Car Rental in Florence Italy

Tips for Saving Money and Important
Stuff You Need to Know

For a car rental in Florence Italy you must have:

  • Your passport
  • Your regular driver’s license (for International Driver's Permit info see below)
  • A major credit card (not a debit card)

OK, so that’s what you need to rent the car.  

Now, let’s talk about what you need to actually drive the car!

Hertz office in Florence via Borgo Ognissanti
Autoeuropa office in Florence via Borgo Ognissanti
Avis office for Florence car rental in via Borgo Ognissanti

What You Need to Drive in Italy

You have to have both your regular driver's license AND an international drivers permit (you need both).

There’s a lot of confusion about this issue so let’s clarify once and for all right now.

Italian law requires drivers from countries outside the European Union to have an international driver's permit.  

What confuses people is the fact that you can rent a car in Italy without the International permit, so people assume that it’s not necessary to drive.  

Wrong!   

Many people do rent a car and drive without the Intermational permit, but if you are stopped for any reason you can be heavily fined and the car can be confiscated.

This will be a huge expense that won’t be covered by any insurance policy so do yourself a favor, just get the International Permit – it is not expensive and is usually very easy to get at your local Automobile Association.  

Insider Info!  You may not know that in Italy it's common for police to carry out random checks on the roads.  A carabinieri car will signal you to pull over just to check that your papers are in order.

This is commonplace and nothing to worry about as long as your papers are in order!

Tips for Saving Money on a Car Rental in Florence Italy

  • Book on the Internet, definitely the cheapest way (get the details at car hire in Florence)
  • Come during the off season (November – March) prices can be almost half 
  • If you can drive a stick shift, rent one, automatic transmission cars usually cost more
  • Unless you absolutely need the car directly at the airport, rent from an office in town, you save airport taxes
  • Consider renting a diesel car to save gas money (worthwhile only if you’re covering a lot of distance)
Vintage Fiat 500 - a famous Italian car
  • Consider getting a category ‘A’ car, the smallest models, fine for trips within Tuscany (one example is the Italian Fiat 500, a darling of a car!  The pic top is a vintage model)
  • Some companies (usually low cost ones) offer limited mileage, this may sound bad but if you’re only going around Tuscany you probably won’t need unlimited mileage, and you save on the daily price

More Tips for Car Rentals in Florence Italy

Credit Card Maximums

Up your credit card maximum before coming.

The rental company is going to put a ‘stoppage’ on a certain amount of money on your card as a deposit.  

This amount is usually the cost of the car rental plus from €100 to €200 more.

This amount is never taken from your account, it’s just ‘blocked’ as a guarantee which is released when you return the car.

Keep the receipt of the car return in case your bank dilly-dallies about releasing this amount.  

This could take up to a week so it’s a good idea to have as high a credit limit on your card as you can get since this sum won’t be spendable.

Solution for ZTL Access to Historical Center

Driving is not allowed in the historic center of Florence if you’re not a resident and there are cameras watching over all the access points to fine anybody who breaks this rule.  

This is called the ‘ZTL’ area, Zona Traffico Limitato – limited traffic zone.  

So if you booked a hotel in the historic center how can you drive a car to your hotel without getting a fine?  

Your hotel can get you a pass to come into the off-limits area.

Most hotels can do this for visitors but you should check before, then, once they assure you that they can get you access, it's simple.

Limited traffic zone Florence Italy

You just drive to the hotel and when you get there you give them your license plate number.  

They call the traffic police and get the OK for this car/plate.  

Remember to give them the plate number and check that they have called for you once you get there!

Fines can arrive at your home months after your trip is over, and they are high.

Companies for Car Rental in Florence Italy

It’s best to book via the Internet before you come, but if you decide to book once you’re here go to via Borgo Ognissanti, this area is where all the main rental companies are.

  • Avis/Budget, via Borgo Ognissanti 128r, tel. O55 21 36 29
  • Maggiore/National, via Maso Finiguerra 13, tel. 055 29 45 78
  • Hertz, via Borgo Ognissanti 137r, tel. 055 23 98 205

Low cost companies for car rental in Florence Italy:

  • Autoeuropa, via Borgo Ognissanti 100, tel. 055 21 33 33
  • City Car Rental (Florentine company), via Borgo Ognissanti 133r, tel. 055 26 54 207
  • Autorental low cost car hire, via Borgo Ognissanti 108r

All the major companies also have offices near the airport for a car rental in Florence Italy.  

A shuttle bus leaves from near the arrivals doors every 10 minutes from 5 am to 11.30 pm (as I said above though, this will cost a bit more).

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