Driving Guide

Italy Driving Guide

Driving in Italy is not so different to driving in the USA, as long as you have an International Driving Permit and an understanding of the basic rules.

2023-11-07 · 9min read

Ciao! Italy is celebrated for its breathtaking terrain, which boasts rugged mountain ranges and crystal-clear lakes scattered across its various regions. It is also definitely famous for its cuisine and architecture.

Italians are known for their spirited personality, which probably translates when they're driving. They have gained a reputation and stereotype for being aggressive and, fast on the road, impatient, particularly in urban areas where traffic congestion is expected.

The autostrade, Italy's highways, are famous for fast-moving traffic where drivers are not hesitant about using the horn to signal their presence or intention to overtake.

To add, scooters and motorcycle riders are also known for their daring maneuvers, weaving through traffic and between cars.

This can be startling for those not used to such driving styles. Anyone, even myself, would be shocked by this change in traffic scenario while traversing Italy.

Our guide will make driving in Italy a breeze.

For tourists, especially those from countries where driving customs are more reserved, the Italian driving style can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming.

This is why we've created a driving guide to help you gain more confidence to hit the road. Let's make your dream of driving around Italy a reality!

"In my experience, the reputation Italian drivers have gained is not fully deserved, but there is quite a lot to support it. However, it is perfectly possible for a competent driver to drive safely and happily in Italy and Rome with a little mental and practical preparation."

Clotilde Passalacqua's husband from aprincesstravellingwithtwins travel blog shares his experience driving in Italy. With his spouse hailing from Rome, their near-decade of travel has included six years of navigating the Italian roads. Throughout this time, he has candidly chronicled the highs and lows of his driving experiences in the country.

Let's take a closer look at Italy

Before we delve into the details of Italy's driving customs, let's explore some interesting facts about this beloved European travel spot:

Geographic Location

Italy nestles in the heart of Southern Europe, sharing borders with Spain, France, Austria, Romania, and Greece. Characterized by its iconic boot shape jutting into the Mediterranean Sea, Italy's geography is diverse, featuring the expansive Po Valley, the islands of Sicily, and the southern reaches of the Alpine region.

Italy enjoys a predominantly temperate climate thanks to its mountainous regions, yet venturing southward uncovers the sun-kissed coastal areas.

Languages Spoken

In Italy, the official language is Italian. However, there are several regional languages and dialects spoken across the country. Some of these include:

  1. Sicilian (Sicilianu) - spoken in Sicily
  2. Neapolitan (Napulitano) - spoken in Naples and the surrounding region
  3. Sardinian (Sardu) - spoken in Sardinia
  4. Friulian (Furlan) - spoken in Friuli
  5. Ladin - spoken in parts of the Dolomites
  6. Venetian (Vèneto) - spoken in Venice and the surrounding region
  7. Ligurian (Ligure) - spoken in Liguria
  8. Piedmontese (Piemontèis) - spoken in Piedmont
  9. Lombard (Lombardo) - spoken in Lombardy and some areas of Switzerland
  10. Emilian-Romagnol (Emiliàn e rumagnòl) - spoken in Emilia-Romagna

Additionally, there are minority languages recognized by the Italian government and the European Union, such as:

  1. Albanian - spoken by the Arbëreshë community
  2. Catalan - spoken in the city of Alghero in Sardinia
  3. German - spoken in South Tyrol
  4. Slovene - spoken in the provinces near the Slovenia border
  5. French - spoken in the Aosta Valley
  6. Occitan - spoken in some valleys of Piedmont
  7. Greek - spoken in some villages in Calabria and Apulia
  8. Croatian - spoken by the Molise Croatian community

Historical Background

Italy's history is as dramatic and complex as the plots of countless films it has inspired. The Etruscans were the earliest to establish a significant civilization, flourishing between the Arno and Tiber rivers. By the 3rd century BCE, the Romans had expanded their empire to encompass the Mediterranean, stretching their influence from India to Scotland. Yet, the 5th century CE saw the demise of Roman supremacy as barbarian invasions toppled the empire.

The Renaissance marked a period of resplendent cultural, technological, and intellectual growth in Italy. Despite this, the Italian city-states were torn between allegiances to the Pope and the Holy Roman Empire, leading to fierce internal conflicts. The nation also endured profound hardships during both World Wars under the authoritarian regime of Benito Mussolini.

Political Structure

Italy's legislative framework is anchored by a bicameral parliament consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, elects its members through a proportional representation system. The Senate follows a similar electoral process, with the addition of some members appointed by the President and others who hold their positions ex officio.

The President, elected by the parliament and regional representatives, stands at the country's helm. With the authority to dissolve parliament independently or upon the government's recommendation, the President plays a pivotal role in the nation's political landscape. The executive branch is led by the President of the Council of Ministers, supported by ministers heading various departments, and is tasked with the nation's administrative policy execution.

International Driver's Permit in Italy

Is a Local Driver's License Valid in Italy?

A local driver’s license is valid in Italy for up to six months if you have a visa on your passport. All licenses issued in the European Union are valid in Italy, even without an international driver’s permit for Italy.

If you're wondering why you need an IDP, it's because having one helps secure your travel abroad. This is particularly important if you're from a non-EU country and planning to drive in Italy. An international driver's license is required in Italy, especially if your driving permit is not in Italian or English.

Do You Need an International Driver's Permit in Italy?

To drive in Italy as a foreigner for up to six months, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required alongside your native driving license. When renting a vehicle, you must present both your IDP and your local license.

The IDL is a vital tool to avoid any misunderstandings with law enforcement, especially for those from the United States; your US license must be accompanied by an IDL when presented to Italian authorities

Does an IDP Replace a Native Driver's License?

The IDP acts as a multilingual translation of your driver's license, covering 12 of the most commonly used languages globally. However, it does not serve as a replacement for your original driving license.

Carrying an IDP is essential to bridge any language gaps between you and local officials while abroad. Remember, an IDP alone is insufficient for legal transactions; your native driving license must always be with you.

How Can I Secure An IDP?

You can apply for an IDP through the International Driver’s Association. A digital copy will be sent to you in 2 hours.

Can I Drive My Own Car in Italy?

Driving your car in Italy is allowed, but you must equip your vehicle with a warning triangle and a reflective vest. UK-registered cars are required to acquire a GB sticker, which must be displayed visibly on the car. However, if you’re staying for more than six months in Italy, you need to register your car in the country. You must be an Italian resident to be eligible for vehicle registration in Italy.

Your vehicle must also pass the roadworthiness test to check if it meets Italian standards. Once your car passes the test, you will receive a certificate of conformity. Besides the test, you must also submit car ownership documents and your residency permit in Italy.

Renting a Car in Italy

If you're wondering how to rent a car in Italy, here are some important things to consider. Despite the good public transportation options in the country, many tourists choose to drive themselves around to see the popular sights. Before you start searching for a rental car online, it's useful to be aware of a few key points about renting a car in Italy.

Car Rental Companies

Established car rental companies are not hard to find in Italy. Europcar, Auto Europe, and Indigo Car Hire have service locations in Italy for your traveling needs. You can book your rentals online and get the best deals from these car rental companies. These car rental companies also offer long- and short-term car rentals, allowing you to rent a car as long as you want.

When choosing a rental agency, compare the rental prices and the inclusions before finalizing your decision. Here are some of the critical factors you should also consider:

  • Pick-up locations should be easily accessible so you don’t have to waste an hour or two trying to find their location on the GPS.
  • It’s also important to check if the rental company includes insurance in the package.
  • Your rental car should also have a reflective vest and warning triangle for emergencies.

Necessary Documents

Car rental companies will require you to present the following:

  • A valid driver's license held for at least a year
  • An IDP
  • Credit card
  • A visa on your passport
  • If you booked your rental online, you need to present the rental receipt.

Age Requirement

The age requirement varies in each car rental company, but the most common age requirement is 21. Some companies allow drivers to rent if they are at least 18 years old and have held their valid driver’s license for at least one year.

On the other hand, you must be at least 16 years old to drive a motorbike up to 50 cubic capacity (cc) to 125 ccs and at least 14 years old to drive a moped up to 50 ccs in Italy. It can be challenging for young drivers to rent a car as some car rental companies refuse to let young drivers rent their vehicles or charge a daily surcharge that would increase their rental costs.

Maximum age requirement: Seniors 60 years old and above must pay a senior driver’s fee. The age requirement can also affect the options you can choose from. Seniors and young drivers are only allowed to drive certain types of vehicles.

Vehicle Types

Car rental companies offer a variety of rental cars to choose from that will suit your budget and trip.

  • Since big cities have heavier traffic, smaller vehicles are enough to get you from one tourist spot to another. Small cars, like SUVs, are fuel-efficient, making them the bestsellers in car rental companies in Italy.
  • If you’re driving in southern Italy with your family, large 4x4 vehicles are a perfect choice with more room for passengers and luggage space.
  • You can also rent vans if you’re out camping in the countryside of Italy or visiting the charming coastal towns.
  • If you’re an eco-conscious traveler, you can rent eco-friendly cars from Europcar.
  • Want to experience la dolce vita? Try renting a luxury car for a day.

Car Rental Cost

Your rental car’s cost depends on the type of vehicle, the inclusions, and the additional fees you choose. Economy vehicles are the cheapest to rent for as low as $6/day. Larger vehicles are pricier, so it’s best to check your itinerary before booking a large vehicle. Station wagons can cost up to $420/day, while a full-size SUV can cost up to $27/day. Aside from the type of vehicle, inclusions can also affect the car rental price.

Some inclusions include:

  • Child seats
  • Unlimited mileage
  • Zero-excess insurance
  • Taxes
  • GPS
  • Additional driver
  • Ski rack
  • Full tank option

Car Insurance Cost

Car insurance is mandatory in Italy, so car rental companies provide certain types of car insurance to their clients, depending on your rental agreement. These are the Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection. The average insurance cost at the counter is USD 24 - USD 55 per day, while the average cost for zero-excess insurance is USD 11 - USD 19 per day. These prices are based on car rentals for compact, economy, mid-size, or full-size vehicle types.

If you want to save on costs, it’s best to avail of the zero-excess insurance since it has a lower daily rate than the standard coverage at the counter. You can also help with car insurance types, such as Personal Effects Protection and Personal Accident Coverage. The Personal Effects Protection costs around $7 per day, while the Personal Accident Coverage costs about $8 daily. You can pay for these types of insurance through a credit card.

Car Insurance Policy

Car rental insurance in Italy gives you peace of mind when driving and protects you in case of accidents. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection, essential components of car rental insurance in Italy, are mandatory for all car rental companies to protect you from liability resulting from damage by collision and theft. The coverage may vary depending on the level of protection you avail.

Aside from CDW and Theft Protection, you can also avail yourself of Personal Accident Insurance to cover all medical expenses for injuries in case of accidents. Auto Europe offers Personal Effects Insurance, covering the cost of personal belongings if they are stolen in the rental car. Private Accident Insurance and Personal Effects Insurance are optional, so you need to buy them separately.

Road Rules in Italy

Traveling by car through Italy offers a unique and convenient way to visit various destinations. Nonetheless, adherence to local traffic regulations is mandatory. For those accustomed to right-hand driving, such as in European Union countries, Italy's driving protocols will be familiar. Initially, visitors from nations where left-hand driving is the norm may find it daunting, but it typically becomes second nature after a short adjustment period.


Italy may be celebrated for its vineyards, but driving after consuming alcohol is strictly prohibited. The legal blood alcohol concentration limit is a mere 0.5 milligrams per liter, which is relatively strict compared to other European nations. For those in professional driving roles and drivers with less than three years of experience, the tolerance for blood alcohol levels is zero.

To steer clear of legal issues, it's wise to abstain from alcohol entirely if you plan to drive. In a traffic incident, police will administer a breathalyzer test. If you indulge in a glass of wine, consider handing over the driving responsibilities to someone else or using a taxi service. Alcohol can dull your senses and slow your reaction time, compromising your driving abilities. For your safety and that of others, it's best to avoid any alcohol if you're going to be behind the wheel.

Penalties for Drunk-Driving

Violating the drunk driving rule in Italy can result in serious consequences with the police, depending on the extent of the damage caused by your irresponsible actions. The penalties may include fines, vehicle confiscation, or, worse, imprisonment. Aside from cutting your trip short, drunk driving can lead to harming others and even death. The penalties for drink-driving, according to the alcohol limit, are as follows:

  • Between between 0 and 0.5 g/l - €164 to €663 and a reduction of five points on their driving license for drivers under 21 years old
  • Between 0.5 and 0.8 g/l - fines between € 531 and €2,125 and suspension of driving license for three to six months
  • More than 1.5 g/l - fines from €1,500 to €6,000 and imprisonment for six months to one year


The left lane is only for passing on multi-lane roads. Turn your signals on when passing to show that you only pass in the left lane. After passing, move back to the right lane quickly. Stay in the right lane unless you need to pass.


Parking in Italy can be difficult, especially in city centers and historic towns. These areas often have underground parking lots that fill up quickly. If you can't find a spot in a lot, you'll have to park on the streets or curbs.

There are designated areas painted in white where you can park for free. If the area is painted blue, you must pay a parking fee and display the ticket on your car. Keep in mind that there are time limits for parking in pay-for-park areas.

Check your condition and the vehicle's

Embarking on an Italian road adventure requires more than just enthusiasm; it necessitates proper rest. Driving while fatigued or unwell compromises your ability to stay vigilant, and drowsiness behind the wheel has been a culprit in numerous fatal accidents.

Equally important is ensuring your vehicle is equipped with mandatory items such as spare tires, a reflective vest, and a warning triangle.

Your car's condition is paramount to prevent breakdowns and mishaps. Cleanliness of mirrors, windows, and headlights is crucial for optimal visibility. Furthermore, it's essential to carry all necessary documents, including your local driver's license, International Driving Permit (IDP), insurance papers, and passport to avoid penalties at checkpoints for driving without a license.

Driving in a ZTL

Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL), or Limited Traffic Zones, are established in Italian urban centers to curb pollution and congestion, typically restricting access to residents.

  • Penalties: Unauthorized entry into a ZTL incurs fines ranging from €80 to €300, enforced by ticket cameras, plus a possible Traffic Violation Fee of about €45 from your car rental agency.
  • Certain areas may also limit vehicle access to mitigate pollution. It's wise to discuss your travel itinerary with your car rental provider to determine if your destinations fall within such zones. Measures like congestion charges and vehicle limitations on specific days are implemented in city centers to combat pollution.

Seat Belt Regulations

In Italy, seat belts must be worn by all occupants of a vehicle, regardless of whether they're in the front or back seats. This regulation aims to lessen the severity of injuries in road accidents. Non-compliance can lead to immediate fines starting at €80.

For children, appropriate car seats are mandatory to safeguard them during travel. Non-adherence to this rule can result in fines ranging from €88 to €333. The guidelines for child restraints are as follows:

  • Children under 150 cm must use a child restraint system.
  • Children weighing less than 18 kg require a car seat.
  • Children over 18 kg may use a booster seat to properly utilize the vehicle's seat belts.

Adhering to Driving Norms

Visitors must respect Italy's driving norms to ensure a safe and uninterrupted journey. While automatic cars are becoming more common, manual transmission vehicles are still available. The choice between manual or automatic transmission is yours.

Daytime running lights (DRL) are also a legal requirement in Italy, enhancing vehicle visibility and reducing daytime collision rates by 11%. Modern cars typically feature automatic DRLs, but if your vehicle lacks them, you must manually activate your headlights during the day.

Speed Limits

Speed cameras are installed across the nation's roadways to diligently monitor and enforce speed limits. These cameras capture images of vehicles and record their speed, ensuring compliance. You'll encounter these vigilant electronic sentinels on highways and by the roadside, leaving little opportunity to bypass the rules. Should you exceed the speed limits, expect a speeding ticket to arrive via mail from your car rental agency, potentially even long after your trip has concluded.

The prescribed speed limits are as follows:

  • Urban areas: 50 km/h
  • Highways: 130 km/h, reduced to 110 km/h in wet conditions
  • Secondary roads outside urban areas: 110 km/h, reduced to 100 km/h when raining
  • Local roads: 90 km/h, reduced to 80 km/h in rainy weather

Penalties: Fines range from €40 to €4,000, based on the degree by which the speed limit is exceeded. Note that fines for serious infractions are increased by 30% during nighttime hours, from 10 PM to 7 AM. Adherence to speed limits is critical for the safety of all road users, including pedestrians.

You can get fined €40 to €4,000 if you’re caught driving above the speed limit, depending on the excess speed limit you’re caught on. Remember that fines increase by 30% for all severe offenses committed between 10 PM and 7 AM. It’s essential to obey the speed limits to ensure everyone’s safety on the road, including pedestrians.

Traffic Road Signs

As you navigate Italy's roads, you'll encounter a variety of traffic signs designed to guide and protect drivers. In line with other European Union countries, Italy utilizes international traffic sign conventions for ease of understanding.

These signs fall into five categories: warning, informational, mandatory, prohibitory, and priority. Despite the prevalence of standard signs, you may still come across some unique signs specific to Italy.

Alert Signs

  • General alert
  • Roundabout: yield to traffic already in the roundabout
  • Yield to traffic
  • Stop and yield

Round Red Signs: Forbidden

  • Do not enter (road closed to traffic)
  • Do not enter (wrong way)
  • Speed limit (in km/h)
  • Speed limit in case of fog (in km/h)
  • End of speed limit; default limit applies afterward
  • No parking
  • No stopping
  • No horses and carriages allowed! (in some areas)

Advisory signs

  • One-way street
  • Direction of allowable travel
  • Roundabout
  • Parking

It’s also helpful to know essential words such as destra (right), sinistra (left), dritto (straight), uscita (exit), and pedaggio (toll) while driving in Italy. These words can be seen on road signs or mentioned by Italian drivers.

Driving Directions

Italy's roundabouts serve as a pivotal element in managing traffic flow, especially where multiple roads converge. Familiarity with roundabout etiquette is crucial: always drive on the right, yield to traffic from the left, and signal your exit to inform fellow drivers.

Yielding and Priority

Navigating Italy's roads involves a dance with various vehicles. Understanding when to yield is critical to a harmonious journey. Generally, vehicles from the right have priority, and this rule extends to intersections, mountain passes, and when larger vehicles are present.

In roundabouts and highways, priority is given to those already on these paths, and public transport like trams and buses are granted the right of way in all scenarios.

Overtaking Laws

Overtaking should always be executed on the left, with prohibitions at crossings, intersections, hills, bends, and low visibility conditions. Trams can be overtaken on the right if space permits, but never when boarding passengers.

Driving Side

Italy adheres to right-side driving, with the steering wheel on the left. This standard has existed since the late 19th century, with nationwide adoption by the mid-1920s.

If you’re from the UK and other right-side driving countries, adjusting to this can be a challenge. But you can get used to driving on the right side after a few tries.

Driving Etiquette in Italy

Car Breakdowns

In the event of a breakdown, move your vehicle off the road if possible, don a reflective vest, and set up a warning triangle to alert oncoming traffic. Contact your rental agency for assistance and refrain from attempting repairs yourself.

Police Stops

During police stops, remain composed and present your international driver's permit, local license, and passport. Cooperation and courtesy are your best approach for a swift resolution.

Asking Directions

When GPS fails, turn to the hospitable Italian locals for guidance. A basic grasp of Italian phrases or English can usually bridge the communication gap. In certain situations, knowing a few Italian phrases would help when driving in Italy:

  • Per favore può darmi alcune indicazioni? (Can you give me some directions, please?)
  • Mi scusi, mi servono delle informazioni, per favore (Excuse me; I need some information, please.)
  • giri a destro [Formal] (turn right)
  • giri a sinistra [Formal] (turn left)
  • va sempre diritto [Formal] (straight)
  • a destra (on the right)
  • a sinistra (on the left)
  • all‘angolo (at the corner of)
  • davanti a (in front of)
  • via (street)
  • accanto a (next to)
  • qui vicino (nearby)
  • di fianco a (adjacent to)


At checkpoints, approach with calm and compliance. Keep doors locked and windows partially down, and have your identification ready for inspection.

To drive in Italy, you must have identification documents like your passport, IDP, and local driver's license. These requirements should be kept with you at all times. If you're driving your car, the officer will check for a GB sticker on the foreign-registered vehicle. They will also inspect if your car has a reflective vest, warning triangle, and fire extinguisher.

What Should I Do In Case of Accidents?

In accidents, document the scene of minor or severe incidents and immediately contact the police. Do not move the vehicles until instructed by authorities.

The police are responsible for assisting injured persons, securing the vehicles, and assessing the situation. They will also determine if there’s anyone liable and may conduct a breathalyzer test to check if you’re drink-driving. Don’t move the vehicles until the authorities arrive.

Driving Conditions in Italy

Driving in Italy can be a rewarding experience. However, it requires adaptability, patience, and an understanding of local driving customs and conditions.

Driving conditions in Italy can vary significantly depending on the location and time of year. Here's an overview of what you might expect:

Urban Areas:

  • Congested: Cities like Rome, Milan, and Naples are known for heavy traffic, especially during rush hours.
  • Narrow Streets: Many Italian cities, especially older ones, have narrow, winding streets that can be challenging for larger vehicles and those not used to such conditions.
  • Limited Parking: Parking can be scarce and expensive in city centers, with many areas restricted to residents only (Zona Traffico Limitato - ZTL).

Rural Areas:

  • Scenic Drives: The countryside offers more relaxed driving with panoramic views, particularly in regions like Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, and the lakes in the north.
  • Variable Road Quality: While main roads are generally in good condition, some rural and mountainous areas may have roads that are narrow, winding, and less well-maintained.

Highways (Autostrade):

  • Well-Maintained: The autostrade is Italy's network of toll highways, which are typically in excellent condition and allow for fast travel between major cities.
  • Speed Limits: Speed limits on the autostrade are higher than on other roads, but they are strictly enforced with speed cameras.

Highways (Autostrade):

  • Well-Maintained: The autostrade is Italy's network of toll highways, which are typically in excellent condition and allow for fast travel between major cities.
  • Speed Limits: Speed limits on the autostrade are higher than on other roads, but they are strictly enforced with speed cameras.

Weather Conditions:

  • Northern Italy: In the north, especially in the Alps and Dolomites, winter conditions can be harsh, with snow and ice affecting roads.
  • Southern Italy: The south generally enjoys a Mediterranean climate but can have hot temperatures in summer, which can be tiring when driving long distances.

Common Vehicles

Italy has a rich automotive culture, and the types of vehicles on its roads reflect a wide range of uses and preferences. Here are some of the standard vehicles you'll find in Italy:

Scooters: Scooters are a staple on Italian streets, especially in crowded city centers and picturesque coastal towns. They offer an efficient way to navigate traffic and are ideal for the warm Mediterranean climate. Brands like Vespa and Piaggio are not only popular locally but have also gained iconic status worldwide.

Want to experience driving a scooter in Italy? Here are some tips for you, according to My Venice Life, a practical insider guide to lifestyle in Venice and Italy:

  • Wear Helmet - There are no two ways about this. This is not negotiable. You must always put on a helmet before driving a scooter. This doesn’t revolve around you, but both you and your passenger
  • Have a pair of Gloves - If you plan to drive long hours, invest in a glove. This helps to protect your palms and knuckles from abrasion.
  • Wear Sunglasses - You must wear sunglasses during the daytime. If you are driving a scooter, endeavor to wear light and friendly glasses. This ensures that your vision is not affected by the sunset. Sunglasses offer you an extra protective layer against the sun. Always wear sunglasses when driving a scooter in Italy.
  • Park well - Park well In order not to break the law or pay a fine, ensure you position your scooter in the appropriate place.do not park in the wrong direction. Always do the right thing. The best place to park is scooter-designated parking spots. Don’t park on the pavement, it is against the law. Also, avoid parking in disabled spots. Parking on Zebra crossings is illegal. The best place to park a scooter is the bays marked by white lines, this is an alternative to designated scooter parking spots.

Remember to obtain an International Driving Permit before your trip, as it is a requirement of the rental terms and conditions.

To drive any scooter in Italy, you need your driving license and an International Driving Permit (IDP) that is applied prior to leaving your country. The IDP is only valid for 1 year and needs to be reapplied thereafter.

Most rental companies only rent a Vespa if you are at least 18 years old. Most rental companies also impose a 3-year driving experience for 3-wheel scooters.

Driving a scooter without a valid driver's license or International Driving Permit in Italy can result in 400 euros fine. Additionally, if you're involved in an accident while driving without a proper license, your insurance may not cover the damages or injuries sustained by yourself or any passengers.

Compact Cars: Given the narrow streets, especially in historic city centers, and the scarcity of parking, compact cars are trendy in Italy. They are easier to maneuver and park. Fiat, which is an Italian brand, offers a range of compact models that are commonly seen on Italian roads.

Luxury Sports Cars: Italy is home to some of the world's most famous luxury sports car manufacturers, such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati. While these are not the everyday cars for most Italians, they are a significant part of the country's automotive identity and are often seen, particularly in more affluent areas.

Superminis and Hatchbacks: These are also very common for everyday use due to their practicality. The Fiat 500, for example, is an iconic supermini that combines style with the ease of driving that is required for the Italian urban environment.

Motorcycles: Apart from scooters, motorcycles are also a common sight. They are used both for daily commuting and for leisure, with Italy producing renowned motorcycle brands such as Ducati and Aprilia.

Bicycles: In many Italian cities, bicycles are a popular mode of transport, particularly with the increase in dedicated bike lanes and the push for eco-friendly transportation options.

Toll Roads

The main freeway in Italy is the Autostrada A1, also called the ‘Highway of the Sun’, which runs from north to south of Italy, measuring 470 miles from Milan to Naples via Florence and Rome. If you’re driving north of the country, you can join the A4 or the Serenissima, connecting Turin and Trieste and passing by Venice and Milan.

If you’re heading to the south of Italy, you’ll be driving along the A2 from Fisciano to San Giovanni. Traveling from Italy to France is also possible on the A5 at the northwest, linking Turin to France through a tunnel beneath Mont Blanc. Be aware of the speed cameras on these main highways when driving in Italy. Tolls cost around $9 per 100 kilometers for the cars.

Road Situation in Italy

Italy’s 6,000-kilometer autostrada runs from north to south and is generally well-maintained. In historic city centers, the streets are often narrow and winding, making them congested, especially on weekends. You’ll find several speed cameras and road signs on the highways and roadsides when driving in Italy. Rural roads are narrow and have no guardrails but are well-marked with road signs and streetlights.

You’ll find several filling stations throughout the country, but some, specifically the smaller stations, close from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Sunday afternoons. You’ll also find self-service pumps in several locations for your convenience. The well-maintained highways and well-marked roads make driving in Italy safe.

Are They Using Kph or Mph?

Speed limits are measured in kilometers per hour (KpH) in Italy, like most European countries. Remember that all speed limit signs you see when driving in Italy indicate KpH measurement, so be aware of this difference if your country uses imperial units for measurement. Going over the speed limit is strictly prohibited in the country, and speed cameras are installed to monitor all road users’ speed.

What Is the Driving Condition in Winter?

In winter, you may encounter fog and low visibility when driving on the roads of northern Italy. It’s best to rent a car with fog lamps to navigate the streets in poor visibility easily.

Before going, ensure the snow chains are approved and the right fit for your tires. You’ll find signs indicating where snow chains are compulsory.

Top Destinations in Italy

Italy is known for its architecture, food, art, and history, making it home to some of the top destinations to visit. Check out its tourist destinations, savor its cuisine, and experience the best of what this country has to offer, exploring the top destinations to visit in Italy.


Rome is known for its turbulent history that has been featured in many Hollywood films. It’s not surprising to see this destination on top of the list as it offers numerous stunning buildings that are remnants of its glorious past. A trip to Italy is never complete without visiting its capital!

Driving Directions

1. From Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, head east on Via Fratelli Wright toward Via Francesco Paolo Remotti/Via Leone Delagrange.

2. Turn right onto Via Francesco Paolo Remotti.

3. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto the Via Mario de Bernardi ramp to Roma.

4. Merge onto Via Mario de Bernardi. Continue onto A91.

5. Take the exit toward V.Le C. Colombo Centro.

6. Merge onto Via Cristoforo Colombo

7. Slight left toward Via Cristoforo Colombo. Then, Slightly right onto Via Cristoforo Colombo

8. Continue onto Largo Terme di Caracalla.

9. Continue straight onto Via Torino. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Piazza di S. Bernardo.

10.Piazza di S. Bernardo turns right and becomes Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando.

11. Continue onto Piazza della Repubblica.

Take a historical tour of the Colosseum

The Colosseum is the most massive surviving structure built by the Roman Empire to satisfy the public’s hunger for entertainment. The building stands out from the modern infrastructure surrounding it, a reminder of the city’s tumultuous past. You can tour the area by yourself or join a guided tour to learn more about its history and enter some restricted areas, including the arena, upper tiers, and underground chambers.

Check out the burial grounds at the Pantheon

Aside from the Colosseum, the Pantheon is also an infrastructure built by the Roman empire and the evidence of the Romans’ impressive architectural techniques. The Pantheon is famous for its precise proportions of equal height and diameter. Besides its architecture, the Pantheon is also known as the burial ground of prominent Italian figures. Spark your creativity by checking out the paintings and frescoes in the interior of the building.

Marvel the ancient ruins at the Roman Forum

Another majestic structure in Rome is the Roman Forum, built around 500 B.C. The archaeological site is a perfect place to see and imagine the life of the Romans during its glorious era. The best way to marvel at the site is by joining a guided tour to learn the history of this place.

Throw a coin at Trevi Fountain

You might have heard of this tradition of throwing a coin in this fountain from several tourists. The Trevi Fountain is a famous attraction where tourists believe that if you throw a coin here, you’ll likely come back to Rome. Whether or not this is true, Rome is still worth returning for.


Known as the home of the great Leonardo da Vinci, Florence boasts stunning architecture and art museums that will surely boost your creativity. The city does not only offer art; it is art itself. From beautiful churches to Renaissance art museums, you’ll surely enjoy your stay in this city.

Driving Directions:

1. From Rome, get on A1dir/E35 from Via Salaria. Continue on A1/E35 to Firenze.

2. Use the left two lanes to continue onto A1/E35/E45 toward Firenze.

3. Continue to follow A1/E35.

4. Take exit Firenze Sud toward Firenze Sud. Continue onto SP127.

5. Continue onto Via Giovanni Agnelli.

6. Continue onto Via Marco Polo.

7. Continue on SS67. Take Via Aretina, Via Mannelli, Via Masaccio, V.le Giovanni Milton, ... and Via Nazionale to Via de' Cerretani.

View the Tuscan Hills at the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore

The Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore is one of the finest cathedrals in the world, located in Florence. Like the Roman structures, the cathedral attracts several tourists because of its fascinating architecture and intricately designed facade. The most famous cathedral piece is the dome visible at any point in Florence. Climb the steps to the top and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Tuscan Hills from here.

Stepping into the Uffizi Gallery is like stepping into a portal that takes you back to the Renaissance. The museum is famous for its vast collection of art pieces of the great Italian artists commissioned by the Medici family. The collection includes Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Annunciation, and Michelangelo’s The Holy Family. For an in-depth experience, join a guided tour to learn more about the process and the story behind the artwork.

Admire the magnificent frescoes and artworks at Palazzo Vecchio

Located at Piazza Signoria just beside the Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio is known as the residence of the Medici family and also the city hall centuries ago. Palazzo Vecchio, meaning “new palace”, houses awe-inspiring artworks, frescoes, and Dante’s infamous death mask. Wander through the secret passages and climb the top of the building.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Step away from the stunning architecture to visit the beautifully imperfect Leaning Tower of Pisa, where you can capture a whimsical picture to delight your loved ones. Its celebrated tilt has drawn countless visitors each year. Beyond the playful poses, you can ascend the tower and be rewarded with a stunning cityscape panorama.

Driving Directions:

1. From Rome, get on A1dir/E35 from Via Salaria.

2. Continue on A1/E35. Drive from SGC Firenze - Pisa - Livorno to Pisa. Take the SS1 exit from Superstrada Firenze Pisa Livorno

3. Continue on Via Aurelia. Take Lungarno Giacomo Leopardi, Lungarno Ranieri Simonelli and Via Roma to Via Don Gaetano Boschi in Pisa

Snap a fun photo of the tower.

A trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa is incomplete without a fun photoshoot. Pose in front of the tower with your friends or family for a memorable shot, and be creative with your poses.

Enjoy the breathtaking view of the city at the top of the tower.

Don't miss out on climbing the stairs leading to the top. The tower offers a breathtaking view of the city, especially during sunset. Climbing the tower is not as tiring as it seems because, once you reach the top, you’ll find a relaxing view.

See the relics at the Duomo.

Near the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you’ll find the majestic Duomo with jaw-dropping exteriors. The Duomo has a magnificent facade, with bronze-paneled doors and bas-reliefs. You’ll find the tomb of Emperor Henry VII and a mosaic of Christ in Majesty when you enter the church.

Visit the tombs of Pisa's Renaissance aristocrats at the Camposanto.


Venice is the perfect destination for lovers and romantics, with its colorful towns, romantic gondola tours, and tranquil canals. You’ll experience a relaxing getaway right in the city, where you’re with your loved one or by yourself.

Driving Directions:

1. From Florence, Take Via della Scala, SS67, Lungarno del Pignone, Via del Sansovino, and Viale Etruria to SGC Firenze - Pisa - Livorno

2. Take E35, A1 var - Variante di Valico, A1/E35 and A13 to Via della Libertà in Venezia. Take the SS309 exit from Tangenziale di Mestre/A57

3. Follow Via Della Libertà to your destination.

Cruise the Venice Canals

Cruising the Grand Canal on the Vaporetto or enjoying a gondola ride in smaller canals is the perfect activity for a romantic date. As you move along the canals, you’ll see fascinating structures and beautiful houses lining the route. A Vaporetto ride on the Grand Canal allows you to see the buildings closer and learn valuable information about the buildings from a guide.

Climb the Campanile di San Marco

If you’re not into cruising the canals, how about climbing the Campanile di San Marco? The bell tower features a stunning skyline view of the whole of Venice. You have to ride an elevator to reach the top of the tower, so you don’t need to worry about climbing several steps and sweating here.

Take a photo at the Rialto Bridge.

Known as the most famous bridge in Venice, Ponte di Rialto offers a stunning view that will surely make your photos stand out from the rest. You can watch the gondolas and vaporettos passing by here at sunrise or sunset.

Cinque Terre

Besides impressive architecture, Italy also has beautiful coastal towns with unique and quiet charm you won’t find in bustling cities. The Cinque Terre region is the perfect destination for a getaway with your loved ones. Hike between the five villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

Driving Directions:

1. From Galileo Galilei International Airport, get on Superstrada Firenze Pisa Livorno.

2. Follow A12/E80 to SP566dir in Carrodano. Take the exit toward Carrodano/Levanto from A12/E80.

3. Continue on SP566dir. Take Località Albero d'Oro to SP38 in Monterosso al Mare.

Hike the trail to Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero.

Hiking is expected when you visit Cinque Terre, but it’s worth the sweat and energy. Located above Riomaggore, Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero features a stunning view of Cinque Terre that can help you forget your worries.

Savor the delectable cuisines in the region.

Either savory dishes or sweet ice cream, Cinque Terre offers a variety of food that would suit the palette of each tourist. Buy a gelato as you hike the five villages of Cinque Terre, or enjoy a fulfilling meal at one of the restaurants in the villages.

Swim at Manarola

Although white sand beaches are the most preferred beach destinations for most tourists, Manarola still attracts tourists because of its quiet and traditional charm. The tranquil ambiance of the beach makes your dip more enjoyable.


Capri, located in Southern Italy, offers a variety of activities for tourists. These include a boat tour to the Blue Grotto Cave, a hike on Monte Solero, and lively beach parties. In addition to the Blue Grotto Cave, Capri is known for its vibrant nightlife, where visitors can enjoy drinks and socialize with locals and other tourists.

Driving Directions:

1. From Naples, Take Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi and Via Nuova Marina to Piazzale Molo Carlo Pisacane.

2. Continue on Piazzale Molo Carlo Pisacane to Capri - Napoli.

3. Take the Capri - Napoli ferry.

4. Follow Via Don Giobbe Ruocco and Via Marina Grande to Via Roma.

5. At the roundabout, continue straight onto Via Roma.

Hike Monte Solero

If you’re into thrilling adventures, hiking Monte Solero is the perfect activity. Monte Solero offers a relaxing view of the island, a rewarding experience after a tiring hike. You can either walk the mountain before you swim or after your swim.

Join beach parties on the island.

The island offers beach parties that attract tourists who enjoy having a good time. Guests can dance, socialize with tourists and locals, and create lasting memories.

Take a boat tour to the Blue Grotto Cave

In addition to hiking and beach parties, tourists can take a boat tour to the Blue Grotto Cave. This cave offers breathtaking views with sunlight reflecting off the water, creating a stunning blue light.

Explore Italy by car

Explore the rolling hills of Tuscany, the shores of the Amalfi Coast, or the streets of Rome - all made accessible when you take the wheel. Remember, embracing the local driving laws and customs is also the key to unlocking a safe and unforgettable journey.

Don't forget to secure an international driving permit for Italy to set off on an Italian road adventure that promises to be memorable. Buon viaggio!

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