How to Rent a Car in Rome

Rome, the eternal city, exudes a captivating blend of ancient traditions and contemporary vibrancy. The city’s cultural tapestry is woven with threads from its illustrious past, evident in its magnificent architecture, iconic monuments, and historical sites. From the grandeur of the Colosseum to the timeless beauty of the Pantheon, every cobblestone street tells a story, inviting locals and visitors alike to immerse themselves in the rich history that defines Roman culture.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of renting a car in Rome, exploring the when, why, and how of this transportation choice.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links, I earn a small commission to keep this website going (at no extra cost to you) so its a win-win!

Why Rent a Car in Rome?

One of the primary reasons to opt for a rental car is the freedom it offers. Public transportation is undoubtedly efficient within Rome, but to venture out to Montepulciano, Siena, Assisi, Amalfi Coast, Naples, etc., you need a car. 

I personally recommend to book a car through

No fixed schedules or crowded buses – just the open road and your itinerary.

Discover Hidden Gems Outside of Rome

With you can search hassle free with no hidden fees, free cancelation and 24/7 support.

Rome boasts architectural wonders and vibrant city life, but the real “La Dolce Vita – the sweet life” often lie outside of the busy Rome.

You can discover charming villages, wineries, and local eateries that might be missed by those confined to city limits. The whims of exploration are at your fingertips.

Scenic Drives and Panoramic Views Outside of Rome

Rome is centrally located, making it a great hub for various day trips to explore the rich history and beautiful landscapes of Italy. Here are some perfect day trip ideas that can be explored by renting a car or going on an organized tour. Capture breathtaking views, stop at viewpoints, and create your own personalized adventure.

Montepulciano: located in the heart of Tuscany, Italy, is a charming hilltop town renowned for its historic architecture, panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, and world-class wine production. Steeped in Renaissance and medieval history, Montepulciano boasts impressive landmarks such as the Palazzo Comunale, a stunning town hall adorned with intricate carvings, and the beautiful Church of San Biagio, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder. The town is also famous for its production of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a robust red wine made primarily from Sangiovese grapes, which can be sampled at numerous local wineries and enotecas throughout the town. With its captivating beauty, rich cultural heritage, and delicious wine, Montepulciano offers visitors a quintessential Tuscan experience.

Siena: situated in the heart of Tuscany, Italy, is a city brimming with medieval charm, renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. Dominated by its iconic red-brick Torre del Mangia and the magnificent Gothic cathedral, Il Duomo di Siena, the city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offering visitors a step back in time with its maze of narrow cobblestone streets, grand piazzas, and well-preserved medieval buildings. Siena is also famous for its annual Palio horse race, held twice a year in the historic Piazza del Campo, where ten of the city’s contrade, or neighborhoods, compete for victory in a thrilling display of tradition and pageantry. Beyond its architectural and cultural treasures, Siena is celebrated for its culinary delights, including traditional Tuscan dishes and delectable sweets like panforte and ricciarelli, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic taste of Italy’s past and present.

Assisi: nestled in the rolling hills of Umbria, Italy, is a captivating town known for its spiritual significance, medieval charm, and stunning landscapes. Most famously, it is the birthplace of St. Francis, the patron saint of Italy, and home to the majestic Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site adorned with masterpieces by renowned Italian artists like Giotto and Cimabue. The town’s picturesque streets wind their way up to the Rocca Maggiore, a medieval fortress offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can explore the narrow alleyways lined with traditional stone houses, visit charming piazzas like Piazza del Comune, and discover hidden gems such as the Basilica of Santa Chiara and the Roman Temple of Minerva. With its serene atmosphere, spiritual heritage, and breathtaking vistas, Assisi is a timeless destination that leaves a lasting impression on all who visit.

The Amalfi Coast: located in southern Italy’s Campania region, is a breathtaking stretch of coastline renowned for its dramatic cliffs, picturesque villages, and azure Mediterranean waters. The coastal road winds its way along the rugged cliffs, offering panoramic views of the stunning landscape dotted with colorful villages clinging to the hillsides. One of the most famous towns along the coast is Amalfi itself, with its historic cathedral and vibrant waterfront. Nearby Positano is equally enchanting, with its pastel-colored houses tumbling down to the sea. Other highlights include the charming village of Ravello, known for its stunning gardens and panoramic views, and the beautiful town of Sorrento, perched atop cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples. With its stunning natural beauty and charming villages, the Amalfi Coast is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking romance, relaxation, and unparalleled coastal scenery in Italy.

Time Efficiency

For those with a limited schedule, time is of the essence. A rental car ensures that you maximize your time exploring rather than waiting for public transport connections. Whether you’re chasing sunset on the Amalfi Coast or tasting the best wine you’ve ever had in Tuscany.

When Renting a Car in Rome is a Bad Idea

Renting a car in Rome may not be ideal for everyone, depending on your preferences and the nature of your trip. Here are some reasons why renting a car in Rome might be considered a less favorable option:

Efficient Public Transportation: Rome has a comprehensive public transportation system that includes buses, metro lines, trams, and Uber. This network is efficient, cost-effective, and allows visitors to explore the city conveniently without the hassle of driving.

Limited Parking: Parking in the city center can be scarce and expensive. Finding a suitable parking spot can be time-consuming, and some accommodations might not offer convenient parking facilities. Additionally, parking fines are not uncommon for those unfamiliar with local regulations.

Urban Congestion: Rome is huge, and chaotic. Navigating the city streets, which can be narrow and congested, may be challenging and stressful for drivers, especially those unfamiliar with local traffic patterns.

Historic and Pedestrian Areas: Much of Rome’s charm lies in exploring the city on foot. It’s not advised to rent a car inside the city center.

What Does it Cost to Rent a Car in Rome

While rates are subject to change, here are some general pricing guidelines on

Economy Cars: On average, economy cars can start from around €20 to €40 per day.

Compact Cars: Rates for compact cars may range from €25 to €60 per day.

Mid-Size Cars: Mid-size cars can be in the range of €35 to €80 per day.

SUVs and Larger Vehicles: Rates for SUVs and larger vehicles might start from €50 and can go up to €120 or more per day.

Luxury Cars: Luxury or premium car rentals will have higher rates, typically starting from €80 to several hundred euros per day.

It’s crucial to carefully read the terms and conditions, including insurance coverage, mileage limitations, and any potential additional charges. Also, consider customer reviews and the reputation of the rental company when making your decision. 

I would recommend the following companies: Hertz, Enterprise, and Budget.

How to Rent a Car in Rome

Documents Needed For Renting a Car and Driving Legally in Rome

To rent a car and drive legally in Rome, Italy, you will need the following documents:

1. Valid Driver’s License: You must have a valid driver’s license issued by your home country. If your license is not in Italian, you may also need an International Driving Permit (IDP), which serves as a translation of your license and is often required by car rental companies in Italy.

2. Passport or National ID Card: You’ll need to provide a valid passport or national ID card as proof of identity when renting a car.

3. Credit Card: Most car rental companies require a credit card in the primary driver’s name for payment and as a security deposit. Make sure your credit card has sufficient funds available for the rental and any potential security deposit.

4. Rental Agreement: You’ll need to sign a rental agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the car rental, including insurance coverage, rental period, and any additional fees.

5. Proof of Insurance: While car rental companies typically offer insurance coverage options, you may also choose to purchase additional insurance coverage or verify coverage through your credit card or personal auto insurance policy.

6. Age Requirement: The minimum age to rent a car in Italy is usually 18 or 21, depending on the car rental company. Some companies may also have a maximum age limit.

7. Additional Drivers: If you plan to have additional drivers, they will also need to provide their valid driver’s license and may need to be listed on the rental agreement. Additional fees may apply for extra drivers.

8. Driving in ZTL Zones (Limited Traffic Zones): In some parts of Rome, there are restricted areas known as ZTL zones. If you plan to drive in these areas, you may need to obtain a special permit from the car rental company or the local authorities to avoid fines.

It’s essential to check the specific requirements and policies of the car rental company you choose, as they may vary.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with Italian traffic laws and regulations before driving in Rome to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Tips for Renting a Car in Rome

1. Book in Advance: Secure your rental car online months in advance before arriving in Rome for better deals and availability.

2. Understand Local Traffic Rules: Familiarize yourself with local road regulations to ensure a smooth and safe journey.

3. Choose the Right Size: Opt for a vehicle that suits your travel needs, considering both passenger comfort and luggage space.

4. Check Insurance Coverage: Ensure you have adequate insurance coverage, including collision and comprehensive, for peace of mind during your travels.

5. Duration Discounts: Rental companies often offer lower daily rates for longer rental durations. Weekly rentals might provide a better daily rate compared to daily rentals.

Common Words and Phrases on the Road in Rome

Navigating the roads in and around Rome can be an adventure, and knowing some common words and phrases in Italian can be helpful. Here are some useful words and phrases you might encounter while driving in Rome:

1. Strada – Road
2. Autostrada – Highway
3. Uscita – Exit
4. Entrata – Entrance
5. Centro città – City center
6. Senso unico – One way
7. Parcheggio – Parking
8. Divieto di sosta – No parking
9. Limitazione di velocità – Speed limit
10. Attenzione – Attention
11. Pericolo – Danger
12. Incrocio – Intersection
13. Pedaggio – Toll
14. Dare la precedenza – Give way
15. Parcheggio a pagamento – Paid parking
16. Zona pedonale – Pedestrian zone
17. Strada chiusa – Road closed
18. Divieto di accesso – No entry
19. Benvenuti a Roma – Welcome to Rome
20. Riduzione di velocità – Reduce speed

Additionally, some basic Italian phrases that may come in handy while driving in Rome include:

1. Dov’è il parcheggio più vicino? – Where is the nearest parking?
2. Posso parcheggiare qui? – Can I park here?
3. Quanto costa il parcheggio? – How much does parking cost?
4. Come si arriva al centro città? – How do I get to the city center?
5. Mi scusi, non conosco la strada. – Excuse me, I don’t know the way.
6. C’è un benzinaio qui vicino? – Is there a gas station nearby?
7. Mi sono perso/a. – I’m lost.

Remember to drive safely and be mindful of local traffic laws and customs while navigating the roads in Rome. Buon viaggio! (Safe travels!)


Renting a car in Rome to explore beyond Rome isn’t just a transportation choice – it’s a key to unlocking the full richness of this beautiful country. From historic towns to pristine vineyards, the treasures that await are countless. 

But ,while renting a car can be advantageous for exploring more remote areas or specific itineraries, it’s essential to weigh the convenience of public transportation against the potential challenges of driving in a busy city like Rome.

Ultimately, the choice depends on individual preferences, travel plans, and the desired level of convenience. 

In my opinion, don’t rent a car in Rome, but do rent a car if you plan on going outside of the city.

So, grab the keys, hit the road, and let the adventure unfold!

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