Speed limits in Italy – the complete guide

Speed limits in Italy – the complete guide
Italy is a popular destination for British holidaymakers – but knowing the rules of the road before your head to the country is vitally important.

Therefore, once your bags are packed and you are ready to go, make sure you know about the country’s speed limits and what you will need to drive safely in Italy.

Italian police are very active on their road network, so respecting the limits and understanding the correct way to drive will keep you out of trouble – and able to fully enjoy everything the country has to offer.

Driving in Italy – all you need to know

If you have chosen Italy as your next holiday, then you will need to decide if you will be driving from the UK to Italy, or after arriving, you will want to hire a car.

Drivers in Italy are required, by law, to carry the following items in their vehicle to avoid on-the-spot fines. So, if you have taken the ferry or Eurotunnel into France and then further into Europe – make sure you bring these with you.

You will need reflective jackets – although not mandatory to carry, you could be fined for walking on the road or hard shoulder if not wearing one; a warning triangle – compulsory in every vehicle with four wheels or more; and headlamp beam deflectors – depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually

If you are travelling through Europe to get to your Italian destination, then make sure you are packed for all eventualities. Check the driving through Europe travel guide to make sure you have all the necessary equipment and advice to have the best possible journey.

The southern European country has some incredible towns, cities, mountains, lakes, and historic monuments for you to visit on your road trip – but there is a lot of important information you need to know before you set off on you travels.

Much like the UK, you will need a licence and be over the age of 18 to drive abroad. If you do not have a licence, your car will be confiscated.

If the worst should happen on your journey, emergency telephones linked to an SOS telephone network are installed at 2km intervals along motorways. You can dial 112 from anywhere in Europe and an operator will connect you to an emergency service in the country you're visiting. Operators can answer your call in their native language, English, or French.

When driving through Italy, overtaking is forbidden on and approaching level crossings, at bends, on the brow of a hill, at intersections, and when visibility is limited. It is also prohibited to overtake a vehicle that’s slowed to allow pedestrians to use a crossing.

The priority on the road must be given to vehicles coming from the right. Also, pedestrians on crossings and cyclists near cycle paths have priority over those behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Similar to France and other countries on the continent, you are allowed to use sat nav systems – but radar detectors for speed cameras are illegal. They will be confiscated, and you will receive a fine.

Before you enter the country, make sure you familiarise yourself with Italian road signs and be prepared for your journey across the country.

If you are enjoying a road trip across Italy, you may want to enjoy some local wine or limoncello – but the general limit for drivers of private vehicles is 0.05% blood alcohol content. That's lower than the 0.08% in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. For newly-qualified drivers (less than three years' experience), the limit is 0%.

Finally, if you are driving a camper van or towing a caravan, you are not allowed to exceed 12m in length, 4m in height, or 2.55m in width.

For more information on what to expect once you are in the country, the RAC’s guide to driving in Italy has everything you need.

What documents will you need to drive in Italy?

In order to get behind the wheel in Italy, you will need your full, valid UK driving licence, your passport, motor insurance certificate, and your car’s V5 registration (if you are driving your own vehicle).

Following a rule change in September last year, the national identifier displayed on vehicles registered in the United Kingdom that are driven abroad have changed from GB to UK. 

The identifier can be incorporated in vehicle number plates (along with the Union Flag) or as a separate sticker. Note that vehicles featuring the letters GB together with the Council of Europe golden stars are no longer valid for driving abroad.

Also, RAC’s European Breakdown Cover provides a wide range of benefits should you breakdown in Italy to ensure you stay safe.

To supplement this, RAC also offers travel insurance. Cover will include medical expenses, baggage, personal money, and belongings, among many other benefits.

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What are the speed limits in Italy?

Across the country, there are seven different types of roads where there are varying speed limits.

Autostrada (Type A) – the motorway, where there are three lanes in either direction. These are the roads where you will find toll booths.

  • Strada extraurbana principale (Type B) – a main road, dual carriageway, or ‘extra-urban road’.
  • Strada extaurbana secondaria (Type C) – a ‘secondary urban road’. This can also be a dual carriageway into a city.
  • Strada urbana di scorrimento (Type D) – Urban highway, normally in and around a major city.
  • Strada urbana (Type E) – major city streets and ring roads.
  • Zona 30 – Speed limits within cities and heavily populated areas.
  • Rural roads – single lane roads within rural areas away from major cities.

However, many of these roads may have their own rules and speed limits – so make sure to check the road signs.

RoadLimit (kmph)
Type A110 (if snowing or adverse weather); 130 to 150
Type B90 (if snowing or adverse weather); 110
Type C90
Type D70
Type E50
Zona 3030

Like many countries across Europe, the use of variable speed limits is common in Italy – although they are exclusively on Type A or B roads. If you are on either of them – check the electronic speed limit displays.

Regarding the rural speed limits – these will be demonstrated by a red circular sign with a number inside. These foxed speed limits should be respected, and check the other rules of the road when in these areas.

Italian police and road laws

If you are driving in Italy, then it wont take long for you to notice an Italian police officer – as they are very public and common sights on their road networks.

They often stop foreign vehicles and so, if you have chosen to drive from the UK to Italy, then it is advisable to have all the necessary documents and respect the rules of the road.

Our Italian driving guide covers many subjects that involve the law.

Before you set off, take some time to get a greater understanding of what you are allowed to take across the border, overtaking rules, road priority, toll roads, towing regulations, seat belt laws, parking, drink driving, and the consequences of breaking the law.

Remember to check road signs when you are on the road and respect the speed limit.

Italian speeding fines

Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani, Abarth and more all call Italy home – and the country is known around the world as a mecca for fast cars and race drivers.

And although Italians love their fast cars – the police are not.

According to the Italian Traffic Act, there is a minimum speeding fine that can be given to someone, depending on how far over the limit they are. This fee rises depending on how quick you make the payment and how serious the speeding incident was.

Importantly, the law states than residents from non-EU countries must pay for a fine immediately or risk your vehicle being confiscated.

Below are the speeding fines you will see in Italy:

  • Up to 10 kmph – fine from €41
  • From 11-40 kmph – fine from €175
  • From 41-60 kmph – fine from €532 (can have licensed suspended up to 3 months)
  • 61+ kmph – fine from €829 (can have licence suspended up to a year)

If you are no caught immediately when driving in Italy, you can still receive a fine and point son your UK licence for up to a year after the incident.

Driving in Italy

Now that you are prepared for your Italian adventure – it is time to plan your road trip.

If you are travelling across the country, then check out these Italian journeys you can take with the family.

Have you recently driven or visited Italy? Or maybe you are making plans right now? Let us know your best advice and any tips you can give our members. Leave your comments below.

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