Car rental question (Rome or surrounds)

Jan 2nd, 2012, 08:39 AM
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Car rental question (Rome or surrounds)


DH and I, our then- 19 month old son, and my parents will be spending a little over 2 weeks in Italy in late May/early June. This is our 6th trip to Italy (first for our little one!), but we have never driven in Italy. DH and DF (my father) have driven in Germany, Austria, and Greece and are familar with European road rules and are comfortable driving stick shift. All that sad... neither is thrilled at the prospect of picking up the car in Rome and driving out of Rome after our first 4 nights.

When we rent cars in Athens, we always pay a little extra to pick them up at the Athens airport so that the driver can easily hop onto the freeway and avoid driving in Athens itself. Would picking up the car at FCO accomplish the same thing? Alternatively, upon leaving Rome, we were planning to head to either Vitterbo or Orvieto. It looks as though both destinations are easily reached by train, so would it perhaps be less stressful to train there and pick up the cars there?

Many thanks for all your advice. I'm sure the prospect of driving in Rome isn't daunting to many, but when my usually mellow DH and DF both put their foot down about it... I know I best come up with some other alternative .

Best, TA

P.S. The day we would want to pick up the car is May 30th, a Wednesday. I believe we have to check out of our apartment by 10am.
TexasAggie is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 08:44 AM
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Orvieto is a traditional place to pick up a car coming out of Rome, but the airport might be easier.

just get a cab straight there from your apartmet, instead of having to get to Termini, get the train, get off the train, etc, etc - not so easy with a 19 nth old and all the things they seem to need.

the cost of the cab won't be that much split between the 4 of you - probably no more than the single ticket to Orvieto.

BTW - you menfolk are right - you really don't want to drive in Rome.
annhig is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 09:03 AM
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IF annhig maths are right that is a very good advice, in Rome there are also reliable auto leggio servicesc that can take you and your family to Orvietto for a flat fee. better than a taxi, .Since you are four maths will most likely work.
ps The matter in fact I know of a good autto leggio which I had recommended in fodors in previous
Postings,I do not have nor remember its name because I am on a foreign country now, may be you can find my postings regarding this attolegio in the fodor,s file.
Graziella5b is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 10:11 AM
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Best way would be to pick up the car at the airport, this is what i always do.
Book a transfer to the airport, i always use airport shuttle, they are reliable and offer a good service.
Just keep in mind that driving on the ring highway of Rome, can take some time in case of heavy traffic.
clausar is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Thank you both so much for your replies. I will look into renting from FCO then .
TexasAggie is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 10:58 AM
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There are so many variables involved and in the end you must do what makes you comfortable. Rent and return the car from the same location to make life easier. A shuttle to the city for 4 days and then returning to FCO to pick up the car works and keeps you off the city roads. The alternative is to pickup the car at Rome Termini Station and return it to FCO. The drive from the station out of the city is not terrible, depending on the time of day. Don't pick up the car at FCO and try returning it to Termini unless you want to age significantly trying to find the drop off location.

When driving in towns, especially Rome and Florence, watch out for the ZTL (limited traffic zone) signs. They can sneak up on you and it may be over a year before you receive the ticket in the mail.

As for Italian driving, it is more predictable in the north than south. Northern drivers can be more predictable, southern drivers can be breathtaking. Your experiences driving in Europe will pay dividends.
Renaud is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 11:48 AM
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just to check, i went back to the trenitalia website to see what a ticket fro, rome to Orvieto costs - turns out that it's a bit cheaper then i thought at €7.10 to €12, depending on what sort of train you catch.

a car shuttle probably costs about €50 so the differential is about €20 plus whatever surcharge to pick up at airport. [but there might be a surcharge to pick up at Termini too].

I'd still go for the airport pickup if it were me.
annhig is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 12:57 PM
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Hi annhig,
Thank you so much for the additional information. While we travel pretty light even with our son, getting on and off trains isn't as easy as it used to be . We plan to follow your advice and cab or car transfer to FCO and we will get the car there.
TexasAggie is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 01:05 PM
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Posts: 12,269 at FCO where I pick mine up from
200 euro per week. FCO has lots of nice hotels in May'for $69/nt on we stayed at the Sheraton Roma it is their S Rome 4 star nice for price out of Rome they had cheap
shuttle in to Rome for a couple of euros. Might do that usually cheapest best way to go. Naples downtown super scary
but rural areas fine for me all over.
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 01:08 PM
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Posts: 12,269 for the sheraton they have a rental car office in the lobby and a shuttle from FCO in tiger does not work out. Orvieto is like 50 miles north car will be more drop off issues I so would not do that.
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 01:10 PM
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TexasAggie - i hope the arrangements work out well for you. I remember the first trip we took abroad with our kids and everything took twice as long as I had reckoned on.

you might find someone who will do you a deal for a return transfer to the airport.

Have a great trip!
annhig is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 12:42 PM
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Dear TexasAggie, both Rome and Orvieto are easily served by cheap trains, even from Rome airport. Driving is also a good option, but it depends on time of the day: the traffic in Rome and surroundings can be incredibly HEAVY in workdays and finding a parking almost impossible in downtown, where the only easy alternative are paid (expensive) parkings. Consider that Rome has not a "rush hour", romans go to work and back at any hour. Also most of downtown Rome is not accessible by rented cars in workdays (it's open only after 6 p.m. and on sundays). My suggestion, since you are travellers and want to spend most of the time doing interesting thing, is to use trains and avoid cars. We got more cars than NYC but our streets are not six laned (I'm from Rome).
maxfab is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 01:17 PM
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I would rather start my car experience in Orvieto and save 2 hours of driving---the Hertz office is next to the train station.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 02:39 PM
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I would rather start my car experience in Orvieto and save 2 hours of driving-->>

but Bob you're not trying to negotiate Termini and Orvieto stations with a 19 month old and 2 grandparents in tow.
annhig is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 05:39 AM
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Hi bob,
Thanks for the reply. Renting in Orvieto (train there from Rome) is exactly what we would have done a couple years ago when it was just the 2 of us . While I know it would still be doable, I don't really relish the thought of navigating the Termini with luggage and a very independent, utterly fearless toddler .

In researching our route from FCO to our hotel in Orvieto, it looks as though we could opt to pass very near Villa Lante. We love grand gardens and of course, our son would enjoy the chance to break up the car ride and run around a bit (well supervised of course). Has anyone ever stopped there? There isn't much information online in English and my only other language is Greek... not much help here!
TexasAggie is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 07:09 AM
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mmmm - see what you mean. no info about opening times on the web, though there was an italian phone no to ring on the Commune di Viterbo wbsite, which probably isn't much use. however, both of my books on italian gardens say that it is open all day mon- fri from 9 to sunset, with tours [compulsory?] eve 30 mins, apart from public hols when it's shut.

it looks lovely and well worth the detour - as well as a great place to let the 19 month old run off some energy.
annhig is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 07:47 AM
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The other issue about renting in Orvieto is you will probably arrive in the middle of the car rental office's lunch time closing. And have to fiddle around with luggage in tow until 3 or 3:30. Whereas the airport car rental offices are open 24/7.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 02:56 PM
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Renaud gave good advice on Rome's ZTL zones. They are everywhere, problematic, seemingly hidden to tourists but probably not, a headache and to be avoided at all costs. This should all be capitalized, underlined and bolded--get my drift. I am reluctant to add I am a Longhorn that I may be steering you wrong, but I have 2 tics from Rome and I from Florence that arrived 6 months after our trip, 6 months after I had fraud alerts on my credit card and company had to cancel them and issue me a new card. Rental agency charged my card for info they had to provide the municipalities for the tickets, but then Florence and Rome tried to charge my card for the tickets. They of course, were not authorized to do that. They tried so many times, the fraud alert kicked in. Then I had to advice all automatic payees on my old card and provide all of them of the new credit card number. Do not drive in Rome unless absolutely necessary.
jan47ete is offline  
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