Driving Rules & Regulations in Italy

If you’re looking for that perfect holiday destination, Italy has that elusive combination of attractions with something for everyone. Whether you are interested in arts and culture, charming villages, fascinating history, stunning scenery, or mouth-watering food and wine, you are totally spoilt for choice.

Car rental in Italy is the best way to get around this magnificent country. Set your own itinerary and travel at your own pace, visiting places off the beaten track and doing what suits you. Felice da Guida!

Road Rules In Italy

– Drive on the right hand side of the road.

– At roundabouts, yield to traffic that is already on the roundabout.

– The driver on the roundabout always has the right of way. Be sure to use your indicators. 

– The centre of a three-lane roadway is for overtaking.

– Give way to traffic on the right when you are at a junction or crossroads. You can only pass on the left.

– To rent a car or drive on the road, you must be at least 18 years of age, with a licence held for at least one year.

– The use of handheld mobile phones is prohibited. 

– Seatbelts must be worn, and children under 12 must have appropriate restraints.

– The blood alcohol limit for drivers is .05 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

–  Speed limits are as follows: Cities and urban areas, 50kph; open road, 110kph; highways (Autostrada), 130kph.

– If stopped by police, have your driver’s licence and car documentation at the ready. If you have committed a traffic offence, be prepared to pay an on-the-spot fine – which can  be quite substantial. 

– If parking on an urban street, park on the right hand side. In “blue zone” areas, you must display a parking disc, which can be obtained in tourist offices or at the offices of Automobile Club d’Italia. Each disc is valid for one hour. 

– If you are driving a petrol car, please make sure to order benzina - not gasolio’! Petrol stations are open from 7am to 7pm, and you will find 24-hour outlets along the Autostrada.

Roads In Italy

Italy is home to one of the most extensive networks of roads and highways in Europe, incorporating more than 6,000km of Autostrada (Highways) and nearly 300,000km of secondary roads. The roads are classified as follows:

– Autostrada: Known as Superhighways, most charge tolls. They cover the Italian peninsula and make it easy tro drive right around Italy.
– Strade Statali: State roads.
– Strade Provinciali: Provincial Roads
– Strade Comunali: Local Roads

Roads in urban areas can be pretty congested, so be prepared for this.  If you get nervous in heavy traffic, you might prefer to drive on secondary roads or in more rural areas. Italian drivers have a reputation for risky driving behaviour, but most are skillful road users. City Zones are better suited to confident drivers. Always drive with your dipped headlights on when driving on the Autostrada.

When arranging car hire in Italy, opt for a SatNav/GPS System, or invest in a good map. 

On the Autostrada, stop only in permitted emergency parking spots or in parking lanes. Do not attempt a U-turn.

Some Useful Road Terminology

Some of the following terms are very useful when seeking directions from an Italian local:

Turn to the left – Gira a sinistra
Turn to the right – Gira a destra
To the north – a nord
To the south  – a sud
To the west – a ovest
To the east – a est
Traffic lights – semafori
Drive Straight On – Vai diritto

We hope you find this guide to driving in Italy useful. If you have any tips on Italian driving please let us know. Thank You.