Car rental in Italy

Dec 18th, 2009, 10:28 AM
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Car rental in Italy

Starting to research a May 2010 trip to Italy. Want to visit Bologna, Tuscany and fly home from Milan. Has anyone ever rented a car at Bologna airport? Wondering if it's easy access to road to Tuscany.

Want to return car to Milan - is Linate or Malpensa better for returning? Will spend night in Milan so it doesn't matter where we return it - just want it to be easy.

I had a nightmare returning a car to the Florence AP years ago and don't want to repeat it.

cobbie is offline  
Dec 18th, 2009, 11:16 AM
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We picked up a car in Bologna this past September. The location that worked the best for us was not the airport, but a location across the street from the train station in Bologna. We rented through AutoEurope, and I'm blanking on the actual car rental company - maybe Hertz?

From there, we headed east to the autostrada to Ravenna. It wasn't too complicated to get from the car rental place to the autostrada.

Several years ago, we dropped our car outside of Milan, at Linate airport. This was the source of a serious marital dispute, which resulted in me bitterly wishing we'd done things differently. We were arriving from the west (from Turin), and DH really, really did not want to drop the car (I was driving, he was navigating) IN Milan. So we drove ALL THE WAY around the southern side of Milan, hitting horrible traffic on the way. We dropped the car at the airport, and took a cab back into Milan for the last night of our vacation, sitting in the back of the cab through horrible traffic to go back into the city. We arrived so late that the store that I really wanted to stop at, to stock up before returning home, was closed. As you can tell, I would not do things this way again - I would insist on dropping the car in Milan.
Lexma90 is online now  
Dec 18th, 2009, 12:40 PM
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I would not drive in Milan at all, and MXP is 30 miles west. I would find another solution.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Dec 18th, 2009, 03:29 PM
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Tagging on to bobthenavigator's thought... Where will you be before heading to Milan?
Jean is offline  
Dec 18th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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I am rethinking my routing. Flying from California to Genoa for the Cinque Terre. Rent Car in LaSpezia & go to Tuscany then drive to Bologna & leave car. Train to Milan for a day then fly home. Bologna would probably be easier for the car drop. I looked at Mappy & it's shorter from Tuscany to Bologna rather than La Spezia, Bologna, Tuscany, Milan. Any other advice is welcome.
cobbie is offline  
Dec 18th, 2009, 05:52 PM
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Were you going to Bologna anyway, or are you only trying to figure out the easiest car drop location? Where are you going in Tuscany?
Jean is offline  
Dec 19th, 2009, 05:05 AM
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Agree with Jean that if you are only going to Bologna to drop off a car, you might do better returning the car elsewhere.

I have driven into Linate, coming from the south, and had nothing of the negative experience that Lexma did, although I was not traveling in rush hour. Finding the airport is easy, the airport is small, the car rental office is easily located. It is quite simple to take a shuttle bus to Milan's centrale station. Tickets are about 6 euros a piece. If you are booked into a hotel that is not near centrale station, consider taking a taxi, since you will have luggage. It will cost you between 20- 30 euros, depending on the time of day you are traveling and how much luggage you have.

If you are not experienced driving in large Italian cities, don't attempt to drive in them (including Bologna). But there are smaller towns with car rental offices near train stations -- if you post more information about the rest of your trip, people can advise you on a convenient car rental drop-off that would enable you to easily catch a train for Milan if you don't want to drive to Linate.
stepsbeyond is offline  
Dec 19th, 2009, 06:03 AM
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Yes, better plan. This may help as well.


A. Of course you should if your driving skill & confidence would allow you to drive a rental car in Vermont, Colorado or California. But, be advised of these tips:
* Avoid driving in the major cities except for picking up or dropping cars
* Have good maps—study them in advance—and have a GOOD NAVIGATOR.
* Stay in the right lane except when passing and use your rear view mirrors

A. It is best to rent your car before you leave for Europe. The best source we have found is [800-223-5555] who is a broker for several car vendors. They will quote you prices to include the variables that are often omitted by others, such as unlimited mileage, mandatory insurance coverage with some deductibles, and VAT taxes. It is wise to compare prices and coverage with their sister company at Autoeurope will match any comparable quote, and are famous for their customer satisfaction if problems do arise with the vendor. The best model will depend on your needs, but for best value we suggest you select a compact car with manual transmission. Automatics are available but will cost you about 30% more and may limit your model options & pick up locations.

A. Yes & no! They are certainly aggressive, but they are also more skilled than many USA drivers—both are a function of necessity. Italy is one of the most crowded countries in the world and the drivers have evolved these characteristics
* They are notorious tailgaters. If that bothers you, pull over and let them past.
* On the AUTOSTRADE they will drive fast, but will stay in the right lane except when passing and will use their blinkers when passing—YOU SHOULD TOO !
* They will often pass on 2-lane roads with traffic coming. Frankly, they expect you, and the oncoming car, to adjust to the shoulder and make 3 lanes of traffic.

1. Learn the meaning of the sign “ SENSO UNICO” and take heed [ONE WAY ].
2. Be sure to get your ticket when you enter the AUTOSTADA system & be prepared to pay the toll when you exit it [ rule of thumb—300 km=15 Euro]. You can use your credit card in the VIA lane at the toll both, or buy a debit VIACARD in advance.
3. Do NOT attempt to follow road numbers—that will frustrate you. But, do pay attention to the directional signs that point to your destination [ TO MONTALCINO]. And, be aware if that road leads eventually to a larger city [ ROMA—SIENA ETC.]
4. Unless you have a diesel car, you will want to fill the tank with benzina from the green pump. Most stations will pump gas for you and will take credit cards.

NOTE: As of 2005, an International Drivers Permit[IDP] is required in Italy.
You can obtain them from your local AAA office. You will need a valid US driver’s license, two passport photos, and $15. The photos can be taken at the AAA office.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Dec 19th, 2009, 09:05 AM
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Here is our tentative itinerary: Fly into Genoa, overnight there, 2 nights on Cinque Terre, get car in La Spezia, drive to Tuscany for 2 nights, go to Bologna for one night, go to Milan for one night & one gal flies home. Probably to Lake Como by train then back to Milan to fly home.

I know it's a lot of running around but one gal only has a week and wants to pack in a lot.

We don't have any hotel reservations yet. want to stay near Radda in Chianti.

So now I'm figuring to get the car in La Spezia and drop it off somewhere near Bologna. We would only have the car for 2 days. I have driven in Italy before and had a bad experience returning car to Florence so would be happy to drop it near the train line to Bologna.

Thanks for all your help.

If you have any hotel recs in the up to 120E night range that would be grat.
cobbie is offline  
Dec 19th, 2009, 04:15 PM
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Why not fly out of Pisa? It's very close to Radda and only 45 minutes away. Milan in 5 hours away. I suggest you contact Mimma and Franco Ferrando at They are in Radda and have a beautiful villa on 175 acres for rent. Email is [email protected]. We've been staying there for 10 years and love it. It's very private but close to everything.
PattySchwarz is offline  
Dec 20th, 2009, 07:41 AM
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I would recommend AutoEuropa, which you can arrange for from home at this site:
Infotrack is offline  
Dec 20th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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Of course, that is Autoeurope which I suggested above and not Autoeuropa which is a different company.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Dec 20th, 2009, 10:02 AM
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Thanks for all your help. We are flying out of Milan as we are going to Lake Como too.
cobbie is offline  
Dec 20th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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You are covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time. I'd skip Bologna and add the night to Tuscany. Return the car at the Florence airport. The airport is an easy return. You can take the bus (buy your ticket from the driver) from there to the Florence bus station and walk across the street to the train station. Then train to Milan. Another idea- drop the car in Arrezzo (quick and VERY easy from Radda) and train from there.

Also, I would head to the CT the day the flight arrives in Genoa. This would allow you another night to add somewhere. I would add that night to Tuscany.

Check and for car rental. Kemwel sometimes has the better rate with no deductables.
zoecat is offline  

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