Going to Sicily/Renting an Alfa - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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Old 02-19-2007, 07:22 AM
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Going to Sicily/Renting an Alfa

I've never rented a car in Europe before but I plan on going there next month. Does anyone know what the protocol is for getting an international driving license in Europe? My trip will probably conclude with staying with family in Sicily for a few weeks in April. Can anyone here suggest where I could find an Alfa to rent in Sicily (preferably in the vicinity of Catania or Marina Di Ragusa)?

Before I go to Sicily, however, I plan on touring as much of continental Europe as I can. I was thinking of hitting up Amsterdam, France, and Switzerland (for the Geneva Auto Show). Is there anything I should know about these places before I book my flight? Any information is appreciated.
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Old 02-19-2007, 07:53 AM
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Hi "Aghelvi", I travel to Sicily often (I too have family there) and always rent my car directly at the Airport in Catania. You best bet is to rent car while your here in the US. I have had best luck with "Eurocar", I think? Alfas are usually a bit in the higher tier but available. The best Alfas I've rented (166 six years ago, 156 three years ago) had under 50 kilometers on the odometer. The rental building offers cars from 6 /7 different Co. and is approx. 100 yards from the Airport's front door.

When are you going? My family and I are planning a trip in late June. We will need a "Sportswagon" if available.

Buon Viaggio!
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Old 02-19-2007, 07:55 AM
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Oh, in regards to driving license, I have never been asked for an International license.
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Old 02-19-2007, 08:18 AM
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Sicilia

I am from Sicilia near Taormina and it is your best bet to rent a car from here. It is much cheaper. Europe car, Mailanno. The only problem in Catania there are few Alfa's. You will find some in the higher groups but rare. You cannot request a specific car but only a specific catagory. My best friend will only drive an Alfa in Italy and gets his in Rome and drives down to Sicily. I do not think you need to go that far because you are going off season. Is this your first time going?
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Old 02-19-2007, 09:28 AM
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You can get an international driving permit from AAA. When I went two years ago, it cost me something like $15, but it's less if you're a Triple A member. I believe it is valid for one year. You can probably get by without it because hey, you only need a license if you get stopped.

One thing to be aware of is that some rental companies will not let you take a car into Italy if you rent it elsewhere, I guess because of a higher theft rate or something. The first place I tried in Germany (Enterprise?) would not permit me to take a car into Italy, period. The second place (Avis, I think) had a map that they went by: Western European countries were colored white and were OK to drive in, Eastern Europe was colored red and was therefore forbidden, and Italy was pink, which meant that you could take low-end cars but not expensive ones. I ended up renting a VW Polo TDI from them as it was the only car they had left. I would have loved to have rented an Alfa, but my only real stipulation was that it had to be something that wasn't available in the US. The Polo, incidentally, was a hoot that I got to about 110 on the Autobahn, and it got over 60 mpg.

Alfa or not, you'll have a blast. Enjoy!
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Preston View Post
You can get an international driving permit from AAA. When I went two years ago, it cost me something like $15, but it's less if you're a Triple A member. I believe it is valid for one year. You can probably get by without it because hey, you only need a license if you get stopped.

One thing to be aware of is that some rental companies will not let you take a car into Italy if you rent it elsewhere, I guess because of a higher theft rate or something. The first place I tried in Germany (Enterprise?) would not permit me to take a car into Italy, period. The second place (Avis, I think) had a map that they went by: Western European countries were colored white and were OK to drive in, Eastern Europe was colored red and was therefore forbidden, and Italy was pink, which meant that you could take low-end cars but not expensive ones. I ended up renting a VW Polo TDI from them as it was the only car they had left. I would have loved to have rented an Alfa, but my only real stipulation was that it had to be something that wasn't available in the US. The Polo, incidentally, was a hoot that I got to about 110 on the Autobahn, and it got over 60 mpg.

Alfa or not, you'll have a blast. Enjoy!
Preston gave you a good heads up in reference to AAA. Also you can get free maps of every area you will be in. I had a similar experience renting in Germany. Of the countries you plan to visit I think only the Netherlands would be a problem for specific vehicles. I was seriously restricted as the vehicle I rented was newly released at that time, (Alfa GT with the twin-spark 4 months after public release). Drove it from Wuerzburg via Switzerland into Italy on into Nice and had a grand time. If you go through that area take the coast road from Italy through Monaco into France, you wont regret it! Have fun
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:40 AM
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Thanks guys. Hearing about your experiences has definitely added to my enthusiasm of traveling in Europe. I would love to drive through southern France in an Alfa (thanks for the idea, AlfaAddict). My vacation time will be between March and April. Spring is on the horizon so hopefully it will be warm by the time I hit Sicily. Last time, the sun started showing up a few days before I had to leave which kind of bummed me out.

This will not be my first time in Europe, but it will be the first time I will have ventured outside of Italy with the intent to tour other countries. My mother's family is Sicilian and over the years I've spent plenty of time in Rome and Sicily. I feel like I know those places pretty well and my Italian is good enough so that I can get by with ease...I just want to have more freedom than the metro systems can offer me in terms of transportation. I like the idea of touring parts of Sicily that I haven't seen in an Alfa too. It's a lonely coast during this time of year since its the tourist season is still a few months away. I imagine that the open roads would be great.
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Old 02-19-2007, 11:48 AM
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International Drivers License.

The Italian rental do not require an international drivers lic.The police if pulled over will also accept the USA licence. If you stay more than 3 months that they require an international license.
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Old 02-19-2007, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by GTV6PASSION View Post
The Italian rental do not require an international drivers lic.The police if pulled over will also accept the USA licence. If you stay more than 3 months that they require an international license.
Do you know if this law applies to France as well?
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Old 02-19-2007, 01:30 PM
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Not sure

Are you first landing in sicily and driving to france and returning to Italy ot will you be just in Italy. See I have gone to Italy every year for 40 years and sometimes a few times a year ( helps thay my girlfriend lives in Verona ). Any questions ask i can help.
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Old 02-19-2007, 03:17 PM
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I've driven in Italy, Germany and Austria, never with an international license. I think that its just a way for someone like the AAA to get an extra few bucks from you. You really do not need it.
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:44 PM
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In regards to Sicily, it's an amzing place. Make sure you get away and drive the Targa Florio route. If you stay on the major highways, it will take you a min. of 14 hrs to drive around Sicily's coast. If you take the inner routes, give yourself 4 hours to travel 40 miles!

No joking, if you "iron" Sicily flat, it's as big as the US. Ten years ago we spend the day in Caronia (beautiful north beaches) just East os Cefalu'. I decided to take the inner routes to my hometown (just south of Enna) Nissoria without realizing what I getting myself into. After 45 min. of driving we reached "San Fratello" at something like 1200 meters above sea level and could still touch the Sea. After 5 hours of unbelievable roads we reached our destination. On the map, it looked like a 45 min. drive.

There is also an amazing scenic drive down from the northwest side of Mt. Etna. Spring is definatelly one of the best times to visit Sicily. If your interested in Architecture, e-mail me and I canpoint out some amazing areas.

Carm
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Old 02-19-2007, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTV6PASSION View Post
Are you first landing in sicily and driving to france and returning to Italy ot will you be just in Italy.
I will be landing in somewhere in continental Europe first. Since I'm saving the best for last , I will arrive in Sicily after I've seen other places. I was thinking that France would be a good place to begin.

This board is full of great ideas. Thanks for reminding me of the Targa Florio, Chi Si Dici. I was just thinking that it would be cool to rent a 159 and just cruise the coast...but with the Targa Florio it might just be cooler to rent a Brera.

And what's this I hear about few Alfas in Sicily? Isn't there some place that caters to enthusiasts who would be interested in riding the Targa Florio in an Alfa sports car?
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Old 02-19-2007, 06:21 PM
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I have always been able to get an Alfa at the Catania location. Just make sure you request it and they understand that it's a must.
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Old 02-19-2007, 07:31 PM
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A word of advice- be prepared to adjust your driving style to Sicily! I remember being in a two lane tunnel, having people on my bumper flashing and honking to pass, and I was on the bumper of the car in front of me with a steady stream of oncoming traffic! (Of course, I was in a rented Fiat, not an Alfa, so I may not have been getting due respect!) That being said, be courteous, go with the flow, and enjoy some incredible scenery while there- definitley see Taormina (ancient roman ruins, amphitheater, etc), Messina, Syracuse, some of the villages in the shadow of Mt Etna- so much to see, so much history, GREAT people, so much good food to eat and wine to drink! I'm so jealous! Have a great trip!
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