We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

Which Rome hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
81 posts
19 reviews
Save Topic
Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

Does anyone have advice on where we should return our rental car when coming into Rome on November 2nd? We will be driving into Rome from the Amalfi Coast. Obviously, I know we will need to go to the return spot for our chosen rental agency.

But we have heard driving in Rome is difficult and wondered if we should drop off the car on the outskirts of Rome (maybe one of the airports) and take public transportation to our B&B near the Vatican? I hate to add this extra step (and the time it will take) but would love to avoid any major mishaps with ZTLs or dangerous city driving.

We will probably be using AutoEuropa for car rental -- but I have not reserved a car yet since I am not sure where we are picking up or returning the car.

Also, does anyone know if the rental price is better if we reserve ahead of time -- or should we wait until we are in Florence to rent?

We will probably be picking up the car Florence SMN train station or maybe in Pisa (?). Tentatively our plan is to visit Lucca for a few days after we leave Florence and then spend a half day in Pisa before we pick up our car for our trip into Tuscany countryside.

Thank you in advance for any advice!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
287 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

The "culture" of driving in Italy is different from North America and takes some getting used to. Italian drivers are courteous in their own way; they generally stop for pedestrians, avoid crowding cyclists, and so on. However, they are much more aggressive than we are. If they see an opening in traffic, they take it, even if it violates right-of-way rules, traffic signs, etc. So if they see you hesitate, they will charge by/in front of you.

Rome, because of its size and complexity, magnifies this to an extreme. Now I've never driven in Rome, but I've walked through it extensively and I've taken cabs there, and I wouldn't want to drive through it, especially with its many chaotic roundabouts. My own preference, then, would definitely be to drop the car off outside Rome and use transit to get in. There's a direct train from Fiumicino Airport to Termini, and a metro line from Termini to the Vatican, so getting to your B&B won't be too much trouble.

If you do choose to drive into Rome, I highly recommend you use a GPS to ensure you're going to the right place. Italian streets are rarely labelled clearly. Rather than putting street signs on corner posts like we do, they put plaques on the sides of buildings, and often the plaques aren't there, or they're hard to read--especially when you're inside a car and are concentrating on not getting rear-ended by a passionate Italian who has no patience for hesitant tourists!

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
688 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

I have returned a rental to the Termini location after driving from Positano. The printed directions I had were pretty worthless. As already stated....street signs are little if any help. Names of streets/roads change between blocks, the street names are hard to locate, there is so much going on around you...other cars, bikes, scooters, pedestrians...that it is difficult to stay focused on looking for street signs that aren't where you expect them to be. Having been to Rome several other times....I eventually followed signs for "Centro" knowing that once in the Centro area I knew how to get to Termini. Without having some knowledge of central rome or in absence of a GPS I would not recommend trying to follow printed directions to the drop-off.

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
81 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

Thanks for the input RWStewart and pghguy!

I think with a GPS, we might be able to manage returning a car to the Termini. Other than that, we definitely don't want to be driving in Rome at all! I did look at Google Maps after another TripAdvisor poster advised me of the same as pghguy. The route in looks to be on main roads until the last mile or so.

LOL, keep in mind DH will be driving! Thank goodness, not me! Thanks again for the advice.

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
688 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

That was the same thought I had...."looks like main roads until the last mile or so....how hard could it be?" Luckily my wife and I don't take it out on each other....it gets tense...but usually ends with a good laugh. I can't tell you how many "great stories" we have driving in Italy. Funny in hindsight anyway.

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
81 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

LOL, pghguy!

Your post reminded me of the time I tried to drive into Galway in Ireland looking for a particular parking lot - in the rain and gps went on the fritz and my daughter tried copilot me by following paper directions. Needless to say, we laugh about it now, but honestly, we gave up after navigating the same traffic circle 5 times from both directions. We drove out of Galway to the next small town, parked and went to the nearest pub!

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
82,363 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

First up, I would advise you to avoid AutoEuropa: it is a rental company with a bad reputation. If you are actually intending to use the broker AutoEurope, that is fine.

I have driven into Rome once and will never do it again. I now drop the car at FCO airport, from where there are a variety of ways of getting into central Rome.

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
81 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

Thanks Sydneynick. You were right - that was a typo on my part. I was looking at AutoEurope for rental prices - not AutoEuropa. I am getting back prices around $280 Euro for an 8 day rental - manual transmission, economy car, with a "no excess" clause.

Can anyone tell me if that is the same as "Super CDW" that I purchased when i rented in Ireland. Which basically meant I paid nothing, no matter what happened to the car. In Ireland, as I remembered, if you purchased only CDW (Collison Damage Waiver) - you still had up to a 2000 Euro deductible. So it was an easy choice for an extra $100 to have peace of mind. And sure enough, right out of Dublin, I had a close encounter with a bramble hedge on a narrow road and scraped the passenger door up! I saw more than a few side view mirrors in the the middle of the road.

So yes, I had considered driving into one of the airports - FCO or Ciampino? Still mulling it over, and deciding how much hubby is comfortable with, of course, he is telling me he can drive anywhere! LOL.

Thanks again for the advice!

Hot Sulphur...
Level Contributor
880 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

We have picked up and returned cars in several places in Italy. AutoEurope is fine.

I suggest FCO as a drop off, if you are coming into Rome during off peak driving hours. Otherwise, I'd find a place even further out and take the train in. Maybe even Naples?

Safe Travels.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
49,447 posts
130 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

Definitely rent in advance to get the best rates and guarantee availability.

I wouldn't hesitate to drive into Rome personally although I have now driven in several major cities of Europe and basically know what to expect. The key is to go into the city during off peak hours. Otherwise, you could waste a lot of time sitting in traffic. Having a GPS makes directions much easier although it's not bad advice either to follow the Centro and then Termini signs. Still, you might need to drive around a bit to find the car rental return. If you decide to drive into Rome to return your car, drop your bags off at your hotel first and check-in to make life easier.

ZTL is another issue though so be sure to study the restriction for each city.

Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
1,026 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Driving in Rome? Where to Return Rental Car?

Nifty51, there are many spots to drop you car off in Rome - and the location will depend ALSO on which vendor you go through. This list of locations may help you: http://tinyurl.com/car-rome

You say your final destination is your B&B near the Vatican. You can easily come into town and get on the GRA (ring road around town - A90),,, like you're headed toward FCO but stay on the GRA and head for Via Aurelia, which is Exit #1, I believe,

Via Aurelia is a 4-lane road into town with no ZTL issues. This is the way the taxis come in from FCO to the Vatican area., I know, I've lived in the area for 3 years! If this works for you, then possibly you could look at a Prati or Vatican area drop-off.

Prati is across the river from the centro area... the roads are wider with a little better signage. We drove our motorino daily in Rome and your husband will adjust quickly! The GPS will certainly help.

To avoid the ZTL's, you might also look at this post: http://tinyurl.com/Rome-ZTL,

I'd also use Google Maps to help you pre-map out your route. The fewer turns the better. If you find a Vatican area rental vendor, I'd drop the car and get a taxi to head to your B&B. The rental folks can call one for you.