GENERAL TIPS AND ROAD INFORMATION
Traffic drives on the right and overtakes on the left. When cars flash their headlights, it usually means hurry up, instead of letting you go first.
ROADWAYS AND MOTORWAYS
Italy has a reasonably well maintained national road network, though as you drive south on the peninsula there is a noticeable deterioration in the upkeep of the motorways and regional roads. The main north-south motorway linking Milan with Naples is a tolled highway and runs up the middle of the boot of Italy. It is known as the A1 or Autostrada del Sole - literally the road to the sun, or the E35, its European name. The A1 is transected by other motorways going from east to west of the A1.
Road signs for Italian highways are green, showing the name of the highway and the number prefaced with an A, like the A1 from Rome to Florence, and the direction of travel; Rome or Milano. Some road maps now also name the roads with an 'E' which is the standard European name.
RIGHT OF WAY
Always give way to trains, trams, buses and emergency vehicles
In towns and urban areas priority is given to traffic joining from the right, unless otherwise indicated.
Parking in the towns and cities, particularly those considered tourist centers, is not easy. On-street parking is allowed generally on the right, or in designated parking areas indicated by a large blue and white sign marked P. White lines indicate free public spaces and blue lines are 'pay' public spaces. When parked in blue zones your vehicle must display a parking ticket, conveniently obtained at parking meters, parking attendants, or a local bar. Sundays and bank holidays are usually free.
Traffic violations incur a fine and visitors pay 25% on the spot. An official receipt should be issued with the details of the violation. On the spot fines are given to drivers who use bus / cycle lanes. Cellular phones are prohibited when driving unless using a hands-free system. The legal blood alcohol level for driving in Italy is 0.08% and is strictly adhered to. Random breath tests are common throughout the country.
All grades of unleaded petrol (benzina), diesel (gasolio) and LPG are available as well as a lead substitute additive. Leaded no longer exists. Credit cards are not widely accepted, particularly at automatic pumps, which are often the only ones open after-hours and at lunch time (noon to 3pm). Most petrol stations close on Sunday.
Carrying spare fuel cans is illegal.
Urban areas 50 kph (31 mph)
Secondary Roads 90 kph (56 mph)
Main Roads 110 kph (68 mph)
Motorways 130 kph (81 mph)
Italian motorways are more heavily tolled compared to other European countries, however, if you have time, you can just as easily use state or regional roads. Toll rates are based distance, the size of your car, and whether you are towing another vehicle. Tolls are paid in cash or credit card when exiting the motorway. You can also pay with the Viacard, prepaid cards purchased with cash, look for designated toll booths for the VIACARD.
The legal driving age for a car or motorbike over 125cc is 18 years.
An International Driving License is required unless you have the new Photocard license from European.
An international driving license, insurance certificate (Green Card) and vehicle registration/ownership papers are required at all times. When renting a car you will need to carry insurance certificates and all the appropriate documentation provided by the rental agency.
Third-Party insurance is compulsory and a "Green card," frontier insurance valid for 15, 30, or 45 days is recommended and should be issued to cover your car before your trip to Italy.
Warning triangle and the use of visibility vests is mandatory. Spare bulb kit, fire extinguisher and first aid kit are recommended.
Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.
Dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility and in tunnels at all times. They must also be used on motorways, divided highways, and rural roads. Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.
Children smaller than 150cm must travel in a child seat adapted to their size and weight and wear additional safety belts that comply with national and European safety standards. Children may not travel in a non-adapted front seat until they are 150cm tall
Drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Fire Service 115
In Italy Online