A road trip in Italy… what could be better? Well, a road trip in Italy with no worries about license requirements, car equipment, speed limits in Italy and prepared for the toll roads ahead. Sounds like the perfect summer to me! So let’s take a look at what you need to enjoy a carefree road trip through Italy.
Driving to Italy
Every trip has to begin somewhere, right? So if yours begins elsewhere, then you should also consider travel to Italy as part of your holiday. Don’t make driving to Italy a means of travel, make it fun and an adventure.
Coming from the UK? Consider taking a ferry to France and driving down from there. Check out our comprehensive guide to ferry prices from the UK, and determine your route.
Heading from another area of Europe? You’ll certainly save costs from the ferry, but that doesn’t mean it is all smooth sailing. When crossing other countries, you’ll need to consider things like toll roads, environmental zones and more! These are always manageable, and involve ordering a vignette or applying a sticker - or even planning your route intelligently to avoid them.
License and Requirements
Driving licenses issued by any EU member state is valid in Italy, and possession of one of these means you do not require an international driving permit for Italy. If you do not have one, you will need to obtain an international driving permit. This is irrespective of how much time you will spend there. However, this permit is valid throughout Italy and over 150 other United Nations member countries.
Travelling from somewhere else? Simply search for the term and select a government organised website, to reduce the chances of fraud or being overcharged.
Driving Rules in Italy
The driving rules for italy don’t differ too much from the rest of Europe, but here are some of the big ones just to be sure:
- You must be over 18 to drive.
- Keep to the right and overtake to the left.
- Dipped headlights must be used on two-lane motorways.
- When passing through towns and villages, the horn may only be used for an emergency - keep that road rage in check!
- Trams and trains have the right of way.
- Helmets are compulsory to all drivers of motorcycles and mopeds. Safety first, hair second.
Speed Limits in Italy
Urban areas: 50km/h - 31mph
Out of built-up areas: 90km/h - 56mph, or 110km/h - 68mph
Motorways: 130km/h, 81mph
But if your campervan or motorhome weighs between 3.5 tonnes and 12 tonnes, these are your speed limits driving in Italy:
Urban areas: 50km/h - 31mph
Out of built-up areas: 80km/h - 50mph
Motorways: 100km/h, 62mph
Compulsory Equipment for Italy
You need to carry the following safety equipment:
- Reflective triangle
- Reflective safety vest
- Spare tire
- Fire extinguisher (recommended)
Also ensure you have the following documentation with you:
- International Driver’s Permit/ EU Driver’s License
- Proof of Liability Insurance
- ID / Passport
Italian Road Signs
Most Italian road signs correspond to the general ones, the only differences to watch out for:
- zona traffico limitato - This simple white circle with a red border is usually placed in city centers, and restricts access without special authorization.
- disco orario - This references a parking disc being required. And “ora” is an hour, so that you can determine how long you can stay.
- Keep an eye out for brown road signs, these indicate a historic or tourist attraction!
- Important words to consider for driving in Italy: destra (right), sinistra (left), dritto (straight), uscita (exit), pedaggio (toll).
Toll Roads in Italy
Toll roads in Italy are found when exiting the autostrada (green signs indicate them), using a ticket when you first came onto it. You will be required to pay in cash. Don’t make the mistake of driving on the Telepass lane, a lane for users paying a monthly subscription. Making this error can result in a hefty fine.
Now that we know how to get about, where will we go? Here are a few of the best road trips in Italy:
1. The Stelvio Pass
Take in the breathtaking alpine views as you drive along these Northern roads. This route includes stops in Bolzano, Bormio, Stelvio and Livigno. This route in Italy is ideal for nature lovers, wishing to hike these mountains and enjoy delicious Northern cuisine.
2. Exploring Tuscany
Looking to drive down winding lanes with the wind in your hair and sunshine beating down? Finishing a day of travelling with the most delicious wine? Then enjoy this route from Florence through the Tuscan countryside, stopping at vineyards, delicious eateries and quaint hotels.
3. Lake Garda
Lesser known than the glamorous Lake Como and set in Italy’s Veneto region, this is the perfect summer holiday destination. The pastel-colored Italian villas, crystalline waters and lush scenery will produce the best holiday photos. It is a long route, but one certainly worth it!
So pack your bags, hire a motorhome in Italy, and let the adventure begin! Be sure to pack elasticated trousers for the delicious food to come, and a great playlist for the road.