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Think Venice and you probably visualise the magnificent Piazza San Marco, the Basilica of San Marco, and travelling on gondolas and vaporettos. A sightseeing tour through Venice’s waterways will no doubt make great memories to take home. But the area surrounding Venice in northeast Italy is so packed with attractive places to visit, a Venice hire car is essential for you to make the best of your journey.
Flights into Venice arrive at Venice Marco Polo airport. With a rental car, you can drive into the town centre in a quarter of an hour.
With a Venice car hire, you can reach several towns of interest within a short time. Marcon, only a 20-minute drive, is a good alternative place to go for affordable shopping away from the inflated tourist prices in central Venice. While on the subject of shopping, the perfect place for hunting for beautiful souvenirs could be Mirano, famous for its glass making. Mirano lies less than a half-hour journey to the west of the province of Venice.
Other towns nearby are Dola (27 minutes) and Noale (35 minutes), further west from Mirano, where there is a medieval festival every June.
There is a wide choice of companies to hire your car from in Venice:
With a Venice rental car, you can drive to Padua in under an hour, where you can see Giotto’s fresco in the Scrovegni Chapel, Italy’s second oldest university (the oldest being Bologna) and medieval marketplaces. Alternatively, you can head southwest towards vibrant Bologna, a major cultural centre in Italy, with a young population of students from Bologna University. Stop for a coffee at the Piazza Maggiore, binge on high-profile art exhibitions at the Palazzo Fava and shop for Italian brands in Via dell’Indipendenza.
Less than an hour and a half in your Venice rental car, will get you to Verona, setting of Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. A 13th century building named ‘Juliet’s House’ features the balcony where Romeo promised Juliet his eternal love. Opera lovers must visit the Verona Arena, a Roman amphitheatre built in the 1st century Roman amphitheatre, used for large-scale performances, which admits up to 15,000 people.
Most hire cars in Italy come with manual transmission. Automatic transmission cars have limited availability and could cost more so book as far in advance as possible. You must be over 18 to drive in Italy. Carry your driving licence, insurance papers and ID (passport) with you at all times. You may have to pay for several tolls (“pedaggio”) while travelling on motorways.
Drive on the right. There are exclusion zones in city centres called “zona traffic limitato” and “zona pedonale” which are for pedestrians only. Changing lanes happen quite often in Italy, and drivers will quickly enter into any gaps in the traffic. The speed limit on motorways is 80mph but it goes down to 70mph when it is raining. Remember speed limit signs will be written in kilometres, not miles per hour). In cities and marked intersections those coming from the right have priority.
Driving in Italy trying to follow Italian signs can get confusing. Drive with a GPS device, or rent one with your car. Use of mobile phones is prohibited but hands-free and Bluetooth devices are allowed.
Feeling excited about planning your trip to Venice and other parts of Italy? Check out this city guide and use the Expedia search tool to help you find the best car hire, flight and hotel deals and research the best attractions and activities.
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