There is so much to see in Italy that you can reach by train or taking a quick flight. But to really get off the beaten path, the best way to explore is by car. It’s unlikely you’ll be bringing your own car down but rental and private drivers can be a huge help while exploring. So, continuing our series on the best ways to travel in Italy, let’s explore traveling in Italy by Car.
Getting Around the City – Taxis & Car Sharing
Of course, sometimes traveling in Italy by car doesn’t mean taking a big trip, how useful is a car in the cities? This depends on the city you are in. In bigger cities like Rome, you might find it easier to get around by cab sometimes.
Italy still hasn’t fully adopted services like Lyft and Uber. In some ways, Uber exists but only in black cars and the prices are way high. Taxis are the go-to. You can book them at a taxi stand, call a local number, or the easiest way to do it right by your phone is through a few apps.
FreeNow is one that you can use throughout Italy. You can use it not only for taxis but also to book car sharing, moto and scooter sharing! Book in advance and pay through the app making it very simple.
An alternative is appTaxi, this is available in fewer cities, but still in the major ones. You can book a taxi and pay through the app.
Taxis throughout Italy have different rates, but all go by the meter. Be sure they are running the meter beforehand! At night there is usually a surcharge, and taxi rides from the city center to the airport usually have a standard set fee.
Sometimes a cheaper alternative is carsharing. Car sharing has become very popular in Italy, with services like Eni Enjoy cars. These charges are usually per minute. However, if you are just visiting, it is difficult to set up an account as they will need to check your driving license and an international driving license. If you are living in Italy, they can be quite handy to have!
These carsharing cars also let you enter and park within ZTL(limited traffic zones) in most cities!
Italy by Car – Renting
Renting a car in Italy is pretty easy, however, the most likely might ask for an international driver’s license (just a translation of your license!). You can get this via AAA in the US for 20$, from other countries, there are many services online will get you the license!
The other thing you will want to have is a credit card. This is really essential while renting a car in Italy. When you have a credit card you are able to get better rates and pay less for your rental. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a credit card, you will have to pay a much higher rate.
The only company that will rent without a credit card is SIXT. But if you can rent with a credit card, Sicily by Car is a very popular company, but I recommend comparing a bit!
When renting a car, you really will want to take the smaller option to make sure you can wiggle through small streets and find parking.
But when would you want to rent? If you are shorter on time and you wanted to cover multiple towns, a car can be a great option. I also find in certain regions are better with a car, for example, Piedmont and Tuscany.
Having a car in Tuscany allows you to explore the wine region and the coast on your own terms. There are plenty of buses and trains, but you’ll always have to keep an eye on schedules. Renting a car lets you explore on your own terms.
In Piedmont, it’s actually pretty necessary if you plan to go for hikes out in the Alps, or want to go for a trip around the Langhe.
When a private driver is necessary
Private drivers or shuttles can be expensive, but sometimes worth it. Many visitors opt for a private driver for airport shuttles as they can get an estimate beforehand, and it might be more stable than a taxi.
Private shuttles might also be necessary if you have booked a hotel in the countryside, far from the airport. For example, many might choose to fly into Milan, when they have a hotel in the Langhe. A taxi would be very costly, and not have a stable price, but with a private driver you can request an estimate in advance.
Many opt for a private driver when heading to the Amalfi Coast as well. From Rome airport to Amalfi can cost about 500 to 600 but often the more people you have the better price you can get. Getting a driver can also make it more comfortable for the long ride. (To cut costs, you can first get a train down to Napoli then book a driver from there!)