7 Tips for Staying Safe and on Budget with Your Rental Car in Italy

7 Tips for Staying Safe and on Budget

7 Tips for Staying Safe and on Budget with Your Rental Car in Italy

While we love taking the train between cities like Rome and Florence, driving is an excellent way to see some of Italy’s more off-the-beaten-path destinations. With a car, you can explore smaller villages and charming hill towns. Plus you have the freedom to stop at vineyards, beaches, or other hard-to-reach attractions en route to your final destination.

That said, Italians are famous for their beautiful cars but notorious for their driving. Italian drivers zoom around, their frantic pace creating a potentially overwhelming rental experience, especially for those accustomed to the calmer rhythm of US roads.

Tips for driving in Italy

Here are a few tips to keep you safe and sane while also saving you a handful of euros along the way. Start your engines, because it’s time to go for a drive in Italy!

When considering driving in Italy, whether with mini bus hire Rome or any part of the country, it's essential to be aware of a few important tips for a smooth and enjoyable experience.

When planning a road trip in Italy with mini bus hire Italy, it's crucial to keep a few essential tips in mind for a smooth and enjoyable journey. First and foremost, familiarize yourself with Italy's traffic rules and regulations, as they might differ from those in your home country. Italian drivers can be assertive, so staying vigilant and patient is key.

Historic city centers in Italy will test your driving mettle! Brace yourself for narrow roads that hug buildings, parking spots demanding contortionist skills, and zipping Vespas weaving through traffic like agile darts. Always have your driver's license, passport, and rental agreements on hand, and remember that seat belts are mandatory for all passengers.

By renting a minibus, you'll have ample space for your group, luggage, and any souvenirs you collect along the way. With these tips and a comfortable minibus at your disposal, you'll be ready to explore Italy with confidence and ease.


One more Tip for Staying Safe : Cheap is not always best when renting

In Italy, the competitive car rental market often translates into surprisingly cost-effective options for adventurous drivers. In fact, that is exactly the case. Make sure to read the fine print and know exactly what comes with your rental.

Often a slightly more expensive option will include more comprehensive insurance or offers unlimited mileage or throws in GPS. Ignoring the fine print and keeping quiet is an open invitation to hidden fees. Take control, read carefully, and ask questions to keep your budget safe.

A paper road atlas is great. A GPS system in your car can be even better when driving through Italy.

Don’t hit the road without GPS

Always, always pay the extra few euros for a GPS navigation system. While Italian highways boast clear signage and smooth sailing, venturing into charming villages presents a different story. Unmarked roads, unexpected one-way streets, and a sprinkle of confounding roundabouts can leave you feeling like a lost mariner. No worries, though! GPS glitches often happen on these narrower lanes. Don't hesitate to wave down a friendly local - they'll be happy to become your cartographic compass and point you in the right direction.

Keep an eye out for ZTL signs like this one in Turin that mark areas where most cars are not permitted

4th Tip for Staying Safe: Never drive in the ZTL!

The Zona Traffico Limitato (“ZTL”), also known as the “Area Pedonale”, is an area restricted to limited traffic and/or pedestrians only. The only persons who may legally drive in the ZTL have special permits to do so. These include the police, public transport, and emergency vehicles… not tourists driving rental cars!

Drive on Sundays for a more relaxing ride

In Italy, large trucks can make for a very stressful experience on the roads. However, these trucks are actually prohibited from driving on the highways on Sundays, as the country has along tradition of leisurely Sunday drives through the countryside. Take advantage of this wanderlust Sunday tradition by planning to drive on Sundays if you can.

Hone your instincts and your reflexes

Italian drivers are fast-paced and never hesitate. They change lanes quickly and make spur of the moment decisions. While this may sound dangerous compared to how you’re used to driving back home, it’s perfectly acceptable (and even safe!) within Italy.

In fact, drivers in Italy will expect you to act the same way when driving in their country. Being overly cautious and slow could actually make things more difficult for everyone!

Watch where you park!

Parking can be a nightmare in certain areas (especially the big cities!), as most of the country’s tiny streets were laid out centuries before the automobile came rolling along. It’s not uncommon to see cars squished into tight places or balancing on the sidewalks.

Keep an eye on street signs

For the most part, street signs in Italy are intuitive and similar to those at home. “Stop”, “Yield” and “Parking” are all the same shapes and colors as their counterparts in the US. Stop signs even say “Stop” in English! Speed limit signs will be posted along highways, but remember the number is listed in kilometers, not miles per hour.

Other useful signs to know are “One Way”, which in Italy is a black arrow with the words “Senso Unico“, “No Parking”, which is a blue circle outlined in red with a red strike through it, and “Do Not Enter”, which is a red circle with a white horizontal line through the middle.

Gas stations are easy to find along major roads and sometimes even in cities like this one on via Cavor in Rome.

The final Tip for Staying Safe : Fill up with the right gas

Refueling your vehicle is very easy in Italy, as there are self-service petrol stations all along the highways. Before you fill up, make sure you know the difference between gasolio (diesel) and benzina (petrol), as well as which type your car takes. Using the wrong fuel is one of the biggest mistakes tourists make while driving in Italy. It can happen to anyone  — even experienced Cheapos!

Follow these simple tips and a drive through Italy will be a breeze! For extra fun, rent a Fiat 500 or another iconic Italian gem to make your trip even more memorable.

Also, compare rates between Italian car rental companies by doing a car rental search on EuroCheapo!

>> See more: Florence with Kids: 11 Top Things to Do  

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