Sorry, this post actually has nothing to do with ice cream, but I so love alliteration that I couldn’t resist!
I just booked my rental car for my June trip to Italy, and I’m a little concerned that it will be something similar to last year’s Fiat Punto. Which looked a lot like the photo above, although mine was a bit worse for wear. Dented and scratched up here and there, and certainly a big step down from the lovely BMW that Avis gave me the year before. Worst of all, the Fiat was a dual manual/automatic and I think I drove the first day entirely in first gear since I can’t actually drive a manual transmission.
Now, to be clear: I love driving and I don’t mind renting cars, although in Italy I really prefer public transit – especially the train system – because it’s so inexpensive, and very convenient. Most of the time. And you can visit many wonderful parts of Umbria by bus and train.
Yet there are other places you really can’t see without a car. And you can’t stay in country inns as I plan to do, without your own wheels. So, this will be the third year where I’ve decided to rent a car for part of the trip. And each year, I’m renting for slightly longer periods as I get further outside major centres.
Anyway, last year’s Fiat was a bit of a challenge. I didn’t mind that it wasn’t very cool looking, although I would have preferred the funky style of an older Fiat model:
But I did NOT enjoy the continued struggle to get the little beast out of manual, or standard, transmission mode and into automatic. And it didn’t have much power. So, this year, I hope I can avoid the Punto and get something a bit more reliable.
I booked through Auto Europe again, and at this point I’ve reserved a compact car for 10 days. Although I may yet change that to a shorter period.
Right now, my plan is to spend a few days in Perugia (sans car) and then take train and bus to meet my friend V. at the house we’re sharing in Anghiari (which is not on a rail line.) We can share her rental car for much of the time we’re in Anghiari, I think. V. is mad about driving and hates public transport, so I know that she will be picking up a rental car the very moment her feet touch Italian soil. Which is fine. She also drives a standard, and since these are much cheaper to rent than automatics, it only makes sense she rents a standard and we share the cost (although not the driving duties) for a while.
We will be going our separate ways after the week in Anghiari; V plans to head north while I head only slightly south into Umbria. I had thought that at the end of our week in Anghiari, I would take the bus to Arezzo, then the train from Arezzo to Foligno in Umbria where I always pick up my rental car (Avis is helpfully located right at the Foligno train station.)
But, I’m now thinking I might as well pick up the rental car in Arezzo a few days before I head to Umbria. We may want to do different things or head in different directions for a day or two, and I’ll then have the car for my drive down to Umbria.
Or, I might change my mind again, shorten the booking, and not bother with the car until I get to Foligno. We’ll see. But I like to get the rental car booking made early – the Avis outlets in neither Foligno nor in Arezzo stock cars with automatic transmissions, so my booking includes an arrangement where Avis has an automatic shipped up from Rome.
Amazingly, in Italy there is no extra charge for that service; nor is there a charge for picking up and dropping off a rental in different locations. I love that – in Canada at least, they charge for everything and the fee for either of those services would be staggering!!!
Still another reason to love visiting Italy, the Punto notwithstanding.