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Discussion Starter #1
I'm headed to a small town in Provincia Di Ragusa in the Southeastern corner of the island in June. I will be landing in Catania and am wondering if anyone here has any first-hand experience with renting from any of the car rental companies in the vicinity of the airport. A recommendation would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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No direct car rental experience at Catania Airport, although I did drive my POV in Catania when i lived in Italy. In March, we rented a car at the Firenze airport from Europcar, and found them efficient and good to deal with.
 

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Can't specifically speak for rentals in Sicily, but whatever you do, don't rent from "Maggiore Car Rentals". Supposedly a big name in Italy for car rentals but not nice people. They were really snotty to us in Pisa, and tacked on an extra "tax" of a couple of hundred dollars to our credit card bill after we had left Italy, even though the original total rental costs for the month's rental had been agreed upon and signed.

Also, of course, when we tried to get an Alfa, they said no because all the couple of dozen 159 wagons out in the lot were spoken for by other unseen customers, even though we had picked the category which included that model, and we were there first.

They were the one thing we really didn't like about Italy. Left a sour taste in our mouths to this day. Everybody otherwise in Italy were very friendly and nice to us. Had a great month of driving around the northern half of Italy. BTW, the Fiat Croma station wagon 2l diesel 6 speed we ended up with was not a bad car. Drove it like we stole it, of course.

Bottom line? For overseas rentals, even in Namibia, we've had good luck and great service from Avis.
 

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Say hi to Nino Vaccarella and don't forget to drive the Targa Florio route!
 

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Sicily is great. I was stationed there a long time ago. My sister used to live in Catania. I rented two cars in Florence about four years ago. And I'm going back to Tuscany region next September. I rent in Europe every other year.

I would agree with the poster that used Europcar. I believe I also use Europcar. They are good for geting reservations set up ahead of time from the States. Very efficient, by Italian standards. Ask for an Alfa Romeo, you'll get one. Also, get the FULL extra insurance with NO deductable. It's worth it, not too much more per day. My car was side swiped in Florence, and when I returned it, they took it, no questions asked, but ONLY because I had their extra FULL insurance. It would have been a hastle if I had tried to use my American Express travel coverage or my Allstate for rentals, etc. I only had to learn that lesson once. A side swiped car is a real possibility in Sicily...

alfa rental.jpg

This rental was a couple of years ago in France, as you can see by the tag, but I always ask for an Alfa.
 

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I have rented a car in Catania and driven around the island more than once. I believe the last time was with europcar as well. I scratched the backside of the pax mirror pretty good on the bumper of a delivery truck that was double parked and they didnt even flinch, but when I got a parking ticket in siracusa they helped the city track me down to pay it... never mind it was 10 months later and a $110...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the recommendations, guys. I will definitely look into what Europcar has to offer based on Giovanni2000's experience (and I hope I don't get any parking tickets 10 months later). The Targa Florio is an excellent route and it passes a lot of great sites so I'm sure I will travel on certain portions of it.

My only concern at this point will be getting a fun car to get us around the island. I will be traveling with four so I don't think a Fiat 500 or Alfa Mito will cut it. We will each have a bag for provisions as well. Perhaps there will be a suitable 159 or Giulietta available for us...
 

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Non english speaking/reading reccomendation????

I am going to be in Italy for 10 days next month and could use some advice from those who have driven there before. Have rented cars in England, and other countries where signs and directions were in English, additionally where written in English alongside the local language, and where many markings were similar to the US.

I speak and read zero Italian however. Stay on the trains? Consider driving a little in rural areas? No worries go for it?

Would classify myself as adventurous, but not someone who would ever want to be a danger to others.

Thanks in advance,

Curtis Wood
 

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I am going to be in Italy for 10 days next month and could use some advice from those who have driven there before. Have rented cars in England, and other countries where signs and directions were in English, additionally where written in English alongside the local language, and where many markings were similar to the US.

I speak and read zero Italian however. Stay on the trains? Consider driving a little in rural areas? No worries go for it?
The important signs are all of the International type signs that we see here. The difference is here, the sign for lets say "Do Not Enter" will be the symbol like ours but it wont have the words like ours do. Also the rectangle signs with the pointer at the end can be confusing of which way they are really pointing. I'm sure you can find the international road sign symbols online somewhere. I would also stress to get an International Drivers license as well since you don't speak the language. Technically by law if you are pulled over in Italy and the officer doesn't happen to speak english he can take you "downtown" until everything is set straight. Cheap insurance especially if you're AAA. No test just a pic. I have been driving in Italy and Sicily for over 20 years with no negative police interaction so have fun. If you drive fast enough no one will ever know your a beginner.
 

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The important signs are all of the International type signs that we see here. The difference is here, the sign for lets say "Do Not Enter" will be the symbol like ours but it wont have the words like ours do. Also the rectangle signs with the pointer at the end can be confusing of which way they are really pointing. I'm sure you can find the international road sign symbols online somewhere. I would also stress to get an International Drivers license as well since you don't speak the language. Technically by law if you are pulled over in Italy and the officer doesn't happen to speak english he can take you "downtown" until everything is set straight. Cheap insurance especially if you're AAA. No test just a pic. I have been driving in Italy and Sicily for over 20 years with no negative police interaction so have fun. If you drive fast enough no one will ever know your a beginner.
+1. You shouldn't have any issues with road signage, etc. Invest in a good, recent road atlas of Italy (TCI or Michelin) and know where you are going so that you're not trying to read a map, road signs and drive at the same time. Also, be aware that there are some quirky things about driving in Italy, especially on 2-lane roads that Americans are not likely to know or react positively to. An example is that you will very likely be passed on blind hills or curves. If an oncoming car approaches, the assumption is that you (in the car being passed) and the oncoming car with both squeeze as far to your respective right as possible, leaving the center of the roadway available to the passing car, so that three cars pass abreast on the two-lane pavement. Be very careful, very watchful and ready to react quickly to unusual maneuvers and you'll be fine.
 

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We certainly had very little trouble driving on all types of roads in the northern half of Italy, from the Lucca area to Montepulciano, Cortona, Spoletto, etc, in Tuscan/Umbria, up to Venice, and then up to the southern part of Switzerland via Cortina and then down to Milan (of course the Alfa Museo).

I will strongly suggest that you use a GPS there. The map atlas we used had inset maps of the bigger towns and cities, and the very small towns were small enough to figure them out, but the GPS really helped bail us out in the medium sized towns, where the atlas didn't have inset maps for them, and they were big enough to be confusing to say the least. Totally invaluable. Finally, do everything you can to avoid messing with the Italian legal system. They can be scary based on everything I've seen, read and heard.
 

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Just to add to what Jbane said, unlike here it is illegal to "cruise" in the far left lane even on the autostrada, that is strictly for passing. They will use their turn signals and horns when passing so no, he's not honking at "you"...also you might want to learn your had gestures for when an idiota cuts you off. :-O
 
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