Renting and driving a car in Abruzzo

Abruzzo is a beautiful Italian region located in the central part of Italy. It is mainly mountainous with miles of beaches on its coastline and several places to visit. Different from regions like Tuscany or Marche, Abruzzo is ideal for visiting all year round as it does not have a heavy stream of tourism, allowing visitors to bask in its authentic beauty and tranquility.

However, something to keep in mind when planning your Italian holidays is that Italy’s public transports are less developed than the ones available in the neighboring countries like France, Germany or Switzerland and yes in the UK as well.

Therefore, when planning a trip to and around Abruzzo, it is important to know what your transportation options are. Most visitors will probably fly straight to Abruzzo landing at the D’Annunzio Airport, but other options are available for travellers like:

  1. Flying to Ciampino or Fiumicino airport in Rome
  2. By rail, using the Eurostar; this is an interesting yet expensive option that will allow you to leave the UK from St. Pancras station to arrive straight into Rome Termini rail station, though it would be possible to change at Bologna ending up at Pescara rail station. An experience that you will enjoy if you like trains, or if you don’t have another choice, if you fear flying;
  3. By bus; if you are already in Italy, no matter where, chances are that touristic buses are in place  that will bring you into the region sooner or later;
Something you also have to remember is that regional trains operate infrequently in the area and do not take travelers to all of the wonderful points of interest.
Maggiore and sixt point at Pescara

For this reason, the best and most convenient way to explore Abruzzo is to rent a car.

There are several car rental companies to choose from, but it is important that travelers book their car in time. Online booking services are certainly the best way to go to avoid problems on your arrival, but also to secure the most convenient rate

Although we are not affiliated with any company, nor have we been able to secure a discount – like the local restaurant in Crecchio – we have created a list of car rental companies for your convenience:

  • Sixt Rent a Car is a European car rental company with headquarters in Germany and over 100 stationsin Italy, present in both Pescara airport and in Lanciano.
  • Sicily by Car” S.p.A, known throughout Italy under the brand name of “Auto Europa.” This company has been in business since 1963, and today has a fleet of all the latest models.
  • Maggiore is another Italian rental car agency with offices at Abruzzo International Airport. A leader in car and van rentals, Maggiore has more than 180 offices in 100 Italian cities, at airports and railway stations.

Things to remember when renting a car in Italy

Pretty much like any country, to drive a car in Italy you need to have a valid driving licence. UK driving licences are ok to be used, but please do remember to bring the driving licence of all people that want to be named as a driver.
Abruzzo car renting pool of car at the airport.

Bring also a valid credit card. Rechargeable credit cards can be used, but ensure there are plenty of funds to cover the authorization request, which is normally double the amount of the full renting (if this is a short period).

Ask about your tank re-fuelling options. Most car rental services will provide the tank with just a few litres to reach the closest petrol station, others – the big ones – operate with the filled tank before returning the model, meaning you are given the car with full autonomy and you are expected to bring the car back in the same condition unless you don’t want to be charged outrageous fees. 

Speed limits and other limits in Italy

While driving, do remember that in Italy, like in most of Europe, people drive on the right side, hence overtaking a car will occur on the right.

Children under the age of 4 cannot travel unless they use a special child restraint, so please remember to ask for one before leaving the car park. Restrictions apply also for the front seat, where children under 12 cannot sit unless using a special seat.

As for the speed limits, these are different as well.

Motorway (if wet): 130km/h (110 Km/h)
Dual carriage way with metal divider (if wet): 110 km/h (90 km/h)
Single carriage way: 90 km/h
In town and villages: 50 Km/h

Other restriction may apply, and if this is the case you will find them signalled along your way. However, bear in mind that Italy is one of the country with the most road signaling ever, and it is likely for you to find many of them that are not necessarily in use.

Also when it comes to road limits, after Belgium, Italy is the country where speeding happens the most, so we would not recommend to take on the examples from other drivers unless you are not absolutely sure of what you are doing and you don’t want to receive a fine straight into your UK mailbox.

For other driving information in Italy, have a look at this blog.

Global Positioning System

Because you don’t know the area at all, it is recommended to rent a car with a GPS system (or at least download the local map on your mobile device for off line use). This can make the difference between getting lost and frustrated, and allowing you to happily drive around the unfamiliar area with ease, taking whichever turns seem interesting to you, and then programming your way back to Villa Ducale.

Sometimes GPS signal is lazy, so a good driving map is still a helpful accessory. Ask for one at your local car rental provider as most certainly they will give you one of those free maps with loads of ads where you can also find  interesting places to visit or to have a stop by.

Regardless of the car rental company you  select, there is just one thing for sure: you will enjoy the unspoiled countryside of Abruzzo in the most convenient way possible, perhaps driving through Abruzzo National Park, or making your way to the hilltop medieval castle of Roccascalegna, or the many other beautiful places to visit Abruzzo has to offer like the Renaissance towns of Castel del Monte and Santo Stefano di Sessanio.