Please take a moment to familiarise yourself with the forum guidelines:
Check out our country and city guides at

Driving in Italy!!!?

edited January 2009 in - Italy
I plan to rent a car and drive around the Tuscany region at the end of March 2009. I am a US citizen and have driven in Thailand and Australia, am adventurous. My brother has been to Italy and said I was "nuts" to do this, he thinks Italian road manners are way wilder than the USA. What can an experienced Italian driver recommend?


  • edited January 2009

    forget the wide and desert roads of US and Australia, forget the large cars you are used to see and drive in US, be prepared for the bad attitude (which is pretty common on our roads) of people driving here in Italy.
    somewhere on the internet I read a comment: an US citizen said that limits and street rules are taken just as "suggestions" in Italy, nothing more....

    I mean: I'm pretty sure you can drive without any problem here in Italy, but expecially on the very first days, you have to learn how to stay on the road in Italy (see the other people driving: they expect their same attitude on the road from you, without any excuse).
    everything is more frenetic (and mad in some way..) than in other countries: another common idea is this:
    the definition of a "moment" is the time from the light being green and the car after you starting using the horn...
  • edited 8:26AM
    Let me tell you you: I drive around Sardinia for 2 weeks and literally had to take qualudes to bring down my heartrate. These are crazy people, but i love it. Just drive defensively, get good insurance for the car, and chill out. You''ll be fine.
  • edited 8:26AM
    Grazie Goldrake75 and Guest,

    I will proceed with car rental and expect what you suggest. I forgot that I also drove a taxi in Boston, maybe this has some of the rudeness and craziness of that experience.
  • edited 8:26AM
    Driving in Italy is like playing a video game........nobody really gets hurt.......they love speed, tailgating and motorcycles/mopeds are like mosquitos---they are everywhere.
    It is often best to drive after drinking at least one glass of vino---to calm your nerves and adjust your perspective:):):)
  • edited 8:26AM
    We are flying into Rome & renting a car for a week.I want to visit the Amalfi coast,any suggestions?
    Does any one know how far it is from Rome?
    Good places to stay and interesting things to do, My husband is a Photographer so he is their for the pohots!
  • edited 8:26AM
    I visit a friend in Tuscany about twice a year, the drivers over there are intimidating and do not seem to understand that you need space between cars on the fast roads to avoid serious accident! However I just stick to what I know and ignore them - actually givves a slight feeling of satisfaction!!

    Apart from that I really enjoy driving in Italy - it does not have the built up feel that UK and other European countries have.
  • edited 8:26AM
    I would like to know how i could drive from Florence train station to Certaldo.
    Thank you in advance.
  • edited 8:26AM
    Buongiorno All,
    I started this thread and have just returned from driving in Italy. We rented a car in Pisa and drove south to Cecina/Populonia area. I had no problems at all, was surprised. Its true that roads are narrow, cars are small, speed is fast and many drivers are competitive. I found it fun driving and almost every stranger we asked directions or for help went out of thier way, with a smile, to help us. Go for it!
  • edited 8:26AM
    Good info, Gary, thanks for checking back in with that!
  • edited 8:26AM
    Thanks for every one who spared his experience in few words. I am planning to make a big tour around Europe with my family sometimes in June. Soon after landing in Munich - stay two nights, I hire a car and drive to Innsbruck (Austria) and stay two nights, drive to Chur - Swiss (stay 2 nights), drive to Lugano - Swiss (stay 2 nights), drive to Milan and stay 2 nights and finally drive back to Munich and then head back home. I am using the Yahoo mapping guide to get my destinations.

    I have been driving for the last 20 yrs in the Middle East (Oman, UAE, Saudi, Jordan, & Syria). I involved in long driving 500km+ in one go. Yes, been involved in car accidents - considered minor.

    Any tips from your side on my next Europe driving experience will by highly appreciated. I can be contacted at [email protected]

    D. Al Lawati
  • edited 8:26AM
    My husband & I have a perfect driving record and have toured Australia, New Zealand, all of Europe (yes, Italy was the craziest!) Egypt and Israel with ease. We are 78 years old and they say we cannot rent a car. We do not like tours but prefer to explore on our own. How can we get around this and rent a car????
  • edited 8:26AM
    I've lived in Massachusetts my entire life, and found that driving in Italy - in Florence, Rome and other smaller cities as well as the highways - was not that much different than driving here. Lots of beeping, "hand signals," tailgating, speeding, etc. The rotaries can be a challenge, though, and the cars are small and many of the roads are narrow. It IS stressful, though, and would have been more so if my mom didn't speak Italian. Oh yeah - better know how to drive a manual transmission.

    I only got 2 tickets - both for parking.
Sign In or Register to comment.