Driving tips - Italy
Before hitting the road in Italy, one must know the ins and outs of all the matters pertaining to driving on the beautiful yet sometimes crazy Italian roads. If you equip yourself with such knowledge now you’ll be sure to have a fun and enjoyable experience when you’re there. Why not follow this simple guide, complete with facts and figures to keep yourself safe:
Before you rent or take a car to Italy, you will need to know what documents you are legally required to have on your person when in control of a vehicle. You will need to carry:
- Driver’s licence or IDP
- Car insurance documents
- Photographic proof of ID
- Ownership or permission to drive the vehicle
- The minimum age for driving in this country is eighteen (18) years.
- Children of four (4) years or under must be seated in a standard regulation safety seat.
- Children under twelve (12) years of age must be seated in the back with a fastened seatbelt.
Driving Rules, Laws and Regulations
- You drive on the right hand side of the road
- Keep right and overtake on the left
- Overtaking is prohibited at bends, at the top of a hill, places of restricted visibility and intersections
- Always carry license while driving
- Should obey traffic signs
- On the autostrada (expressway), you must drive with your lights on
- Give priority to pedestrians
- Keep lights on while driving on dual carriageways and other roads during reduced visibility
Speed Limits and Fines
Under normal road conditions the following speed limits apply at all times:
- 130km/h (80mph) on expressways.
- 110km/h (68mph) on highways.
- 90km/h (55mph) on roads outside cities/built-up areas.
- 50km/h (31mph) on roads in cities/built-up area.
Failing to adhere to these speed limits will incur fines that you will have to either pay within 60 days or immediately, depending on the situation, but whatever the case, you’ll have no choice but to pay.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.05mg/100ml is the legal blood-alcohol limit in Italy, but 0mg for those who have been driving less than three years. Police in Italy may carry out random alcohol tests on drivers. Failing a blood-alcohol test has serious consequences. The vehicle will be seized, the driver will be fined and have their licence confiscated, and in more serious cases, the driver may also be imprisoned.
Blue road signs indicate paid parking zones, which provide some hours of free parking every day and on Sundays, this all depends on the area. Blue stripes indicate limited parking and there will be a ticket machine.
If a vehicle is parked on a pavement it will be clamped. Freeing your vehicle will involve a fine. If the vehicle is obstructing traffic then it will be towed away, which will also involve a fine to release it.
The international sticker for disabled parking can be used in specially marked zones, indicated by yellow lines and the yellow wheelchair symbol.
A final note is that all of these rules apply to everyone without exception. Keep this in mind while driving and you’ll be sure to enjoy your time spent traveling on the Italian roads, be it in the city or countryside.
Florence driving guide
Many argue that Florence is the most beautiful city in Italy. Others reason that it is even more romantic than Venice, while other travellers feel that, as the birthplace of the Renaissance, it houses more art, sculpture and architectural masterpieces than Rome. Wander through the streets of Florence, especially in the spring months when the flowers are in bloom, and decide for yourself which of the above is a worthy description of the capital of Tuscany.
But don’t discount one of the several day trips from Florence as an important part of your visit and places to take your rental car.
Florence to Val d’Orcia:
1 hour 49 (120 km) via Raccordo Autostradale Firenze - Siena and SR2
The Tuscan countryside is possibly the most beautiful collection of farms, vineyards and rolling hills in the world. The cypress lined roads lead you along one of UNESCO’s World Cultural Landscapes. Give yourself plenty of time to slowly explore Val d’Orcia, visiting farms and sampling wines, cheeses, meats and home cooked meals along the way. Pop into Montalcino or Pienzo and discover hidden secrets within the back streets. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera, you will only ever view such picturesque landscapes again on postcards, and they won’t compare.
Florence to Pisa:
1 hour 7 (83.4 km) via SGC Firenze
Head West for an hour from Florence and you’ll find yourself in Pisa. Your grandmother won’t forgive you for visiting Italy and excluding the Leaning Tower of Pisa from your trip. But while this architectural wonder makes for an interesting photo op (you know the one, where the subject is standing in such a way as to appear to be keeping the tower from falling), it is not the only thing about the medieval city worth visiting.
For art lovers, the 11th Century Duomo is full of art, while the Baptistery and the palaces around Pisa are also well worth exploring.
Florence to Siena:
1 hour 9 (81.5 km) via Raccordo Autostradale Firenze — Siena
For a fine example of a medieval city, head to Florence’ longtime rival, Siena. If you only have time to take in one site during your visit, make it the 13th century duomo, widely agreed as the most striking cathedral in the country. You’ll find artworks by Michelangelo, Donatello, Bernini and Pisano and a frescoed library that will make you want to head straight off to the Sistine Chapel to decide which is the more beautiful. From the city’s scalloped shaped piazza you’ll have a great view of the 14th century tower that is even taller than the one you’re familiar with from Florence.
Fancy a stay in and around Florence? On our website we list a number of accommodation options in the area that focus on clean, simple affordable living during your stay, as opposed to an ostentatious hotel that sucks up all of your spending money.
The same goes for the rental cars that we have on offer. Why throw your cash away on a flashy car that drinks fuel for breakfast when you could rather spend that money on a modest rental car and pay for fuel and breakfast in Val d’Orcia, Pisa or Siena? Whatever you do with the money you save on accommodation at Cheaperthanhotels and rental cars at Cheaperthancars is your business, we’re just here to enable you to have more cash to spend on what could be the trip of a lifetime.
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