The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Italy

For many people, Italy is a dream vacation. The country is full of beauty from the countryside to the architecture. There are historical sites to visit, art museums, and much more. When you head to Italy, you may want to visit the Valley of the Temples in Sicily, Cinque Terre, which is a National Park and Unesco World Heritage Site. Visit Uffizi Gallery, the Colosseum, Pompeii, St. Mark’s Basilica, and the Vatican.

Renting a car in Italy

When you rent a car in Italy for your vacation, it will make it much easier to see and do all you want on your vacation. You need to be at least 21 years old to rent vehicles from most companies in Italy. However, there are some rental agencies that will rent vehicles to those who are 18 years old, provided they pay additional fees. Some agencies place a maximum age of 75 on renters.

All of the vehicles in Italy need to carry certain items. They will need to have a warning triangle, a high visibility vest, and a first aid kit is a good idea, as well. Drivers who wear corrective eyewear need to have spares available in the vehicle. From November 15 to April 15, vehicles need to have winter tires or snow chains. The police can stop you and check for these items. When you rent a vehicle, you want to make sure that it comes with these items – except for spare eyewear, which you need to supply. Make sure you get the contact information and emergency phone number for the rental agency in case you need to contact them.

Road conditions and safety

The roads in Italy are in very good shape for the most part. In and around the cities and towns, they are paved and have no major issues. You should not have any trouble driving on them. The rural areas can have some rough spots, including in the mountains. This is especially true during the winter months.

Drivers are only permitted to use a cell phone if they have a hands-free system. You are required to give way to trains, trams, buses, and emergency vehicles. Blue lines will mean paid parking, and you will need to put the receipt on the dash so you do not get a ticket. White lines are free parking areas, and in Italy, yellow areas are for those who have disabled parking permits.

The drivers in many parts of Italy, particularly in the cities, can be aggressive. You need to drive cautiously and watch for drivers who may cut you off or make a turn without a signal.

The Speed limits

Always follow the posted speed limits when you are driving in Italy. They are as follows.

  • Motorways – 130 km/h
  • Dual carriageways – 110 km/h
  • Open roads – 90 km/h
  • In towns – 50 km/h

Something else to consider is that drivers who have had their license for less than three years are not allowed to go more than 100 km/h on the motorways or 90 km/h on urban roads.

Having a rental car when visiting Italy is a good idea. You can see and do more, and you can do it all on your own schedule.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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