Car Rentals in Florence
Do I need to rent a car in Florence?
The short answer is no, you don't need a car to visit Florence.
The historical center is small and walkable as well as a limited traffic area (ZTL) that requires special permits to drive into. In addition, many areas around the main sights (Duomo, Piazza della Repubblica, Via Tornabuoni) have been completely pedestrianized which is wonderful because we no longer have to worry about traffic as we stop to gaze upwards and admire the sights! This used to be the case around Piazza Duomo, we no longer have to worry about being in the middle of the street.
When do I need a car?
If you're combining Florence with a stay in the Tuscan countryside, as soon as you leave Florence it would be a good idea to rent a car. Many of the small villages in Chianti, in southern Tuscany and other areas are not reachable by train while there is limited services with buses. Having your own means of transportation is the best way to go: it offers the freedom of moving around on your own time and the freedom to reach all of the places you want to. Also read additional tips for renting a car in Tuscany.
Do I need a car if I just want to do a day trip?
Yes, you can also use the convenience of renting a car for just one day as you head south into Chianti or north into Mugello to discover the Tuscan countryside at your own leisure! Both of these areas are hard to visit without a car, and if you're using Florence as your base to return to, a car for one day is definitely recommended if you feel like driving.
Where can I rent a car in Florence?
You can pick up a car at the Florence airport and this is the best location if you plan on heading straight out of Florence onto the A11 or A1 or to the Florence-Siena roadway without the worry of dealing with traffic in Florence – the airport is right by the highways.
If you're in downtown Florence, the majority of the car rental agencies are concentrated in the area south of the Santa Maria Novella train station on Borgo Ognissanti, Via Maso Finiguerra, Via di Melegnano and Via Santa Lucia. This is within the ZTL (limited traffic area zone) so make sure to get precise instructions from the car rental agency on how to get out of the center and back in for car returns without getting lost (lots of one-way streets). The map below highlights the streets near the SMN station where the car rental agencies are located, you can also see some of their precise locations here.
If you're outside of the main historical center, there are a few other agencies on Via Amendola (near Scandicci), Via Erbosa (southeastern Florence), Via del Gelsomino near San Gaggio and via del Sansovino and Via di Novoli to the west of the historical center. Check your location on a map with these addresses and choose the location closest to you.
So what do you have planned for your vacation in Florence and Tuscany? Planning to rent a car? Go ahead and book your car rental now with our partner RentalCars.com!
We recently read an article that highlighted the difficulty some visitors might have in trying to figure out at the gas pump which fuel to put into their car rental. The wrong type of fuel can mean damages to the car's engine and lots of extra costs to repair the car... so we thought it would be useful to highlight that in Italian, "carburante" and "benzina" are both generic words for gasoline/petrol. But diesel is diesel in Italian too - so PAY ATTENTION at the gas pump and, if you're not sure, ask the gas attendant to help!