Driving in Italy

Driving in Italy

If you plan to rent a car and drive in Italy on your vacation, there are some things you should know. Driving in Italy can be intimidating, especially given the fearsome reputation of Italian drivers.

Requirements for driving in Italy

Driving licenses issued abroad can be used in Italy only by visitors who have reached the minimum ages required for holders of Italian licenses for the same category of vehicle even if they are qualified to drive at a lower age in their country of residence. A foreign driving license does not entitle the holder to drive a motor vehicle in Italy until the age of 18 years old.

International Driving Permit

Visitors from the U.S.A should obtain an International Driving Permit before leaving the country. There is no agreement for reciprocal recognition of drivers’ licenses between the United States and Italy. You should carry an International Driving Permit along with your local license and show it if you get stopped by the police for any reason including if you’re in an accident.

Tips for driving in Italy

Here are some basic tips for driving in Italy.

  1. Driving in ItalyZTL (Zona Traffico Limitato or Limited Pedestrian Zone). You are not allowed to drive in an area with a sign that says ZTL. Most cities have these zones and even in small towns you may find them in the historic center. A special permit is needed to drive in a limited traffic zone. Your hotel can usually provide it if it’s within one. There is usually a camera that takes a photo of your license plate as you enter and you may get a fine in the mail.
  2. Italy has two main devices for catching speeders, Autovelox and Sistema Tutor. The first on can be found on the autostrada, regular highways and even in some towns. The second one is a new system used on some stretches of the autostrada. These devices take photo of your license plate if you exceed the speed limits and you can be fined.
  3. The autostrada is Italy’s system of toll roads. The maximum speed limit is 130 kilometers per hour but on some parts of the autostrada the maximum speed is 110, and may be as low as 60 on some curvy stretches, so watch for posted speed limit signs. When you exit the autostrada, you will pay a toll (take a ticket as you enter).

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