Driving in Italy

Speed limit sign

Speed Limits

Without knowing and sticking to speed limits, you’d never have passed your driving test, which goes to show how important they are. Of course, speed limits also apply abroad, but they aren’t necessarily the same, which means it's really important that you know what they are.

With this in mind, the speed limits for Italy’s roads can be found below:


Location

Speed
On toll roads/main motorways (autostradas)       130km/h (80mph)
On dual-carriageways and non-toll motorways 110km/h (68mph)
Away from built-up areas               90km/h (55mph)    
In towns               50km/h (30mph)
On motorways in rain or snow           110km/h (68mph)
On dual-carriageways in rain or snow                 90km/h (62mph)
New drivers (who have had their licence for three years or less)                 Should not exceed 100km/h (60mph)on the motorway
Italian street

Driving Etiquette

When it comes to the rules of the road, many enforced in Italy are similar to those in the UK. However, that’s not to say driving on the nation’s roads is exactly the same as back home, as those with experience of motoring in Italy will likely confirm.

Key Fact
Remember, motorists drive on the right in Italy. Yes, it’s obvious, but forgetting this even for a brief moment could cause serious problems.


It’s fair to say a good number of Italian motorists drive quickly - here are four more things to keep in mind before taking to the roads:

  • Whereas in the UK a flash of the lights typically means “go ahead”, in Italy it’s quite the opposite. If a driver flashes you while you’re sat at a junction, it probably means they’re coming through, meaning pulling out isn’t a good idea at all. On the other hand, if a car travelling in the opposite direction flashes its lights, it could be warning that a police check is ahead.
  • Priority is given to vehicles coming from the right, unless otherwise indicated. Right of way is also given to cyclists near cycle paths and pedestrians on crossings, as well as emergency services when necessary.
  • Some Italian drivers won’t be keen to let you out at junctions, so being decisive can prove important. That’s not to say you should put yourself at risk, but on occasion you may need to take opportunities when they arise, to avoid making other drivers irate.
Glasses of red wine

Italy has some of the world’s finest wines, but it certainly isn’t a good idea to get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. We all know any amount of alcohol can have an impact on our driving abilities, and in Italy the limits are stricter than those in the UK.

It’s not really possible to say for sure that any specific quantity of alcohol (other than zero) will ensure you’re not over the limit. This is due to the fact that tolerance is dependent on factors such as:

  • Gender
  • Medication
  • Type of alcohol
  • Stress levels
  • Whether or not there is food in your stomach
  • Weight
Did You Know?
Italy’s drink drive limit is lower than the UK, where 80mg of alcohol is allowed per 100ml of blood - in Italy, this is just 50mg.


It’s also worth keeping in mind that in Italy, those who’ve had their licence for less than three years are not allowed any alcohol in their system when driving.

Below, we’ve illustrated the consequences should you drink and drive, even at the lower end of the scale:


Alcohol Level

Fine

Suspension
51mg - 80mg in 100ml of blood €500 - €2,000     3-6 months (in Italy only)
80mg - 150mg in 100ml of blood €800 - €3,200     6-12 months; up to six months imprisonment


Higher levels will bring even more severe penalties, including prison sentences, bigger fines and vehicle confiscation. 

Insurance from Swinton and Safeguard

 

Driving abroad

Be sure to check out our other driving abroad guides:

 

Looking for something else?

Topics