Car Hire in Rome
This information is correct as of April 2015
It takes a lot of time to see all of the sights in Italy’s sprawling capital, but when you hire a car in Rome you can do it on your own schedule. Drive past some of the world’s most iconic buildings, discover off-the-beaten track pizza restaurants, or head out of the city and explore the surrounding Lazio region. Whatever you’re planning to do with your rental car, you can find the best prices and deals with Skyscanner.
Where to hire a car in Rome
Car rental is available at Rome Fiumicino Airport from eight rental companies including Auto Europa, Jerta, Maggiore and Sixt. If you’re flying into Ciampino you have a similar selection, with brands like Europcar, Goldcar and Avis.
There are a huge number of car hire companies with bases in the city. Avis, Sicily by Car, Alfa Service Autonoleggio, Maggiore, Sixt, and Europcar are just a few of the car hire companies you’ll find in and around Rome Termini train station. There are branches of Sixt, Rentissimo, and Car Rent 4 Sure near the Colloseum. There are also a good number of car hire companies on Via Sardegna, near the Villa Borghese Park.
Driving in Rome
Italian drivers have a reputation for driving fast, but in Rome they rarely get the chance. Like all huge cities, traffic in Rome is prone to congestion. The city gets very hot in the summer. Always carry a supply of water in the car so you don’t suffer from dehydration.
Most of Rome’s historic centre falls under the ZTL (zona traffic limitato). Only people with resident permits are allowed to drive here. However, tourists can drive in the ZTL if they register their car with the police first. You can ask your hotel to do this for you: give them your license place as soon as you check in and they should sort it out.
Traffic drives on the right in Italy, and your rental car will have its steering column on the left hand side of the dashboard. If this is your first time driving abroad you might find it a bit disorienting at first. Be extra careful when approaching roundabouts and T-junctions: usually there will be traffic in front to follow and this will keep you on the right track.
Parking in Rome
Some hotels in the centre of Rome have guest car parks for their guests, but you will probably be expected to pay per night to use them. On-street pay and display parking is available throughout central Rome. Pay and display bays are painted blue so it’s easy to spot them. It usually costs around €1 (about 75p) an hour.
If you can’t find an on-street parking space, don’t worry: there are lots of public car parks in Rome. The largest is under the Villa Borghese Park. It costs around €2.20 (about £1.65) per hour, or €18 (about £13.30) if you want to leave your car there all day. If your hotel is on the outskirts of Rome it might be a better idea just to leave your car in one of the 30 suburban rail car parks (Parcheggio di Scambio) which are designed for commuters. It costs €2 (about £1.50) for 12 hours, €3 (about £2.20) for 16, and €5 (about £3.70) to leave your car overnight.
Great day trips from Rome
The famous ruins of Pompeii are two and a half hours from Rome by car. You can explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site on foot, walking along ancient Roman roads and visiting the excavated areas like the amphitheatre, the house of the Vettii (home to impressive frescoes), and the Temple of Apollo. It’s a good idea to bring a guide book so you know exactly what you’re looking at and the context behind it.
If the heat of the city is getting too much, head to the beach. The Blue Flag beach of Sperlonga is perfect: at just under two hours from Rome, it’s a great day trip destination. There are plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants if you feel peckish, and even a few interesting historic attractions if you get bored of lounging on the beach.
Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise
This verdant park is at the heart of the Apennine Mountains. There are rivers, forests, lakes, and mountains to explore. The area is home to rare species like the Marsican brown bear and the golden eagle. Take a drive through the pleasant scenery, or park the car and take on one of the many hiking trails. It takes about two hours to reach the park from central Rome.
Prices subject to change