As I write earlier on how to travel within Tuscany, renting a car is the most convenient option so you can explore the small towns and have more flexibility. If you read travel stories about people experience with renting a car in Italy you will come across horror stories where people get fined year later after their return to their home country. Hence if you are planning a road trip in Italy then you need to understand what ZTL is.
ZTL stands for ‘Zona a Traffico Limitato’, or Limited Traffic Area. This is an area in the centre of Italian cities and towns where traffic is restricted. They don’t exist everywhere in Italy, but they are fairly common and if you’re visiting one of the main cities, such as Florence, Pisa or Rome, for instance, it’s fair to assume a ZTL exists.
Contrary to popular belief, every single entrance to a ZTL has a clear sign indicating that you’re entering a restricted traffic area. The sign to look for has white circle with a red border over a white background. Above the circle you will see the words ‘Zona a Traffico Limitato’, and below the circle there will be further information regarding the specific restrictions of that ZTL. For instance ‘7,30 – 19,30’ means that there are only traffic limitations between 7.30am and 7.30pm. Another tell-tale sign that you are entering a restricted traffic area is the existence of security cameras on poles by the road. It’s important to keep an eye out for this, since after you enter a ZTL you will probably not see any sign that you shouldn’t be driving there. You can read more about ZTL here.
If you are planning to hire a car to explore Tuscany, our recommendation is to pick up your rental car from Car Rental in Firenze airport. You don’t need a car to explore Firenze so if you are going to base in Firenze you can just rent a car on those days you are going to explore other towns or you can park your car at the designated parking place, usually in the outer part of Firenze.
We rented a car with Hertz based on review that the two most reliable car rental in Italy are Hertz and Avis. Sixth and Europa car aren’t deemed reliable in Italy.