Rent a Car for Travel in Bologna

Bologna is the lively capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. With its well-preserved medieval old town, important university, renowned cuisine and central location, Bologna makes for an excellent travel destination. Renting a car enables you to fully experience Bologna and surrounding areas at your own pace. Here is a guide to renting a car for travel in Bologna.

Benefits of Renting a Car in Bologna

Renting a car provides numerous advantages for travelers in Bologna:


Walking around Bologna’s compact city center is enjoyable, but having a car allows you to easily reach farther flung sights, neighboring towns and countryside attractions.


With your own wheels, you can create custom itineraries, modify plans spur-of-the-moment and explore off the beaten path, rather than rely on public transport schedules.


Driving yourself provides comfort, especially over long distances. Stop where you want, keep luggage in the car and play your own music.


A rental car can actually help you save money compared to taxis, trains or guided tours for multiple passengers. Convenient airport pick-up also avoids taxi costs.


As the driver, you control the pace, route stops and music rather than follow a group. You can seek out hole-in-the-wall restaurants and secluded hill towns.

Types of Rental Cars Available in Bologna

Major car rental companies like Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Sixt and Maggiore have branches across Bologna including at the airport. Here are the main types of rental cars available:


  • Ideal for 1-2 travelers with minimal luggage
  • Entry-level hatchbacks like Fiat Panda


  • Good option for solo or pair of travelers
  • Models like VW Polo, Fiat 500


  • Mid-size sedans fitting 2-4 people comfortably
  • Examples: VW Golf, Opel Astra


  • Full-size 4/5 passenger cars
  • Models like Ford Mondeo, Skoda Octavia


  • Luxury sedans providing most features and space
  • Mercedes, BMW, Audi models

Minivan/People Carrier

  • For groups up to 7 people
  • Vans like Citroen SpaceTourer, Fiat Ulysse


  • Open-top two seaters for scenic driving
  • Cars like Mini Cooper, Fiat 124 Spider

Where to Rent a Car in Bologna

You can rent cars from various locations in Bologna:

  • Bologna Airport – Pick-up rental cars right at the Arrivals area. Many companies have desks here.
  • Train Station – Major rental offices are conveniently located at the central train station.
  • City Center – Various branches allow downtown pick-up and drop-off.
  • Hotels – Some hotels offer car rental partnerships or have rental desks on-site.
  • Rental Agency Websites – Book online in advance for wide selections and guaranteed rates/availability.

Compare rates among companies for the best deals. Advance reservations often lead to lower pricing.

Requirements for Renting a Car in Italy

In order to rent a car in Italy, visitors must meet standard requirements:

  • Minimum age of 21-25 years depending on company and car type
  • Valid driver’s license from your home country
  • International Driving Permit strongly recommended along with your license
  • Credit card in the driver’s name for payment – debit cards may also be accepted
  • Passport to verify identity and tourism status

Meeting the minimum age limits and having recognized licenses and payment cards are key requirements to renting a car smoothly as a visitor.

Driving Laws and Rules in Italy

Driving in Italy has some important rules and norms that differ from other countries:

  • Drive on the right side of the road
  • Strict legal limit of 0.05% blood alcohol concentration
  • Required possession of reflective safety vest and warning triangles in car
  • Wearing seat belts is compulsory for all passengers
  • Using handheld mobile phones while driving is prohibited
  • Headlights must be on while driving on highways and inter-urban roads
  • Yielding to vehicles entering roundabouts
  • Adherence to speed limits – fines for speeding are common
  • ZTL zones with restricted vehicle access in city centers

Following the unique laws facilitates safe and smooth car travel in Italy.

Top Road Trips and Attractions Near Bologna

Having your own car opens up easy access to top sights in Emilia-Romagna:

Bologna Day Trips

  • Ferrara – Impressive castle and Renaissance palaces
  • Modena – Historic town with a majestic cathedral and balsamic tradition
  • Parma – Known for its art, architecture, music and cheese/ham

Riviera Destinations

  • Rimini – Lively beach resort town with Roman ruins and nightlife
  • Ravenna – Renowned mosaics, Dante’s tomb and peaceful beaches

Countryside Drives

  • Motor Valley – See museums and factories of legendary carmakers like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Ducati
  • Castles – Dotting the countryside from Bologna to Parma
  • Emilia Wine Region – Beautiful vineyards producing Sangiovese, Lambrusco and more

Further Afield

  • Venice – The iconic floating city – 2 hours by car
  • Tuscany – Florence, Pisa and Chianti within a 3 hour drive

A rental car allows easy access to Bologna’s diverse surrounding sights for convenient day trips or longer road trips.

Tips for Renting a Car in Bologna

Follow these tips for a smooth rental experience in Bologna:

  • Reserve early online for lower rates and guaranteed availability of car type.
  • Consider waiting to pick up rental car until the end of any city sightseeing.
  • Inspect car thoroughly and photograph any existing damage.
  • Purchase additional liability coverage for peace of mind.
  • Get an automatic shift car if not comfortable driving manual transmission.
  • Don’t leave valuables visible when parked.
  • Confirm operating hours for vehicle pickup and dropoff.
  • Use a GPS device or app for navigating unfamiliar areas and roads.

Renting a Car in Bologna – FAQ

What documents do I need to rent a car in Bologna?

You’ll need a valid driver’s license, credit card, passport and optional International Driving Permit. Some agencies require a minimum age of 21-25.

What side of the road do Italians drive on?

Vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road in Italy – the driver sits on the left side of the car.

Are automatic transmission cars widely available for rental in Bologna?

Most major agencies offer automatic transmission vehicles. Reserve early for best automatic car availability.

What kind of insurance should I get for a rental car in Italy?

Purchase extra liability coverage for peace of mind. Collision damage waiver (CDW) covers your financial liability if the car is damaged. Also consider theft protection, tire/glass coverage etc.


Renting a car is an excellent way to explore Bologna and the Emilia-Romagna region at your own pace. With the freedom and flexibility of having your own set of wheels, you can easily reach top sights in the countryside that are otherwise difficult to visit by public transport. Just be sure to follow local driving laws and rental requirements for a smooth trip. Compare rates among companies and look for deals in advance for the best experience. With its diversity of attractions surrounding a vibrant historic city, Bologna is perfect to discover via rental car. Enjoy the drive!


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