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GPS vs Google Maps

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My cell carrier is Verizon. We will be touring the Val d'Orcia by car and later driving from Bologna to Ascoli Piceno and on to Naples. At least one of the car rental locations does not have any GPS devices to rent. My choices seem to be either to buy an international chip for my long dormant GPS device or to get an international plan from Verizon. My research tells me that using google maps does not use data--data is only used for downloading maps. I am currently leaning towards using my iPhone for directions (backed up with paper maps). Does anyone have any experience with using their Verizon cell services for navigation in the areas we will be traveling? Thanks for any advice you may have!

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