Driving in Italy – What do I have to consider?

Alpen im R ckspiegel Cappuccino Sonne

The Brenner Autobahn A22 heading south

When they arrive at their Italian holiday destination, many Germans leave their car in the hotel car park out of fear and only start their return journey in it. The rumors that the Italians drive insanely fast, dangerously and in confusion are strong, but the truth is no problem at all driving in Italy – neither in the city nor on country roads beyond the well-developed motorways. If you just drive relaxed in Italy, obey the traffic rules and adapt to the flow of traffic, you won’t have any problems! The parking costs in many Italian cities are also quite cheap compared to Germany.

The traffic rules

…are almost completely identical to the German ones, but there are a few things to note. You should definitely remember them speed limits (Applies to cars in km/h):

  • In town: 50
  • Country road/out of town: 90
  • Highway: 130

Driving in Italy

… is not nearly as spirited as you might think. The Italians see the traffic rules more than recommendation. So it often happens that a red traffic light is run over or constantly overtaken. In an emergency, for example when overtaking on a country road brake the Italians but much earlier than in Germany – in Italy more consideration is given to other road users. Not for nothing, according to statistics, there is in Italy far fewer serious accidents than in Germany, but body damage is more common and almost always negotiated in cash without police and insurance. A (too) slow-moving car is not constantly honked at in Italy, but simply overtaken – whether in town or on country roads.

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Instead of driving yourself crazy with lots of traffic signs, just adjust your speed to the other vehicles.

Toll ticket of the Brenner motorway

Toll ticket of the Brenner motorway

Motorways in Italy (Autostrada)

Motorways are almost 100% toll roads and marked with green signs. The toll can be calculated in advance on this interactive map from the operator Autostrade per Italia.
In contrast to Germany, there is one on Italian autobahns Speed ​​limit of 130 km/h. The speed is monitored with the so-called “Sistema Tutor”: This measures the speed of a vehicle at several points on the motorway. So if you drive correctly over the long term and were once at a speed of 150 km/h, nothing happens. However, the system is only installed on about 10-20% of the motorways.
The highways are partly with Scoreboards equipped, which does not exist in Germany. They either display (warning) information about traffic jams or construction sites, or minutes and place names. For example, “Ancona 35′” Means from here 35 minutes to Ancona needs. The system calculates the time based on the current traffic situation.

Autostrada Alpe Adria in Richtung Norden.

Display boards indicate the flow of traffic or dangers such as traffic jams or construction work.

On the road near Asciano in Tuscany with the Mercedes Benz CLA

On the road near Asciano in Tuscany with the Mercedes Benz CLA

You should remember this:

  • Basically: Green Signs mean a (usually toll) motorway, blue signs a toll-free federal highway
  • Often free parking spaces in the city or in multi-storey car parks are marked in white, while chargeable ones are blue. Yellow means short-term parking.
  • It is strictly forbidden and heavily fined for reversing or making U-turns at toll booths
  • In multi-lane roundabouts in large cities you should always concentrated drive and pay attention to the cars next to you. There are hardly any driving rules here.
  • One should always, especially in big cities, on a motorcycle/Scooter riders pay attention. They like to push their way between the cars
  • Warning vests must be carried and worn in the event of a breakdown (e.g. these according to the DIN standard)
  • Out of town must go daytime running lights / Dipped headlights are driven
  • The penalties for speeding violations are much higher than in Germany. If you are stopped by the police with a violation (which is very rare) you almost always have to pay in cash – in the worst case the car can be confiscated, so always have enough cash and all the vehicle documents with you!
  • Parking violations are usually punished with a fine of not less than 35 EUR.
  • the alcohol limit is 0.5 – from 1.5 per mille the car can be confiscated and auctioned off in favor of the state.
  • In case of emergancy: How to dial 112 in Germany.

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Parking spaces marked in blue usually mean that they are subject to a fee. Yellow means short-term parking, white ones are usually free.

The toll booths

Toll stations work thanks to the latest technology in Italy problem-free. One can except that yellow “Telepass” lane use every lane. To the blue tracks you can only with EC or credit card pay to the “white” tracks (these are most) you can go with cash or card pay. There are only machines on the yellow and blue lanes, only the white lanes are still operated by employees. If you don’t have any money with you at a toll station or your credit card doesn’t work, a receipt is simply printed out with the vehicle’s license plate number (always photographed at every toll station) and bank details – you can then transfer the toll owed from home and can of course continue.

Fully automatic toll station: The amount to be paid is displayed, you insert your credit card, it comes out again immediately and the barrier opens - without a signature and without entering a PIN.

Fully automatic toll station: The amount to be paid is displayed, you insert your credit card, it comes out again immediately and the barrier opens – without a signature and without entering a PIN.

Video: Faster at the toll station with card payment


Important Italian road signs

  • divieto di accesso = access forbidden
  • lavori in corso = construction work
  • parcheggio = parking lot
  • rallentare = drive slowly
  • senso unico = one-way street
  • strada senza uscita = dead end
  • zona pedonale = pedestrian zone
  • in caso del nebbia = in fog
  • deviazione = detour
  • tutte le direzioni = all directions
  • in galeria = in the tunnel
  • sbarrato = blocked
  • moderare la velocita = adjust the speed (commonly read before tunnels)
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There are often beautiful and well-developed country roads in Italy, such as here near Volterra (Tuscany)

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