can be a wonderful experience. Especially if you planed your trip to stay in country villas and travel through wine country then driving will be your only option. Perhaps you have always wanted to take an Italian vacation without planning anything then choosing a scenic country road to take a leisurely drive to wherever you end up and be surprised by the breathtaking views that could lie around every turn. I have done this once but I still didn’t want to leave everything to chance and choose what city I want to go to and picked out a nice Italian hotel to stay in.
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Driving through Italy gives you the opportunity to see quaint little villages not on the normal tourist routes. You may want to take a little extra time to do some unplanned sightseeing, maybe get a bite to eat while you think about the journey ahead. Even if you are planning an extended stay in one particular city, you could plan your trip to included a few driving excursions to some out of the way place you might have seen on television or in a magazine.
Of course you don't really want to drive if you don't have to or have a specific place to go just to go for a drive in Italy so plan your trip with that in mind. For example from Florence to Milan is only about 200 miles or about 310 Km's by freeway and even the freeways in Italy can have some great views because of the mountainous terrain. With careful planning using google maps you could cut off the freeway early and take some country roads for part of your trip.
I would also recommend if you are driving from one city to another to only rent the car for the drive as most of the time once in the city you will be visiting you won't be doing much driving if any, and parking is a major headache. Since most sights are within an easy walk why pay for something you won't be using much. With that in mind there are many places where one could plan a day trip as I have heard the drive to and from the Dolomites from many different cities can be quite amazing. Also if driving on country roads from small town to small town many of which have very narrow streets you will often find parking areas just outside the town where most tourists park and walk around from there.
If you are on a somewhat tight vacation budget you may want to look into the cost of driving as opposed to the train as you will of course have to pay for the rental car but the gas as well and gas is much more expensive in Europe so here is a quick rundown on costs. The average cost of gas in Italy in the late spring of 2014 is around 1.79 euros per liter and it is about 4 liters per gallon which comes to about 7.15 euros per gallon, if you are from the US you now have to multiply that by the difference in the exchange rate which normally hovers around $1.38 for one euro making your gallon of gas in Italy cost about $9.80. Next you have to decide where you want to drive, just a simple 300 mile drive in a car that gets 30 miles per gallon would cost you $98 dollars. Of course you would have to figure how many people you will have in the car verses the price of individual train tickets to see how you would want to go but all of this could be a factor in your decision to drive.
If you decide to drive through Italy you should click the link I have below to the Italian embassy site. The link is for information about Italian driving laws and what you may need in order to drive in Italy http://www.ambwashingtondc.esteri.it/Ambasciata_Washington
If you have gotten this far in this article and haven’t started planning your Italian vacation then after you finish reading I recommend going to the home page to learn everything you need to know to plan your trip to Italy.
I do know that you need to have an international drivers license to drive in Italy, I don’t know if the car rental agencies will ask if you have one or not but if you get pulled over you could face a big fine. You can get an international drivers license from AAA in the United States and is good for 1 year If you live in other non European countries you should check with your countries automobile association about getting an international drivers license. Along with the Italian embassy site I listed above for driving laws I am also providing a link to AAA for more information on getting an international drivers license.
If at all possible I would recommend learning some of the Italian traffic signs, many people don’t know while driving in some big cities that they are driving in areas restricted to local traffic only and months after returning from vacation get a bill from the rental car agency for the ticket they were sent for you from driving in restricted areas which you are responsible for. Here is a site listing the majority of signs you would need to know.
In any case look for road signs and if you see the international symbols for don’t do something meaning the big red circle with a slash through it then don’t go there or do what is on the sign. I have also put a link to the right for Economy Car Rentals, one of Europe's largest car rental agencies from my experiences they seem to have very competitive rates on a wide variety of vehicles. You can also click here to go to the car rental site.
There site is easy to use, by clicking on the selection arrows to pick the city and pick up location you can make your arraignments quickly. If you are returning the car in a different city you merely click the box that says returning the car to a different location and it will give you a list of places where you can drop off the car and in most cases in Europe there will be an added charge for dropping the car off in a different city. . I hope the information I provided will make driving through Italy an enjoyable experience.
To continue reading the articles in order click Trains.