- Italy as it stands in 2019 has a population of just over 60 million people. Although a lot of the younger ones move away there is still a healthy mix of ages throughout the country.
- Rome is the capital city and houses around 2.9 million people. It is a hub for religion, education, the arts and history that make up this countries expansive history.
- The famous saying 'All roads lead to Rome' came from the Romans expanding their networks from this location, it is however true that almost all roads throughout Europe lead back to the Italian capital, in the vicinity of 400,000 roads lead to Rome.
- Italy has numerous tiny cities throughout the mountainous countryside and the extensive coastline. The smallest city by population is Pedesina, a commune city with a population between 31 and 34. The smallest city by size in the country is Vatican City, located within the bounds of Rome, the city is 0.17 square miles in size.
- The speed limits vary and are in km/h all over the country. The Motorway has a maximum of 150km/h, there's a main extra urban road with a maximum of 110 km/h, the secondary extra-urban road 90km/h, urban highway has a maximum of 70km/h and the city streets referred to as urban roads carry a maximum of 50km/h.
- Italy more specifically Bologna is home to the worlds oldest University, established in 1088 and has been the training ground for some of the finest artisans ever born, Enzo Ferrari and Giorgio Armani their names used as their iconic brands, another notable graduate is Guglielmo Marconi the inventor of the first successful long distance telegraph that went on to transmit the first transatlantic telegram in 1901. The education system is a mix of public and private, an education is for the talented not just for the financially stable.
- The road signs are plentiful throughout the country, provincial signs to show when you are entering and exiting a region, typical blue and white directional arrows, this is similar to the rest of Europe aside from the signs for the motorways(Autostrada) being green and for normal roads the background is blue. A single unbroken white line indicates parking that is free of charge, yellow for disabled and green zones that are no parking on working days between the hours of 08.00-09.30 and 14.30-16.00.
- Italy shares it's borders with Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland and France. It's reach extends to the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Corsica is within the region but has been under French rule since 1769.
Car Hire in Italian Airports
There's no shortage of airports in Italy with around 80 throughout the country, about 50% of these airports service international flights and deal with anywhere between 5 million to 38 million passengers a year at the busiest Rome Fiumicino Airport.
Car rental within these airports vary as to how many providers have desks available, the companies that operate within these airports will range from the large Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Auto Europa and Sixt to the more local Italy by Car, Maggiore Budget, Targa Rent.
Cars that are generally available throughout the country are the zippy Italian Fiat that is perfect for shorter drives taking in the towns along curvy roads and steep hills, the more luxurious Audi's which are great for the highways but can get a little tricky when in the cobbled streets, then the option of even a large van is available for camping trips and taking in the wilderness of this diverse terrain.
About Italy's Airports
When looking to land although at any point you will be able to hire a car and traverse the country there are a few things to keep in mind, mostly what is it that you wish to get from your trip, is it a picturesque wander through the floating city of Venice, there are two Venice airports in Italy one is called Treviso and another much further inland, the other where you will want to go to get to the floating wonderland is Venice Marco Polo there is then another airport which is more for the helicopter enthusiasts 'Nicelli' the tourist airport, this should give you a good understanding of the country that it is not always straightforward and centuries of history keep it interesting and complex. If you are interested in a city break and seeing the sites then head to either Milan for the shopping and the architecture or straight to Rome for the grandiose passion, architecture and beautiful life that this city houses. The main point here is that with so many airports throughout the country there is not really a break that can't be had.
Guide to Italy
The first thing that needs to be decided is the type of adventure that is to be had in this colourful country, from the sunny painted backdrops of Tuscany with its constant romantic notions in the form of tiny villages and divine restaurants, the impressive heart of Rome and its grandiose history that has been immortalised in film and paintings for as long as can be remembered, to the skiing villages of the alps and the awe inspiring Dolemites or the shops of Milan calling out to have countless hours spent purchasing, wining, dining Italy will provide.
Rome will always prove to be a good choice when looking to experience what Italy has to offer, it's bars and restaurants are countless, the pizza in the piazza's can be matched nowhere else(Aside from Napoli but don't tell them) but Rome if nothing else is packed with people, tourists are common place and are always rewarded with the Colosseum being a fabulous site to arrive at, there are two ways to access what the Colosseum has to offer one being the general admission ticket for 16 euros then the other being a guided tour, if you have the money the guided tour is well worth it as they take you into the belly of the ancient amphitheatre. Throughout Rome there are groups that sell tickets to enter the attractions however it's best to buy direct from the attraction's website itself and then get an audio tour, this is no more apparent than when you come close to Vatican City, so many vendors outside attempting to give you the best deal however the best deal is again online from the main site, the vendors have to wait in long queues to get in whereas a ticket from Vatican City online allows you to walk right in the door and procure your own guide once inside. It's not all about attractions though because the Italians love their food which has been present in any film, painting, book that has ever mentioned them a number of the small bars make their own traditional Porchetta, a sandwich of rolled pork with herbs and lemon it is worth hunting for the tastiest, but of course you have to grab a pizza and you should only grab a great one from a place on Piazza Navona, La Pace Del Palato.
If the bustling streets of Rome are a little too boisterous and some might say arrogant, then taking a car around the rest of the country could be the settling romance you're after, there are again so many different places that you could venture off to, take somewhere like Tuscany for instance with its world renowned sunsets, its vineyards and all the beautiful villas that are written about by the wooing novelists across the world, however this is just a portion of Tuscany as Tuscany is a region with some of the grandest sites of the whole country, the famous leaning tower of Pisa is here, the birthplace of the equally if not more famous Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science with his passion and knowledge of Astronomy, Physics, Mathematics there are tours that can take you through the places where he made the discoveries that govern our modern day thinking, allowing you to see the sites and indulge in possibly your own discovery. Pisa also plays host to more of the great cuisine that Italy has to offer and one of the seaside treasures is Foresta Ristorante they have the usual traditional seafood dishes to suffice that desire but then their antipasti is where the true individuality lies. If science is not your thing then leave Pisa to the other intellectuals and head to Chianti for those iconic vineyard and olive tree walks, to a place where you can indulge your palate with some of the greatest wine and food on the face of the planet, the key here is to let yourself go and get lost in the heady beauty of these delectable settings. Staying in Tuscany still as you may kick or be kicked if you don't visit Val d'Orcia, it is a UNESCO world heritage site that boasts all the picture book Tuscan wonderment, with its rolling green hills, little villages, Oak forests, olive groves and vineyards and of course the oldest extinct volcano in Italy, Monte Amiata, this area will make your heart erupt with joy.
Leaving the popularity of Rome and Tuscany and taking yourself into something that only Italy can offer, something that will hold a mirror up to your notions of what you believe Italy can provide and will shock you yet again with its diversity, the region of Campione d'italia, a portion of the country that sits right on the border of Switzerland and Italy, it is exempt from EU VAT. The local currency is the Swiss Franc although Euros are still accepted, the people speaking both languages, vehicle registration plates being Swiss and not Italian, the list of what happens in this cross cultural town goes on, it is a must for any traveller that wishes to witness where a border is in constant dispute. This village is also a perfect jumping off point to dive into your Lake Como dreams and even head off to slide down one of the many snow-capped mountains. As the commune of Campione is feared to be soon lost forever, due to widespread bankruptcy, heading there and possibly dining at Da Candida would be doing your bit as a tourist, saving the history of an important settlement...bring your francs and your Euros though as you won't be walking away with a light hearted bill, but you will be walking away with a more than satisfied stomach.
Where to begin with the boundless history that patrols the lands of Italy, we could start with the entertainment of the Coloseum, where men were pitched against men to fight for the peoples pleasure and to garner the love of the great demanding Caesar, where at the time the country in particular Rome was one of the largest empires the world has ever seen, with its Territorial holdings stretching across Europe, North Africa and all the way over to West Asia all ruled by different Emperors who had their own unique manners of keeping power. Augustus who is known as one of Asia's changing forces, under Roman rule that is, he introduced imperial administrative centres that allowed regions and cities to operate autonomously with their self-governing principles each becoming responsible for their own economics, taxes and law in their respective territories, Augustus also murdered friends, family members and probably someone's pet to make it to the top.
You could then take a leap into the great artistic period of the Renaissance, which plays out in the galleries and museums that are dotted all around this glorious country and all over the globe, with such defining icons as Michelangelo, the master of innovation Leonardo Da Vinci, the classic compositor Raphael and of course the masterful sculptor Donatello, these four have been immortalised forever in their works and in popular culture, with their lives being played out as pizza loving ninja turtles, an odd reference but important for the young people of this world to never allow these greats to be forgotten. During this time the wordsmith Dante Alighieri also brought forth the phenomenon that is Dante's Inferno which gave way to the paths that language has taken and continues to take forever more.
Italians, after these great times of opulence and rule they had over worldwide culture, were then as any empire has been, pushed back into their corners, told that the rest of the world needed its identity and Rome's vast empires were destroyed and the country was bordered to where it is today, however the Italians were only going to take so much and in the Risorgimento period they fought back to extract themselves from foreign rule and stand together in the creation of the single state of Italy.
This is a truncated version of a history that spans centuries but will at least let some of the Italian culture seep in before you travel there.
Italian Car hire FAQ's
Cost of hiring a car in Italy?
With the country being so vast and airports everywhere the cost will vary from place to place however the lowest that can be found at this point is €5.25 (£4.56) per Day for a Fiat 500 or similar from Florence Airport.
What's the cheapest car hire in Italy?
This is probably best approached via airports, from Milan Malpensa airport the cheapest is € 5.92 (£5.07) per day for a Fiat Panda or similar, from Rome Fiumicino Airport which is the main destination for travellers the price of a mid-week booking for a car is € 6.20 (£5.21) per day for a Fiat Panda or Similar, from Florence airport getting you into the Tuscan region the cost of car hire is from € 5.48 (£4.70) per day.
How much does it cost for an economy car hire in Italy?
Economy car hire is from as little as € 5.48 (£4.70) per day
Which car companies operate out of Italian Airports?
All the major large companies operate from most of the airports around the country those being Hertz, Europcar, Sixt, Budget, Thrifty and Avis. Quite a few of these operate out of the smaller towns as well although local companies may provide a cheaper deal.
What's the best way to get around Italy?
Italy has veins of transport that run throughout it, with buses and trams servicing all major cities, interstate trains that reach most regions even up to the mountains, coaches that get into the hideaway spots but then if you are being adventurous and heading to the tinier parts on the winding roads a car can prove to be the best way around, of course you can hike but this may be exhausting although it will be romantic.
Do I need an international Licence for car hire in Italy?
For Italy an IDP or International Drivers Permit is required if you hold a license that is not from the EU.
What's the best type of car for getting around Italy?
With it's plentiful Fiats you would think this is the one however they're not the greatest for luggage, compact for the city drives and will park easily in the crowded streets, for driving further on and not spending too much more an Audi A1 is a great choice for comfort, style and space. Careful of the many rules that the towns and roads abide by, Florence for instance is not a fan of visitor cars, possible fines may apply.
What if I have an accident?
Contact the local authorities first then the car company that you hired the rental from.
Which side of the road do the Italians drive on?
Driving need to know 'quick table'
Snow chains are compulsory in mountainous areas or where snow is likely. They should be carried between October 15th and April 15th.