgressions, from speeding to following to closely. We especially warn of the infamous ZTL (Zona a Traffico Limitato) found in many Italian cities. An unsuspecting tourist whose hotel is in a restricted driving zone can unknowingly rack up half a dozen or more €100-plus citations in just a few days…and not find out about it until weeks later. To drive in the ZTL requires a special permit not available from rental companies. See

To obtain a quote for an Italy rental car that includes our personal, full-service with third-party in-Europe support, plus post-rental billing assistance, please fill out the car rental form above or click here:

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