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Italy Ports Capri, Florence, Genoa, Naples, Palermo, portofino, Rome, Sardinia, Sorrento, Taormina, Venice

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  #1  
Old September 3rd, 2009, 08:40 PM
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Default Rental cars in Italy. Why.....

Why is it, that when you speak to people about travel in Rome, they'll tell you to take the hop/on hop/off bus, OR take a guided tour?

Is it that confusing? Are the drivers so bad that you take your life into your hands if you rented a car? Too congested? No parking?

Santy
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 08:46 PM
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For perspective, I've been to Italy, often Rome, two or three times a year each year for the past eight years, and I wouldn't advise any of these options.

No bus can get close to many of the most important sites of Rome, besides, everything is so close you can walk from one side of the city to the other in about an hour. So, don't waste time and money on the HOHO bus.

Guided tours are nice, especially if you have limited time, but the best ones are on foot. If you ride in a car, you miss so much. Again, as said above, everything is so close.

Finally, driving. I've driven a car out of Rome but never in. There's no need, plus, it's illegal. Rome has a strict ZTL policy and only authorized cars can drive within the zone limits. The fines are high and rental car agencies pass them right along to the renter.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Santyclaws View Post
Why is it, that when you speak to people about travel in Rome, they'll tell you to take the hop/on hop/off bus, OR take a guided tour?

Is it that confusing? Are the drivers so bad that you take your life into your hands if you rented a car? Too congested? No parking?

Santy
Probably more than the drivers, you hit the two hot buttons with " Too congested? No parking?".

Lived in Italy 3 years. Went to Rome many times. Drove once - never again!
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 09:46 PM
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For perspective, I've been to Italy, often Rome, two or three times a year each year for the past eight years, and I wouldn't advise any of these options.

No bus can get close to many of the most important sites of Rome, besides, everything is so close you can walk from one side of the city to the other in about an hour. So, don't waste time and money on the HOHO bus.

Guided tours are nice, especially if you have limited time, but the best ones are on foot. If you ride in a car, you miss so much. Again, as said above, everything is so close.

Finally, driving. I've driven a car out of Rome but never in. There's no need, plus, it's illegal. Rome has a strict ZTL policy and only authorized cars can drive within the zone limits. The fines are high and rental car agencies pass them right along to the renter.
I completely agree that walking is the BEST way to see Rome. All other sightseeing methods are a distant second.

Here's an idea of what it's like to park in Rome:




And here is a shot of Rome traffic:




Some might say there's not much difference between Rome traffic and parking in Rome -- except that you can't leave your car in traffic....
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 10:18 PM
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cruisemom42 -
Great shots! Love it! Says it all in pictures!
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  #6  
Old September 3rd, 2009, 10:42 PM
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Wow! I'm going to have to send those photos to my parents! (they are the ones going).

LOL! I haven't done too much research regarding Italy to know why you wouldn't want to rent a car. Now I know!

Too congested. Got it! No available parking. Got it!

Thank you!
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 11:24 PM
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I love the OPs name. Ok, lets talk honestly about cars in Italy. We have driven well over 10,000 miles throughout Italy (most recently this past May) and routinely rent cars when on cruises and when we stay in the country. I have long advocated renting cars in many posts, but the only places in Italy I would not recommend driving is Rome and Florence. The problem is the traffic can be awful, parking is a real problem (and can be very expensive) and it honestly is a stupid way to get around Rome. Even most Romans avoid driving in their own city in favor of using their feet and public transit. When we are driving in Italy and happen to drive to Rome, we park our car at our hotel and never use it again until we leave the city. As to getting to and from Rome from the port of Civitavecchia, it is actually easier and faster to just use the train (not to mention a lot cheaper).

Hank
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 11:38 PM
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Equally important as the congestion and parking problems, the ZTL makes it illegal (and therefore, expensive) in many cases. The ZTL zone has been expanded over the past couple of years, so even a place you could drive to as recently as last summer may now be off limits for big portions of the week.

Sometimes a hotel can get a temporary pass for guests but I sure wouldn't count on it - if you're determined to drive in Rome, check first!

Last edited by euro cruiser; September 3rd, 2009 at 11:39 PM.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 08:02 AM
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There is no way I would ever drive in Rome! I needed a lesson in how to cross the road, since traffic doesn't stop when the little green man is lit. (Wait for a suitable gap in the lane closest to you, take a deep breath, and start walking at a steady pace. Don't speed up. Don't slow down. Don't make eye contact with the drivers. Don't flinch when they miss you by inches. Try to find a nun to walk with )

Lisa

Last edited by lisiamc; September 4th, 2009 at 08:04 AM.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 10:08 AM
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cruisemom42...Great Pictures!!
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Old September 4th, 2009, 10:42 AM
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Love that Smart car! We drove from the car rental at Termini station to Tivoli ONCE and only once, my husband was dreading that day trip for days and will never drive in Rome again. When you have motorcycles passing you on the sidewalk you know it's time to park the car, that is, if you can find a place to park it! We have driven around Sorrento and from there south to Sicily and all around Sicily several times, nothing compares. Two feet, the metro and taxis are the way to go in Rome.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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Wish I could download photos, my photo of the SmartCar shows him parked sideways between the the other two cars, with his front end pointing toward the street and his rearend over the curb, not parallel parked like cruisemom42's shot.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 11:49 AM
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Thanks Hlitner.

I just watched some youtube videos showing the horrendous traffic in Italy. I cannot believe the disreguard for stop signs with flashing red lights!

There has to be pedestrians getting creamed left and right, yeah? Accidents too? I feel for the old guys who take a little longer to cross the road.

Last edited by Santyclaws; September 4th, 2009 at 11:50 AM.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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Actually, having driven lots of time in Italy we have seen few accidents. Despite evidence to the contrary, the Italians are good drivers, they drive differently to many people, but they are quite good at it. They drive aggressively, and you have to adapt your driving style to theirs. Red lights are just a suggestion.

Big cities are not good driving expereinces for those who are unfamiliar with them, but that is the same worldwide. Parking is the same, if youknow where to park it is fine, but actually gettin to theplace through the maze of traffic, and traffic systems, ring roads, one ways etc is much more difficult. So, train in and walk for the major cities would be my advice. The rest of Italy is great for driving around.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agabbymama View Post
Wish I could download photos, my photo of the SmartCar shows him parked sideways between the the other two cars, with his front end pointing toward the street and his rearend over the curb, not parallel parked like cruisemom42's shot.
That's one of the main benefits of the Smart Car - it is approximately as long as a typical car is wide, so it can be parked head in (or rear in) to the curb and not stick out from cars traditionally parked parallel to the curb.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 01:57 PM
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Default Car Drop Off in South Rome?

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Probably more than the drivers, you hit the two hot buttons with " Too congested? No parking?".

Lived in Italy 3 years. Went to Rome many times. Drove once - never again!
We're renting a car and will be travelling from Positano to Rome; can anyone tell me where I should drop off the car and take a taxi to our hotel? I originally thought FCO airport but that's out of our way.
Thanks,
Som
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Old September 4th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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Your drop off options will depend on which company you rent from. Have you already selected a rental company?

Will you have the car while in Positano, or are you planning to pick it up as you leave? Most rental companies have offices in Sorrento - you can then look at drop off locations in the EUR (south of Rome) or on Via Tiburtina (well outside the city walls and the ZTL zone). I've picked up a car at Via Tiburtina, driving there is no more difficult than any four lane road in New Jersey.

Last edited by euro cruiser; September 4th, 2009 at 02:58 PM.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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Your drop off options will depend on which company you rent from. Have you already selected a rental company?

Will you have the car while in Positano, or are you planning to pick it up as you leave? Most rental companies have offices in Sorrento - you can then look at drop off locations in the EUR (south of Rome) or on Via Tiburtina (well outside the city walls and the ZTL zone). I've picked up a car at Via Tiburtina, driving there is no more difficult than any four lane road in New Jersey.
Hi ... we're flying into Milan and driving to Como for a few nights then touring Portafino & Cinque Terre before staying 2 weeks at a Tuscan Villa then on to Positano then Rome; we'll have a car the whole time but want to drop it off just before we reach Rome. We're renting through Auto Europe.
There is a drop off at 321 Viale Europe. Could we drive up the A1 then West on the E80 to Via Pontina North to this address?
Thanks Som
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Old September 4th, 2009, 05:14 PM
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We're renting a car and will be travelling from Positano to Rome; can anyone tell me where I should drop off the car and take a taxi to our hotel? I originally thought FCO airport but that's out of our way.
Thanks,
Som
Most of the major rental car companies maintain multiple offices in Rome including some at the major hotels as well as near the train stations. If you are comfortable driving in large cities I would recommend driving to your hotel, dropping your luggage, and than dropping your car at the nearest rental car location (you need to determine which location before you make your reservation). The drive from Positano is quite easy except for the section of the route that goes past Sorrento (there are signs...but you must be alter). You should give strong consideration to renting a GPS unit since that will route you through the Rome traffic to your hotel and rental car offices. By the way, you do not want a car in Positano since parking is a real hassle or very very expensive. There are a few pay parking garages within Positano (if there is room they are expensive) or its possible to park for free along the Amalfi Drive (above the town)....but the nearest spots can be a mile from town. There is also some on the street parking, but finding one of those spaces is like hitting the lottery.

Hank
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  #20  
Old September 4th, 2009, 05:14 PM
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That's the EUR location.

Yes, you'd come north on the A1 and take the Roma Sud (Rome South) exit to A90, then exit onto SS 148. It won't be hard.

I'd strongly recommend purchasing the Touring Club Italiano maps for the areas you'll be driving in. Especially in Tuscany you'll need the close in view these maps provide.

From the EUR you can take a taxi (the rental car office can call one for you) into the city. The metro goes to the EUR but I imagine you'll have a fair amount of luggage for that long a trip and, in those circumstances, the metro isn't a wise option.

Last edited by euro cruiser; September 4th, 2009 at 05:15 PM.
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