Renting a car in Rome will allow you to road trip Tuscany.

Renting A Car In Rome Italy: 2024 Ultimate Guide + Tips 

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Planning on renting a car in Rome? 

Author’s Note: Robin is our car rental expert and a seasoned road-tripper who has expertly navigated everything from Vietnam’s Ha Giang Loop on a motorbike to the German autobahns by a massive truck!

This essential guide tells you everything you need to know about car rentals in Rome Italy, including where to hire your Rome rental car, what documents you will need, where to visit with your car, plus general safety and driving tips

On our most recent trip to Rome, we rented a car after finishing our sightseeing in the city centre and enjoyed a road trip around Tuscany, dropping off the car in Florence.

Having our own rental car enabled us to set our own schedule, avoid busy public transport and get off the beaten track to explore Tuscany’s wonderful hidden gems and lesser-known spots.

  • Looking for a hotel with free parking? We recommend White Rooms Colosseo
  • Need a car? Browse Discover Cars for the cheapest deals with no hidden costs
  • Rental cost from $20* per day (*depends on various factors – check ⬇️)
  • Requirements: IDP, US, UK & EU driving licence + some age restrictions

Whether it’s hitting the beach on sun-kissed shores or discovering hidden gems tucked away between the beautiful rolling hills of Tuscany, renting a car in Rome can open up an incredible array of possibilities to explore outside of the city.

Read on for more information about how you can easily rent a car and make the most out of your travels around Rome and beyond.

Renting a car in Rome

Is It Worth Renting A Car In Rome?

We think it is only worth renting a car in Rome once you are ready to leave the city and discover other parts of Italy. 

Renting a car in Rome will provide you with the freedom and flexibility to embark on exciting adventures. Take a day trip to Pompei and wander through the ancient ruins, marvelling at the history and grandeur of this once-thriving metropolis. Or, hit the open road and embark on a picturesque road trip through Tuscany, where charming vineyards and rolling hills await.

With a rental car, the possibilities for exploration are endless.

Who is car rental not recommended for?

Car rentals in Rome are not recommended for nervous or inexperienced drivers. 

Driving on unfamiliar roads with new signage and rules is challenging, even for experienced drivers. It is even harder if you are not used to driving on the right-hand side of the road. 

Drivers under 21 and solo travellers may find that the cost of rental cars in Rome Italy is not worth the outlay when compared to the costs of travelling on public transport. 

Younger or solo travellers should consider using Italy’s excellent and extensive rail network, which offers value-for-money rail passes and discounts for tourists. You can find some of these offers on the easy-to-use TrenItalia website. 

Is It Safe To Drive In Italy?

Renting a car in Rome Trastevere

Driving in Italy is generally considered safe as long as you drive with care and adhere to national driving regulations. With the correct preparation, we found driving around Italy relatively easy compared to other global destinations that we have driven in. 

Having a car in Italy allows you to visit places that are inaccessible by train and hard to get to by bus. You can avoid the most popular, overcrowded Italian destinations and instead find lesser-visited, more authentic parts of Italy

We could not have gone to some of the out-of-the-way places we visited on our Tuscany road trip if we had not hired a rental car. 

However, the capital city Rome is a different story. We are experienced drivers at home and have driven all over the world, but we would not attempt to drive in Rome. 

Rome city centre roads are too busy, too confusing and too congested for driving to be safe, time efficient and enjoyable. Plus, there is the extra headache of trying to find a parking spot, yet alone a free one.

We only recommend car hire from Rome when you are ready to leave the city and explore the rest of this amazing country. 

Renting Car Rome: Logistics

Termini is one of the best places for renting a car in Rome.

Renting a car in Rome for an Italian road trip requires some advance planning and preparation. The more organised and prepared you are, the better your rent a car Rome Italy experience will be. 

What’s the best way to rent a car in Rome?

We think that using the excellent comparison site Discover Cars is the best way to find Rome car hire. 

The easy-to-use site shows you accurate descriptions of the best-reviewed companies and cars available for your travel dates. You can book online in advance with no hidden fees with the added reassurance of free cancellation should your trip plans need to change.

We always use Discover Cars when we hire a car abroad and have never had any problems with their cars or been disappointed with their service. 

What Are The Best Car Rental Companies In Rome?

All the usual well-known chains such as Alamo, Hertz and Avis have rental car depots in Rome, both in the city centre at Rome Termini and at the airports. 

You can save time and stress trawling the internet for the best deals and available cars by using Discover Cars. In our opinion, it is the best – and easiest – place from which to rent a car in Rome. 

How much does it cost to rent a car in Rome?

The cost to hire a car in Rome varies according to the type of car you have, how long you have it for and what time of year you are planning to travel. 

Renting a car in Rome will cost more during the peak summer months and around religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter when Rome sees huge influxes of religious tourists. 

For example, to hire a five-seat Opel Corsa for one week in August will cost $413 / £324. For one week over Christmas, the same car will cost $327 / £257. However, for one week in the off-peak month of November, an Opel Corsa will cost just $78 / £61.

So, if you need to book car hire Rome, an off-peak month will find the best low-cost deals. 

Extra charges to be aware of before hiring a car in Rome

Depending on the hire car company, you may be charged an extra fee if you are a driver under 21 or under 25 years old

However, the most common charge you may encounter is a penalty for a one-way drop-off. Dropping off your car in a different location from where you picked it up saves you precious vacation time backtracking – but it comes at a cost. 

For example, an Opel Corsa for one week in August with a round trip drop-off costs $413 / £324. With a one-way drop-off to Florence, the same car for the same week costs $493 / £387. 

However, when you consider the petrol you will use to double back to Rome, the vacation day spent travelling back to your starting point, and the cost of getting back to Florence for an onward journey, the extra car hire cost will be worth it. 

This is exactly what we did, we rented in Rome and returned the car in Florence after a week of an incredible road trip through Tuscany ❤️. We felt that the extra charge was well worth it.

Bloggers Mal and Robin on a road trip through Tuscany thanks to car rental in Rome.

Rent A Car In Rome Fiumicino Airport

Choosing car rental Rome airport pickups (or drop-offs) is often the easiest for travellers as an airport is your entry (or departure point) into Italy. Plus, an airport usually has good transport links to public transport and to major roads in the local area. 

If you decide to sightsee in Rome first, there are good public transport links between Rome and its airports, so it is easy to return to the airport to pick up a car when you are ready. We recommend seeing Rome first and then either rent a car in Rome airport or in Rome city centre. 

There are two airports in Rome, so you can choose to rent a car in Fiumicino Airport or, alternatively, use one of the car rental Ciampino Airport depots, which are closer to Rome’s city centre.

Fiumicino Airport (otherwise known as ‘Leonardo da Vinci Airport’) is 35 kilometres southwest of Rome city centre. 

Using a car rental Rome Fiumicino Airport depot will entail a longer journey out from the city centre to pick up your car. But when you have picked up your car, you can immediately set off on your road trip without the need to navigate Rome’s city centre traffic. 

Furthermore, we compared the cost of three different cars for the same week with round-trip hire from both Fiumicino and Ciampino airports. We discovered that a Fuimicino pick-up and drop-off was cheaper than renting a car from Ciampino Airport. The savings were between $12 – $152 / £10 – £120, depending on the car we wanted to hire. 

Rent A Car In Ciampino Airport

Ciampino Airport is 12 kilometres southeast of central Rome, just outside the Greater Ring Road (the motorway which encircles Rome).

Using one of the car rental Rome Ciampino Airport depots will mean a shorter journey out from the city centre, but you will then have to navigate the busy Greater Ring Road before beginning your Italian road trip.

However, the proximity to Rome comes at a premium as our research showed that it is cheaper to hire a car from Fiumicino Airport than from Ciampino Airport. 

Car Rental In Rome Termini

Rome Termini is Rome’s main rail station. It is the largest rail station in all of Europe and is home to 29 different platforms! 

It is possible to rent a car in Rome Termini, and due to its proximity to Rome’s historic centre, it is a very convenient option. We rented a car at Termini and drove it to Prati and my partner Robin found driving in Rome centre absolutely manageable. We even managed to find a parking space close to our hotel where we could stay for free until the next day early morning, when we set off for our Italian road trip.

However, be aware that car rental Rome Termini is more expensive than Fiumicino Airport (it is similar in price to Ciampino Airport depots), and you will immediately have to navigate crazy city centre traffic.

What type of rental car in Rome Italy shall I go for?

The type of car you rent depends on how many are in your travelling party and how much luggage you have. Don’t be tempted to hire a car smaller than your needs in order to save money. Overloading a car can be dangerous, and your road trip will neither be comfortable nor fun. 

Similarly, hire a car that you are familiar with driving. If you drive an automatic, Rome or Italy is not the place to start driving a manual car and vice versa. 

We recommend hiring a car with air conditioning as Italy can get stiflingly hot in summer. We promise you air conditioning will be worth every penny! We also advise hiring a small car as many rural towns and villages have narrow streets with limited parking. Having a small car will make it easier to drive around and park. 

Whichever car you choose to hire, make sure you book well in advance of your trip with Discover Cars to secure the type of car you want and the best rental car Rome has to offer you.

Car Rental Rome: Requirements

Hiring a car in Rome will allow you to visit San Gimignano.
The charming San Gimignano in Tuscany.

Can an American rent a car in Rome?

It is possible for a U.S. citizen to use rental cars in Rome. However, you must be over the age of 18 (the legal age for driving in Italy) and have held your licence for at least one year.

It is important for young U.S. drivers to know that many rental companies will only accept drivers over 21 years old, and some companies will only accept drivers over 25. 

Can I drive in Italy with US license?

You can use car rental in Rome Italy, using only a U.S. license. However, it is a good idea to get a low-cost International Drivers Permit (IDP) in addition to your U.S. license to avoid any confusion. 

We recommend getting an IDP if you are a frequent traveller. More than 150 countries accept the International Driver’s Permit, but only a few countries allow car rental using solely a U.S. license.

Plus, for many rental companies and law enforcement agencies around the world, an IDP is more recognisable than an individual country-specific driving license.

You can get an International Driver’s Permit in the United States if you are over 18 years old and have a valid U.S. license. It is easy to apply for an IDP online or at any AAA office.

Can I drive in Italy with UK license?

You can rent a car Rome – or anywhere else in Italy – with a UK licence. 

You must be over 18 years old and have had your license for at least one year. 

However, since Brexit, if your U.K. licence is not from the mainland U.K. (for example, you are from the Channel Islands or Gibraltar), you must hold an additional International Drivers Permit in order to hire a car and drive in Italy. 

There are three types of IDP you can apply for within the U.K. 

A 1926 or 1949 IDP lasts for 12 months, and a 1968 IDP lasts for 3 years (or until your UK driving licence expires, whichever comes first). 

You can apply for an IDP online or in person at any Post Office. You will need a valid passport, a valid driver’s licence, a recent passport photo and the permit fee. 

Does Visa cover car rental insurance in Italy?

If you pay for your Rome rental car with a Visa card, you are covered for accidental damages to the car for up to 31 days of travel. The Visa website also states that “the cardholder must decline the Collision Damage Waiver or similar coverage offered by the auto rental company” in order to qualify for Visa’s card coverage. 

However, we think that this very limited cover is not sufficient for driving in Italy. 

There are so many exceptions to this cover, including the type of car that you hire. Most importantly, Visa card cover does not insure against “injury to any person or damage to any object that is inside or outside the rental vehicle.”  

For peace of mind and to avoid potentially life-changing legal and medical costs, we always recommend taking out full insurance coverage with Discover Cars

What documents do I need to drive in Italy?

To use one of the Rome rent a car company, you will need a valid license from your home country, your passport as proof of I.D. and a credit card

We recommend carrying these documents with you at all times whilst driving in the car. You should also carry your rental car agreement and rental insurance policy. 

Do I need insurance?

We do not advise renting a car in Rome without insurance. If you would not drive at home without insurance, why would you drive without insurance in one of the busiest cities in the world? 

We recommend taking out full insurance coverage with Discover Cars. We always take out full insurance as it gives us peace of mind and reassurance that we, and other people, will be fully covered in the event of an accident. 

Best Places To Visit With A Rental Car

📍Saturnia Hot Springs

Renting a car in Rome will allow you to visit Saturnia Hot Springs.

These idyllic hot springs, known as ‘cascate del Mulino’ to locals, is a fantastic location to take a break from your road trip. 

Saturnia Hot Springs is a large, naturally formed site consisting of multiple Travertine stone pools into which hot, chalky mineral water continually flows. The water averages a constant 37.5 degrees and is ideal for soothing aching sightseeing limbs. 

The pools are located north of Rome in the Maremma region near the village of Saturnia. Due to their rural location, the pools are best reached by car on the E80 toll road. We recommend visiting the pools early to avoid the crowds.

You do not have to pay to enter the pools, but you will need to pay for parking, showers and use of the changing facilities. You cannot swim in the pools, but we enjoyed relaxing in the hot water for a couple of hours though the smell of sulphur was quite strong!

Drivetime from Rome – 2.5 hours

Distance from Rome – 163 kilometres (101 miles)


Renting a car in Rome will allow you to visit Siena.

Siena is best known for its mediaeval architecture and its gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage city centre. It is a city made for wandering.

Grab a coffee and watch the world go by on the enormous Piazza del Campo before exploring the square’s most popular buildings, the 102-metre-tall Torre del Mangia and the 13th-century Palazzo Pubblico. 

Don’t miss visiting the fairytale-like Siena Cathedral (the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta) and its stunning frescoes in the Piccolomini Library. We also enjoyed the impressive Siena National Gallery. 

If you time your visit for July 2nd or August 16th, you will catch the Palio Horse Race. This ancient and culturally important race consists of 10 horses that represent the different districts of Siena racing around the Piazza del Campo. Race days are packed with parades, parties and festivities.

We loved our time in this magical city and cannot wait to return. A word of advise – make sure you do not enter the historic centre with your car, we paid a hefty fine for not being aware of that!

Drivetime from Rome – 2 hours 40 minutes (via the A1 toll road)

Distance from Rome – 234 kilometres (145 miles)


Siena Tuscany

The region of Tuscany is one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations – and deservedly so. It offers historic cities, picture-perfect hilltop towns, amazing food and wine and beautiful rolling green hill landscapes. 

Choose between visiting the world-famous Florence, Pisa and Siena or the lesser-known Luca or the City Of Beautiful Towers, San Gimignano. Try Chanti wine, search for truffles or discover how marble is mined in Carrera. 

No matter what your travel interests are, you will find something for you in Tuscany. 

Drivetime from Rome – 3 hours

Distance from Rome – 279 kilometres (173 miles)


Pompeii day trip from Rome Italy.

Step back in time and learn about life in the Roman era with a visit to the world-famous UNESCO ruins at Pompeii. 

The wealthy city of Pompeii was once home to over 10,000 people. In 79 AD, Pompeii and its neighbour Herculaneum were buried under 6 metres of ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Recent partial excavations reveal to visitors today how people lived and died in Roman times. 

Sometimes, world-famous sites do not live up to their reputation. We think that Pompeii does; it is a fascinating and sombre place to explore. 

Highlights of the site include the House of the Vettii, The Forum, the Amphitheatre and the Temple of Apollo. Like many sites in Italy, Pompeii is best visited early in the day and in the off-season to avoid huge crowds of people. 

Drivetime from Rome – 2 hours 40 minutes (on the E45 toll road)

Distance from Rome – 242 kilometres (150 miles)

Practical Tips For Rome Car Rental + Driving In Rome & Italy


✔️Pick up your car when you’re ready to leave Rome

We do not advise hiring a car in Rome for sightseeing in the city. 

Instead, save renting a car in Rome until you are ready to take day trips from the city or to leave the capital to explore other regions of Italy. 

You can pick up a car from either of the two airports or from Rome Termini. If you are planning to pick up a car in the city centre, try and pick it up as late as you can to avoid the worst of the traffic. 

We picked up our car rental Rome Italy from Rome Termini in the late evening, and, as it was late, we were able to park for free in front of our apartment. We left Rome early the next morning before parking charges kicked in. This early start also meant that city centre traffic was quiet and manageable.

✔️Get full insurance

If you plan to rent a car in Rome, we advise taking out the best full insurance policy that you can get; we recommend the full insurance policy from Discover Cars. When you consider that road traffic accidents are the leading causes of injury or death to travellers abroad, driving without full insurance is simply not worth the risk.  

A full insurance policy covers you and your passenger for any injuries sustained in an accident, plus any damage to the rental car. It will also protect any third-party cars, passengers or property who are involved in an accident with you. Visa card cover does not provide this reassuring and comprehensive level of cover. 

Full insurance coverage may seem expensive, but it is a small proportion of your overall trip budget. Plus, it will be a tiny fraction of what you might potentially have to pay in legal, medical and mechanical fees. 

Always read every word of the small print carefully, as it is essential to know if there are any restrictions in the policy that could invalidate your claim should you be involved in an accident.  

✔️Record the condition of the car

It is essential to carefully check and record the condition of your Rome car rental before you leave the rental depot.  

Start by assessing the damage that is already noted on the paperwork. If the damage is worse than the paperwork suggests, ask a rental car employee to change the paperwork and to sign off any changes.  

Once you have checked the noted damage, check the rest of the car for any other damage that might have been missed. 

For backup evidence, take close-up photos or videos of the exterior and interior of the car. Pay special attention to problem areas such as the front and rear bumpers, the windscreen and the headlights.

If you see any damage, no matter how minor it is, ask a rental agency employee to add it to the paperwork. It is a good idea to save a copy of your photos and videos to a third source in case you lose your phone.  

✔️Mind the tolls

Italy has a lot of toll roads. Its principal motorways – or autostradas – are all toll roads, plus there are several cross-border toll roads and toll tunnels. 

Most toll roads require payment before driving onto the road. Payment can be made at a toll gate (Casello) by cash, card or prepaid card. Tourists will find it easier to use cash or a card. For cash payments (contanti) use the White Lanes at a Casello, and for card payments (carta di credito), use the Blue Lanes. 

However, some roads and motorways (particularly those north of Milan) are ‘free flow’ roads where the tolls must be paid online or by a mobile app AFTER you have used the road. 

Failure to pay will result in a penalty charge (in addition to the toll fee), so don’t forget to pay soon after you exit the toll road. We found that getting the passenger to set a reminder on the phone helped us to remember to pay our toll fees.  

It is worth factoring in toll road costs into your overall trip budget as Italian toll roads are not cheap. For example, the toll for the motorway between Milan and Rome currently costs €41.90. 

✔️Be aware of Zona Traffico Limitato

Many Italian towns and villages have ‘Zona Traffico Limitato’ areas where only local residents are allowed to drive and park. You must have a special permit to drive in one of these zones; if you drive without a permit, you will receive a fine.  

In Siena, we had to park a 20-minute walk away from our accommodation due to a Zona Traffico Limitato. 

We recommend checking with your host or hotel if there are any parking restrictions you need to know about. If there are, ask them where the best place to park nearby is. If at all possible, always try to book accommodation with allocated onsite parking. 

Prati and the neighbourhood of Vatican.

✔️Book your car in advance

If you want the best renting car Rome has to offer, book in advance. 

Italy is a popular tourist destination all year round and suffers from overcrowding during the peak summer season. 

If there is a particular car that you want to have, or you want to ensure getting an automatic car, it is essential to book your car rental in Rome well in advance of your visit. 

That’s why we book with Discover Cars, as their free cancellation policy will refund our money if our trip plans change. 

✔️Pay with a credit card

We do not advise paying for your car rental Rome with a debit card, as rental agencies will take a ‘blocking fee’ from debit cards. This is protection money in case you return the rental car with damage. 

The blocking fee is taken in cash which is then returned to you when you return the car in good condition. However, if you have a monthly spending cap on your debit card, the blocking fee counts towards it, so it could affect access to your money during your trip. 

✔️Stay within speed limits

If you are renting a car in Rome or Italy, it is essential to know and adhere to national and local speed limits. Italian traffic police are on the lookout for drivers who break the speed limits. 

The speed limit is 130 kilometres per hour (kph) or 80 miles per hour (mph) on highways and autostradas though there are some sections that will be 110 km/hr, so watch out for signs. Plus, in bad weather, the speed limit on major roads automatically reduces by 20 kph to 110 kph.  

Outside of major urban areas, the speed limit is 110 kph (or 68 mph), and local, non-residential roads are 90 kph (or 56 mph). 

Roads in towns and villages have a slower speed limit of 50 kph (or 31 mph). 

✔️Don’t turn right on red

Get to know Italian road signs and rules before you set off on your road trip. It could avoid a penalty fee or, worse, an accident. 

One of the most important rules we learnt is that you cannot turn right on a red light. It is illegal to make a right turn on a red light even if you stop first. 

✔️Have your headlight always on

It is law in Italy to drive with your headlights on during the day, even on sunny days. 

 ✔️Be aware of on-the-spot fines

There are fines for all sorts of traffic violations in Italy, from speeding to driving in a Zona Traffico Limitato to illegal parking. Sometimes your violation will be caught on camera, and, as a non-resident, the authorities then have up to 360 days to notify you of the fine via the rental car company. 

At other times, you will be stopped by police and issued an on-the-spot fine. You can either pay in full immediately or pay a deposit, lodge an appeal and pay the rest later. 

To save time, stress and hassle, we recommend paying the fine on the spot if you accept you have made a violation. 

Renting A Car In Rome: Final Thoughts

Using a car rental in Rome city center is not necessary as you can explore Rome comfortably and cheaply on foot or by public transport. Driving a car and trying to park in Rome’s city centre will be time-consuming and stressful, and no one wants that on their vacation!

However, renting a car in Rome is ideal for when you are ready to leave the city and explore all that Italy has to offer. Having your own car will enable you to visit historic towns, tucked-away villages, deserted beaches and family-owned vineyards.

You can travel at your own pace and on your own schedule and will get to see a lot more than you would if you travel on public transport. 

We love taking road trips in Italy; it is such a diverse country, and there is always somewhere new to discover. Like us, you will end your Italian road trip already planning a return trip.