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Renting a Car in Florence, Italy – 2024 Advice from a Local

You’ve got Florence on your list of places to visit in Italy and you’re ready to see Michelangelo’s David, eat gelato, and visit Tuscan vineyards.

If so, you’ll want to read through this guide to renting a car in Florence (Italy). It includes the best places to rent for YOUR trip and helpful tips and tricks to make the process smooth, stress-free, and even fun! 

I live just outside of Florence and have been planning trips here in Italy since 2004.  I’ve also worked as a guide and have rented numerous cars in Florence.  I regularly assist others in renting cars here and I take time to speak with car rental agencies in the Florence city center and at the Florence airport.  I hope you find this information helpful!

Want to know everything about renting a car in Italy? 
Check out our Complete Guide to Renting a Car in Italy

You may also want to read about Renting a Car in Tuscany and Renting a Car in Italy as an American.

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You probably want to know, “Is it worth renting a car in Florence?” 

Quick Answer:  NO, if you’ll just be in Florence.  YES, if you want to explore outside of the city. YES, if you want to use it to drive to your next destination (that’s not easily accessible by train).


View of cars and scooters waiting at a traffic light in Florence, Italy.
Driving around in Florence – with many other cars, narrow streets, mopeds, construction, and ZTLs

You don’t need a rental car for your time in Florence.  It’s not a fun place to drive or park in, and you have to worry about accidentally driving into the ZTL (zona traffico limitato – limited traffic zone) and getting a multa (fine). 

It’s best to use public transport or your feet to get around the city while you’re visiting.  The historic center is small and public transport can help you when you’re tired.  Buses, the tram, and taxis are all available in the center of Florence. 


Car driving in the countryside of Tuscany, Italy.
Driving on Chianti roads

If you’re based in Florence but want to do day trips into the Tuscan countryside, you have a couple of options: 

  1. Rent a car. 
  2. Have someone else drive – hire a driver, go on a tour, or go on day trips to places that you can reach by public transport from Florence (Pisa, Lucca, Siena).

Check out the Best Day Trips from Florence

If you have plans to visit Tuscany outside of Florence for more than just a day trip, I highly recommend renting a car. 

Many towns (including San Gimignano, Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pitigliano, Saturnia, Cortona, Volterra, and beach towns like Forte dei Marmi) are best visited with your own wheels. 

Even if you’re planning on visiting a town that’s accessible by public transport (like those I mentioned above – Pisa, Lucca, and Siena), it’s still nice to travel there in your own car.

With a rental car, you will have more flexibility to explore at your leisure, and to stop when and where you want.


Another reason to rent a car in Florence is to use it to travel to your next destination.

  • Use a Florence rental car to get to your departure airport in another city.  Stop to visit towns and landmarks along the way.
  • Use a Florence rental car to travel to and explore your next destination in Italy.
  • Use a Florence rental car to travel to another place in Italy if you have a lot of luggage and don’t want to lug it on and off trains.

Good To Know:  Remember to check the one-way drop-off fee. 


  • Hertz (FLR & City Center)
  • Avis (FLR & City Center)
  • Budget (FLR & City Center)
  • Thrifty (FLR)
  • Alamo (FLR & City Center)
  • Europcar (FLR & City Center)
  • Dollar (FLR)
  • Sixt (FLR & City Center)
  • AutoEurope (FLR)
  • Enterprise (FLR & City Center)
  • Sicily by Car (FLR & City Center)

I recommend checking out consolidators like DiscoverCars.com and AutoEurope.com for a round-up of the best deals from the main rental car companies in Florence. I use DiscoverCars.com when I rent a car here in Italy.


The main places you can rent a car in Florence are:

  • Florence Peretola (FLR) airport
  • the area between the Santa Maria Novella train station and the Arno River
  • at the Santa Maria Novella train station

There are a few other places (like near the Bagno a Ripoli suburb, in the Novoli neighborhood), but I recommend renting from the airport or the area between the train station and the river. If you feel okay about doing a little driving in the center, SIXT at the Florence SMN train station is also a good option.

The best place to rent a car is at the Florence airport (more on that below). 


Florence is a popular rental car hub – most visitors to the Tuscan countryside rent a car.  So, it’s important to book in advance to guarantee you’ll get a car and get one at a good price.

Busy times of the year for car rentals in Florence are April through October.  You’ll find the absolute busiest times to be the months of June, July, September, and October. If you need to rent a car in one of these months, reserve your car as soon as possible, especially if you need a larger car (like a 7-seater or a minivan).


Signs directing arriving passengers to transportation options inside the Florence, Italy airport.
This is the sign you’ll see when you exit the arrivals door at the Florence Airport. Turn right to follow signs to the ‘Rent a Car Shuttle.’

This is the easiest (and often cheapest) Florence car rental location – the Florence airport (aka Florence Peretola or Florence Amerigo Vespucci). 

Good To Know: In Italy, airport car rentals are usually a bit higher because of airport taxes. However, I often see cheaper rates at the Florence airport (compared to city center locations).


  • It’s usually less expensive
  • If you’re flying out of Florence, it’s easy to return your car and catch your flight
  • It’s easier to drive out of the airport area than drive out of Florence city center.  Bonus – you’re really close to the Autostrada entrance.

Good To Know:  Even if you’re already in the Florence city center, you can hop on the tram for 2€ and you’ll be at the Florence Peretola (FLR) airport in 15 minutes. 

The Florence airport car rental location isn’t part of the airport.  From the airport, you’ll need to take a 5-minute shuttle bus to the car rental location.

YouTube video

The Florence airport car rental location is on Via Palagio degli Spini, about 500 meters from the airport.

Good To Know:  While you can walk from the airport to the airport car rental location (see the route on the map below), it’s easy to take the quick shuttle from the airport. It takes just 3-5 minutes and drops you off right in front of the main building (where you sign your contract). The shuttle begins at 5:00 and runs through the last flight. It runs every 20 minutes, but will leave more often if the shuttle is full.

There are multiple car rental agencies at the airport location. When you arrive, the bus drops you off in front of this large brown building:

Go inside (there may be a line during busier periods) to sign your contract. After checking you in, your Florence rental car agent will give you the keys to your car, which is located in the large lot adjacent to the building.

Read my detailed guide to Renting a Car at the Florence Airport


Borgo Ognissanti in Florence, Italy, with some of the main car rental offices and a yellow 'garage' sign which is the garage of the main car rental companies.
Car rental offices and main garage on Borgo Ognissanti in the Florence city center

Your other option is to rent in the city center.

The area between the Santa Maria Novella train station and the Arno River is the car rental hub for the Florence city center, especially on Borgo Ognissanti. 


  • If you’re staying in Florence, you can walk to pick up your rental car

Some of the major companies (Avis, Budget, Maggiore, Europcar) use the Interparking Garage Europa Firenze:

The office hours for the main companies are shorter than those at the airport, typically 8:00 or 9:00am to 5:00 or 6:00pm on weekdays (check the current hours on the company website – they change seasonally), and earlier closing on weekends (usually around 1:00 pm).  The Interparking Garage is open until 2:00am and reopens in the morning at 6:00am.  If the offices of Avis/Budget/Maggiore are closed, you can leave your keys in the garage dropbox.

If you’re renting from Avis, Budget, Maggiore, or Europcar, check-in and get your car keys at the office next to the Interparking Garage Europa Firenze, then walk up the ramp into the garage to find your car.

Good To Know:  When you leave the car rental pick-up, make sure you have the agent mark the current route you should take to exit the city!  It’s important you don’t get lost and end up in the ZTL (and get fined!). This is very important! You may have read a suggested route online (including from me), but it’s important to check with the agent for the most up-to-date route out of the city and back to the car rental garage. Construction and road work can close roads and change routes.

Good To Know: There are other rental companies that don’t use the Interparking Garage. For example, SicilyByCar (which I use sometimes) has its office on Borgo Ognissanti, but its garage is a little further down the street. And, there are smaller companies, like Tuscany by Car and Yes! that also use the Interparking Garage.


I haven’t included this location in the past, because I think it can be hectic driving in and out of the city from the Florence train station. But, I’m often asked about it.

There are a couple of companies that rent at the Florence SMN train station. I’ve had good experiences with SIXT, and they have a good setup at the station.


If you’ve arrived by train (or you’re departing by train), you can pick up (or drop off) your rental car right at the station.

SIXT is located on the eastern side of the station. Just get off your train, then exit the building on the left, and turn left to walk along the station (keeping it on your left). You’ll run into the SIXT office (map). It’s a large office and the staff are helpful.

Entrance to SIXT car rental office at the Florence train station in Italy. Orange sign to left of entrance. Large glass doors.
The entrance to the SIXT car rental office at the Florence SMN train station

Once you’ve checked in and signed your contract, you need to walk to the underground parking garage at the station and go to Level -4. This can be a bit confusing, but SIXT has a video that shows you how to get there. And, there’s another video that shows you how to return your car.



  • Check rates with a consolidator like DiscoverCars.com or AutoEurope.com.  They usually have the best rates, especially for well-known companies. I have used both but have been using DiscoverCars lately.
  • Rent in advance, especially if you’re coming in the busy season, and especially if you need a larger vehicle (like a 7-seater).
  • Rent an automatic transmission if that’s what you drive at home.
  • Choose a car that’s large enough to carry your passengers and luggage, but no larger.  Italian roads and parking spaces are narrow – you’ll be happy to have a smaller vehicle. 
  • Avoid reserving a car pickup during morning or evening commute times, if possible.
  • Reserve a GPS (or bring your own), or make sure your phone has data so you can use Google Maps.  It’s often cheaper to buy a GPS than rent one from the car rental agency (just make sure you download the correct maps).
  • Pick the best location for you and your trip. If you have anxiety about driving in Florence, just take the tram to the airport and rent your car there.
  • Unfortunately, there aren’t any set days or hours that are the busiest, so I can’t tell you the best time to rent your car to avoid crowds. In the busiest times, it’s not uncommon to wait for an hour (and occasionally longer). Rental office lines in the city center locations do tend to be shorter after 1:00pm, but keep in mind that the summer heat in Florence is intense, so you may not want to wait in the heat (the offices have A/C but with so many people and doors constantly opening, it’s still hot). The airport car rental office lines totally depend on flights, so it’s tough to give a recommended rental time there (to avoid crowds).

Important: Make sure you rent your car for Florence (Firenze) and not for Florence, South Carolina. It’s a common mistake.

Before you head to Italy, make sure you review Important Italian Road Signs


Car rental pickup lot at the Florence (FLR) airport in Italy.
Florence Aiport (FLR) car rental lot. Go straight to return your car. But, if you’re picking up your car, turn right to walk to the large building at the end of the lot.
  • Bring all required documents, including your valid driver’s license, your passport, your international driving permit if you need one, and a credit card.
  • If you choose to return the car with a full tank (vs. pre-purchasing a fill-up from the car rental company), ask your agent which gas station is closest to your location.
  • Before driving out of the lot or garage, be sure to check your car!  Florence is a very busy car rental location, and dings and small dents (inside or outside of the car) can easily be overlooked.  In general, Italian rental cars are a little more beat up than I’ve seen in the US. 
  • If you have a problem or notice damage that’s not listed on your contract, go in and tell your agent!  It’s better to say something at pick up than being charged for damage when you drop off the car.  Photos aren’t enough because they can always say you took a photo after the damage occurred.
  • Also, this is the time to ask questions about the car:

Do you know how to get the car into reverse? 
Does the car use diesel (gasolio) or gas (benzina)?
Do you see where the parking brake is? 
Do you understand how to turn on the air-conditioning?
Do you know how to use the GPS?

You may want to read our posts
Can I Rent a Car in Italy with a US Driver’s License
International Driving Permit – Why and How to Get One

Driving in Italy


Entrance to main floor at the Interparking Garage Europa in Florence, Italy. Cars parked in the garage and in front is a sign that shows which companies are in the garage.
Rental car return in the Interparking Europa garage.
  • Fill up your gas tank if you haven’t pre-paid for a full tank.  Remember to get a receipt so you can show the agent you’ve just filled up the car.

Florence Airport Returns: If you need to fill up your tank, there’s a gas station about 100 meters before the airport entrance on Viale Giovanni Luder. 

City Center Returns: If you need to, fill up where your rental car agency recommended.  There are a couple of gas stations near Piazza Taddeo Gadd, on the opposite side of the river.

IMPORTANT: If you’re returning your car to a city center or train station location, DO NOT enter the garage or office address into Google Maps or your GPS and follow it blindly. You may be sent into a ZTL. Instead, confirm the route you should take with the agent BEFORE you leave with your car.

For example, if you enter ‘Interparking Garage Europa’ into Google Maps, it will sometimes send you into a ZTL before arriving at the garage. As of January 19, 2024, you should enter ‘VIA S. ONOFRIO’ into Google Maps. You’ll be sent down Via San Frediano, and you’ll be forced to turn LEFT onto Via Sant’Onofrio in order to avoid the ZTL (there’s a digital sign with ‘ZTL ATTIVA / ZTL CLOSED’ in red). Once you’re on Via Sant’ Onofrio, you continue STRAIGHT across the bridge (Ponte Amerigo Vespucci) and once over the bridge, take the 3RD LEFT onto Borgo Ognissanti. Then continue on Borgo Ognissanti until you see the Interparking Garage Europa on your right.

Good to Know: In 2024, the Interparking Garage Europa is under construction, one floor at a time. Depending on how construction goes, and what time of the year you rent a car, the cars may be on a different floor. You’ll be notified in the office when you’re signing your contract.

Read about Italian Gas Stations and How To Get Gas in Italy


If you do need to drive in Florence, here are some helpful tips:


ZTL closed/active sign in Florence, Italy.
The ZTL is closed / active – if you enter you’ll receive a fine (unless you register your license plate with your hotel or parking garage in this zone)

Before you start driving through the Florentine streets, check out the City of Florence ZTL Map. And, read our Guide to the ZTL in Italy!

ZTL map of the Florence, Italy city center.
ZTL map courtesy of Comune di Firenze. Click on the map to open the PDF file in a new window.


One way road sign in Italy.
The blue sign with a white arrow indicates one-way traffic

Florence has quite a few one-way streets.  Know the sign for a one-way street, plus other important signs like pedestrian zone, do not enter, and yield. 

If you’re renting a car in Florence Italy, get familiar with Important Italian Road Signs


Unfortunately, Google Maps, Waze, and GPS units aren’t always up-to-date on Italian streets.  They may send you onto a one-way street or into a ZTL.  Make sure you’re paying attention!  Whenever possible, take a peek at your route before you leave, and if you get lost, just pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so.


Many streets and lots require parking permits (usually for residents or city workers). 

The signs vary, so read them carefully.

Basic rules:
Blue is pay parking (this is for you).
Yellow is handicap parking or loading/unloading.
White is resident parking (but sometimes free parking for anyone).
Pink is for pregnant women or drivers with infants in the car.



Florence, Italy taxi.
You can catch a taxi from a designated taxi stand or call 055.4390 or 055.4242.

The Florence city center is serviced by buses, the tram, private drivers, and taxis. 

If you want to travel in the outer suburbs of Florence, you can take the bus, train, taxi, or tram.  You can also use a private driver or go on a sightseeing tour.

If you’re heading to other parts of Italy, your best options are trains (regional and high-speed), long-distance buses (like FlixBus), private drivers, planes, or sightseeing tours.

Less common modes of travel include scooters and bicycles.  Both are fun if you have experience but can be dangerous if you don’t.  If you’re set on cycling or renting a scooter, it’s best to go with a tour company. 


You can also rent a car somewhere else in Tuscany or further away in Italy.  Nearby airport locations include Pisa airport (PSA) and Bologna airport (BLQ). 

Read more about Renting a Car in Pisa


Florence, Italy Duomo from above.
A view of the Duomo and Florence on our climb up Giotto’s bell tower

Rental car or not, you’ll want to check out some of Florence’s main attractions:

  • Accademia Gallery (Michelangelo’s David statue)
  • The Uffizi Gallery (Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera, Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation, Caravaggio’s Medusa, and more)
  • The Duomo and its Bell Tower and Baptistry
  • Bargello National Museum (former prison barracks turned art museum, home to Donatello’s David and his St. George and the Dragon sculptures, the Baptistry competition panels, and more)
  • The Ponte Vecchio (Florence’s ‘old bridge,’ home to the city’s gold and jewelry shops)
  • Palaces (Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti)
  • Gardens (Boboli, Rose, Iris)

Check out the Best Things to Do in Florence + What to Skip


Walking on the walls of the Fortezza in Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy.

There are excellent day trip choices from Florence.  You can visit other cities, small Tuscan villages, beaches, mountains, and vineyards. 

A few places we love visiting:

  • The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Val d’Orcia and its villages (including Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino)
  • Beaches on the Tyrrhenian coast
  • Tuscan cities (Lucca, Pisa, Siena)
  • Chianti (including Castellina, Gaiole, Greve, Panzano and Radda)

Get more ideas in our posts:
Best Day Trips from Florence
Things to Do in Tuscany


If you’re planning on renting a car while you’re staying in Florence, you’ll want to either stay on the periphery of the city center (so you can avoid driving into the ZTL) OR make you’re your hotel has parking nearby. 

Read about Where to Stay in Florence

Florence Rental Car FAQ

Can a foreigner rent a car in Italy? 

Yes, a foreigner can rent a car in Italy.  If you’re an EU resident, you can use your EU driver’s license.  If you’re from outside of the EU, you’ll need your home country license along with an international driving permit.

Can you drive a rental car in Florence? 

Yes, but the real question is, “do you want to?”  Florence streets are busy and narrow, the parking spaces are tight and scarce, and drivers are assertive.

Is it difficult to drive in Florence, Italy? 

Yes – not as difficult as Rome or Naples, but it’s not particularly enjoyable.  The traffic moves quickly, and drivers are assertive and know where they’re going.  Driving in the Tuscany countryside is easier and much more pleasant!

Should I rent a car in Florence to visit the Cinque Terre? 

A car isn’t very helpful in the Cinque Terre, but you could drive it to La Spezia (the main entrance city to the Cinque Terre) and park it in a lot there while you visit the Cinque Terre.  That’s what we do. 

Can I rent a car seat in Florence? 

Yes, you can rent car seats through your rental agency.  You can book them online while you’re making your reservation, or you can call and add it to your reservation.  The other option is to bring your car seat with you from home.  You can read more about renting a car in Italy with kids in our Guide to Renting a Car in Italy and learn everything you want to know about car seats in our article on Car Seats in Italy.

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