Useful Information About Driving in Italy

Driving Distances in Italy

Driving is a great way to see Italy's towns, cities and luscious countryside. You travel at your own pace, stop when you want to and explore off the beaten path. There are over 4000 miles of highways throughout the country, making all regions of Italy easily accessible.

The Automobile Club Italiano (ACI) is the equivalent of the AAA. It has offices throughout Italy. The main office is at:

Highway Tolls
Almost all autostrade (except some of those south of Naples) are toll roads. The easiest way to pay tolls is to use a major credit card. When you get to the exit ramp, look for the lanes with a large sign showing the pictures of the various credit cards. Insert the toll ticket first (with the arrow pointing forward), then your credit card (with the hologram out). If the machine "talks to you," it's telling you to turn your card around the other way. To get a receipt, push the red button after you retrieve your credit card.

Breakdown Services
In case of breakdown on any Italian road, dial 116 at the nearest telephone. The nearest ACI office will be advised to come to your assistance. On superhighways, use the emergency telephones placed every 2 km.

Spare Parts
Any ACI office will give you the address of the nearest supplier.

Insurance is compulsory for all vehicles in Italy. If you are driving your own car to Italy, a "green card" (carta verde) - frontier insurance valid for 15, 30, or 45 days - should be issued to cover your car before your trip to Italy. If you are in Italy for more than 45 days you must have a regular Italian insurance policy. If you are planning to rent a car in Italy you must have an international drivers license and valid insurance coverage (which is included in the price for all cars rented through In Italy Online and AutoEurope). For information about how to obtain an international drivers license, choose your home country (not the one you plan to drive in) at this web site.

Click here for information about renting a car through In Italy Online.

If a temporary imported vehicle is driven by a person other than the owner, this person must have certified authorization from the owner and cannot be a resident of Italy. It is prohibited to rent, lend, pawn, sell or give away any temporarily imported vehicle.

Motorcycles require the same documents as automobiles. A driving license or a motorcycle driving license is required for motorcycles over 49 cc. Crash helmets are compulsory and must be worn at all times when driving a motorcycle.

The Italian Highways Association has an excellent Web site showing major highway routes between all points in Italy. It even shows you how to calculate your own tolls.


Italian Road Signs and Conventions
The graphics on all road signs in Europe are the same

Italy's roads are classified as follows:

Autostrade (Superhighways) - most of which charge tolls
Strade Statali (State Roads)
Strade Provinciali (Provincial Roads)
Strade Comunali (Local Roads)

On superhighways (autostrade) no u-turns are permitted, and stopping is permitted only in emergency parking areas or parking lanes.
The Italian highway code follows the Geneva Convention and Italy uses international road signs. Driving is on the right; passing on the left. Violators of the highway code are fined; serious violations may also be punished by imprisonment.

Speed limit
In cities and towns, the limit is 50 km. (31.25 m.p.h.)
On other roads, maximum speeds are:

On three-lane roads, the middle lane is reserved for passing., which must always be signaled in advance with the directional signal, which must be kept on while passing. In towns or city traffic on roads with three lanes or with three or more lanes in each direction, cars are allowed to move in parallel rows.

Right of way
At a crossroads, motorists must give way to vehicles coming from their right. Street cars and trains always have the right of way from either left or right. Street cars and trains always have the right of way from left or right. At a crossroads marked by a precedence sign (triangle with point downwards) or a stop sign, the motorist must give way to all vehicles coming from both left and right.

Passing must be on the left. Passing on the right is allowed when the car ahead has signaled a left turn and has moved to the center of the road, or where travel in parallel rows is permitted.

Parking is permitted on the right-hand side of the road everywhere outside cities and towns except on highways (autostrade), at crossroads and on curves and hills not allowing full visibility. If a car is stalled blocking the road because of mechanical difficulty or for any other reason, the driver is required to warn other vehicles by placing a special triangular danger signal at least 30 meters (99 feet) behind. All cars must be equipped with this portable signal, called a triangolo.

All vehicles are required to keep their low-beam lights on at all times on motorways and four-lane highways.
Scooters and motorbikes must keep their headlights on at all times and on all types of roads.
High-beam headlights can be used only outside cities and towns and when no vehicle is approaching; otherwise use only low-beam. When a stationary vehicle is not clearly visible, parking lights must be kept on.

Mobile (cell) phones
Drivers may use mobile phones only if the phones are equipped with an earpiece.

Pedestrians have the right of way at zebra crossings.

Seat belts are compulsory.

Have you considered driving in Italy?