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Driving from France into Italy?

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Sep 10th, 2012, 11:30 AM
  #1
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Driving from France into Italy?

Hi - end of September we'll be driving from the French Riviera into Italy, at the coastline. Are there any international issues we should be aware of? Any problems/hidden costs we should be prepared for? Grazie!
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Sep 10th, 2012, 11:38 AM
  #2
 
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Are you also driving back?
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Sep 10th, 2012, 11:42 AM
  #3
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No - we're picking up a rental in Marseilles, and returning it in Rome.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 11:49 AM
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You should check for huge drop off charges to drop a car in another country.

You will also need an international driving permit to legally drive in Italy.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 11:52 AM
  #5
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Jamikins - thanks, we're actually doing one of those Peugeot buy-backs, so the drop off fee is already covered. We have the International drivers license. Anything we need to be prepared for when we actually hit the border?
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Sep 10th, 2012, 11:54 AM
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There really is no border, you will just drive through as far as I know.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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1 major difference: freeway / autoroute / autostrada directional signs are BLUE in France and GREEN in Italy. Non-motorway signs are white in France (except for some long distance route indicators that are green), whereas all non-motorway signs in Italy are blue. Confused yet?

Otherwise, beware of the "ZTL" (Zona Trafico Limitato) restricted traffic areas in many Italian city centers. There are often only signs, no physical barriers, at their outer perimeter and if you go through without a permit, you will be photographed, and most probably receive a hefty fine via Peugeot or their agent when you get home. If your hotel is located within a ZTL, just give them your license plate nr, so they can register it for you.

Hope this helps,
Andre
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Sep 10th, 2012, 12:58 PM
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"Anything we need to be prepared for when we actually hit the border?"

Along the Riviera motorway:
- signs in France are in French and in Italian in Italy (so, eastbound, Genes till the border then Genova. Both mean Genoa)
- Motorways get suddenly narrower the moment you're in Italy
- Italian road designers had fundamentally different philosophies from French. Too much exposure in art classes at school to Caravaggio brainwashed them into being besotted with chiaroscuro: high energy prices made them underilluminate tunnels. So expect frequent sudden plunges into dark tunnels, often pitch dark, followed by blinding sunlight. You can easily go a hundred kilometres in this constant change of light. I hate it: others get sexed up on it and think they're in a 1950s film about Riviera driving. Whichever: don' let the driver do any looking at coastal scenery. And turn inland at the A11 to Florence, rather than staying on the coast, because it's a lot less exhausting
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Sep 10th, 2012, 01:04 PM
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so the drop off fee is already covered.

The fee is covered only in the sense that the pick-up and drop-off fee outside France is included in the total price, but there is a $260 fee.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 01:41 PM
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It seems like you got a lot of answers, but to the question of the border - there really is none (which I think is what you meant by international issues). You just drive along the highway and suddenly, you're in Italy.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 02:06 PM
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We did a similar drive in July. Everyone is right - no border to speak of, just a small sign noting that you're in Italy, signs are in Italian (obviously), and lots and lots of tunnels. We thought we should get gas at the last rest stop in France because we had heard it was more expensive in Italy and it was really, really crowded there. But I also think one of the pumps wasn't working properly. So perhaps fill up before you leave whatever town you're in? It's not that far to the border so you shouldn't need to top it off.

I know this doesn't apply to your situation, but this may be helpful to someone else reading this thread. I wish I could find my car rental receipt but it's in a pile of 8 weeks worth of receipts and various paperwork... We found the one way drop off fee to be well worth it for us. That may have been specific to our situation - we had the car for 4 weeks, we picked it up at Avignon train station and dropped it off at Florence airport. I didn't research if the drop off fee changes with different pick up and drop off locations or varying lengths of time, but I'm sure it might. But for us, the fee was somewhere around 200 euros. The last leg of our trip was from Antibes to Gaiole in Chianti, and from my research, the cost of train for 4 of us, and the changes we would have had to make with 2 small-ish children, made the drop off fee worth it. It was just so much easier and i think the 4 train tickets would have been close in price (I did do that research but don't have it in front of me). It's usually strongly discouraged on this board and I'm sure there are certain situations where it is absolutely not worth the money, but for us, it was definitely worth it. Again, I know that doesn't apply to you, but someone else might search this thread looking for that information!

Oh, and the coastline was gorgeous, so try to make your partner drive so you can enjoy the view!
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Sep 10th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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You'll know you're in Italy when you start hitting long tunnels every mile or two.

And yes, that drop off fee is insignificant when you want a car to drive in both countries. Renting two separate cars or returning to France and then getting to Rome would be a lot more expensive that the Peugeot buy back including the drop off fee.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 02:25 PM
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We drove from Nice to the Peimonte, Italy in June. When you leave France and enter Italy you won't have to stop frequently at toll booths that don't take your US credit card like in France. You'll receive a ticket and pay the toll where you exit the autostrada and your US credit card will work. You will see a large sign with Benvenuti,
welcome in Italian, which made us both smile.Have a great trip!
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Sep 12th, 2012, 12:20 PM
  #14
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Thanks so much for your quick and thorough replies!

CBoris: I agree that many on these sites tried to talk me out of the France to Italy car rental, because of the fees, but it really did seem worth it, at least in our situation. We've never done the Peugeot buy-back thing before, we'll see how that goes!
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Sep 12th, 2012, 01:25 PM
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Renting two separate cars or returning to France and then getting to Rome would be a lot more expensive that the Peugeot buy back including the drop off fee.

That depends on the length of the lease. If the minimum time, it probably is not worth it because all the hidden costs (insurance, registration etc.) are front loaded on the minimum lease time.
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Sep 12th, 2012, 01:53 PM
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Regarding drop off charges: For some of us, the convenience outweighs the cost.
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Sep 12th, 2012, 02:28 PM
  #17
 
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We've found the driving on the Italian side less frantic
on Saturdays; less truck traffic for starters.
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Sep 13th, 2012, 05:31 AM
  #18
 
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Michael, I can tell you know you are "right", but most of us have the intelligence to check the two rental option as opposed to a one car one with the drop off. And in addition to the other variables, the length of time is often a major variable -- like one week rental plus one day is nearly always cheaper than two 4 day rentals. But you are also missing the major fact that the poster was talking about a Peugeot car/buy back plan only available to those outside the EU and only available as a 17 day minimum, so your suggestion of two rentals hardly makes sense at all -- unless the poster is doing at least 34 days total of rental! I have never found even consolidator prices for rentals in Europe to be as cost effective as the buy back plans!

Anyway,sundriedpachino gives the really major point. The inconvenience of returning a car someplace in France, then traveling with luggage to a spot in Italy to pick up a new car is often not worth the savings of the drop off fee -- even if the two rentals are as cheap as one otherwise, which is really doubtful!
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Sep 13th, 2012, 08:32 AM
  #19
 
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It seems as though the question has been asked and answered (and this does not even pertain to the original question!) but I just found my paperwork and had to come back!

I was right, the one way fee for us (don't know if it changes based on location of pick up or drop off or length of time, or what!) was exactly 200 euros, and that was with Europcar, which we booked through autoeurope.com. I knew it was somewhere around 200, but I wasn't sure before.

In case someone missed my disclaimer in my last post, I know this doesn't apply to the OP's question, but someone else might click on this and NOT be doing the Peugeot buy back plan so that might be helpful to them.

I probably would have done the Peugeot buy back plan but they only take returns in Milan and Rome and that didn't work with our plans!

C
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Sep 13th, 2012, 09:17 AM
  #20
 
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NeoPatrick,

There are lots of variables. Last summer I rented two cars (split because of the CDW Visa rule of 31 days) for 38 days for $900 (I'm rounding up), but they were the smallest cars available on a rental, not available on the purchase/buy back plan. The cheapest Renault (pricing is more readily available but comparable to Peugeot) for 21 days minimum is $1075 (+ $200+ drop-off fee if in Italy). If cost is an issue, it would be better to drop off a car in Menton, take the train to the nearest rental location in Italy and pick up a new rental.

However, if the renter is nervous about insurance and insists on inclusive coverage in France, where there is an option for minimum coverage in the rental agreement with the CDW covered by the credit card, then the purchase/buy back agreement might be worthwhile. The addition of an automatic insisted of a standard shift might also play a role in the cost differential.

And if the renter can afford it, it is more convenient to have one car for the whole trip.
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