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Basic tips to hire car in Tuscany

Tuscany is a popular destination and the best way to explore this beautiful and traditional region of Italy is by car. Historically, Tuscany played a powerful role in not just Italian, but also European, history because of the House of Medici. The Medici family was one of the richest and most powerful families in Europe for centuries. One of their legacies is the Renaissance art in the region.

The main city in Tuscany is Florence and many people often choose to start their trip here. Florence is home to some of the greatest art treasures in the world and contains buildings dating back centuries, including the Baptistery, which was built in the eleventh century and the Cathedral (Il Duomo), that began construction in 1296. The Galleria dell` Academia is home to Michelangelo sculptures, including the world-famous David. The Galleria degli Uffizi contains an extensive collection of Renaissance art by Botticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

For those who want to rent a car to explore Tuscany, there are some basic rules that drivers should be aware of before getting behind the wheel. Any person over the age of 18 who holds a full UK licence is able to drive in Italy. Although the old-style green-paper UK licences are acceptable, drivers may choose to update them for the photo-card licence before hiring a car.

Speeding can result in heavy fines and speeding offences that occur between 10.00pm and 7.00am will usually have their fines increased by another third. The usual speed limit in a built-up area is 50 kph (31 mph) and 130 kph (80 mph) on motorways, unless it is raining, when the limit decreases to 110 kph. Most motorways do require toll payment.

In towns, drivers should be aware of the `zona traffic limitato` sign, because if non-residents enter these areas they will incur a fine. Dipped headlights are compulsory during the day outside of built-up areas and when raining. A hire car should also contain a warning triangle and a high-visibility jacket, as these are compulsory in Italy. If visiting in winter, drivers should check whether snow chains are required, as these requirements differ across regions and provinces.

Those who drive on to Pisa from Florence will find a fascinating city with many historical buildings, including the world-renowned leaning tower. The leaning tower is the bell tower of the Duomo (cathedral) and leans because of the sandy soil it was built on. Other buildings of interest include the Baptistery, the construction of which began in 1153. Even today, Pisa retains a real medieval appearance. It is also home to the oldest botanical gardens in Europe, founded in the 1540s.

There are a number of other towns to visit, including Arezzo, which is not only one of the wealthiest cities in Tuscany but it also contains many historical buildings, churches and artworks. There is also the castle of Poppi, an important medieval monument. Without a car, it can be difficult to fully experience what Tuscany has to offer and with a choice of cheap car rentals Italy is easily accessible to all visitors.