Italy is a big country. Even if you only stay within one region (like Tuscany, for example), the distances are considerable. It is useful if you have a car to see all the sights. But you will not always be able to travel to Italy with your own car. And perhaps you would also prefer to travel by plane. It is then useful to rent a car. Below we give you all the important information about renting a car in Italy. Our complete guide with all practical information about car rental in Italy has been updated for the 2023-2024 rental season.
Table of contents
- Car rental Italy: one of the favorite countries
- Rent a car for a holiday in Italy
- Fly & drive Italy
- Rent a car in Rome
- Tips for car rental in Rome
- Rent a car Pisa
- Rent a car in Milan
- Rent a car in Sicily
- Rent a car in Sardinia
- FAQs about car rental in Italy
- 11 tips car rental in Italy
- 1. Rent all your car at home
- 2. Reserve early saves costs
- 3. Make sure you have a credit card
- 4. Insurance car rental
- 5. With the shuttle to the car rental?
- 6 Watch your documents
- 7. Car Rental Fuel Scheme
- 8. Opt for compact
- 9. Navigation in your rental car
- 10. Watch out for any damage to your rental car
- 11. Car rental Italy without excess
- Cost of car rental Italy
- Compare car hire in Italy
- Best car rental company Italy
- Italy car rental discount codes
- Cheap car rental in Italy
Car rental Italy: one of the favorite countries
Italy is therefore one of the favorite countries for car rental. You often rent a car in Italy in combination with a flight. The so-called fly & drive. You then fly to Milan, Florence, Naples, Pisa, Rome, Bari or another popular destination and you rent a car on the spot. That is ideal, because you are quickly at your destination and your holiday starts immediately.
It is usually advisable to rent a car for your holiday in Italy. The distances are great and the options for public transport are not as great as here. Logically, car rental companies can be found at all airports and in almost all cities of any kind.
But there are more reasons to choose a rental car when you go to Italy!
Rent a car for a holiday in Italy
In the past, many Dutch and Belgians often drove to Italy themselves. And that still happens fairly often, but there are now also many people who take the plane. Flights have become cheaper in recent years and cheap car hire is also within reach due to the fierce competition.
Moreover: you are at your destination in no time. A maximum flight of about 2,5 hours and you are already in your Italian rental car in Pisa, Tuscany, Sicily or Sardinia! Delicious, right?
You can also rent a car especially for your holiday to Italy, because your own car is not suitable for driving long distances. Or because it is already an old one and you are afraid that you will come to a standstill along the road.
More and more people own a small car and choose a larger car for the holiday. Smart, because that way you can save a lot on car costs. After all, a large car costs you money all year round and a rental car only for the duration of your holiday.
Another advantage of renting: your rental car is usually a car that is no more than a year or two old. And you can choose something else, such as a 4WD or a Fiat 500C!
Fly & drive Italy
A combination of a fly & drive is also ideal to arrive fit in Italy. After a short flight you get into your rental car and you are usually at your destination within half an hour. This is often offset by a trip of two days (or one very long day) in your own car. And after such a long journey you usually don't come out rested.
It is now also possible to fly directly with a low-budget airline to many interesting Italian cities. For example, Trapani in Sicily is currently experiencing a huge revival, as Ryanair now flies directly to it. Of course, this also means good trade for the car rental companies at and around the airport.
But of course there are also plenty of traditional destinations where many people book their rental car.
Rent a car in Rome
Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino Airport is the largest airport in Italy. The airport is about 35 kilometers from the city. Rome Ciampino is Rome's second airport. This is mainly used by low-cost airlines and charters.
The national airport is connected to the six-lane highway A91 Roma-Fiumicino. This way you can easily drive from the airport to your accommodation in the city. At Rome airport you will find all possible car rental companies, such as Avis, Sicily by Car, Europcar, Hertz, Maggiore, Budget, Targa Rent, Auto Europa and Sixt. The counters of the car rental companies are located in the arrival halls of the terminals.
If you stay in the city of Rome, a rental car is not necessary. Many of the sights are within walking distance, otherwise you can make use of the excellent metro connections. It probably goes without saying that Rome is a hectic city to drive in with your rental car.
Tips for car rental in Rome
Driving in Rome and curious about the best approach? We have listed 5 useful tips for you and we will tell you: a small and manoeuvrable rental car is the best choice!
1. Vignettes and Passes
Before you can drive your own car in Rome, you have had quite a drive from the Netherlands. Not only that, you also pay in many places tol and in Switzerland, for example, you need an expensive vignette. Our advice? Leave the car at home for your city trip to Rome and fly over all toll passes and other expensive roads to Rome in a few hours. You can rent a car on site and you can immediately set off. Just look for cheap airline tickets, of course!
2. Small agile car
Our second tip for driving in Rome? Choose a small and manoeuvrable car. It is of course very comfortable to drive through the city in a Citroen C5, but it is not very easy. Preferably get a cute Fiat 500 or perhaps another small Fiat model. Ford, Peugeot and Citroën, for example, also have nice small models. They drive wonderfully, have a small turning circle (driven wrong? -> turn around!) and provide a good view of the rest of the chaotic traffic.
3. Parking in Rome
Parking in Rome is of course not easy, but unfortunately it is inextricably linked to driving in the step. Our tip? Please notify the hotel in advance that you will be arriving by car. In some cases there are pedestrian zones that you can pass through to drop off your luggage. Are you in a place where it shouldn't be? Keep in mind that it can take up to a year (!) until you receive the fine.
4. Beware of the Zona Traffico Limitato
Do you see a sign with Zone Traffico Limitato of Zone Tutelata? It indicates in many Italian cities such as Rome, Florence, Bologna and Milan that you can only drive in at specified times if you are staying in a hotel in that zone or if you park in a parking garage in that area. Traffic will be restricted, so make sure you're 'destination traffic'. Just driving it because you 'have to be somewhere' can cost you dearly.
And our best tip for driving in Rome without getting lost? Always take a rental car with a navigation system. The systems ensure that you know in advance where to turn and also often indicate how fast you are allowed to drive on certain roads. Very handy!
Rent a car Pisa
Pisa – especially Pisa Airport (Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport) – is one of the most important car rental locations in all of Italy. That makes sense: many people want to go to Tuscany to enjoy, among other things, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Duomo or the Baptistery. These can all be found on the Campo dei Miracoli, the field of wonders. But you can also visit Pisa for the nice shops and the lively center.
With your rental car from Pisa Airport you can also drive to the Tuscan coast, the art cities such as Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Lucca, Pistoia and more.
The art treasures and impressive nature of Tuscany are known and famous all over the world. You can spend weeks in this region alone and you still haven't seen everything. Even because of the distances. Tuscany is one of the largest regions of Italy and you can't get everywhere by highway.
You don't want the latter, by the way. After all, one of the charms of a fly & drive to Tuscany is to enjoy a cruise on the winding Tuscan roads between the cypress trees and the green hills. Near Pisa you also have the Certosa di Calci, a former Carthusian monastery that you can visit with your rental car. But also further in the area are wonderful roads, medieval villages and unforgettable places to visit.
Even if you go to the beautiful Cinque Terre If you want to, the choice for Pisa airport is a logical one. With your rental car you drive from the airport to La Spezia in just over an hour.
There is a lot of competition from car rental companies in Pisa. That pushes prices down and that is beneficial for consumers. For a low amount per day or per week you can rent a car in Pisa. Especially if you opt for a compact copy, which most people do. Even with a small rental car you benefit from the advantages and you do not have to miss anything of Tuscany.
Rent a car in Milan
There are various options for car rental in and around Milan. Milan is the second largest city in Italy after Rome. Around 1,6 million inhabitants live in the city. You can choose from 3 airports if Milan is your destination.
Milan has a large international airport (22 million passengers in 2017) which is called Malpensa International Airport and is abbreviated to MXP. This airport is located on the west side of Milan. There is a train from the airport to the city. The train is called the Malpensa Express. Of course you can easily pick up a rental car at the airport and drive it to the city.
Milan's second airport is Milan Bergamo Airport (BGY). In 2017, BGY handled over 12 million passengers. It is especially popular by the budget airlines. The largest airline is Ryanair. You can fly directly to Milan Bergamo Airport from Eindhoven or from Weeze Airport across the border at Nijmegen. Bergamo Airport is a bit further from Milan: about 45 kilometers northeast of the center.
And then there is the third airport in Milan, which is called Milano Linate Airport (LIN). This airport is closest to the city. In fact, it is located within the city limits 8 kilometers southeast of downtown. If you want to get to the city quickly, this airport is a great choice.
At any airport you can easily pick up your car at the counter of the many car rental companies that you will find here. We will, however, advise you in all cases to reserve (and insure) your car in the Netherlands or Belgium. All you then have to do is report your reservation, pick up the keys and check the car for damage.
Keep in mind that Milan is a busy city with a lot of traffic. To keep the city livable, paid parking has been introduced everywhere. You can park your car cheaper in a parking garage than on the street. However, some hotels offer the possibility to park your rental car on their own property or in a private garage. It is recommended to take this into account when you are planning your trip to Milan.
Rent a car in Sicily
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. You may not realize it, but Sicily is about the size of Belgium. If you go to Sicily, you naturally want to go to the beautiful coast, to the rugged interior, to visit beautiful places and perhaps also to Mount Etna. There is a lot to see and do in Sicily, but the distances are long and the public transport is not exactly great.
A rental car in Sicily is almost a must if you want to see some of this large island. Fortunately, it is very easy to rent a car at the airports of Palermo, Catania and Trapani. From those places you drive comfortably to your holiday destination on the island and then to all the beautiful sights that can be found in Sicily.
Tip: take a not too big rental car when you go to Sicily. The roads through villages and the parking spaces are not really designed for large cars. This also prevents damage to your car earlier.
In terms of experiences with rental cars in Sicily, we can tell you that driving is quite emotional. Also in relation to the rest of Italy. If you don't have nerves of steel, it's better not to drive through big cities like Palermo or Catania.
That said, a rental car in Sicily is a must to get the most out of your holiday. You can find car rental in Sicily at every airport (Catania, Trapani, Palermo) and in all cities.
Note that some low-cost rental companies are a long way from the airport. Then you will be taken to the rental location by shuttle bus. It will save you some money, but our preference is to be able to drive away directly from the airport in the rental car.
Rent a car in Sardinia
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean. What applies to Sicily also applies to Sardinia. Perhaps even more, because there is really no alternative to explore Sardinia. Or it should be the Vespa to be!
With a rental car you can explore Sardinia carefree, visit the most beautiful beaches and villages and go into the mountains to discover the interior. We recommend the capital Cagliari with its beautiful harbor. In the north of the island you will find the most beautiful beaches on the Costa Smeralda. At Alghero you will find the caves of Neptunes with their special and whimsical stalagmites and stalactites.
You can easily arrange a rental car in Sardinia from the Netherlands. Then your rental car will be ready for you when you arrive and you can be sure that everything is well arranged. Moreover, it is cheaper than if you want to rent a car on the spot.
Also in Sardinia, you can pick up your rental car in every city and at the airports. You can find rental cars at Cagliari airport, but also in Alghero, Olbia, Sassari and other places on the island.
Also note here that some cheap car rental companies are located a few kilometers from the airport. You will then be taken to the rental location by shuttle bus. Not ideal if you have just finished a plane trip, or if you want to save a few extra bucks on car rental.
FAQs about car rental in Italy
Do you want to rent a car in Italy without a credit card? That's difficult. In most cases you will then have to pay a deposit, if it is possible at all without a credit card. Such a deposit is normally reserved on your credit card (and only addressed if you actually have to pay something).
Some car rental companies do offer the option to take over the deposit from you. For a number of locations Sunny Cars this for example. They call it the 'No Guarantee Package'. However, this option is not currently available for rental locations in Italy. For the time being, you will still have to rent your car in Italy with a credit card. The alternative is that you pay a (high) deposit.
So make sure you apply for a credit card in good time, if you don't already have one. A credit card is also very handy in Italy to pay at toll gates (you can then drive faster) and to pay at hotels or restaurants. Many people run into this, because they have simply paid for the booking of their rental car in Italy via iDeal and then have not considered that they still have to be able to use that credit card on the spot.
As a rule, you can rent a car in Italy from the age of 18. However, the minimum age can vary per rental car provider and per car category. You would do well to study this carefully when booking your rental car. You must have held a driver's license for at least one year. A surcharge may apply to young drivers under the age of 25. The same applies to the maximum age to rent a car in Italy. Sometimes there is a maximum age of 75 or 80 years, sometimes there is no age restriction at all. Car rental brokers have no influence on the regulations that car rental companies draw up with regard to minimum or maximum ages.
Do you want to rent a convertible in Italy? Good idea, whiz through those green Tuscan hills with the sun on your head and your hair in the wind. Or how about such a fantastic winding coastal route, where you can smell the salty air of the sea? That's it again la dolce vita! You experience Italy much more intensely in a convertible than in a normal rental car. So why not treat yourself to the luxury of a convertible in Italy.
Fortunately, it is quite possible to rent a convertible. But if you want to be sure that you can rent a convertible in your class, you better get there on time. Once the nice weather has started, everyone naturally wants to rent a convertible. Of course you pay a (large) surcharge for a convertible.
You can compare the rates for convertibles via a so-called car rental broker like Sunny Cars. Once you have chosen the dates and your destination in Italy, you can tick convertible under 'car type', which will filter the car offer with the available convertibles. You can see examples of the convertibles in the available classes.
Renting an Alfa Romeo Spider: that's perfect of course (photo: cimt.it)
You usually can't choose a specific car. So that Alfa Romeo Convertible is not guaranteed, but you can drive without a roof. And that is of course pure enjoyment when the weather is nice in Italy.
One way car rental is that you return your car at a different point than where you rent it. Ideal if you want to make a road trip from north to south (or vice versa). You usually pay a surcharge for a one-way car rental, but the feeling of real freedom is also worth something. For example, we ourselves dream of making a trip through the entire boot, from the Alps in the north of Italy to Sicily.
At a car rental broker such as Sunny Cars, you can simply indicate that you want to return your car at a different location by unchecking the 'return to the same location' box. You can then choose a different drop-off location.
11 tips car rental in Italy
What should you pay attention to when renting a car in Italy? Below we have the most important tips for car rental in Italy collected for you. Read them carefully and take advantage of them!
1. Rent all your car at home
It is recommended to rent your car in the Netherlands or Belgium in advance. It is also possible in Italy itself, but it is almost always more expensive. Moreover, you have more options at home to compare car rental companies at your leisure. If you want to rent directly from a car rental company, we have good experiences with the American company ourselves Alamo.
You can also use a so-called 'broker' like Sunny Cars of TUI Cars to attempt. These parties do not have rental cars themselves, but search the stocks of car rental companies. Through the brokers you get a significant discount, because they reserve cars on a large scale at a much lower rate than private individuals can do. Also offer are usually an all-in rate for car rental, so that you are not faced with surprises.
This is for example at Sunny Cars included in the rent:
- Unlimited kilometers
- (Additional) liability coverage of €7,5 million
- Non-life insurance (CDW)
- Theft insurance (TP)
- Reimbursement deductible
- Cover glass-tyres-soil-roof damage
- 24/7 Dutch emergency number
Sunny Cars is the car rental broker of the ANWB. It is a Netherlands company. So in terms of reliability it is good.
2. Reserve early saves costs
Are you going to Italy in high season? Then there is a lot of demand for rental cars and you often pay higher rates. We understand that you can sometimes not avoid the high season. A good tip is to secure your rental car as soon as possible. If you reserve your rental car in Italy on time, you have the most choice and you prevent prices from rising later on. The choice is also a lot smaller just before the high season. With some car rental companies or rental brokers you can cancel free of charge.
3. Make sure you have a credit card
You almost always need a credit card to rent a car, even in Italy. A credit card is useful anyway to quickly go through the toll booths on the Italian highways and to easily pay at gas stations or in restaurants. Don't have a credit card yet? Then request it in good time. If you are a member of the ANWB, you can, for example, apply for an ANWB Visa Card very cheaply.
Do you have a credit card, but you don't use it that often? Make sure you remember the PIN code. In recent years, the PIN has replaced the signature. You cannot rent a car without a PIN code.
4. Insurance car rental
At home you can also choose the insurance that you want to book with your car at your leisure. For example, you can buy off your own risk of damage and possibly book extra insurance. Do not let yourself get extra insurance on the spot, that often costs too much money.
5. With the shuttle to the car rental?
What you should also pay attention to is where the rental car is located. Some low-budget car rental companies have their cars parked far from the airport. You must first take a shuttle bus to the rental location. No fun if you just finished a plane trip. You simply want to quickly get into your Italian rental car with your belongings. It is usually also possible to get a rental car directly at the airport. The large, well-known car rental companies such as Hertz, Avis and Budget are almost always located at the airport itself. You can also book through a car rental broker with such an A-brand without paying an A-price for it.
6 Watch your documents
Local landlords are also active in Italy. For example, a well-known party is Maggiore. It is also fine to book a rental car there and it is often cheaper if you book in advance of your trip. However, you have to pay extra attention to what exactly you pay for and what not. So that you are not faced with unpleasant surprises.
Always make sure that you bring the vouchers, your driver's license and any other necessary papers with you. This prevents hassle at the counter. If you want more than one driver, you will also have to indicate this. You pay an extra rate for that. Also keep in mind that you have to pay a surcharge for young drivers. These are often drivers under the age of 25.
7. Fuel Controling car rental
What you have to pay extra attention to is the regulation around the fuel. It is best to opt for an arrangement where you have to return the car with a full tank. Then you can refuel somewhere cheap near the airport. If you have the rental car refueled in Italy by the rental company itself, you always pay a hefty surcharge. Also make sure that you are not confronted with extra costs if you exceed a certain mileage. It is best to opt for unlimited kilometers. That gives you the most freedom during your holiday. And the distances you drive are almost always longer than you think.
8. Opt for compact
You also have to make a choice in advance for the class of your car. It is important how many people are going with you and how much luggage you have to be able to lose. Do not opt for a large car. That is expensive in the first place and in the second place sometimes difficult with parking in busy cities or maneuvering in narrow Italian village streets.
Please note: you almost always book a rental car in Italy by class. In the example there might be a nice Alfa Romeo Giulietta. In practice you often get a 'normal' Peugeot or Renault. Incidentally, most compact rental cars from rental companies in Italy are Italian-made. There is therefore a good chance that you will receive a Fiat Panda or a Fiat Bravo.
Navigation in your rental car is usually useful if you are in an area unknown to you. You can be lucky that your car is equipped with navigation, without having to pay for it. That has happened to us regularly. In more and more modern cars, navigation is built-in as standard and your rental car is never older than a few years at the reputable rental companies. However, don't count on having navigation if you don't specifically order it. Of course that will cost you a few euros extra per day. That is why you can also choose to bring your own navigation system for your Italian rental car. Or download an app in advance that allows you to navigate offline on your smartphone.
10. Watch out for any damage to your rental car
If you are going to pick up the rental car in Italy, first walk around it quietly. Inspect any damage to the fenders, tires and windshield. What is the condition of the car and what does the rental contract say about it? Don't settle if the car is damaged and the rental contract states that the rental car is damage free. It is difficult for a while, but go back to the counter and state on the contract that the car is damaged. That can avoid a lot of hassle later on. If necessary, also take photos in advance of the damage to your rental car.
11. Car rental Italy without excess
Most people like the idea of not having to pay a deductible if they unexpectedly damage their rental car. With most car rental companies you can buy off the amount of the deductible or at least reduce it by paying a little extra.
At some car rental brokers (such as Sunny Cars), the deductible has usually already been surrendered as standard. You pay an all-in rate for car rental without deductible. It is possible that a landlord does apply a deductible on site. In the event of damage, you will have to advance this deductible, but you will receive it back to your bank account as soon as possible.
In most cases it is therefore better for your own peace of mind to ensure that you have surrendered the deductible. Then you have nothing to worry about anymore.
Cost of car rental Italy
How much does it cost to rent a car in Italy? That of course depends on a number of things. Especially of the season in which you want to rent a car, the class in which you want to rent a car and at which airport (or other place) you want to rent a car. Globally, you should expect rates between 20 and 50 euros per day for a car in the compact/economy class. That is say a Volkswagen Polo. You have to calculate the budget for petrol separately.
Compare car hire in Italy
Do you want to do an Italian road trip? Getting into your car with your travel companions to go where and when you want? Down a thousand kilometers along the boot? Discover many places? Do you want to sleep in agriturismi in the countryside? Then renting a car in Italy is ideal. Keep a close eye on the offers of the various car rental companies! And know that the price that is offered to you when booking your flight is not always the lowest you can find. Therefore, search separately for great offers for car rental at your destination. Book before departure: renting a car locally in Italy is much more expensive.
Best car rental company Italy
From the above you can already deduce that it is best to book in the Netherlands through a broker. So you don't have to look up the best car rental company in Italy. In fact, you get the best deals if you cannot book on the spot.
So feel free to book via Sunny Cars of TUI Cars and pick up your car from reputable rental companies such as Maggiore, Avis, Alamo, Sicily by Car, Europcar, Hertz, Budget, Targa Rent, Auto Europa and Sixt. Then you will almost always benefit from the best car rental in Italy.
Should you wish to book directly with a rental company, we recommend that you do so through one of the above well-known brands – all of which are represented in Italy. You may not pay the lowest price, but you will avoid a lot of hassle during your holiday.
The following also applies: booking and paying in advance is worth the effort. Once in Italy you don't have to worry about insurance or extras anymore.
When determining the best car rental in Italy, you can also consider whether you still want to travel by bus from the airport to the rental location of a budget rental company or whether you prefer to get into your rental car right next to the airport.
Our honest advice based on experience with car rental in Italy? Do not choose a landlord that you first have to travel to from the airport. You are tired from the journey and you want to get to your holiday accommodation as quickly and smoothly as possible. And then driving straight away from the airport is so relaxed.
Italy car rental discount codes
Always nice to save a little extra! If we have discount codes for car rental through a rental agent or car rental agent, we will list them here. Do you know a discount code for car rental in Italy? Let us know and we'll add it.
Discount code car rental Alamo
We can give Alamo customers a €10 discount on their car rental of 3 days or longer.
To redeem this discount on car rental, use the following discount code:
Discount code car rental Sunny Cars
Unfortunately, we currently do not have a discount code for Sunny Cars customers. Come back soon! You can of course check the current range of Sunny Cars. It is quite possible that you will be profitable anyway.
Discount code car rental TUI Cars
Looking for discount codes for car rental via TUI Cars? As soon as we have a discount code for you, we will post it here on our website.
Cheap car rental in Italy
Through a party like Sunny Cars of TUI Cars you can easily find the cheapest rental cars in Italy. Just compare and you've got a great offer. At the same time, you know with these parties that things are going well and that you will not be turned down one way or the other.
Conclusion: for the right rental car in Italy, it is not always wise to take the cheapest one. You must pay attention to the additional costs, the possible shuttle at the airport, the refueling policy and any costs for the surrender of the deductible. That deductible can easily amount to 1.000 euros in case of damage. And you know: damage is done in no time. Once you have found a car, always read the rental conditions carefully. Then you will travel so much more pleasantly!