By car through italy: what to keep in mind

Bella Italia is always worth a trip – whether it’s the vibrant capital of Rome, the popular Lake Garda, the lagoon city of Venice or the island of Sardinia. The best way to travel through the country is with a rental car. We have provided you with an overview of the most important traffic regulations and tolls. Of course we have a few tips for your vacation in Italy.

Renting a car in Italy – what you have to pay attention to

In Italy, the best known car rental companies are present, which you also know from Germany. The offers and also the rental services are very different. We have summarized the most important aspects for you:

car rental

  • Minimum age of the driver: For most rental companies the driver must be at least. 18 years than its. However, the age can also vary per vehicle class.
  • New drivers: There are sometimes extra fees if the driver has only had his license for 1 year.
  • Credit card: With most rental companies you have to deposit a credit card, on which among other things the deposit is deposited. This can be partly at up to 2.000€ be.
  • Driving license: According to the German Foreign Office you don’t need an international driving license in Italy, the German driving license is sufficient.
  • Fuel regulations: Most of the time you get the car with a full tank and you have to return it with a full tank.
  • Second drivers: There is usually a surcharge if more than one driver is to be registered.
  • Return: Pay attention to the return times. Especially if your flight leaves very early in the morning, you should clarify when you can return it. Often the stations are closed at night.
  • Insurance: Take a close look at what services are included and whether you have to pay a co-payment.
  • Free kilometers: Depending on the offer, you are only allowed to drive a certain number of kilometers per day.

The most important traffic rules in Italy briefly explained

Basically, the traffic rules in Italy do not differ much from those in Germany, but there are a few peculiarities typical for the country.


  • on freeways 130 km/h
  • on highways 110 km/h
  • within built-up areas 50 km/h
  • on rural roads 90 km/h

Parking regulations in Italy

Finding a parking space in Italy can quickly become a problem; this is of course especially true in major cities. Here parking is not only disproportionately expensive, but tourists are often even prohibited. Pay attention to the white curb stripes, because here you can park free of charge.

Parking areas marked in pink are parking zones reserved exclusively for pregnant women or mothers with small children.

If the parking lot is marked with blue stripes, it is subject to a fee. Here you should absolutely take a parking ticket, because Italy is in the international comparison front runner in the distribution of parking tickets. So if you don’t want to reduce your vacation budget unnecessarily, better pay the few Euros for the parking ticket.

Under no circumstances should you park your rental car on a black and yellow marked area, because here is an absolute parking ban.

If you need your rental car primarily to visit the big cities of Italy, it should be a small city car with which you can still get a parking space. Also with this you should absolutely pay attention to the Mofa and scooter drivers, which there are in the Italian large cities in abundance. They like to squeeze between cars; so vigilance is the order of the day! Increased caution is also required at traffic circles in Italy. Although “right before left” applies here as well, most Italians only adhere to this rule to a limited extent.

Another peculiarity you should be aware of in Italy: On mountain roads of all kinds public buses always have right of way!

Parking regulations Italy

Other important traffic rules

But what else should you pay attention to in order not to attract negative attention during your vacation in Italy?? It is important, for example, that you also switch on the dipped headlights of your rental car during the day outside built-up areas. When buying your rental car, make sure that it is equipped with a yellow high-visibility vest, as this is also frequently checked in Italy.

Special accessories such as a navigation system or a child seat, you should already specify when booking, so that these are also available on the day of pickup. If you are traveling with children under the age of twelve, you should know that they need a child seat in Italy. The same applies if the child is smaller than 1.50 meters.

Fines in Italy

The fines in Italy are set quite high. This is especially true for driving under the influence of alcohol: In this case, not only a confiscation of the rental car and the driver’s license threaten, in the worst case even a prison sentence. The blood alcohol limit in Italy is 0.5 per mille.

In general, the fines in Italy are quite steep, as the following list proves:

  • Speeding by up to 10 km/h: fine between 34 and 140 euros
  • speeding by up to 20 km/h: fine from 150 euros
  • Excessive speed up to 40 km/h: fine from 357 euros
  • Making a phone call without a hands-free device: fine starting at 155 euros
  • Running a red light: fine from 150 euros
  • Disregarding an overtaking ban: Fine from 75 euros
  • Parking in a no-parking zone: fine from 35 euros
  • Promillegrenze exceeded: Fine from 530 euros
  • not wearing a seat belt: fine starting from 80 euros

Data serve for orientation. No guarantee.

Toll regulation in Italy: How it works

Unlike here in Germany, most freeways in Italy are subject to tolls. Italy is considered to be one of the first countries in Europe where tolls were charged. As early as 1924, a fee was charged for the use of the A8 here.

toll regulation italy

Which routes are subject to tolls?

In Italy you will hardly get around the payment of the toll, after all ca. 5.700 route kilometers affected. In most cases, freeways (autostrada) but also bridges and tunnels are subject to tolls. Fast roads are mostly free to drive on. In general you will be asked to pay more often in the north of Italy than in the south. On the island of Sicily, there are no tolls at all on highways.

If you are planning a city tour to Milan or Bologna, you will also have to reckon with costs for using the roads here. The so-called Ecopass is valid between 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; the fee depends on the pollutant class of the vehicle. Costs between two and five euros per day can be expected. Thank goodness that Bologna and Milan are currently the only two cities to impose such a congestion charge on the inner city area.

How the toll is paid?

There are two different systems for calculating the toll in Italy:

The closed system is the most common, where the amount to be paid depends on the distance driven and the type of vehicle. In contrast, there is the so-called open system, where a lump sum is charged. This system is often used in urban centers.

On highways, the closed system is preferred. On average, you pay seven cents per kilometer traveled on Italian highways. So if you drive 500 kilometers on highways, you’ll quickly be out 35 euros. You do not get a toll sticker, but you have to pay for the use of the freeway after leaving the freeway. You can pay the highway toll in cash or via credit card, although this payment method is not always available.

Payment via Telepass is particularly fast: This is an electric device, the so-called On Board Unit. When you pass the toll station, the vehicle is then automatically recognized and the amount is debited from your account. Be sure to find out beforehand which lane you have to use to pay. This is important because turning or backing into a lane can result in penalties of up to 6.000 euros can be penalized. The yellow lane, for example, is exclusively for car owners who have chosen Telepass as their payment method. In the blue lane you can only pay with debit or credit card, but not in cash. If you want to pay the toll in cash, choose the white lane.

Also interesting: If you also want to visit the lagoon city of Venice, you have to park your car in one of the three parking garages at Piazzale Roma – Venice itself is completely car-free. But who does not like to exchange his car for a gondola that takes you through the city.

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