Driving in Italy: How to Use the Autostrada, What Routes to Take, What Mistakes to Avoid, Practical Tips and Useful Suggestions

Driving in Italy
How to Use the Autostrada, What Routes to Take,
What Mistakes to Avoid, Practical Tips and Useful Suggestions

An Introduction to Driving in Italy

Marcus' 10 Rules for Driving in Italy

Highway Tolls, Traffic Regulations, Road Signs, Distances in Europe

How to Avoid Getting a Ticket

Italian Road Signs and Conventions

Driving Distances

GPS Units

Car Rentals in Italy & Elsewhere

Italy has an excellent network of roads and highways that is one of the most extensive in Europe, comprising nearly 4000mi/6400km of express highways and 180,000mi/288,000km of secondary roads. The country's famous super highways or 'autostrade' ('autostrada' is the singular form) run the length and breadth of the peninsula. These toll roads are supported by an excellent network of secondary roads, classified into different categories of national highways ('strade statali'), provincial roads ('strade provinciali') and municipal roads ('strade communali'). Due to the success of companies like Fiat, Italians have a high level of car ownership. This can create congestion in some of the northern areas and in cities. But in southern parts of the country the roads are less crowded.

To rent a car, you must be at least 18 years old (age may vary by car category) and have held your license for 1 year. Drivers under the age of 25 may incur a young driver surcharge. Seatbelts are mandatory and children under 12 must wear an age-appropriate restraint. The blood-alcohol limit for driving is .08.

Speed limits in Italy are as follows: City 30mph/50kph Open Roads 66mph/110kph Highways 81mph/130kph

Traffic travels on the right and the center lane of a three lane road is for passing. If you are stopped for a traffic violation, police are empowered to collect fines on the spot.

Gas stations are open from 7am to 12:30pm and from 3:30pm to 7pm. Most stations are closed on Sundays. There are 24 hour stations along the highway. Unleaded gas is approximately US$4.00 per gallon.

The 'autostrade' is Italy's toll super highway and toll cards can be purchased at banks or at Automoblie Club d'Italia (ACI) offices.

Street parking is confined to the right side of the street. In blue zones, a parking disk, obtained at tourist offices, ACI offices or gas stations must be displayed on the dashboard. Parking in this zone is limited to one hour. There is also metered street parking. In these areas, you will see a large sign with the letter "P." Look for a coin box where you will deposit enough coins to pay for the length of time you wish to stay. The machine will dispense a ticket showing the time of day that you must vacate the parking space. Display this ticket on the dashboard of the car.