Driving advice for every country in Europe

Find up-to-date driving laws and advice for any country in Europe before you visit, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.

Driving in Italy

Population: 60.6m
Area: 301,318 sq. Km
Currency: Euro (100 cents) – EUR (€)


Driving licence

Driving licences issued abroad can be used in Italy only by visitors who have reached the minimum ages required for holders of Italian licences for the same category of vehicle even if they are qualified to drive at a lower age in their country of residence.

A foreign driving licence does not entitle the holder to drive a motor vehicle in Italy until the age of 18 years old.

Visitors may drive private or commercial vehicles registered abroad if they are in possession of the following:

  • International Driving Permits (1926, 1949, 1968).

Going away? Remember to take RAC Travel Insurance with you.

Important documents

Vehicles from the UK may be imported into Italy for up to 6 months in any period of 12 months. When driving in Italy the following documents should be carried:

Visitors driving in Italy are required by law to carry the following items. Hefty on-the-spot fines can be issued for failing to carry specific items:

  • Reflective jackets (must be warn if involved in a breakdown or an accident or alongside a road where stopping or parking is prohibited).
  • Warning triangle (compulsory in every vehicle with 4 wheels or more).
  • Headlamp beam deflectors (depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually).
  • Motorcyclists: It is compulsory for riders and passengers of mopeds and motorcycles to wear a crash helmet.

It is prohibited to carry a child under 4 years old on a moped or a motorcycle. It is possible to carry a passenger on a moped on condition that the rider/driver is an adult (18 and over) and that the registration certificate states that the moped is designed to carry a passenger.

Rules of the road and regulations

Rules of the road

Overtaking and passing

The vehicle to be overtaken must keep as far to the right as possible and not accelerate.

On roads with three traffic lanes, overtaking is allowed only when a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction is not already in the middle lane.

It is prohibited to overtake a vehicle which is overtaking another vehicle or a vehicle which has slowed down or stopped near a pedestrian crossing to allow pedestrians to cross.

Overtaking is forbidden on the approach to and on level crossings. It is also prohibited in the following cases:

  • At bends.
  • On the brow of a hill.
  • At intersections.
  • At all places where visibility is limited.

Priority must be given to vehicles coming from the right or travelling on rails, except where indicated by road signs. They must give way to pedestrian’s already on crossings and to cyclists near cycle paths.

Drivers must give right of way to all police and emergency vehicles when they are using special audible or luminous warning signals.

Warning of approach

Priority must be given to vehicles coming from the right or travelling on rails except where indicated by road signs. They must give way to pedestrian’s already on crossings and to cyclists near cycle paths.

Drivers must give right of way to all police and emergency vehicles when they are using special audible or luminous warning signals.

Seat belts

Any person must wear a seat belt whenever one is fitted on the front and rear seats in all vehicles registered in Italy or abroad.

Travelling with children

Children travelling in foreign-registered cars must be secured according to the legislation in force in the country of origin.

Speed limits

The following national speed limits apply:

MotorwaysOutside built-up areasIn built-up areas
Normal traffic conditions130 km/h90 km/h50 km/h

Speed must be reduced at night according to visibility, near intersections, bends, schools or places frequented by children, on roads with a steep gradient or especially narrow roads and in built-up areas.

Speed limits in case of precipitation (rain, snow, etc.):

  • Roads outside built-up areas: 90km/h
  • Motorways: 110km/h

Radar detectors are prohibited. The Points Of Interest (POI) function of a car navigation system can be used to indicate the position of fixed speed cameras.


On-the-spot fines

The police can impose a fine on the driver of a foreign-registered vehicle or a vehicle with EE plates and collect one quarter of the maximum fine on-the-spot. A receipt must be given.

If the driver wishes to contest the fine or for any reason refuses to pay, they must deposit a guarantee for half the maximum amount either in cash (foreign currency is accepted), or in the form of a surety. If they refuse to deposit the guarantee, the police may confiscate his vehicle until they pay the fine. For vehicles registered in the EU, the guarantee required is equivalent to a quarter of the maximum fine.

Confiscation of vehicles

Vehicles can be confiscated by the police in many cases (e.g. when the driver has no licence, when the number plates are forged, when the EE- Escursionisti Esteri registration documents have expired, etc.).

Mopeds and motorcycles can be confiscated for 3 months in the following cases:

  • Failure to wear a safety helmet.
  • Carrying a passenger unless allowed (specified in certificate).


Parking regulations

In built-up areas, stopping and parking are only permitted on the right-hand side of the road in a street with two-way traffic. In a one-way street, parking and stopping are permitted on the right or left-hand side of the street provided at least 3m of clear space is left free in the middle of the road.

Paid parking

Zones where payment is required have been created in major towns in areas near the centre. These zones are indicated by blue road signs. The zones can be free of charge for some hours of the day and on Sundays, as indicated locally by panels.

Areas where parking is limited to certain duration are indicated by blue stripes. Motorists must buy a ticket from a machine.

Enforcement of parking regulations

Wheel clamps are used in particular cases instead of towing away, for example when the vehicle is parked on the pavement.

Vehicles are towed away when causing an obstruction to the circulation of traffic.

In both cases, a fine must be paid which includes the fine, the cost of removing the vehicle and of impounding it.

Disabled parking access

Cars displaying the international sticker for the disabled can be parked on spaces specially marked by yellow lines and the yellow international symbol of the wheelchair. In areas where parking is prohibited these cars are exempt from the restrictions in the case of an emergency. In most areas it is necessary to pay if payment is required, however, disabled motorists may park without time limit where parking is free of charge but restricted by time. Although the Italian law does not specifically mention foreign badge holders, the Italian police should allow them the same concessions as Italian badge holders.

Traffic lights

Traffic lights

The international 3-colour traffic light system is used.

Green, amber and red arrows are used at some intersections

A flashing red light is used near a level crossing, at the entrance to a mobile bridge or near a ferry boarding point to indicate to road users that they must stop.

A Flashing amber light indicates that traffic must slow down and proceed with caution, respecting the priority rules.

Drink/drug driving

Legal limit

The general legal limit of alcohol in the blood of drivers is 0.05%. 


The police can request a driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol to take a breath test.

A driver involved in an accident can be tested by the medical services at the request of the police.

A driver suspected of being under the influence of narcotics can also be tested and receive a sanction.

Roads and fuel

Tolls are levied on most Italian motorways.

Tolls can be paid in cash or with the following cards: Eurocard, Mastercard, and Visa. (Debit cards Maestro and Electron are not accepted).

Service areas

There are many services stations on Italian motorways offering a wide range of facilities to motorists, e.g. fuel, restaurant, motel, shop.

Availability of fuel

Only 25% of petrol stations on ordinary roads (inside and outside towns) are open from 0000 to 2400 hours on Sundays and public holidays. Petrol stations which open on Sundays remain closed on Mondays.

Night service (3% of petrol stations) begins at 2200 hours in winter and 2230 hours in summer and lasts until 0600 hours.

Opening hours are clearly displayed at petrol stations, as are the addresses of the nearest garages which are open.

The above hours do not apply to petrol stations on motorways, on ring roads classified as motorways or in the immediate vicinity of frontier posts.

*Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1.
RAC European Breakdown cover arranged and administered by RAC Financial Services Limited (Registered No 05171817) and provided by RAC Insurance Ltd (Registered No 2355834). Registered in England; Registered Offices: RAC House, Brockhurst Crescent, Walsall WS5 4AW. RAC Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of insurance mediation activities. RAC Insurance Ltd is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Means of payment

Credit cards are generally accepted at petrol stations.


Special emergency telephones are situated every two kilometres on motorways. There are two types of telephone: one with which the motorist can speak to the emergency centre and one where you must press either a button bearing a spanner to call for mechanical assistance or a button bearing a red cross to call for medical aid. A red light confirms that the message has been received at the central motorway alarm system.

Useful guides and maps

Michelin - National Map Italy
Michelin Motoring Atlas: Europe


Source: All information in this document is sourced from the AIT (Alliance Internationale de Tourisme) & the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) and, to the best of the RAC’s knowledge, is correct at the time of publication (May 2016).
Still current at:
26th May 2017
Updated at:
16th Mar 2017
Latest update:
Latest update: Summary - Mount Etna has been erupting with increasing frequency; take care if you’re near any active volcano and follow local advice; for more information about volcanoes in Italy, visit the Italian Civil Protection website

Information and advice for British nationals travelling and living in Europe, following the result of the EU referendum.

Mount Etna has been erupting with increasing frequency. Take care if you’re near any active volcano and follow local advice. For more information about volcanoes in Italy, visit the Italian Civil Protection website.

Several strong earthquakes were felt in central Italy on 18 and 19 January 2017 in the regions of Lazio (including Rome), Abruzzo and Marche. In 2016, there were a series of earthquakes in central Italy, including one in August that claimed around 300 lives. For more about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake visit the Italian Civil Protection website.

If you’re visiting a ski resort you should take advice on weather and avalanche conditions before you travel and familiarise yourself with local skiing laws and regulations. For more information about the avalanche risk, visit the European Avalanche Warning Service website. See Safety and security

Demonstrations may occur with little or no warning in cities. You should avoid any protests, political gatherings, or marches.

Approximately 3 million British nationals visit Italy every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

There is a general threat from terrorism. You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities. See Terrorism

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

British Embassy Rome

Office: British Embassy Rome
Street Address:    Via XX Settembre 80/a
ZIP Code: 00187
City: Rome
Country: Italy

Telephone: +39 06 4220 0001
Fax: +39 06 4220 2333
Email: InfoRome@fco.gov.uk

British Consulate-General Milan

Office: British Consulate-General Milan
Street Address:    Via S. Paolo, 7
ZIP Code: 20121
City: Milan
Country: Italy

Telephone: +39 06 4220 2431
Fax: +39 02 8646 5081
Email: InfoRome@fco.gov.uk

British Council Rome

Office: British Council Rome
Street Address:    Via di San Sebastianello, 16
ZIP Code: 00187
City: Rome
Country: Italy

Telephone: +39 06 478141
Fax: +39 06 4814296
Email: InfoRome@fco.gov.uk