Rome by Car
Getting around Rome by rental car
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Don’t drive in Rome.
Avoid it at all costs.
Why you shouldn't drive in Rome
Not only are Italian drivers even more manic in the city, and parking is nigh unto impossible—and terribly expensive where you do find it—but the system of one-way roads seems specially designed to keep you from driving anywhere near your intended destination.
Much of the historic center is pedestrian-only (Italians call this "ztl," which stands for "zone of limited traffic"), but you're allowed to drive to your hotel to drop off luggage (be sure to provide your hotel with your rental car's license plate number when you arrive so they can phone it into the police; more and more Italian cities are installing cameras at the entrances to the ZTL—and sending out tickets automatically to those who violate it without permission).
For the most part, you definitely want to rent a car before you arrive through a discounter such as Auto Europe (www.auroeurope.com). You'll pick up the car at the office of one of the major rental agencies, which all have offices in and around Stazione Termini and at the airports.
However, there is one nice little service in Rome called Happy Rent (Via Piave 49 (tel. 06-4202-0675; www.happyrent.com), which runs tours and rents vintage Vespas and Italian mini-cars, such as an Alfa Romeo Spider convertible or everyone's favorite cute-as-a-bug (and about the same shape and size) Fiat 500.
If you plan to rent a car in Italy and are starting your trip in Rome, wait until the day you set out into the countryside to pick up the car; if you're flying home from Rome, drop the rental car off the instant you drive into town and spend your days in the capital blissfully car-free.
Parking in Rome
car rental - autonoleggio
one way - senso unico
parking - parcheggio
Your hotel might have a garage or an arrangement with one (though it'll be expensive—on the order of €30 to €50 a day), or you might be lucky enough to be staying in one of the few scraps of the historic center that hasn't yet been designated a zona blu—most of the city's parking spaces have been painted with blue stripes, meaning you must pay a parking meter (often a box at the end of the block; you feed it coins—usually €1 an hour—and it gives you a slip to leave on the dashboard).
The biggest public garage is the Parcheggio Borghese (tel. +39-6-322-5934, www.sabait.it) under the Villa Borghese park in the northeast corner of town. Its entrance is on Viale del Muro Torto, which leads off into the park from the traffic circle at Porta Pinciana, the top of Via Veneto. It's open 24 hours. Rates run €2 per hour, or €18 per day.
Way cheaper—€2 for 12 hours, or €3 for 16, plus €2 to leave it overnight (so just €5 per day)—is to park in one of the massive Parcheggio di Scambio commuter lots at suburban train stations (www.atac.roma.it; tel. +39-06-57-003), open 6am to 10pm:
- Cipro (Via Angelo Emo 17, just south of Via Cipro, near the Vatican)
- Tiburtina train station (Via Pietro l'Eremita 3, off Via Tuburtina)
- San Pietro train station (Via della Stazione di San Pietro 52, near the Vatican)
- City transport tickets (bus/tram and Metro)
- Getting around by: Metro (subway), bus, taxi, bike, scooter, foot
- Rome city layout
- Rome planning FAQ
- Rome homepage
This material was last updated February 2011. All information was accurate at the time.
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