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Italy Rental Car Tips

Old May 28th, 2008, 08:25 AM
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Italy Rental Car Tips

My husband and I will be renting a car during our September trip to Italy. We will be picking it up in Mestre (by train from Venice) then driving to CT and Tuscany before dropping the car in Orvieto and taking a train to Rome.

Can anyone provide any insight/tips on picking up the Rental Car (Auto Europe) in Mestre and dropping off Orvieto. Our schedule will likely bring us to each location midday.

Any info/help would be appreciated!
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:37 AM
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You can pick up a rental car in Venice at the Piazzale Roma, where the causeway from the mainland comes into Venice. That's more convenient than Mestre, and there are a number of car rental offices there.

Remember in Italy you need to buy CDW even if covered by your credit card. And you need an International Driver's Permit, a translation of your driver's license, easily available at your local AAA office for about $15. (They'll take your photo also.)
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:46 AM
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>> Our schedule will likely bring us to each location midday. <<

If I may state the obvious: Make the timing precise so that you don't needlessly pay for an extra day by being minutes late. They usually give a one hour grace period...
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Old May 28th, 2008, 09:40 AM
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This may help. And, do be precise on times because some locations are closed from 1300 to 1600--like Orvieto.

DRIVING IN ITALY & SOUTHERN EUROPE

Q. SHOULD WE DRIVE IN ITALY?
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

Q. WHAT CAR SHOULD I GET AND WHERE DO I GET IT?
A. It is best to rent your car before you leave for Europe. The best source we have found is AUTOEUROPE [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, full mandatory insurance coverage, and VAT taxes. 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.

Q. ARE ITALIAN DRIVERS AS CRAZY AS I HAVE HEARD?
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.

OTHER ROAD TIPS FOR YOUR DRIVING SANITY:
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 $10. The photos can be taken at the AAA office.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 09:53 AM
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IDP is now $15.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 10:26 AM
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I would also suggest a navigation system for the car and an 800 number for roadside assistance with english speaking folks on the other end just in case you run into trouble somewhere in the countryside and oh - make sure your cell phones have an international chip to use them!
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