Driving from France to Italy


Jul 3rd, 2009, 08:38 PM
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Driving from France to Italy

My wife and I are going to Europe for the first time in September. We will be spending a week in the Dordogne and then want to drive toward Florence, allowing about a week. I would appreciate any suggestions about best route and places to stop. We love the mountains and have thought that seeing the Alps would be grand, but we have also been told that the route throgh Provence and along the coast is also wonderful.

Any guidance would be much appreciated.

grfoote is offline  
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Jul 3rd, 2009, 08:56 PM
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I can't comment much on the routes, but let us know what you find out about the car insurance needed. We tend to alternate vacations in Italy and France, and car rental in Italy is usually twice as much, because the collision insurance is mandatory in Italy. In France, you can decline it, and rely on the insurance coverage provided by most credit cards. I've always wondered what happens if you decline the coverage when renting in France, and then drive into Italy.

If we were doing this trip, Margie would take us to the south, because a) she loves Provence and b) she hates winding gravel-strewn mountain roads with no guardrails. She was not even that fond of the A8 along the coast where it heads towards Italy, because it gets so high up in the air, but in fact it's a great superhighway with perfectly fine guardrails, and no risk of dropping off into the abyss.

justretired is offline  
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Jul 3rd, 2009, 08:59 PM
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You will need to find out the fee to drop in another country. It's usually pretty steep.
kybourbon is offline  
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Jul 4th, 2009, 09:36 AM
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Hi JR,

You are covered if you take your car across an allowed border, eg, Fr --> It.

It might not be legal from Western Europe into Eastern Europe.

When driving in Italy, you are required to have an International Driver's permit.


ira is offline  
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Jul 4th, 2009, 11:13 AM
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If you're picking up the car in France and dropping it in Italy (perfectly legal to cross borders in europe with a rental car, but you must tell them, since they will not let you take some cars into a few of the more eastern countries) the rental agency will obviously know n advance that you are doing it. they will charge you a drop off fee - and may ban the rental of a few luxury cars. They will also tell you what insurance you are required to buy for Italy.

And I wouldn't drive any place on the continent without an International permit.
nytraveler is offline  
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Jul 4th, 2009, 11:40 AM
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Hi, ira. Thanks for the information.

Various sources make it clear that when driving in Italy, you are required to have an International Driver's permit. Yet whenever this requirement is mentioned among frequent travelers to Italy, the majority seem to have never heard of it.

I've carried such a permit on my last two trips, but haven't been stopped. But I WAS stopped once in a random stop (entering Todi) before the requirement was put into place. I assume it was by la polizia stradale and not members of the carabiniere, but I'm not sure I was really making that distinction back then. I was glad that I had learned the words patente (license) and immatricolazione (registration) in my Italian class. The two young officers stared for a while at my Massachusetts driver's license and at my rental car agreement, and then let me go.
justretired is offline  
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Jul 4th, 2009, 12:40 PM
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I don't know how long your trip will be, but if it is more than two weeks, have you considered leasing a car? We do it through autoeurope and have always been most pleased with their service. We spend our time in Italy and France, but always try to drop the car off in the same country where we picked it up, as there is a fairly steep drop off fee otherwise.
roamer is offline  
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Jul 4th, 2009, 07:52 PM
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Not that it's a decision maker/breaker, but it's worth sharing that the highway between Nice and Pisa has over 150 tunnels; most are a few hundred yards. There are quite a few lengthy segments that are simply tunnel, bridge, tunnel, bridge, over and over. The geography is as if there dozens of rock "plates" all standing in edge - - and to make the road, they went drill, drill, drill, and connected the holes with bridges.

Doesn't make for unpleasant driving - - but you might have not expected this feature, if no one had ever told you about it.

If you have trouble finding an affrodable drop charge for returning a French car in Italy, then consider taking the short train ride from Nice (returning your French car there) to San Remo, where you could pick up an Italian car.

Best wishes,

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