Italy Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Driving In Italy

Italy drives on the right and you can use the photo licence of any EU country to drive here. Drivers from other countries need their own licence plus an international driving permit. Speed limits range from 130kmh on motorways to 110/90kmh on other roads and 50kmh in urban areas. By law, all occupants of a vehicle must have a reflective vest for use in accident or breakdown. The vehicle must also carry a warning triangle.

Italy has 490,000km of roads and one of the world’s highest levels of car ownership. The country has an efficient and well maintained network of autostrada or motorways, which are prefixed with an ‘A’. Some of the Autostrada are toll roads, including those below, with an approximate toll cost-

A1           Milano – Napoli 58 EURO

A4           Torino – Milano 15 EURO

A4           Milano – Venezia 19 EURO

A5           Torino – Aosta    25 EURO

A6           Torino – Savona 13 EURO

A7           Milano – Genova 10 EURO

A8           Milano – Varese  5 EURO

A10        Genova – French border  16 EURO

A11        Firenze – Pisa      18 EURO

A12        Genova – Rome 29 EURO

A13        Bologna – Pádova 7 EURO

A26        Genova – Swiss border    17 EURO

A32        Torino – French border   11 EURO

Tolls can be paid at barriers or via prepaid systems – Viacard and Telepass.It seems you need an Italian bank account for Telepass and Viacard seems to be for commercial use only. Therefore as far as I can see, travellers passing through the country will have to pay at the barrier. If you rent a car, check with the rental company whether it has a Telepass chip fitted. This site provides a toll calculator.

Road conditions are generally good on all main routes in Italy. 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 possible restrictions 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. A number of Italian cities also operate low emmission zones which limit vehicle access at certain times. Details can be found here. Expect scooters and motorbikes to make erratic manouveres when negotiating traffic in busy city centres.

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

Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.

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 and Web discount sites such as Expedia.

We currently have no local car rental partners in Italy. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on

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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