An Eco-Friendly Alternative To Driving Through The Italian Countryside

Rolling hills and sweeping vistas greeted me as I drove through the Italian countryside. My eyes began to swell as I took in the scenery and whizzed along the backroads of Tuscany. “There’s not a bad view around,” I thought. And truly, there wasn’t.

There’s something about driving by yourself in a place like Italy. The roads may be winding and narrow at times, but they always open up to a breathtaking view. I found that I was able to ease into the rhythm of the back and forth of the roads. That the scenery made long stretches of driving feel more palatable.

GST founder, Misty with her rental car from Green Motion Italia.

GST founder, Misty with her rental car from Green Motion Italia. Photo by Misty Foster.

I’ll be honest, I hardly EVER drive when I’m on a vacation. I’m not really a big fan of it. I find public transportation to be much more efficient and enjoyable. So this was a new experience for me and my first time driving in a foreign country. I had done my research beforehand and talked to several folks who recommended that I rent a car based on my itinerary. My trip involved visiting a monastery in Umbria, a small mountain town in Liguria, a campsite near Venice, and homestay in Tuscany.

Needless to stay, I needed some wheels. And of course, being the Green Suitcase, I wanted a car that came in a shade of green I could get behind.

When I found Green Motion Italia, I was thrilled!

I partnered with Green Motion Italia on this trip because each of their locations is independently owned and their fleet is made up entirely of low-cost, energy-efficient cars. Travelers can choose from an affordable selection of electric, hybrid, and lower CO2 emitting vehicles. You can also add a donation to your rental to carbon offset your CO2 footprint, through their Green Heart Donation program. Choosing an eco-friendly car also helps save money on fuel, which is better for your pockets and the environment! I drove from Rome to Cinque Terre to Venice to Umbria to Tuscany and back to Rome, and only filled up four times.

The Citroën Picasso C4, a low-emissions car. Rented from Green Motion Italia.

The Citroën Picasso C4, a low-emissions car. Rented from Green Motion Italia. Photo by Misty Foster.


Being a responsible traveler doesn’t always mean you have to give up all your comforts. While you will have to make some changes, you can also look at ways to adjust your current habits. If I had to drive on this trip, I wanted to do it in a way that I felt good about. Renting with Green Motion was the solution that worked for me in this instance.

Tips for driving in Italy:

  1. Drive on the right side of the road.
  2. There are speed cameras all along the highway and you will get fined. Observe the speed limit and other traffic laws.
  3. Rest areas and filling stations are often self-service.
  4. Do not turn right on red.
  5. Bring loose change with you for the tolls.
  6. Most rental cars are manual. If you do not know how to drive manual (I didn’t!), request an automatic ahead of time as rental companies have less of them in stock.
  7. Get full insurance. Being covered gives you peace of mind and protects you and others should any accidents occur.
  8. Make sure you have some form of GPS. Getting to some of the smaller towns can be really tricky without it.

Read more about Green Motion’s environmental and company policies here.

Misty is the owner and founder of Green Suitcase Travel. She is a consultant, travel writer, and all around travel maven. When she is not traversing the world, spreading the news about sustainable travel, she is in Tucson, Arizona enjoying the desert.