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Whether your car rental is made in Rome or Milan for business, or to drive through the landscapes of Tuscany, you should reserve the car before you arrive.
Most important comment: Be clear about whom you are dealing with at the outset; a car rental operator or a car rental broker. . There are many sites but a new one in 2016 is via Ryan air. They will limit who can rent from but the prices can be less than 1/2 of everyone else.
Don't decide on price alone. The company reputation, age of the fleet, the damage deductible, fuel policy, additional driver fees, etc. are important. When picking up the car, make sure the 'Condition Report' lists ALL damage existing on the car. Key is really to get advance full coverage on the car. Advance because via reputable companies like Allianz or extra paid ocverage via Amex it will much less than getting it at the rental car company. But get it for the peace of mind on Italian roads with Italian drivers.
Search the TripAdvisor Forums for advice and traveler experiences with different car providers. Search Google with the terms: Independent Italy Car Rental Reviews. Use Wikipedia to compare car models - for example a Fiat Panda may be smaller than you expect! And, be aware that about 50% of the cars may have "automatic" turn-off feature to save fuel. That is, at stops, yes -- your car will shut itself off. (Lifting your foot off the brake will re-start it) Pretty interesting if you're not expecting this.
Locauto (cheap with good cars but note get coverage before you rent from them)
Primerent (Rent Luxury and Convertible cars)
Car Rental Broker Listings Not Allowed
ZTL (Limited Traffic Zones)
The historic centres of many cities, towns and villages throughout Italy have ZTLs. These limited zones have been put in place in order to reduce congestion and pollution making the centres more pleasant for residents and visitors alike. The zones in each place will have its own regulations; some zones are restricted to certain hours, some to residents only, some to cars with certain permits. These conditions will be set out underneath the road sign which marks the entrance to the zone. Although the sign is an international driving sign, it is one that some countries do not use, so it is essential that you familiarise yourself with this sign, before you travel to Italy.
Pay careful attention to speed restrictions. Again, there are cameras on some roads and motorways and again, if you are caught speeding a fine of over 100 Euros will eventually find you. It is worth it to get a GPS as it will warn you before you come upon a camera. Listen for the beeps and make sure your GPS is up to date.
There are signs warning of the cameras and the cameras themselves are housed in large grey boxes by the sides of the road. On major motorways there is system they call "tutor" which identifies you at a certain point on overhead cameras and then monitors your progress through a number of similar points. The system works out your average speed and if it decides that you couldn't have gone that distance without breaking the speed limit, then you can expect a fine in the post.
Of course, you could also be stopped and ticketed by a police officer. The police also have the authority to make an on the spot fine.
Generally speaking, the speed limits are 50km/h in built-up areas,
90km/h on ordinary roads, 110km/h on dual carriages and 130km/h on
motorways. In wet weather the limit is reduced to 90km/h on dual
carriageways and 110km/h on motorways.