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Driving in Italy: the ultimate guide

From the tranquil beauty of Cinque Terre to the manic city roads you’ll have to navigate when driving in Rome, driving a car in Italy is always an experience. 

There’s plenty of bumper-to-bumper queues and daredevil overtaking, so driving through this amazing country can be a heart-in-your-mouth, white knuckle ride of a journey. But it’s well worth doing. 

As wild as Italian motorways and roads can be, that doesn’t mean there aren’t rules, far from it. So, to help you prepare for your journey, we’ve put together a handy guide of tips for driving in Italy. 

Requirements for driving in Italy

Before you set off through Italy’s stunning scenery, you’ll need to make sure that you have the following documents: 

  • Driving license
  • Proof of civil liability insurance (this is compulsory, the simplest option is to apply for a Green Card) 
  • Passport
  • Proof of ownership (V5C certificate)

You’ll also need: 

  • High vis jackets
  • Warning triangle 
  • Headlight converters 
  • Spare tyre (and all of the tools you’ll need to replace a tyre)

You will, of course, need to be responsible for your own documentation, but when it comes to the lower half of this list, our essential European driving kit has you covered. 

Driving in Italy after Brexit may require additional documentation, though whether this changes or not will depend on the outcome of Britain leaving the EU. If the requirements for driving in Italy change, this blog will be updated with all the latest information.

Speed limits in Italy

Now that you’ve got the correct papers and paraphernalia needed for driving in Italy, it’s time to familiarise yourself with Italian speed limits: 

Road typeSpeed limit
Built-up area50 kph
Single carriageway90 kph
Dual carriageway110 kph
Motorway130 kph

Speeding fines in Italy

Italian police have the authority to issue on-the-spot fines for speeding and other traffic misdemeanours. However, while they can make the fine, they are not able to collect it.

It’s worth knowing that you’ll only have to pay one-quarter of the maximum fine amount should you pay within 60 days, so we’d definitely recommend paying any fines post haste. Or, even better, just don’t speed at all. 

The police are also able to confiscate a vehicle if the driver is found to have no license, expired registration documents or forged number plates. 

Drink-drive limit in Italy

Though you don’t need to carry a breathalyser by law, as you would when driving in France, the Italians do employ a similarly strict drink-drive limit to the French. 

For most drivers, the maximum blood alcohol level is 0.05%. However, for professional drivers, private drivers, HGV drivers and drivers with less than three years experience on the road, the limit is 0.00%.

Italian road rules

You now know your limits, but what about the rules for driving in Italy? Here’s all you need to know about traversing everywhere from quaint Italian towns to the busy Autostrade (that means the motorways - if you were wondering). 

Toll roads in Italy

You’ll find tolls are imposed on the majority of Italian motorways. So, when you’re driving on an Autostrada, it’s always a good idea to have a means of payment handy. You’re able to pay for a toll in Italy by cash or credit card, with the fee being dictated by the distance you’ve travelled. 

Italian road signs

Italian street signs and road signs, thankfully, follow the same designs used across the rest of the continent. The only discernible difference that you need to be aware of is the colour coding for different road types. 

A sign with a green background signals an Autostrada, while standard roads have a blue background. 

Parking in Italy

Parking can be stressful enough when you’re on home soil, so when you’re driving abroad it’s best to familiarise yourself with the rules to keep things calm when you’re searching for a spot.

Parking regulations in Italy include: 

  • Parking in-built up areas: you may only stop or park on the right-hand side of the road on a single-lane system. You may park on both the left and right-hand side of a one-way street, as long as at least three metres of space is left for traffic to pass through.
  • Paid parking: these zones are marked by blue signs and are often free-of-charge during certain periods of the day and Sundays, but it’s always best to check these details locally. Parking spaces that enforce a time limit, and need payment at a parking meter, are indicated by blue stripes.
  • Disabled parking: disabled parking spaces are indicated by the yellow international wheelchair symbol and yellow lines.
  • Disabled drivers are able to park in areas where parking is usually restricted. In most cases payment is still required if you’re in an enforced zone, but disabled drivers are allowed to park in time-restricted areas without a limit.
  • For more information on disabled parking abroad, check out our ‘Using a Blue Badge in Europe’ guide. 

There you have it, our ultimate rundown of everything you know need to know, whether you’re travelling through Florence or Rome. 

There was a lot of great info in this blog, but if you’re still thinking about those awesome-sounding European driving kits we mentioned, you can find out more by clicking right here

Buon viaggio and arrivederci.