Do you want to drive to Italy? It can be difficult to see the hidden villages and rural areas of Italy if you rely on public transport. Do you want to drive in Italy It can be difficult to travel in Italy if you rely on public transport? It is possible to explore Umbria and Tuscany by bus and train, but it is not easy. (Check out our guides getting around Umbria by bus and train and navigating Cinque Terre via train). Renting a car allows you more freedom and flexibility. It can also be the most economical option, depending on how many people you are traveling with.
It can be daunting to drive in Italy, especially considering the intimidating reputation of Italian drivers. These 6 tips will help you cruise the roads of Italy like a local.
01. Here are some things to consider when renting a vehicle
You can wait to get to Italy before renting a car. You will get a better deal and have more options if you book ahead of your trip. It’s usually easier to book online than by phone. You can reserve most rental cars online, by phone or with smaller international companies.
Depending on your company, insurance may not be included in plans. However, you can always add it for an additional charge. You might consider renting a car for longer periods to get a better rate (usually half of the daily rate), and you should also account for rising gasoline prices.
02. Keep in mind that automatic cars are not available, well, automatically
Stick-shift cars are not recommended. It might surprise you to learn that the majority of Italian cars are manual and stick-shift. Automatics are often more expensive and have limited availability. Another reason to book early! ).
You can also rent scooters and motorcycles, but they are not recommended for long-distance travel or in unfamiliar areas. Never, ever attempt to learn how to drive a scooter in a foreign country. We have warned you!
03. Technically speaking, an international driving permit is required
You won’t likely be asked to rent a car if you don’t need it. If you are stopped, You might be. Or you might not. There’s no way to know. Technically, it is required that you have it when you drive. Applications can be made through the AAA website. Permits are valid for one year.
04. A good map is essential, or better still, a GPS.
Signs on the roads in Italy will often not indicate north, south or east. Instead, they’ll use a sign for a city. If you’re looking for a sign to indicate that you are driving north from Rome, then you might see one for “Firenze”, or “Milano.” This can prove to be confusing, especially for those who don’t know much about Italian geography. ).
A good map is a must, or you can rent one with your car for around 10-15 euros per day. The GPS system can guide you on narrow roads and through small alleyways.
Signs indicating restaurants, hotels, and other sights of interest are often found at intersections and roundabouts. But you will need to be quick to read them all.
05. Learn the rules of the Italian Road
Just like Americans, Italians drive on the right side of the road. This may sound simple, but it’s surprising how many people don’t know.
The traffic lights and stop signs are the same in most countries. However, as with most European countries, right turns at red lights are always illegal.
Zona trafico limitato e zona pedonale signify pedestrian streets that are closed to cars.
Inverted red and white triangles mean that you don’t have the right-of-way at the intersection.
It is useful to be able to say destra (right), sinistra(left), uscita, exit (exit), and pedaggio (“toll”) when driving in Italy.
06. Be aware of the speed limit or you could get stung
All Italian roads, from streets to highways, have speed limits. They are usually marked by a red and white circle with the number of kilometers (not miles per hour) written in its center.
The majority of police officers don’t patrol the roads. Instead, cameras are set up so that a car’s speed can be recorded and automatically issued a ticket. There are many of them, especially along the highways.
You can rent a car in Italy by renting a vehicle. The ticket will be sent to the agent and the cost will automatically be taken from your credit card.
Look out for signs with a police officer holding a hand up or orange autovelox boxes that indicate speed traps or checkpoints.