11 days for $ 500, in Italy, in the summer, is a very good price. You
haven't been taken, you haven't missed something; you've got a good deal.
Think about it: that's $46 per day, and includes the steep tax AND insurance.
You cannot expect a rental company to give away their cars; you've got a
fair, balanced price.
Call Auto Europe and ask what the base rate on the rental is (without tax or insurance); that will let you know what a good deal you are getting. You HAVE to pay the tax, and you HAVE to pay the insurance (it's mandatory in Italy), so look at the base rate to make your evaluation.
By the way...do you know that under Italian law, a tourist driver is supposed to carry a copy of his/her driver's license translated into Italian? The easiest way to do this is to get an International Drivers License, which is valid for one year and available for modest cost at any AAA office. No car rental company will ask to see the license, nor will anyone else - unless you are involved in a car accident or have a traffic infraction, in which case the police can ask to see it; there is a fine for not having it. Sally Watkins, CTC