Should you rent a car in RomeItaly>Rome

Historians estimate that ancient Rome was a city of more than 1 million people by 210 AD. Since everyone lived at this time without mechanised transport, it’s hardly surprising that all of the most famous sites, and in particular the Coliseum, the Forum, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain, are all within a relatively short walk of each other.

If you are arriving in Rome for the first time by train, and you are coming out of Terminii station, then it might help to go a few stops on the metro to the Coliseum, but once you are in the main tourist zone, you can quite easily walk around for the rest of your time, incorporating a visit into the micro state of the Vatican, without ever needing to even get on a bus or make a short metro journey.

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Why do you need a car in Rome? Even if you are heading some way out of the city, is a car still a good idea or not?

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Beyond these most famous sites, any decision on renting a car is going depend to depend not just on how far you might want to take it, but also how confident you are driving in southern Italy’s notorious traffic!

  • Perhaps you are thinking about heading via Naples, which really is a very short drive from Rome itself, but we would only suggest getting a hire car in Rome if you actually want to enjoy the idea of driving with an open top and driving between places, and you’re not too bothered about the hassles of driving itself, or of parking.
  • Looking further to the south, you have amazing cliff hugging towns like Sorrento overlooking the Bay of Naples, or  the Amalfi coast on the other side of the peninsula. Sorrento is an easy train connection via Naples, whereas you can take fast trains direct to Salerno from Rome. From here, local buses or trains provide connections along the coast.
  • Heading further inland and well into the backbone of Italy, a rental car might well make great deal more sense, because public transport in this direction isn’t so good. Considering the sheer size and busyness of Rome itself, it’s amazingly easy to get on to relatively lightly trafficked roads as you head out towards the south-east of the city, and if you really do want to continue down towards the heel of the boot as such, then you will find many beautiful towns that are very much off the well trampled path.
  • Relative to other Mediterranean countries, car hire in Rome, and in Italy in general can be quite reasonable value in summer. However, there isn’t such a huge seasonal variation in Rome car rental prices, so don’t expect any off-season bargains. There is a much greater seasonal contrast in car hire prices in Spain or Croatia.

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  • You do not need a car in Rome at all for anything within the city or nearby. In fact, because of the combined hassles of traffic and parking, a rental car in Rome will be a huge hindrance for any time you are spending wholly within the city.
  • If you are just looking at short excursions from the city of Rome, such as to the Pope’s summer Palace at Castel Gandolfo, then these are easy enough to do by bus or train.
  • Several rail lines provide easy connections from Rome to the nearby coastline, including resorts with beaches.
  • You can easily access Naples and the Amalfi coast, using the widely available high speed train services.
  • You can also easily reach Florence as an extended day trip from Rome, although you may prefer to make a two-city trip of it, and fly back from there (Florence airport has a limited number of commuter flights, but there’s a much wider choice from Pisa).
  • Even if you take the train to the Amalfi coast, you can also still use local trains and buses to travel around the region.
  • If your plan is to drive around the Amalfi coast to the south (or Tuscany to the north), you may prefer to get the train to Naples or Florence respectively, and then hire a car from there.
  • Fuel in Italy is expensive relative to other European countries – expect to pay a similar amount to the UK or the Netherlands. Visitors from the USA or Canada who aren’t already put off by the different driving conditions might well find that the fuel cost is another reason for not really wanting to hire a car in Rome.

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Do you need a car in Rome?  On balance, Rome is the sort of place where there is really not that much point in renting a car, especially if you also want to spend most of time in the city itself. Even if most visitors will see no need to hire a car in Rome, there aren’t really that many situations where it’s really worth doing so either.

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Author: Carometer

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