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Traveling around Italy by car: getting an international license, renting a car and places to explore

Imagine yourself traveling through the picturesque cobbled streets of Italy, a gentle breeze hugging you as you take in the breathtaking scenery unfolding before your eyes. A treasure trove of history, culture and natural beauty, Italy attracts adventure seekers from all corners of the globe. To fully immerse yourself in this country's dolce vita lifestyle, take a trip in a rental car - an experience that will give you unprecedented freedom of movement. In this article, we'll walk you through the ins and outs of traveling in Italy, highlighting local cultural gems, hidden gems, and important driving information, including the process of getting an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Car rental in Italy: requirements and obtaining an IDP

Before you travel in Italy, make sure you have a valid International Driving Permit (IDP). This important document gives you the right to legally drive a vehicle abroad. You can obtain an IDP by applying to the International Drivers Association, accessible from anywhere in the world.

Car rental: Italy boasts a well-developed network of car rental agencies. To rent a car, you generally must be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver's license (including the aforementioned IDP), and provide a credit card for payment and deposit. It is advisable to book your car rental in advance, especially during the peak tourist season.

Driving a car in Italy: traffic rules and fines

Like many other countries, Italy adheres to right-hand driving. When overtaking slower vehicles, remember to pass them on the left side. Stay alert and use your mirrors to ensure safe and smooth lane changes.

Italy uses a standard traffic light system, although it is worth noting that some traffic lights in smaller towns and rural areas may differ from this scheme. Please use caution and follow signal instructions.

Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL): Known for its charming historic city centers, Italy often defines restricted traffic zones, known as ZTLs, to protect architectural and cultural heritage by restricting vehicular access. These areas are clearly signposted and cameras monitor entry. Unless you have a special permit or have booked accommodation in a ZTL zone, it is recommended that you avoid these areas to avoid fines.

Seat belts and child restraints. In Italy, wearing seat belts is mandatory for both drivers and passengers. Make sure all passengers in your vehicle are securely buckled. In addition, when traveling with small children, they must be secured in appropriate child seats appropriate for their age, height and weight.

Fines for violating traffic rules in Italy

Speed limits: Unless otherwise stated, the standard speed limit on Italian motorways is 130 km/h. On urban roads the limit is usually 50 km/h, but in residential areas it is reduced to 20 km/h.

Mobile phones: The use of mobile phones while driving in Italy is strictly prohibited. If you need to make a call, use the public address system or stop in a safe place.

Drinking and driving: Italy has a zero-tolerance policy towards drunk driving: the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%, which is significantly lower than many other countries. If you are going to drive a car, it is advisable to completely abstain from alcohol.

Penalties: Violating traffic rules in Italy can result in fines and penalties, depending on the severity of the offense committed. Here are common traffic violations and their associated fines:

Over speed. Violating the speed limit can result in a fine ranging from 41 to 168 euros, depending on the severity of the violation. In some cases, speeding can result in the suspension of your driver's license.

Illegal parking. Illegal parking in restricted areas or without the appropriate permit may result in fines ranging from โ‚ฌ28 to โ‚ฌ84. To avoid fines, pay attention to parking signs and designated areas.

Entering ZTL zones: Entering restricted traffic zones without the required permit may result in a fine of between 80 and 370 euros. Always pay attention to ZTL signs.

Failure to wear a seat belt or allow passengers to wear one can result in a fine ranging from 74 to 299 euros.