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Driving Guide for Italy

Before renting a car in Italy, you need to be informed about potential differences you may encounter. Driving in Italy is similar to other European Union countries, but there are unique situations to prepare for. Although many roads are in pristine condition, Italy is notorious for its narrow and winding streets. Therefore, it is disadvantageous to rent a large vehicle. Use this following driving guide to ensure you have a fun and safe journey in Italy.

Driver’s License

License Type

Requirements

EU license

All EU driving licenses are valid in Italy

Non-EU license

Supplement current license with and international driving permit (IDP)

Get an IDP from your local automobile club

The IDP will translate your license for use in Italy

All drivers

You need to possess a valid driving license from your country

You need to be at least 18 years old

If you do not have an EU driving license, you need an IDP. Click here to learn more about obtaining an IDP in the United Kingdom. If you are not from the UK, you can consult your local motor club to inquire about an IDP. For more information about IDPs, click here.

Speed Limits

Road Type

Speed Limit (km/h)

Urban areas

50

Rural areas

90

Other motorways

110

Major motorways (Autostrada)

130

The speed limits are displayed on a circular sign with a red border. The speed is always expressed in kilometers per hour (km/h).  The major roadways and the local roads are clearly marked with speed limit signs. If you are ever uncertain, follow these typical speed limit trends.
Italy has become increasingly strict about levying speeding violations. It is very important that you drive within the limits to save money and stay out of trouble. There are officers and speed cameras in many places to reprimand offenders. If a speed camera spots you, the price of the fine will be taken directly from the credit card you provided upon rental.   

Rules of the Road

Driving Rules

Description

Flow of traffic

Drive on the RIGHT side of the road

Never pass on the right side of a vehicle

The driver

You are responsible for what is in front of you

Be aware: Italian drivers are very opportunistic

Inattentive driving is not an option

Passengers

Everyone in the car is required to wear a seatbelt

Children need to be properly restrained

Headlights

Must be used on Motorways

Must be used in tunnels

Must be used during low visibility 

Recommended to be used at all time

Electronic devices

Mobile phone usage is not permitted while driving (only hands free)

Radar detecting devices are illegal

You must switch off the “Speed Camera” points of interest function on GPS navigation units 

Other rules

Drinking and driving is strongly discouraged

The allowable blood alcohol content is .05%

Snow chains are required on the mountain roads

Snow chains are highly recommended during winter

Every country in the European Union has similar driving rules and regulations. There are some slight differences for Italy and you should become familiar with these details. It is important to know about the traffic signs in Italy before you drive your car. The above table depicts the most important rules to follow. 

Parking in Italy

Day

Time

Price

Monday - Saturday

8:00 – 19:00

1.50 EUR/hour

19:00 – 24:00

2.50 EUR total

Sunday

All Day

1.50/hour

2.50/4 hours

FREE (some cities)

 (1.00 EUR = 0.90 GBP, 1.35 USD)
Italy has a reputation as a place with no available parking spaces. Although this is somewhat true, you should be able to find a parking space relatively quickly. Public parking is represented by a large blue sign with a white ‘P’ printed on it. Only park in designated areas or you risk having your car towed or fitted with an immobilizing device. If you park on the street, make sure you have the required parking documents. You can purchase these from an automatic machine or from a local newsstand. If you are confused about the parking situation, simply ask. Italians are generally friendly and competent English speakers. Listed above are some approximate public parking regulations.
*Information on this page is accurate as of May 22, 2011