Driving in italy – what do i have to pay attention to?

The Brenner freeway A22 in direction south

Many Germans leave their car in the hotel parking lot when they arrive at their vacation destination in Italy, and only use it for their return journey. the rumors, the italians would drive insanely fast, dangerously and confused hold strongly, but in reality it is no problem at all to drive a car in italy – neither in the city nor on country roads beyond the well-developed freeways. If you simply drive in a relaxed manner in italy, obeying the traffic rules and adapting to the flow of traffic, you will have no problems at all! The parking costs in many ital. big cities are also quite cheap compared to germany.

The traffic rules

…are almost completely identical to the german ones, but there are a few small things to keep in mind. It is important to remember the speed limits (valid for cars in km/h):

  • In town: 50
  • Country road/outskirts: 90
  • Freeway: 130

The way of driving in italy

… is by far not as temperamental as one might think. the italians see the traffic rules more than recommendation. For example, it is common to run a red light or to overtake constantly. In serious cases, z.B. When overtaking closely on the highway the italians brake but much earlier than in germany – in italy people are more considerate of other road users. Not for nothing, according to statistics, in italy there are much less serious accidents than in germany, sheet metal damages are however more frequent and are almost always negotiated without police and insurance in cash. a (too) slow driving car is not permanently honked at in italy, but simply overtaken – no matter if in town or on the highway.

driving in italy - what do i have to pay attention to?

Instead of being driven crazy by a lot of traffic signs, simply adapt your speed to the other vehicles.

Toll ticket of the Brenner motorway

toll ticket of the brenner motorway

Freeways in italy (autostrada)

almost 100% of the freeways are toll roads and are marked with green signs. on this interactive map of the operator autostrade per italia you can calculate the toll in advance.
on italian highways, in contrast to germany, there is a 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 highway. So if you drive permanently correct and once you were fast 150km/h for a short time, nothing happens. However, the system is only installed on about 10-20 % of the freeways.
The autobahns are partly with display boards equipped, which does not exist in germany. They display either (warning) information about traffic jams or construction sites, or minute information and place names. For example, "ancona 35′ " means that from here you can find 35 minutes to ancona needs. The system calculates the time based on the current traffic situation.

driving in italy - what do i have to pay attention to?

Signs indicate the flow of traffic or events such as traffic jams or construction work.

With the Mercedes Benz CLA underway at Asciano in Tuscany

With the mercedes benz CLA underway at asciano in tuscany

One should keep in mind:

  • Basically: green signs mean a (mostly toll) freeway, blue signs a toll-free federal highway
  • Often free parking in the city or in parking garages marked in white, whereas paid parking spaces are marked in blue. Yellow means short parking.
  • It is strictly forbidden and high fines for reversing or turning around at toll stations
  • In multi-lane traffic circles in major 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, use motorcycle/watch out for scooter drivers. These like to squeeze between the cars through
  • High-visibility vests must be carried and worn in the event of a breakdown (e.g. in the event of an accident).B. This according to DIN norm)
  • Out of town must be marked with daytime running lights / driving with dipped headlights
  • the penalties for speeding violations are much higher than in germany. If you are stopped by the police with a violation (which happens very rarely) you almost always have to pay in cash – in the worst case the car can be confiscated, so always carry enough cash and all vehicle documents with you!
  • Also parking violations are usually punished with a fine not less than 35 EUR.
  • The blood alcohol limit is at 0,5 – from 1,5 promille the car can be confiscated and will be auctioned in favor of the state.
  • In case of emergency: like in germany dial 112.

driving in italy - what do i have to pay attention to?

Blue marked parking places usually mean that these are liable to pay costs. yellow means short term parking, white ones are mostly free of charge.

The tollbooths

toll booths work thanks to modern technology in italy without any problems. You can except the yellow "telepass" lane use any lane. At the blue lanes you can only with EC or credit card pay, at the "white" lanes (most of them are) can be cash or card pay. At the yellow and blue lanes there are only machines, only the white lanes are still served by employees. If you don’t have any money at a toll station or your credit card doesn’t work, you can simply print a receipt with the license plate of your vehicle (always photographed at each toll station) and bank details – you can then transfer the toll owed from home and can of course continue driving anyway.

Fully automatic toll booth: the amount to be paid is displayed, you insert your credit card, it comes out immediately and the barrier opens - without signature or PIN entry

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 signature and without PIN entry.

Video: faster at the tollbooth with card payment

Important italian traffic 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 street
  • Zona pedonale = pedestrian zone
  • In caso del nebbia = in case of fog
  • Deviazione = detour
  • Tutte le direzioni = all directions
  • In galeria = in the tunnel
  • Sbarrato = locked
  • Moderare la velocita = adjust speed (often read in front of tunnels)

driving in italy - what do i have to pay attention to?

Beautiful and well built roads are often found in Italy, as here near volterra (Tuscany)

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