Driving in Italy - Rules & Regulations

It is actually not as difficult as it seems, it may be scary in big cities as Italians are fast drivers with little patience.  Obviously you will not need cars in big cities, but countrysides and villages are best visited driving on your own or with a driver - it allows tourist to discover many routes that public transportation would not take. 


- In Italy you drive on the right side of the road. 
- Travelers driving in Italy need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to carry along with your actual driving license. It is valid for one year.  Ask for one in your own country before coming to Italy.
- Headlights must be switched all times on highways and carriageways outside town.
- Seatbelts are mandatory.
- Mobile cellular phones cannot be used while driving, unless used with a hands free device.
- Do NOT Drink & Drive: people with blood alcohol content at or above 0,5 gr/lt will be heavily penalized with driving license and/or vehicle confiscation and/or imprisonment. Italian Police does random alcohol test on drivers at any time, especially on festive days and summer. Vehicle Insurance will be voided if the driver involved in an accident is found under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
- Speed Controls are enforced and monitored by automated video cameras taking pictures of your license plate as you pass by: rental cars records will help track your address in your country to send you costly fines (multa).
- Always give way to public transportation and Emergency vehicles.
- While driving in town: priority is given to traffic coming from the right, unless other signs specify differently – also with flashing yellow traffic lights.
- Do not use BUS or CYCLE Lanes, you may get fined.
- Children less than 18 kilos (48.5 pounds) must travel in child car seats.
- Children under 36 kilos (97 pounds) or under 150cm cannot travel on front seat  and must be seated and belted in a child seat adapt to the size and weight to comply with European safety standards.
- Cars not registered in Italy must have a EU style number plate with a sticker denoting the home country.


- AUTOSTRADA:  Highway/Freeway (signs are green with white text), follow speed limit signs 110/130 Km/H. Highways are tolled and each journey is tolled depending on the kilometers travelled and the car type. You can pay with cash or credit cards. Make sure you do NOT head for the TELEPASS entrance or exit as those are for subscribers only (you need to have the telepass device installed in your car). Petrol Stations on Highways are open 24 Hrs with operators and bars/restaurants (Autogrill).  You can organize your trip here .

- STRADE STATALI:  dual carriageways, leading to town centres, numbered with a SS prefix. Towns and residential speed limit is 50 Km/H.

- STRADE PROVINCIALI:  regional roads, numbered with SP prefix. Speed limit is usually 90 Km/H.

- STRADA BIANCA:  white roads are unpaved.


Petrol Stations in Italy can have pump operators, hand them your keys, the kind of fuel you need and how much you want to fill in. But most of them now have self service lanes, fill up and go pay afterwards. Automatic Self Service machines are available 24hrs (except when the station is open with attendants) – Be aware that Automatic Machines: do not make change!

                    Italian                              English 
Benzina Senza Piombo  Unleaded Fuel (Green handle)
Gasolio   Diesel (Yellow handle)
Pieno  Full, Full tank
Aperto  Open 
Chiuso  Closed
Uscita  Exit
Autogrill  Petrol Station with Restaurant/Bar