What do I need to know about driving in Italy?

What do I need to know about driving in Italy?

The land of beautiful vineyards, magnificent ruins, quaint coastal towns, and vibrant cities, Italy indeed is a traveler’s delight. However, to derive the maximum pleasure from your Italian sojourn, understanding the local driving rules and conditions is essential.


To start your self-drive journey in the picturesque landscape of Italy, make sure you have these key documents handy:

  • Valid Driving License: An International Driving Permit (IDP) is required along with your valid national driving license.
  • Vehicle Documents: If you are renting a car, the rental agreement is mandatory. If the car is your own, carry the registration and insurance documents.
  • ID Proof: It’s always wise to carry passport or other recognized identification.

Driving Rules and Regulations

Besides the right driving documentation, familiarize yourself with the local traffic laws in Italy:

  • Drive on the Right: Vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road in Italy.
  • Zero Alcohol Tolerance for young, novice and professional drivers: The standard legal limit of blood alcohol content is 0.5 grams per liter. However, if you are below 21, have had your license for less than three years, or are driving a commercial vehicle this limit is reduced to 0.
  • Use Of Mobile Phones: Using a mobile phone without a hands-free device while driving is illegal.


Parking rules in Italy can be a bit tricky. Remember:

  • Blue lines: Indicate paid parking spots.
  • White lines: Indicate free parking, but may require a parking disc.
  • Yellow lines: Areas reserved for disabled drivers, deliveries, or local residents' permits.

Tolls and ZTLs

Many major highways in Italy require a toll, and the rates are calculated based on the distance traveled. You can pay by cash, card, or electronic device like Telepass. Another vital factor to bear in mind is the Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL) or Limited Traffic Zone in Italy's city centers. Unauthorized vehicles are not allowed to enter these zones, and infractions attract hefty fines.

Emergency Numbers

While we hope you never have to use them, it's important to know Italy's emergency numbers just in case:

  • 113 - General Emergency
  • 115 - Fire Brigade
  • 118 - Medical Emergency

Driving in Italy - A Unique Experience

Driving in Italy opens doors to explore off-the-beaten-track towns and picturesque locales at your own pace. Planning and anticipation pave the way to a delightful Italian road trip.

With the wind in your hair, classic Italian tunes blaring on the radio and a route map to the next quaint little town, there’s no better way to soak in the authentic charm of Italian landscape!

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