Bologna Airport is quite a large airport in Italy, and is considered to be an important gateway to the Emilia-Romagna region. There are a number of car hire companies at the airport, all offering competitive prices and a wide range of vehicles for hire. The car rental companies are worldwide organizations, with many innovative car hire services that facilitate the process of renting a vehicle.
Bologna Airport handles over five million passengers per year, and has a reasonably sized air terminal. The terminal comprises of three levels, with the top level dedicated to restaurant and other catering services, and the second level is mainly used for all departures, as the secure boarding area is located in this area. The ground floor of the terminal handles arrival flights, and this is where the car hire companies can be found. The companies of Sixt, Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Maggiore, Auto Europa, Budget, Thrifty, Dollar, Easycar, National and Alamo are available at the airport, and their vehicles are parked in the P2 Multistory parking garage which is located within walking distance of the airport. All the car hire vehicles are found on Level 1 of this parking area.
Customers can hire a vehicle directly from the rental counters of their chosen Bologna Airport car rental company, or from the company’s website. Advanced online bookings are often recommended in order to ensure your ideal car is ready and waiting for your arrival at the airport. The websites offered are comprehensive, with details of their vehicle categories available, and their rental terms and conditions. It is also advised to hire any additional item of equipment in advance, such as a baby seat or satellite navigation system, as these items are subject to availability. Sixt is one of the few car hire companies that offer a satellite navigation system that is included in the rental price of certain vehicles. A GPS unit is extremely useful for travellers who have never been to the Emilia-Romagna region before, and it comes with many extra features that make getting to any destination an easy task.
Vehicles from the various car rental providers are mainly all divided into car groups, or car categories. These car groups contain vehicles of different types and sizes, ranging from smaller vehicles such as the Smart For Two or Fiat 500, to larger vehicles like the Mercedes Viano, or Ford Transit minivan. The Ford Galaxy is another popular vehicle which seats up to seven passengers, and is ideal for families who need some extra interior space. Since all vehicles are booked and priced by car category, a customer will not choose a car by its specific make and model, however, there are certain car hire companies which do offer this option. Budget has their range of Street Fleet vehicles which can be more specifically booked under the ‘My Choice’ option, while Hertz offers three collections of vehicles which can be booked by their various makes and models.
Although driving in the centre of Italian cities can be rather tricky, as the roads can be very busy, narrow, winding and confusing, a rented car is great for travelling the countryside, and for driving between towns and cities. Within the centre of Bologna many of the tourist attractions are best seen on foot, and motorists are not permitted to drive through the historic old town area during daytime hours, but the city of Ferrara is only 53 km away, and offers many wonderful sights. Ravenna is also nearby Bologna and makes for an appealing day out. A bit further out, motorists can drive to Pisa, and see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or travel to Florence, which is only 120 km away.
Car renters in Italy should obey the road rules set by the local authorities at all times, as heavy fines can be issued for speeding or drunk driving. The speed limits in Italy are as follows: 130 km/h or 80 mph on motorways and highways, 90 km/h or 55 mph on the open roads, and 50 km/h or 30 mph in towns and residential areas. There are plenty of parking areas, most of which are paid parking areas. The most popular are nearby the main public transportation facilities, and include the Fiera Michelino car park and the Piazza Costituzione car park. The first is a very large area, consisting of almost 4,000 spaces, while the second is smaller, with around 100 spaces.
Primary renters of vehicles in Italy, and at Bologna Airport are required to be at least 21 years of age, and to have a valid drivers license. Sometimes an International Driving Permit is required as well by foreign renters. Most car hire companies charge an extra ‘young drivers insurance’ for all drivers between the ages of 21 and 25, and younger drivers may also not be permitted to hire from certain car categories. These categories usually contain larger or specialty type vehicles. A major credit card, such as American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard / MasterCard or Visa is needed to pay for the rental.
Further information about Bologna Airport car hire options is available from the various car hire companies, and information regarding tourism is available from the IAT office in the arrivals area of the airport. There is also information about the fairs and conferences from the Fiere Information point and the Bologna Congressi Information Point.