Are you planning an Italian dream vacation, and suddenly, you think about test driving a Ferrari in Italy (and inexpensively)? If so, you wouldn’t be the first or the last.
Driving a Ferrari has always been a dream of mine – well, that and the Lamborghini Countach in the photo I had hanging on my wall in the early 90s.
Now, that same photo is on display at the Lamborghini Museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Bologna.
In this article, I’ll cover how to test drive a Ferrari in Italy, how much it costs, how to book it, and more about this unforgettable experience.
3 Ways For A Ferrari Driving Experience in Italy
Several organizations offer Ferrari driving experiences such as “10 min test drive”, longer “30 min Ferrari driving experiences.” There are also mountain experiences, a race track experience, and more.
Some companies will even take you on guided tours and have you stop at one of the famous balsamic vinegar factories, parmesan cheese makers, or even a local trattoria for lunch. Indeed, the Italians have some creative ideas on how to upsell a red Ferrari driving experience.
Driving a Ferrari on the Open Road
Driving a convertible Ferrari on a public street, through the nearby mountains of Maranello, is an experience that gearheads would only dream of. But if you’re visiting Northern Italy – this is possible! Maranello is the birthplace of Ferrari in the province of Modena and the Emilia Romagna region of Italy.
Driving a Ferrari on a Track
You can also drive a Ferrari on a race track if you want something more exhilarating. If you’re starting in Maranello, there is the Modena race track you can go to. Just like the “open road” experience, you’ll be instructed by a professional driver first before taking the wheel. And to be sure, the driver will always be in the passenger seat.
Renting a Ferrari by the Day
Renting a Ferrari by the day offers a feeling of what it’s like to own such an important sports car. The nice thing about renting a Ferrari by the day is that you always won’t have a pilot (or professional driver) with you. You get the keys and go. That said, it’s not cheap. Expect to pay between 1500€ and 4000€ to rent a Ferrari for 24 hrs in Italy.
How to Plan Your Own Ferrari Driving Experience in Italy
Once you’ve decided that you’ll be test-driving a Ferrari, you’ll need to decide which car to drive, how long you want to drive it, and whether you’ll be taking it for a few laps around the track, or on the street.
The 10-minute circuit runs 9km, and it goes fast. Let’s call it a Ferrari teaser. You’ll need at least 30 mins to immerse yourself in the adventure. Of course, the longer you go, the costlier it is -so perhaps the question is better answered by your credit card!
Common Ferrari Models You Can Drive
You’ll also need to pick a model regardless of your Ferrari driving experience. Considering the driving experience always includes a pilot (or professional driver) in the passenger seat, that person will take up one seat in the vehicle. That means your options will be limited if you want to drive with a friend.
The following 4 Ferrari cars are the most commonly used in driving experiences.
The Ferrari California is a grand touring sports car for everyday driving. It has a V8 engine, a retractable hardtop, and a comfortable interior. There’s also seating for up to four passengers (admittedly, it’s a bit tight in the back, but not impossible). It is ideal if two or three people want to do the driving experience.
In terms of performance, in an optimal setting, the Ferrari California can theoretically go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. Its top speed is 193 mph (310 kph) – more than enough for street driving. In fact, an average driver won’t come close to that on the narrow streets of Italy. Nonetheless, driving a Ferrari California in Italy is a fantastic experience that I never tire of!
Fun fact: Guy Fieri drove a red Ferrari California in the Florence episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives!
The Ferrari Portofino was released in 2017 as a successor to the California. This is currently my favorite Ferrari to drive as it is closest to a “normal” car, albeit with a ridiculously powerful engine that is constantly ready to roar!
Also, like the California, the Portofino features comfortable seating for 4 (again, a bit tight in the back, but manageable.) You can also push it to a top speed of about 200 mph in an ideal setting.
Ferrari 458 Italia
The Ferrari 458 Italia is a mid-engine sports car first unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. This is essentially a race car for the average multimillionaire. The 458 has a 4.5-liter V8 engine that produces a whopping 562 horsepower. Theoretically, it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds.
The Ferrari 458 also features lightweight construction, an aerodynamic design, and an advanced suspension system that is sure to please any enthusiast!
Ferrari 488 Spider
The Ferrari 488 Spider is the successor to the Ferrari 458 and was released in 2015.
Under the hood, it has a 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 661 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3 seconds and has a top speed of around 203 mph. The car also features a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, providing fast and precise gear changes.
I like the Ferrari 488 Spider as it’s a convertible, and when in automatic mode, it allows me to drive through the local mountains without much distractions that I found from other supercars, i.e., the Lamborghini Huracan.
Ferrari F8 Tributo
The Ferrari F8 Tributo was introduced by Ferrari in 2019 and is the successor to the 488. The F8 is powered by a 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that produces an incredible 710 horsepower and claims to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds – certainly, not something I’d attempt, so I’ll take Ferrari at their word! Indeed, the F8, 488, and 458 could be mistaken for roadworthy “race cars”.
Like the 458 and 488, the F8 is a 2-seater vehicle. So, if you plan on doing a “driving a Ferrari experience” with friends, you’ll need to each have your own.
Where Can You Drive a Ferrari in Italy?
If you want to experience driving a Ferrari in Italy, the very best place to do it is at Ferrari’s birthplace: Maranello. There are two primary places you can get a Ferrari driving experience.
Maranello is Ferrari Land.
Here, there are the Ferrari museums, Enzo’s workshop, and the Ferrari Factory itself – and don’t forget: the best food in Italy! You could say that coming to Maranello could be akin to a Ferrari pilgrimage. Within a 5km radius, you’ll be able to experience all things Ferrari.
How to Drive from Bologna to Maranello
If you’re driving from Bolonga, you’ll take the A1, exit at Modena Sud, then continue on Str. Vignolese/SP623 to your destination in Maranello.
Take the Train/Bus/Taxi to Maranello
First things first, there is no train station in Maranello, Italy.
So, if you want to take the train to Maranello, you’ll first need to get to Bologna. If you are coming from Florence or Venice, you can reach Bologna in about an hour by high-speed train.
Once in Bologna, you’ll want to take a commuter train to the city of Modena, and then you can take the #800 bus to Maranello or a taxi for about 30€.
Tip: If the commuter train/taxi/bus combination from Bologna to Maranello isn’t convenient (I wouldn’t do it), you can always take a taxi for about 100€ each way, or you can take an organized tour from Bologna to Maranello.
Once you’re in Maranello, a Ferrari test drive experience will cost 100€ for a 10 min run, including insurance. Of course, 10 minutes goes by quickly, and you can select from a dizzying array of options, including a full-day experience while you’re there.
Ferrari Driving Experience at Autodromo Di Modena
If driving on a racetrack is your thing, you’re in luck. Modena has a race track (locally known as the Modena race track) that, with enough advance notice, you too can drive on it – at a top speed far higher than on the road. That said, it’s expensive. But, if you’re set on driving on the race track, expect that 7-10 laps will cost upwards of 1300€.
Typically, the tours start near the Ferrari Museum, where you’ll get to drive through Maranello – just as you would in an “open air” experience. You’ll pass by the Ferrari Factory, the Racing Department, and the wind tunnel to head to Modena, the hometown of Enzo Ferrari. The instructor will offer you some basic training and drive the first lap, giving you the lay of the land before putting you into the hot seat! Contact us for more information about this tour – maybe we’ll take you there ourselves 🙂
Test Drive a Ferrari Near Milan
If you’re staying in Milan or Venice, there is a race track in Pavia, Italy (near Milan) that could be of interest (especially if you’re into driving on race tracks.) Like the Maranello “Driving a Ferrari on a rack track” experience, you’ll get some basic training, have a professional driver with you, and have a heck of a fun time.
Do You Need an International Driver’s License for a Ferrari Test Drive in Italy?
If your driver’s license is from outside the EU, an International driving permit (IDP) is required to drive any motor vehicle in Italy. The international driving permit is a translation of your driver’s license into multiple languages. So, you’ll always need your regular driver’s license and the IDP with you when driving in Italy.
Some companies will try to upsell you with insurance for your Ferrari, while others won’t. Whichever direction you choose, consult with your local home and auto insurance policies first to see if they will cover a rental car, and if they do, a Ferrari – in Italy. If that doesn’t work, look at your credit card coverage.
Higher-end cards such as the American Express Platinum card come with rental car insurance that may cover you!
Bonus Laps – Visiting the Other Ferrari Attractions
Congratulations – now your adrenaline is running high. With the experience of driving a Ferrari in Italy behind you, it’s time to consider the other attractions while in the area. The following museums and attractions are all within a 5km radius of downtown Maranello in the province of Modena, in the Emilia Romagna region.
If you want to visit any of the attractions below, I recommend staying in the historic center of Modena. There, you’ll find a charming medieval town with a beautiful church and incredible restaurants – one of which is consistently voted the best restaurant in the world! Then, getting to Maranello is convenient – either by car, taxi, or bus.
After test-driving your Ferrari, I highly recommend stopping at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy. There, you’ll find a historical collection of all the Ferrari models dating back to the 1950’s.
Enzo Ferrari museum
The Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena is, essentially, Enzo’s workshop. There you will find historical engines, blueprints, and more that Enzo Ferrari worked on during his lifetime. One thing I love about this museum is that you can drive an F1 Ferrari in a simulator.
Visiting The Ferrari factory in Italy
Visiting the Ferrari factory is a must-see if you want to see the Ferrari production line. That said, you’ll be doing the panoramic tour unless you own a Ferrari. Ferrari offers owners a factory visit to clients, and F1 sponsors only.
To get the panoramic tour, you’ll start at the Ferrari Museum. There, you’ll get on a private coach that takes you to the Fiorano track (where Ferrari tests their F1 cars), and then they take you through the factory complex.
A guide with be on the bus with you at all times and will offer an explanation of Ferrari’s history and what you’re seeing.
That said, on the panoramic tour, visitors must remain on the bus at all times, and sadly, photography and videoing are prohibited (Which is why we don’t have any footage of it.)
Driving a Ferrari In Italy FAQs
In the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episode “Guy Fieri Eats Pizza in Florence, Italy,” Guy Fieri drove a red Ferrari California.
The Ferrari 458 is no longer in production. However, a used Ferrari 458 will cost between 165,000€ and 350,000€ depending on milage and trim.
In 2023, the cheapest brand-new Ferrari a local Italian can buy is the Ferrari Portofino at 215,132€, followed by the Ferrari Roma at 219,071€.
Freedome offers an intriguing plan to drive a Ferrari around a race track starting at 49€ a lap.
Final Thoughts on Driving a Ferrari in Italy
I’ll make this short and sweet. If you’ve ever wanted to drive a Ferrari, do it in Maranello. Don’t miss it. You can do a Ferrari test drive starting at only 100€ – and that’s money well spent on a bucket list experience!