Driving in the major Italian cities can be a daunting experience at first, but driving through the countryside however is usually delightful, with only relatively light traffic on many roads. Most of the Italian motorways are toll roads. Drivers can pay at the toll booths on the road or purchase a "Viacard" from service stations or tourist offices.
Driving on the right hand side of the road may be a new experience for some visitors as may well be the use of kilometres to measure distance - one good thing about using a rental car is that it will be adapted to local conditions with the steering on the left hand side and the speedometer marked in kilometres per hour.
The availability of rentals cars is very good throughout Italy and there is usually no problem in arranging for a hire car to be left at a different location from where it was originally rented.
The speed limits in Italy are:
On Autostrada (Equivalent to British Motorways) the limit is 130 kilometres per hour. This equates to about 80 miles per hour. On other roads not showing any lower restriction the limit is 90 kilometres per hour, that's 55 miles per hour In towns the limit is 50 kilometres per hour, or 31 miles per hour.
Drivers face severe penalties if found driving with more than 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. This is lower than the limit in Britain which is 80mg per 100ml.
Persons under the age of 18 years are not allowed to drive in Italy even though they may hold a driving licence issued in another country.
The wearing of seat belts is compulsory. All motorists whose vehicle is immobilised on the carriageway outside built up areas at night or in poor visibility must wear a reflectorised jacket or waistcoat. The jacket or waistcoat used by foreign motorists does not need to conform to Italian standards. Police will not check if the garment is on board all cars but a motorist seen walking on the carriageway without one could be penalised.
All vehicles must carry a warning triangle and reflectorised jacket or waistcoat for use in emergencies. Check these are fitted to your hire car before you drive away.
Outside of urban areas drivers must use dipped headlights at all times.
These notes are intended only to draw attention to some of the rules and regulations that apply to driving in Italy. They are not an exhaustive or complete set of regulations and may be superseded by changes in the law at any time. The publishers can accept no responsibility for any problem that may arise because drivers have failed to satisfy all the relevant legislation in any country in which they may use a vehicle hired through this site. It remains the responsibility of the driver to satisfy himself or herself that they are aware of all the relevant legislation that affects their conduct and the driving of vehicles in any country in which they may find themselves.
Click on a location for car hire options: