Italy is one of the favorite and most visited tourist destinations on the planet. Currently, it sits as 5th in World Tourism Ranking with its 58 million visitors per year. Italy is art, gastronomy, fun, religion and culture. From its long coastal beaches to the high Italian Alps there is an activity for you.
Culture lovers will find true treasures of humanity there. According to UNESCO more than half of the artistic, historical heritage of humanity is in Italy,. Housing ancient museums, cathedrals, churches and monasteries and the cradle of the Catholic faith The Vatican. Also, keep spectacular villas, palaces and castles and various archaeological sites.
Its historical and economic importance and countless attractions of all kinds, make Italy a enticing country to visit at least once in a lifetime. Each of its most important cities, have dozens of tourist attractions. Its capital Rome, is an open-air gallery that houses almost 3 millennia of art and culture. Milan will dazzle you with its architecture and fashion; Florence is the city of exquisite art with centuries of culture in every corner and, of course, the always romantic Venice, which will make you dream.
How to get around? Why not by driving. We are here to get you up to speed on what you need to know before you can drive in Italy; so that you have a, happy and profitable, travel experience.
Legal requirements to drive
To drive in Italy, the first thing to know is that in this country you drive on the right side as in most other countries. Unlike other countries though, when a car turns on its headlights does not mean that it lets it pass but must hurry. Here are the basic requirements to drive:
Authorities require drivers to have a driver's license. For European foreigners, it is enough to carry an European Union license and does not require any other additional procedure. But if your license is from a country outside the European Union, then you need an international license.
Although many car rental companies do not require an international license, the driver who does not own it at the time of a car accident or being stopped by the road police may have difficulties. In Italy, both, the driver's license of the country of origin and the international license are required.
If you already have a valid national driver's license, remember that you can easily obtain the international license with IDL Services Inc. It's the perfect complement you need to drive as a tourist in Italy.
Mandatory and optional car insurance
There are two types of insurance that are required in Italy to drive. Civil liability insurance with damage coverage to third parties. Car rental companies include the cost of this insurance in the price of the car. The other is the optional insurance that covers damages to the vehicle and the driver, damages to third parties. The price of both insurances varies according to the company and the amount insured.
Both the driver and passengers must always wear a seat belt. When there are children
under 12 years old on board, they must go in the back seat and wear a special seat or belt. Not doing so also carries fines.
General Management Information
- When the road is clear, you should always drive along the right lane. The penalties for violating traffic laws are applied through fines or jail, depending on the offense. Each infraction subtracts 4 points from the driver's license.
- Always drive along the lane that corresponds to the type of vehicle. Therefore you should not invade the lane of buses and / or taxis, as it may result in a penalty.
- Trains, trams, buses and emergency vehicles have the right of way.
- In cities and towns, the traffic is the traffic that joins from the right, unless a traffic or signaling authority indicates otherwise.
- The use of mobile phones is prohibited while driving, except if you use the hands-free or headphones.
- It is against the law to drive a vehicle while intoxicated. The legally permitted alcohol blood content is 0.08 gr / l. But preferably you should not have consumed liquor while driving, the penalties are steep and may include prison time.
- When it snows it is mandatory to place snow chains or tires on vehicles. - To park the vehicle on the road safely, the following signs must be taken into account to avoid fines. The white lines mean that the space is "free", the yellow lines that are "reserved" and the blue lines mean "payment area".
One of the greatest difficulties in parking in Italy is in the center of cities and towns, especially in those with greater flow of tourists and visitors, due to its narrow and winding streets. When you find a place to park you can do it to the right of the road or in certain areas designated for that purpose, which are marked with signs in blue (paid) and white (free). Places marked with black and yellow are prohibited. Generally, on Sundays and holidays, parking is free.
Fines in Italy are among the most expensive in Europe. So before committing an offense for driving drunk / high, not wearing a belt, speeding, driving in the wrong lane, etc. Better think twice. For visitors it is worse because they must pay 25% of the fine on the spot.
Fines for parking incorrectly can be between 30 and 50 euros. But for speeding they can exceed 1000 euros, depending on the offense committed.
If the speeding range is up to 30 km / h the fines reach up to 200 euros. On the other hand, if the speeding is greater than 30 km / h, the fine can range from 400 to 1,400 euros with temporary suspension of your right to drive.
Drivers who violate traffic regulations are reviewed by the Italian Police in the SDI (Investigation System) system, which is connected to the Database of Italian Police forces.
Each driver's license is loaded with 20 virtual points. Each infraction costs 4 points. Italian law establishes the following penalties for drivers who break the laws:
- 2 years without the right to drive, if the infractions were committed for one year.
- 1 year without driving, if the offenses were committed over 2 years.
- 6 months without driving, if the infractions were committed for 3 years.
Drivers who do not comply with these penalties, receive fines ranging between 2,006 and 8,025 euros, in addition to the immobilization of the vehicle for 3 months and the express prohibition of driving in Italy for 4 years.
Roads and highways
Italy's national road and highway network is very well maintained. To a lesser extent towards the south of the country where some maintenance takes place, but in general the Italian road is acceptable.
Roads are divided into four categories: Highways and trunk roads (А), super trunk roads (SS), regional roads (SR) and provincial roads (SP). All have good signage. Driving in Italy is easy because in addition to being well signposted, the roads have no ramifications.
The main highway that crosses the country from north to south joining Milan with Naples, is known as the A1 (Autostrada del Sole) or road to the sun, it is also called E35.
The A1 is crossed by another motorway network that runs from east to west. This large highway has a series of tolls. These tolls can be paid with a Telepass or Viacard, but you also have the option to pay them in cash or with a credit card and with the “Telerent” service, which allows you to save your queue on the highways.
All traffic signs on Italian motorways are green and show both the name of the highway and the number, which is always preceded by the letter A. On some European maps, the Italian roads are named with the letter E.
Speeding in Italy is punishable by severe fines. The speed limits are as follows: - Cities and other urban areas 50 kph (31 mph) - Highways 90 kph (56 mph) - Main roads - trunk lines 110 kph (68 mph) - Highways 130 kph (81 mph)
In case of emergency you can call any of these toll free numbers: 112 Carabinieri 113 Polizia di Stato 115 Vigili del Fuoco (Firefighters) 114 Child Emergency 118 Health Emergencies 1515 Environmental Emergency
Sources: International-license.com / Iinformare.it / Hertz.es / Guretruck / Orangesmile.com