Italy by Car:
5 Things to Know Before Your Trip
Today, many travelers increasingly prefer to travel around Italy by a rental car. This transport option provides an opportunity to more deeply discover the country, see the ancient cities and mountain villages, which are usually very beautiful and have a unique architecture, but which are very rarely included into tourist guides.
If you don’t know how to travel around Italy by car, the advice of those who have already passed this way helps a lot. So, car rental in Italy is not difficult - there are a lot of pick up points. The most convenient option is to book car rental at the airport upon arrival, and return your vehicle before departure. Of course, it’s recommended to find more useful information in advance to prepare for the trip and check the approximate car rental prices. Also, you should definitely plan your route.
General requirements for car rental in Italy
When renting a car in Italy, you will need to consider that some agencies only provide cars to drivers with a certain driving experience, if your experience is 5 years, then you shouldn’t worry about it. You can rent a car in Italy without any restrictions starting from 25 years old. 18-24 years old are also offered car rental, but some limits may apply. By the way, we advise to take full-cover insurance, which includes even minor damage to the car – scratches and small dents.
For a road trip to Italy you will need:
- passport with a valid visa;
- international driver's license;
- credit card.
The rules of the road in Italy are practically no different from other countries, the main difference is the driving culture and polite attitude towards pedestrians. It should be noted that in the north of Italy the drivers are more disciplined, but in the south, particularly in Naples, it’s advisable not to leave the car unattended for a long time at all, because the city has the glory of the most criminal destination in Italy.
The maximum allowable speed on the autobahn is 130 km/h, in populated areas - 50 km/h, outside of the city - 90 km/h.
Violations of the traffic regulations are fixed by special radars with a camera, after which the fine is sent by mail. By the way, in large cities they can be found almost at every step, and on the highways you can find the ‘Tutor’ or ‘Autovelox’ speed measurement systems. They are used for safety, not for collecting fines.
Police with radar is a very frequent occurrence on country roads. Therefore, traveling in Italy by car, follow the traffic regulations anyway.
Refueling in Italy
In Italy, the cost of gasoline is higher than in many European countries. If you are planning a route by car in Italy with a preliminary transit to neighboring Austria or France, it’s recommended to fill a full tank there. The average prices for gasoline in Italy are: Super 95 - 1.6€/liter, Premium 98 - 1.7€/liter, Diesel - 1.45€/liter. By the way, you can refuel your car in two ways: with and without help.
‘Servito’ denotes service at the station is included. That means it’s not necessary to get out of the car - refueller will do everything for you. Say what to fill, how much and give the money. The station employee will pay for the petrol at the box office and return the change. However, gasoline with a ‘Servito’ mark is more expensive than if you refuel the car by yourself. On average, you’ll have to pay an extra charge of 10-20 cents per liter.
The second option is to refuel a car by yourself. In this case, gasoline is subject to a regular price, which is shown on the scoreboard at the entrance to the gas station. Keep in mind, that some stations are closed on weekends and holidays. You can pay for gasoline by a credit card or cash in the terminal.
Paying for toll roads
Highways in Italy are paid. At the entrance to the highway, press the button to get a ticket - you don’t have pay anything. The coupon in any case cannot be thrown out. When leaving the motorway, you will need it for payment.
In order to pay for travel on the roads of Italy, prepare cash in advance. Many checkpoints are automated, but not all of them accept credit cards. Tourists should choose the item with the inscription ‘Biglietto’, on which bank cards or pennies are drawn.
Parking in Italy
Places for paid and free parking in Italy are lined with certain colors. Blue color means parking is paid, white – parking is free. Near the parking spaces there must be a sign on which the fare for 1 hour and time is indicated, and if it is paid parking, there’s also a special parking machine where you can buy a ticket. Information on tariffs and parking conditions is indicated on this device.
Usually the minimum parking time is 1 hour. After the car is parked, the parking ticket is left under the windshield on the dashboard. The same applies to free parking, but instead of a coupon you put a parking disk (disco orario) which indicates the time you started parking. Also, in big cities, and near airports, there are underground parking lots, but the method of payment is slightly different there. At the entrance to such a parking lot you need to take a ticket in the machine, which will fix the time of entry. Then at the exit, you will need to pay for parking ticket. The cost of parking will depend on the period.