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    Cheap car hire in Italy

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    Car hire in Italy at the best prices

    Mainland Italy is located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea and shares borders with six other European countries. Being the 5th most visited country; Italy provides plenty of beauty, which comes in the form of varied landscapes, friendly people, culture and undeniably delicious cuisine. From north to south, including its islands, the country has much to explore and do. Why not pick-up your car hire in Italy and take a road trip through this majestic country, where history is around every corner.

    Auto Europe is a car hire broker with over 60 years industry experience. Through its large partner network of known and trusted brands, Auto Europe provides a large selection of vehicles to choose from. With pick-ups at airports, train stations and many city centres, finding the perfect solution for your holiday is easy. If a motorhome is your preferred option, then we are also able to provide this, and much more, such as luxury car hire and even a chauffeur service. Contact us today to find out how we can help

    Road Rules, Driving Information and Petrol Stations

    Many Italian cities operate "Zona Traffico Limitato" (ZTL) zones. These are designed to reduce congestion and cause less pollution. There are heavy fines if you drive into one of these zones without authorisation, with fines being generated automatically once you're caught on camera. The zones are clearly marked with a red circle, with the applied time restrictions directly underneath. Sometimes you will also see a crossed hammer next to the times indicated, this means that the ZTL isn't enforced on Sundays or Public holidays. It is generally advised to not drive within city centres as sometimes you may not realise you are entering a ZTL until it's too late. Popular Italian cities with ZTL zones include Rome, Milan, Pisa and Florence. If you happen to be staying in a hotel within the ZTL zone, the hotel in question should report your licence plate number to the local police. It is also recommended to keep your hotel receipt for future proof that you had reason to be within a ZTL area.

    Following are some useful things to be aware of whilst driving in Italy. For more information, please visit our driving in Italy page.

    • Cars in Italy drive on the right-hand side of the road and overtake on the left.

    • The minimum age to drive in Italy is 18 years of age. Some rental companies require you to be older, so please check before booking. An additional surcharge may apply.

    • Vehicles approached from the right-hand side have right of way.

    • High visibility jackets must be worn whenever you breakdown or are involved in an accident.

    • The use of mobile phones while driving is forbidden, unless you use a hands-free kit.

    • Dipped headlights must be used on two-laned motorways.

    • The use of a horn is prohibited in built-up areas unless you are in dangerous situation.

    • The use of seat belts is mandatory for both the driver and any passengers.

    • The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) legal limit in Italy is 0.05%; however, any driver that has held his or her driver's licence for three years or less must abide by a legal limit of 0.00. We strongly recommend that you do not drink and drive.

    • You can find petrol stations along the main motorways. Most stations along the toll roads - "Autostrade" in Italian - are open 24 hours. Others are generally open Monday to Saturday between the hours of 7am-7pm, with a break at lunchtime. It is important that you know which type of fuel your rental car requires.

    Must Do

    • Colosseum (Rome) : Arguably one of the most famous historical sites in Rome, the Colosseum is simply unmissable. Completed in 80 AD under the Roman Emperor Titus, this oval amphitheatre is the largest in the world. It was used in ancient times for gladiatorial events and other public spectacles. In its hay day it was said to host up to 80,000 spectators together with exotic animals such as tigers. It is recommended to buy tickets in advance via its website to avoid lengthy queues and to also, for extra depth and knowledge, join a guided tour.

    • Florence Electric Bike Tour: When visiting such a beautiful city, with so much to offer, it's not always easy to fit everything into one visit. That is why a 4 hour Electric Bike Tour could be just the right solution for you. The tour is conducted by a local expert, who can guide you through the streets and historical alleys of Florence. Taking you directly to some of the best locations within the city, this guided tour will take you to the top of mount Fiesole, where you can savour the picturesque Tuscan countryside. Within the centre you will be whisked to Ponte Vecchio, Sanata Croce, Brunelleschi's Dome and Michelangelo's Piazzale.

    • Sistine Chapel: Located within the Vatican City, Italy, you will come across what is notably one of the best pieces of art from the Italian born architect, poet, sculptor and painter Michelangelo. The Sistine Chapel itself was completed in 1481 and forms part of the Apostolic Palace. Nowadays the chapel is primarily used for religious and official papal activity - with its most famous function being that of the place where a new pope is nominated. Although the chapel can become very busy during the summer months, it is a must see, especially for Renaissance lovers.

    • Teatro Olimpico: Located in Vicenza, northern Italy, the UNESCO recognised Olimpico Theatre was inaugurated in 1585 with its first ever performance "Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus" as the opening act. The stage is the oldest surviving stage set, with the theatre being one of only three Renaissance Theatres in existence. Once there, you won't help but be impressed by the sheer thought that has gone into producing such a wonderful setting. Finely detailed sculptures gaze down upon you and 3 dimensional streets unravel before you - together capturing the imagination.

    • Bologna Food Factory Tour: If you love everything food related then a guided tour of Bologna's large scale and smaller family owned factories is a must. Discover how century old techniques are used in the creation of much loved Italian delicacies and then maybe even take some home with you. The tour lasts a whole day and takes you through the beautiful Emilia-Romagna's countryside. Taste authentic balsamic vinegar, prosciutto and Parmigiano cheese, to name but a few pleasures that will await you. When lunch finally arrives, relax with a traditional Italian spread, accompanied with exquisite local wines.

    Road Trips

    Italy has much to offer those adventurous souls amongst us. Simply collect your car rental in Italy from one of the airports, main train stations or city centres, and take to the open road to discover the true Italian "dolce vita". Rome is an ideal place to set off from and with our one-way option, you may collect in one location and drop off at a totally different one.

    If you wish to explore Italy's scenic landscapes, then a drive towards the UNESCO Amalfi Coast is a great option. Drive up to Positano and visit the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral or just spend some time in town admiring the local architecture. This coastline is not to be missed.

    Explore central Italy, its idyllic landscapes and historic areas with a drive to Lazio Sabina or head towards Stelvio Pass and take in the wonderful views of the alpine. If you love nature, greenery and beautiful rolling hills, then a trip through the Tuscany region is a must. Lose yourself in this romantic region of Italy. A road trip from Veneto - Lake Garda, is perfect for those wishing to explore the north of Italy. On your way, you can stop off at Venice, one of the most visited cities in Italy. If islands are high on your agenda, then Sicily is the perfect place in which to discover southern Italy and take on all the island living has to offer.

    There are endless road trips options to choose from. For further information pay a visit to our road trips in Italy page for inspiration!

    Age Requirements

    The minimum age to drive in Italy is 18 years old. In order to rent a car in Italy, you must have held your driver's licence for a minimum of 1 year. Drivers under the age of 25 may be subject to a young driver surcharge. For more information about driving a car hire in Italy, please see our driving information guide.

    Tolls

    There are many toll roads in Italy, which makes the Italian toll system somewhat confusing to understand and not very streamlined. Each individual route section is monitored by a different toll company. The toll amount depends on the distance travelled. You can pay by credit card in some but not all places, so it is better to ensure that you also always have cash available for paying. An alternative would be to register for a Telepass or ViaCard. A Telepass is a small transponder that attaches to the inner windscreen of your car. It is then linked to an Italian or non-Italian bank account of your choosing. Once activated you simply pass through the toll booth using the Telepass or ViaCard lanes. More information on specific routes and associated toll costs can be found here.

    A bit of history

    Italian history is long, complex and marked mainly with periods of division. For many years, numerous cities functioned as individual city-states, with their own laws, taxes, culture, foreign policies and alliances. Some, such as Venice, Florence and Genoa even emerged as very powerful trading hubs. During these times, war and skirmishes were often the case between city-states as many competed for vital resources. It wasn't until they started to unite, that Italy as a whole began to flourish.

    One such period of unity was under the Roman Empire. This period saw the Romans conquer much of Western Europe and the Mediterranean, influencing Europe's culture, language, legal system, politics and societies until present day. During the 5th century the Roman Empire fell into decline and eventual collapse. Italy still contributed much to the modern western culture and ideology. The Renaissance period emerged from within Italy and over time spread all over Europe, drastically shapping western culture.

    After Napoleon's invasion, in 1861 a unification movement emerged and by 1870, much of what we know now as modern day Italy was unified. The Kingdom of Italy took on an active role during World War I. However, the Kingdom did not last long and was eventually overthrown by the dictator Mussolini - whom in turn also took Italy into World War II. Eventually through its involvement in the war, the public became very discontent and the end of the dictatorship swiftly followed with the assassination of Mussolini. By 1948 a new constitution came into effect and a unified Italy found a new purpose. Nowadays, Italy has the third largest GDP output in the Eurozone, a high level of life expectancy and is both a regional and global power. Italy is part of the EU, NATO, G7 and G20, amongst many others. As a testament to its cultural heritage, Italy has the most world heritage sites of any nation and is one of the most popular destinations to visit.

    Currency

    Italy is part of the Eurozone and, therefore, the currency used is the euro. You are able to exchange your currency for euros at any currency exchange bureau, which can often be found at airports or main train stations. You may also be able to withdraw cash (euros) from any of the local ATMs that can be found throughout the city centre. Credit cards may be accepted as a form of payment in some locations, however we would advise you to check the fees with your card provider beforehand.

    Time Difference

    The time zone in Italy is GMT +1, making Rome one hour ahead of London, for example. This time zone also includes Italian islands, such as Sicily and Sardinia. Daylight Saving Time applies to all of Italy, from the last weekend in March to the last weekend of October.

    Dictionary

    Hello - Ciao
    Good morning - Buongiorno
    Good afternoon - Buon pomeriggio
    Good evening - Buonasera
    Where is the closest police station? - Dov'è la stazione di polizia più vicina?
    Where is the closest hospital? - Dov'è l'ospedale più vicino?
    Where is the closest ATM machine? - Dov'è il bancomat più vicino?
    Where is [location]? - Dov'è [location]?
    Can I pay by credit card? - Posso pagare con la carta di credito?
    Can I pay by debit card? - Posso pagare con la carta di debito?
    How much does this cost? - Quanto costa?
    Thank you - Grazie
    Keep the change - Tenga il resto

    Electricity

    The electrical voltage in Italy is the same as in the UK, 230 volts alternating at 50 cycles per second. However, wall sockets are different from those used in the UK, so you will need an adaptor if using British appliances. The adaptors used in Italy are type C, F and L.

    Visa & Embassy Information

    Italy is part of the European Union and, therefore, British Citizens do not need a visa to travel there. Should you need assistance from the consulate during your travels, please see below for the location of the British Embassy in Rome.

    British Embassy Rome
    Via XX Settembre 80/a
    00187 Rome, Italy
    Email: inforome@fco.gov.uk
    Telephone: +39 06 4220 0001

    Campervan hire in Italy

    Italy is a country like no other, offering so many cultural and scenic delights that visiting only one destination simply won't do it justice. By booking a campervan in Italy you can maximise your time in this beautiful country, making your way from Lake Garda to Tuscany, then Rome and all the way down to Sicily in the south, for example. Auto Europe offers a great selection of vehicles and pick-up locations, including Rome, Milan, Pisa, and Palermo.

    Useful links

    Infographic Unusual Ski Resorts

    Infographic Winter Tyres Regulation

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