Italy Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Driving In Italy
Road conditions are generally good all over. Driving standards are relatively high though Italian drivers in Cities tend to drive quickly, will tailgate and use their horn a lot, especially when sat in traffic. Italy has over 5,600 kilometers (3,480 mi.) of Autostrada, or superhighways which tend to be driven at very high speeds. Driving abroad in Italian cities with historic centres can be stressful due to the usual unfamiliarity with one way systems etc, but also due to the restrictions mentioned above around driving in historic zones. You should check restrictions with your hotel at the time of booking and also make sure they have parking. If you have to park miles away from your hotel, it negates the benefit of staying in the centre to some extent.
Italy has a strict policy of imposing on-the-spot fines’ for minor traffic offences. These range typically between €150 – 250. General rules are below, but its easy to be caught out. You should therefore carry enough cash to pay a fine if required.
You must use dipped headlights during the day while travelling on motorways and major roads outside cities.
The limit for alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.5 grams per litre.(thats probably about half a pint of beer for most people)
The use of mobile phones in cars is prohibited unless with fitted hands free
There should be a reflective jacket in your vehicle and you must wear it when standing with, inspecting or repairing your vehicle if you are on a public highway.
Drivers in northern Italy, especially in winter, should be aware of fog and poor visibility, which is responsible for multiple-car accidents each year.
In Sicily and Sardina, roads are generally in good condition but can be narrow, steep and winding in mountain areas.

Many travellers drive in or through Italy as part of a longer driving trip across Europe. Driving distances within Italy and to neighbouring countries are as follows –

Rome-Milan 583km, estimated travel time, 5.5 hours, Toll 36 Euro

Rome-Naples 226km, estimated travel time, 2 hours, Toll 14 Euro

Milan- Paris – 850km, estimated travel time, 8.5 hours, Toll 110 Euro

Milan- Nice – 315 km, estimated travel time, 3.5 hours, Toll 28 Euro

Milan- Ljubljana – 499 km, estimated travel time, 5 hours, Toll 26 Euro

Milan- Zurich– 280 km, estimated travel time, 3 hours, Toll 4 Euro

Milan- Vienna– 866 km, estimated travel time, 8 hours, Toll 32 Euro

Milan- Zagreb– 632 km, estimated travel time, 6 hours, Toll 27 Euro

Italy Car Rental –
Sixt, Hertz, Europcar, Alamo, National, Avis, Budget, Dollar,Thrifty, have branches throughout Italy, Sicily and Sardinia. Also usually features on Car rental broker sites such as Argus Car Hire and Web discount sites such as or Expedia

This is a local broker site

This is a local broker specialising in Sicily

This is a broker specialising in Sardinia

Italy Self Driving Rules
Cars will generally be allowed to be taken into other Mainland European countries and UK but there may be restrictions on taking high spec cars into Eastern European countries. One way rental may be possible between Italy and certain neighbouring countries. Hertz seem to allow this into Croatia, Slovenia and Switzerland but you can’t book this online and need to call them for details. Expect to pay a hefty surcharge to do this.  There may also be restrictions on taking cars on ferries to Sicily and Sardinia. Hire cars can’t drive in the centre of many historic Italian cities. If your hotel is in one of these cities, you can buy a short-term pass from most hire car companies but this is only valid for that particular city. These no-drive zones are usually marked with signs saying ‘ZTL’ in black on a yellow background. If you drive past one of these signs your number plate will automatically be recorded – and if you don’t have a pass you’ll be given a fine.

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