Driving in Italy in 2023: The Complete Guide

Planning on driving in Italy? Check out these Important Things to Know Before hitting the Italian Roads 

Italy is a beautiful country with stunning landscapes, incredible ancient ruins and folk villages to explore. And one of the best ways to discover Italy’s beauty is by driving throughout the country. 

However, driving in Italy can be quite a challenge. So, it is important to be prepared before hitting the road. 

Below, you can find everything you need to know before your trip in 2023 for an unforgettable Italian road trip. So, buckle up and get ready to discover the beauty of Italy from behind the wheel!

Pavia Countryside Road
Countryside Road in Pavia
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Table of Contents

Driving in Italy as a tourist

Before you plan your road trip to Italy, there are some essential questions that you might want answered. So, let’s see the major things you need to know about driving in Italy as a tourist.

Do you need a car in Italy?

Generally, a trip to Italy does not require a car, especially if you only plan to travel within one city or the major and popular destinations. So, while having a car can be convenient, it’s not always necessary because Italy has an extensive public transportation system. 

So, choosing to drive rather than use public transport should depend on your preferences, itinerary, and travel style.

Where to Rent a Car in Italy

If you are going to rent a car in Italy, I always recommend using a site such as Discover Cars, because you can compare different car rental companies and pick the best deal. You can also book full insurance with them as well if it’s more convenient.

Discover Cars has thousands of positive reviews from happy guests, so make sure you check them out as well. If you want to read more about this company I wrote a full review on my other site.

Is it easy to drive in Italy?

Driving in Italy can be a challenging experience for tourists. Most Italian roads are narrow and winding, so it can be difficult to navigate them. Also, many cities have restricted driving zones and limited parking options. 

Furthermore, Italian drivers are known to be quite aggressive and impatient. But if you are prepared for these unique challenges, you can drive with ease in Italy.

Autostrada telepass sign

Can foreigners drive in Italy?

Foreigners can drive in Italy with a valid driver’s license from their home country, such as an EU driver’s license. Or with a permit to avoid potential issues with local authorities. 

Are road signs in Italy in English?

While some road signs in Italy have English translations, most are in Italian. So, tourists need to have a basic understanding of Italian road signs and traffic laws to avoid any confusion or potential accidents. 

Which side do you drive in Italy?

In Italy, as in most of Europe, you drive on the right-hand side of the road. This can be a significant adjustment for tourists coming from countries where driving on the left-hand side is the norm.

Therefore, be sure to be aware of this difference and take extra care when navigating unfamiliar roads. 

Do I need an international license to drive in Italy?

If you plan to drive in Italy as a tourist, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP) in addition to your valid driver’s license from your home country.

The IDP is a translation of your license into multiple languages and is required by Italian law. 

Telepass Sign in Autostrada in Italy

Things to know before driving in Italy

1. Documents you need to drive in Italy

First and foremost, let’s see the documents you need to have while driving in Italy. Failure to have these can result in fines or even impounding of your vehicle.

International ID (Passport)

In Italy, to drive and rent a car, it is necessary to have your ID or passport as proof of your identity. 

Driver’s license/International driver’s license

It’s also essential to have your driver’s license from your home country. Also, even though you might not be asked by the rental car service to provide an International Driving Permit, be sure to have one to avoid legal issues with the police. 

Car Insurance

If you are driving your own car during your trip to Italy, be sure to have proof of insurance and vehicle registration documents with you. 

If you plan to rent a car, purchase Collision Damage Waiver Insurance (CDW). It provides protection by covering some or all damages to the rental car. 

2. Drive on the right and overtake on the left

As mentioned earlier, in Italy, they drive on the right-hand side, so they overtake on the left. On a three-lane road, the right side lane is for slow driving, while the left is for overtaking. 

Furthermore, at crossings, vehicles on the right have the right of way, meaning always be sure to yield to the right.

traffic in Autostrada
Traffic in Autostrada

3. Curvy and sometimes confusing road layouts

Italy is known for its curvy and confusing roads. Specifically, many roads are narrow and winding, with sharp turns and steep inclines. So, it is essential to pay close attention to road signs and markings, as well as to other drivers on the road. 

4. Use of GPS and paper maps for navigation

Usually, it is recommended to use both GPS and paper maps for navigation. However, while GPS can be helpful, it may not always be accurate in rural areas and small towns. Paper maps can provide a more detailed overview of the area and help you plan your route in advance. 

5. Be aware of road signage

Italian road signs may differ from those in other countries, and some may not be immediately recognizable. So, familiarize yourself with common signs, such as those indicating speed limits, no parking zones, and one-way streets for extra precaution.

6. Bring car seats for children

If you plan to drive in Italy with children, be sure to know the country’s laws and bring the proper car seats. Generally, Italy follows the EU’s requirements, but let’s see a bit more about the details.

Near the ticket counter which lane to choose
The yellow sign is for Telepass (T) and Cards – Biglietto means ticket which is where you pay cash

General Requirements for car seats in Italy

Children under 150 cm in height must be secured in an appropriate car seat or booster seat. But, the type of seat required depends on the child’s age and weight. 

  • Children up to two years old should be in a rear-facing car seat. 
  • Children from three to six years old should be in forward-facing booster seats with armrests and seat belts that tie to them and either in the front or rear of the car. 
  • Children ages six to twelve should be in forward-facing booster seats without armrests and either in the car’s front or rear.
Autogril in Italy
Small Autogrill in Italy (they are usually bigger and fancier)

7. Stop by an Autogrill

While on an Italian road trip, stopping by an Autogrill is a must! 

Autogrills are rest stops, and you can find them throughout the country, along major highways. They offer a convenient place to take a break, use the restroom, and refuel, as well as a wide range of local Italian cuisine, souvenirs, and other tourist amenities. 

I personally love to stop at Autogrills and when I have the chance I take the toll roads just to give myself a treat and stop by the Autogrill and have my treat. They have the best panini and croissants. 

8. Make use of the toll roads

Italy has an extensive network of toll roads known as Autostrada. While they can be expensive, they are often the fastest and most efficient way to travel long distances. And they have Autogrills 🙂 

Entering and driving on the Autostrada

When entering the Autostrada, be aware that you’ll need to take a ticket at the entrance and pay the toll when exiting. Also, when you drive on the Autostrada, keep a safe distance from other vehicles and be aware of the many tunnels and viaducts along the way.

Cost of toll roads in Italy & how to pay

The cost of toll roads can vary depending on the distance traveled. Payment can be made in cash or credit card at the toll booth or by using a prepaid Telepass device. However, always have cash on hand since not all toll booths accept credit cards (although it’s rare).

Furthermore, rental cars often do not have a Telepass subscription, so avoid the Telepass lane (yellow). 

Autostrada Casello (toll)
Italia Autostrada (toll road) ticket counter (casello)

9. Gas in Italy

Italy has plentiful gas stations, but often they are self-service, and attendants may not be available to assist you. So, it is essential to be aware of Italy’s few quirks regarding gas stations beforehand. 

Pick the right gas

First, be sure to choose the right type of gas for your vehicle, so double-check your car’s manual to determine which type of fuel is recommended.

The word for unleaded is senza piombo, and the word for diesel is just diesel, while gasoline is labeled as benzina. 

Gas Station in Autostrada

If you rent an electric car you will also find

Fuel can be expensive

Generally, gas in Italy can be expensive compared to other countries, especially gasoline, so it’s a good idea to budget accordingly. 

Also, gas stations have different prices if you require assistance or pump gas yourself. Fai da te is self-service and has a lower price, while Servito is when someone pumps for you for a higher price. 

10. Parking in Italy

When driving in Italy, parking may be a challenge. Many cities have limited parking spaces and strict regulations, so it’s important to research parking options ahead of time. 

For instance, some areas may have paid parking garages or street parking with meters, while others may require a permit. 

A small tip to remember when looking for parking is that white parking spots are free, blue parking spots are paid, and yellow spots are for disabled parking or residents. 

11. Be careful of common road crimes

Driving may sound like the safest way of traveling across Italy, but there are still some common road crimes you should be aware of.

False flat tire scam

A common crime is the false flat tire scam, where thieves cause unsuspecting drivers to have flat tires either on the road or at a gas station and then approach them to help them with their tires while someone else steals their valuables in the car. 

Gas station distraction thefts

Usually, rental cars can be recognized due to logo stickers. So many thieves purposely wait for tourists at gas stations.

Often, they might approach tourists by appearing vulnerable and others as friendly locals, while their accomplice steals the tourists’ valuable items in the car.

So, always be cautious to avoid becoming a victim of these petty crimes.

Trunk/Boot theft

Nowadays, there is a new trend of stealing cars by vandalizing the trunk or boot of a car.

Specifically, thieves create a hole in the car’s tailgate to access a cable that deactivates the alarm and opens the doors.

So, to avoid such crime, it is advised to install a steering-wheel lock that will put thieves off and immobilize the steering wheel.

Autostrada in Italy

Dropped money scam

This is something that happened to my aunt a while ago. Somebody leaves some coins below your car by the driver’s side (when they are alone).

While you are boarding the vehicle the same person comes and makes you notice that you have dropped some coins, so while you are busy looking and picking up the coins, somebody on the other side of the car would steal the bag that you have left on the other sit. Smart!  

12. Zona Traffico Limitato

The restricted traffic zones, also known as Zona Traffico Limitato (ZLT) in Italian, are something you should be careful of when driving across the country, especially in big cities. 

These are restricted traffic areas in many Italian cities, and only authorized vehicles can enter. 

If you accidentally enter a ZTL, you may receive a hefty fine. So, be sure to research the ZTL zones in the cities you plan to visit and plan your route or parking accordingly.

And that is why if you are planning to travel to big cities such as Rome, Milan, Turin or Brescia, to name a few, make sure you 

13. Age legibility

The legal driving age in Italy is 18, and drivers must always carry a valid driver’s license. However, if you are renting a car, if you are under the age of 25, you’ll pay extra fees. 

Additionally, drivers over the age of 70 are required to have a medical certificate stating that they are fit to drive. 

14. General traffic laws

Generally, traffic laws are quite similar everywhere. Still, you might encounter significant differences in Italy that could cause fines. 

Traffic lights

Generally, Italy follows the standard red, yellow, and green sequence, but the yellow light is often very brief, so be prepared to stop at any time. Furthermore, some intersections have flashing yellow lights indicating that you should proceed with caution.  

Seat belts

Whether you’re the driver or a passenger, it is mandatory to wear seat belts at all times. Otherwise, if you are pulled over by the police, you’ll be charged a significant fine.

Use of Mobile Phones

Using the phone while driving is prohibited by law. However, if you are driving, it is recommended to not talk, text, or generally use your phone, no matter where you are. 

Drunk driving

The legal limit for drunk driving in Italy is 0.05%. So, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited, so if you want to enjoy a night with alcohol, be sure you are not the only one who can drive within your group.

Autostrada sign and speed limit.
Autostrada sign and speed limit at 40 KM/hr when you turn

15. Types of roads & speed limits

  • Autostrada (km/h)

As already mentioned, the Autostrada is a network of toll highways that connect major cities and regions throughout the country. The speed limit is generally 130 km/h.

  • Strada Extraurbana Principale (km/h)

Strada Extraurbana Principale is a road connecting smaller towns and villages to larger cities and highways. These roads are often two-lane highways with a speed limit of 90 km/h.

  • Strada Extraurbana Secondaria (km/h)

Strada Extraurbana Secondaria is a road connecting smaller towns and villages to Strada Extraurbana Principale and other major roads. These roads are usually narrower and with a speed limit of 70 km/h.

  • Strada Urbana (km/h)

Strada Urbana is a road that runs within urban areas, specifically cities and towns. On these roads, generally, the speed limit is 50 km/h.

  • Strada Bianca (km/h)

Strada Bianca is a type of road that is typically a dirt or gravel road that runs through rural areas, often in the countryside or mountains. These roads are usually narrower and less developed than other paved rural roads. The speed limit on Strada Bianca is usually 30 km/h.

Autostrdada direction signs.

16. Autovelox in Italy

Autovelox, or speed cameras, are commonly used in Italy to enforce speed limits and reduce accidents.

They are often found on highways, main roads, and urban areas. Be aware of the speed limits and always drive within them to avoid fines. 

Autovelox is usually indicated by signs, but some are hidden, so be sure to pay attention to your speed and the road signs. 

17. Italian Safety Tutor (speed limit monitor)

Italian Safety Tutor is a system used in Italy to monitor drivers’ behavior and provide feedback on their driving. It is designed to improve road safety and reduce accidents.

The system uses cameras and sensors to detect speeding, tailgating, and other dangerous driving behaviors.

Tourists driving in Italy should be aware of this system and drive safely to avoid fines and penalties.

18. Emergency hotlines in Italy (in case of car breakdowns & accidents) ZTL 

Like other European countries, emergency services can be reached by dialing 112. But some other hotlines to remember are 113 to call the police, 115 for the fire department, 116 to call for road assistance, and 118 for medical emergencies

Driving in the italian autostrada

Renting a car in Italy

Renting a car in Italy can be a great way to explore the country at your own pace. However, as we already established, it is important to be aware of the rules and regulations before hitting the road. 

Drivers must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. It is also wise to have an International Driving Permit, which can be obtained from your home country.

Also, when renting a car, be sure to inspect it thoroughly for any damage and take pictures. This will help you avoid any additional charges or other issues.

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Is renting a car in Italy worth it?

Whether renting a car in Italy is worth it depends on your travel plans and preferences. If you plan to visit multiple cities and rural areas, a car can provide flexibility and convenience. 

However, if you plan to stay in one city and use public transportation, a car may not be necessary.

But road-tripping across Italy is definitely a fantastic way to experience the country’s beauty, so if you have the time and funds, renting a car is definitely recommended.

How much does it cost to rent a car in Italy?

The cost of renting a car in Italy varies depending on several factors such as the type of the car, rental duration, and location. 

On average, a basic economy car can cost around €20 to €30 per day, while a luxury car can cost 100 or more per day. Additional fees such as insurance, fuel, and tolls should also be considered.

Also, renting from an airport location can increase the cost. So, it is recommended to compare prices from different rental companies and book in advance to get the best deals. 

This is why I always recommend Discover Cars, the best site for comparing different car rental companies, and pick the most convenient for you, which is not always the cheapest.

So make sure you read the terms and conditions before choosing the car rental company.

The best areas for a road trip in Italy

✔️ Amalfi Coast road trip Itinerary (7 days)

The Amalfi Coast is definitely one of the best areas for a road trip in Italy. It features stunning coastlines and picturesque towns, which you can explore while driving along winding roads. 

So, here is a brief 7-day itinerary road trip along the Amalfi Coast for an unforgettable experience. 

You may want to check out my post on renting a car in Naples as well.

Costiera Amalfitana at Sunset

Day 1: Naples to Sorrento

Start your road trip in Naples and drive to Sorrento, a charming town known for its lemon groves and stunning views of the Bay of Naples. 

Sorrento is a great place to start your Amalfi Coast adventure, as it is located at the beginning of the coastal road and is easily accessible from Naples.

Spend the day exploring the town’s narrow streets, visiting the local markets, and enjoying the local cuisine. And don’t forget to try the famous limoncello, a sweet lemon liqueur made from the lemons grown in the surrounding area.

Also, if you are up to a more adventurous activity go for a hike along the paved Punta Campanella for spectacular sea views.

Day 2: Sorrento to Positano

Drive along the scenic coastal road to Positano, a picturesque town perched on the cliffs overlooking the sea.

The drive from Sorrento to Positano is one of the most beautiful in the world, with stunning views of the sea and the rugged coastline.

Spend the day exploring the town’s charming streets lined up with colorful houses, visiting the local shops, and enjoying the local cuisine.

Day 3: Positano 

Start your day with a refreshing dip in Positano’s main beach, Marina Grande, and immerse in the city’s carefree and relaxing ambiance. 

After enjoying Positano’s beach and delicious cuisine, trek the famous Il Sentiero degli Dei hiking trail in the hills behind Positano for an adventurous activity.

Amalfi Beach Drone view

Day 4: Positano to Amalfi

Continue your road trip to Amalfi, a historic town known for its stunning cathedral and beautiful beaches. The drive from Positano to Amalfi is another scenic one, with breathtaking views of the azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

So, be sure to schedule your drive as early as possible because you will surely stop several times to simply enjoy spectacular views and capture beautiful photos.

Then spend the day strolling the town’s charming streets, browsing the various shops and markets, and enjoying delicious local seafood.


Day 5: Amalfi 

Start your day with a walk through the colorful streets of Amalfi and take in the architecture and sights. Be sure to visit the Duomo di Amalfi, a 9th-century cathedral.

Grab some lunch at one of the many traditional restaurants in the heart of town, and enjoy a relaxing stroll around boutique stores and souvenir shops.

Visit the Amalfi Handmade Paper Museum to learn more about the town’s culture, history and significance in the paper industry.

In the evening, head down to the waterfront to relax and enjoy the beautiful sunset over the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Day 6: Amalfi to Salerno

Drive to Salerno, a historic town known for its beautiful old town and stunning cathedral. 

Salerno is a great place to spend a day exploring lively streets and local markets and dine at excellent restaurants serving delicious authentic southern cuisine. 

Also, take a romantic stroll along the Lungomare Trieste, a seaside promenade stretching from the old town to the harbor of Piazza della Concordia, to enjoy the best views of the Gulf of Salerno. 

Day 7: Salerno to Naples

Naples is a great city to end your Amalfi Coast road trip, with plenty of things to see and do. For instance, some significant attractions to explore while in Naples are Piazza del Plebiscito, Palazzo Reale, and Teatro di San Carlo.

However, while in Naples, the must thing to do is try the famous Neapolitan pizza, a delicious pizza made with fresh ingredients and cooked in a wood-fired oven.

Napoli Gulf and Vesuvio Vulcano at a distance.

PRO TIP – I did this road trip right before Christmas and I loved it because there was no traffic and the beaches were deserted. However, at this time of the year, many hotels and restaurants can be closed because it’s low season and it makes little sense to stay open.

Also, you cannot swim or spend time on the beach because it’s cold. If you decide to go in the summer, though, keep in mind that there is only one road that connects the pretty towns of the Amalfi coast and it’s narrow and highly trafficked from June through August.

Me in Ercolano ruins
Me in the Ercolano Ruins

✔️ Tuscany road trip itinerary (10 days)

Tuscany is a region in central Italy known for its beautiful landscapes, history, and delicious cuisine.

And one of the best ways to explore the region is by road-tripping since it allows you to see its many beautiful spots at your own pace and even discovers hidden gems.

So, let’s see a 10-day road trip itinerary that will take you through some of Tuscany’s most beautiful and historic towns.

Day 1: Florence

Start your Tuscany road trip in Florence. However, do note that while in the city, a car might not be needed. 

So, on the first day, simply explore the city’s stunning architecture while strolling around, browse local shops, and later try delicious food at one of the many restaurants in the historic center.

Also, read: Where to stay in Florence

Day 2: Florence

Start your Tuscany road trip in Florence. However, do note that while in the city, a car might not be needed. 

Still, rent the car from the airport or another independent rental car service, find a suitable parking spot, and start your Tuscany adventure.

On the first day, explore the city’s stunning architecture while strolling around, browse local shops, and later try delicious food at one of the many restaurants in the historic center.

You can check out my 2-day Florence Itinerary for more detailed information on what to see in Florence.

Florence Santa Maria del Fiore
Santa Maria del Fiore Cupola del Brunelleschi a must-see in Florence

Day 3: Florence to Montepulciano

On the third day, drive to the charming hilltop town of Montepulciano, known for its stunning views of the surrounding countryside. 

So, be sure to include plenty of time for your drive because, frankly, you might desire to stop several times just to take in the breathtaking views of rural Italy.

Once you arrive in the city, spend the rest of your day strolling along the historic center and charming cobblestone streets to discover beautiful Renaissance architecture.

Day 4: Montepulciano

Start your day by exploring the historic center, where you’ll find the Palazzo Comunale, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and the Piazza Grande.

Then head to one of the many local wineries to sample the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. 

Don’t forget to take in the stunning and panoramic views of the Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana from the town’s scenic viewpoints.

Day 5: Day Trip to Val d’Orcia

Drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Val d’Orcia, a stunning region with rolling hills, picturesque towns, and beautiful countryside. 

First, explore the Castello Banfi IL Borgo, Europe’s largest wine producer, and enjoy lunch at their lovely restaurant.

Lastly, before going back to Montepulciano, visit the hilltop of Montalcino to indulge in Italy’s most famous wine Brunello di Montalcino and immerse in the beautiful landscapes of vineyards.

Siena Italy
Siena Italy

Day 6: Montepulciano to Siena

On the sixth day, head towards Siena, a UNESCO-listed medieval town an hour away from Montepulciano.

Visit the Piazza del Camp, one of the most famous squares in Italy, and the Siena Cathedral, a stunning example of Italian Gothic architecture.

Siena is also known for its cuisine, so be sure to try some of the local specialties, such as pici pasta and panforte.

Day 7: Siena to San Gimignano

Drive towards the small medieval town of San Gimignano, about an hour away from Siena. 

The town is famous for its towers built by wealthy families in the 14th century. You can also explore the town’s narrow streets and alleys, visit the Piazza della Cisterna, and climb the Torre Grossa for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

San Gimignano is also known for its white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, so be sure to taste it at one of the many wineries in the area.

vineyard and sunrise
San Giminiano

Day 8: San Gimignano to Pisa

Head towards Pisa, which is about an hour and a half away. 

Pisa is famous for its iconic Leaning Tower and is a must-see attraction. You can also visit the Piazza dei Miracoli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery, and the Camposanto Monumentale.

Day 9: Pisa to Lucca

Lucca is only thirty minutes away from Pisa, so you could split the day between the two cities or leave early to explore Lucca fully.

At Lucca, you can walk or bike along the top of the city, which offers stunning views of the city and its surroundings. Lucca is also famous for its churches, such as the Cathedral of San Martino and the Church of San Michele in Foro.

Be sure to try some local cuisine, such as Buccellato, a sweet bread, a speciality of Lucca.

Florence view from the Cupola
Florence View from the Cupola

Day 10: Lucca to Florence

On the last day, depending on your schedule, you can spend some time in Lucca before returning to Florence. The drive back is about an hour, so arrange your day’s activities accordingly. 

✔️ Sicily road trip itinerary (10 days) 

Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is a land of stunning natural beauty, rich history, and delicious food. 

So, a road trip through this enchanting island is the perfect way to explore its diverse landscapes and discover its fascinating cultural heritage.

Let’s explore a detailed 10-day road trip itinerary for an unforgettable adventure.

Day 1: Palermo

Palermo, the capital city of Sicily, is the perfect starting point for a 10-day road trip on this beautiful island. 

On day one, explore the historic city center, a mix of different cultures and styles. Visit the impressive Cathedral, the Quattro Canti, and the Royal Palace. Wander through the colorful markets and try local street food, such as arancini and panelle.

In the evening, head to the lively Vucciria market for a drink while listening to funky live music.

Day 2: Palermo

On day two, take a short drive from Palermo to the charming town of Monreale. Here, you can visit the stunning Monreale Cathedral, famous for its intricate mosaics and beautiful architecture.

Afterward, head back to Palermo and explore the picturesque fishing village of Mondello, which is a short drive away. Relax on the beach, stroll along the promenade, and enjoy fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants. 

Later, be sure to check out Palermo’s vibrant nightlife.

Day 3: Palermo to Milazzo via Cefalù 

Head east towards Milazzo, with a stop in the charming coastal town of Cefalu along the way. Celafu is known for its beautiful beaches, historic old town, and stunning Cathedral, which boasts impressive Byzantine mosaics. 

Stroll through the narrow streets of the old town, enjoy a gelato by the sea, and soak up the relaxed atmosphere of this picturesque town.

Afterwards, continue your journey to Milazzo, a bustling port town with rich history and plenty of sights to explore.

Day 4: Trip to the Aeolian Islands

Take a break from driving and hop on a ferry from Milazzo to the stunning Aeolian Islands. This archipelago of seven islands is UNESCO-listed and offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in Italy.

Explore the volcanic island of Stromboli, famous for its active volcano, or head to the island of Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian Islands, and discover its charming old town and beautiful beaches.

Day 5: Milazzo to Taormina

Located just a short drive from Milazzo, Taormina is perched on a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea and offers spectacular views of Mount Etna.

Spend the day exploring the town’s winding streets, ancient ruins, and beautiful gardens. Don’t miss the chance to visit the iconic Teatro Greco, a well-preserved ancient Greek theater that still hosts performances today.

Day 6: Taormina to Catania

Head towards Catania, a vibrant city known for its baroque architecture, lively markets, and delicious street food.

Spend the day exploring the city’s impressive landmarks, including the Piazza del Duomo, the Castello Ursino, and the Fontana dell’Elefante. Also, don’t miss the chance to sample Catania’s famous street food, such as arancini, cannoli, and granita.

In the evening, head to one of the city’s popular bars or clubs to experience Catania’s lively nightlife scene.

Day 7: Day Trip to Mount Etna

Take a day trip to Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is just a short drive from Catania and is a must-visit spot for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Pick one of the many guided tours to fully enjoy the volcano’s beautiful landscapes, such as craters, lava flows, and ancient forests.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even hike to the volcano’s summit for spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

Also, don’t forget to sample some of the local wines produced on the slopes of Mount Etna, known for their unique flavor and aroma.

Day 8: Catania to Agrigento

The journey from Catania to Agrigento will take you through some of Sicily’s most beautiful and historic parts. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the ancient city of Syracuse, with its impressive Greek theater and Roman amphitheater. 

You’ll also pass through the charming town of Noto, known for its beautiful Baroque architecture, and the scenic fishing village of Marzamemi.

Finally, as you approach Agrigento, you’ll see the stunning Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO-listed site featuring some of the best-preserved ancient Greek ruins in the world.

Day 9: Day trip to Scala dei Turchi

Take a day trip to Scala dei Turchi, a stunning white cliff formation on the coast of Realmonte. The name translates to “Stairs of the Turks” and refers to the historical invasions of the Saracens. 

The unique white color of the cliff is due to the presence of marl, a sedimentary rock easily eroded by the sea. 

You can spend the day relaxing on the beach, swimming in crystal-clear waters and exploring the cliffs.

Day 10: Agrigento to Palermo

After an adventurous road trip around Sicily, make your way back to Palermo. The drive from Agrigento is about two hours. So be sure to schedule your trip according to your flight, ferry, or train back home.

✔️ Sardinia road trip itinerary (7 days)

Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. With crystal-clear waters, a rugged coastline, and rich history, Sardinia is the perfect destination for a road trip adventure. 

Below you can find a 7-day road trip itinerary starting from Calgiari and finishing in Olbia, with must-sea sights and experiences along the way. 

Day 1: Cagliari

Start your Sardinia road trip from the charming city of Cagliari. 

Begin your day by exploring the historic center known as Castello, which is perched on a hill overlooking the city. Wander through the narrow streets and alleys, admiring the colorful buildings and stunning sea views.

Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the Bastione di Saint Remy, a panoramic terrace offering breathtaking cityscapes. Then head to the Poetto beach, on the city’s most popular beaches, to soak up the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean.

Day 2: Day trip to the Beaches of the South

Take a day trip to the gorgeous beaches of the south. Start by driving to Chia, a small village with pristine waters and spend some time relaxing and swimming in the turquoise sea.

Next, head to Tuerredda, a secluded beach with white sand and clear waters, perfect for snorkeling and diving. 

Finally, make your way to Porto Pino, a long stretch of sandy beach surrounded by dunes and pine forests.

Day 3: Cagliari to Barumini

On the third day, head towards the small town of Barumini. 

Along the way, make a stop at the Nuraghe di Arrubiu, a well-reserved complex dating back to the Bronze Age. 

Continue your journey to Barumini, where you can visit the Su Nuraxi archaeological site and one of the most important Nuragic settlements on the island. Take a guided tour to learn more about its history and explore the area fully.

Day 4: Barumini to Bosa via Oristano

Before arriving in the beautiful town of Bosa, stop by the historic city of Oristano. Visit the charming town center and the Torregrande beach to marvel at its crystal-clear waters and white sand.

Then continue your journey to Bosa, the picturesque town on the banks of the Temo River. Explore the colorful houses and charming alleys, and climb up the Malaspina Castle for panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Day 5: Day trip to Alghero

Located on the northwest coast of the island, Alghero is known for its stunning beaches, historic center, and Catalan heritage.

Stroll along the seafront promenade, visit the 16th-century Aragonese Tower and explore beautiful alleys with colorful houses and medieval architecture. 

Also, don’t miss the chance to try local seafood specialties, like bottarga and lobster spaghetti.

Day 6: Bosa to Porto Cervo

For a change of mood, drive from the charming town of Bosa to the luxurious resort town of Porto Cervo. Along the way, stop at the stunning beaches of Is Arutas and Mari Ermi, known for their unique white quartz sand. 

Then continue towards Porto Cervo and make your way to Costa Smeralda, known for its high-end boutiques, restaurants, and yachts. 

Take a stroll along the marina and enjoy the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Day 7: Porto Cervo to Olbia

On the last day, make your way to Olbia, where you can either take a ferry back to the mainland or a flight back home.

✔️ Puglia road trip itinerary (7 days)

Puglia region is in the heel of Italy’s boot and boasts stunning coastlines, scenic towns, and rich cultural heritage.

A road trip through Puglia is the perfect way to explore this beautiful region and discover hidden gems. 

So, find a detailed 7-day road trip itinerary for this beautiful region below for a memorable experience.

Day 1: Bari

Bari is Puglia’s capital, making it a great spot to start your road trip. 

On the first day, explore the charming old town of Bari, known as Bari Vecchia. Wander through narrow alleys, admire beautiful architecture, and visit the stunning Basilica di San Nicola, which houses the remains of Saint Nicholas. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to try delicious street food, such as focaccia barese and panzerotti. And later in the evening, head to the lively Piazza del Ferrarese to enjoy a drink in a vibrant environment.

Day 2: Bari to Polignano Mare

Head south to Polignano Mare, a picturesque town perched on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea. 

Stroll through the charming old town and admire the stunning seascapes from the terraces. Also, be sure to visit the famous Grotta Palazzese, a restaurant built inside a natural cave overlooking the sea. 

In the afternoon, head to the nearby pebbly beach of Lama Monachile, also known as the “Cala Porto,” to relax, sunbathe, and swim in pristine azure waters.

Day 3: Polignano Mare to Locorotondo via Alberobello

On the third day, head to Alberobello, a UNESCO-listed town famous for its unique trulli houses. Stroll around charming alleys to admire the unique architecture, as well as learn a bit more about the town’s history.

Afterward, continue your journey to Locorotondo, a charming hilltop town known for its white-washed houses and winding streets. So, take a leisurely walk through the town’s historic center and enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Day 4: Locorotondo to Ostuni via Martina Franca

Head towards Martina Franca, a lovely town known for its Baroque architecture and lively atmosphere. Stroll through the historic center and marvel at the ornate buildings and charming piazzas.

After exploring Martina Franca, drive to Ostuni, also known as the “White City,” due to its white-washed buildings. Walk through narrow alleys and enjoy gorgeous rural views from the top of the hill. 

Day 5: Ostuni to Lecce

Head towards Lecce, a city known for its stunning Baroque architecture and rich cultural heritage. 

Immerse in the city’s lovely ambiance and visit beautiful landmarks, including Basilica di Santa Croce. Also, stop by Piazza del Duomo and marvel at the intricate details of the cathedral’s facade. 

In the evening, head to one of Lecce’s many restaurants and indulge in the region’s delicious cuisine, such as orecchiette pasta with tomato sauce and ricotta cheese.

Day 6: Day Trip to Torre dell’Orso

Take a day trip to Torre dell’Orso, a scenic seaside town located on the Adriatic coast. 

Spend the day lounging on the sandy beach, soaking up the sun and swimming in the crystal-clear waters. Stroll along the promenade and admire the stunning views of the surrounding cliffs and rock formations.

For adventure seekers, plenty of water sports activities are available, like kayaking and windsurfing.

Day 7: Lecce to Bari

On the last day, drive back to Bari for your flight or even ferry back home. However, if you have available time, stop by Brindisi, Monopoli or Castella Grotte.

Brindisi is a charming port town with a rich history to explore through impressive attractions.

Monopoli is a lovely coastal town with beautiful beaches and a stunning cathedral.

Castellana Grotte is home to some of the most impressive caves in Italy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Driving in Italy

Can I travel around Italy without a car?

Italy has an extensive and convenient public transportation system that includes trains, buses, and ferries, making it easy to get around the country without a car.

What is the speed limit in Italy?

The speed limit on highways is typically 130 km/h, while in urban areas, it is usually 50 km/h. However, always check for signs, as limits may vary.

Road Signs in Autostrada
Road Signs in Autostrada

Can you turn right on red in Italy?

Turning right on red is against the law, even if you stop first. 

Are highways free in Italy?

Most highways in Italy are not free and require payment of tolls.

How expensive are tolls in Italy?

The toll amount varies depending on the distance traveled and the type of vehicle. 

How do tourists pay tolls in Italy?

The best way for tourists to pay tolls is in cash or credit card at the toll booth.

Can Americans drive in Italy?

Americans can drive in Italy only if they obtain the International Driving Permit.

Via meravigli milan
Milano Corso Magenta – Tram

Is it recommendable to drive in Milan?

Although it’s possible to rent a car in Milan, I wouldn’t recommend it.

There are a lot of ZTL areas where cars that don’t have special permission cannot circulate and it’s difficult to find a car park.

And when you find it, it’s super expensive. Also in Milan, you can easily circulate by public transportation.

You could rent a car at the airport, though, and drive to the surrounding areas up to the mountains. One of my favorite mountain towns is Ponte di Legno but there are many more cute little towns in the Alps where having a car is much better.

Or if you want to reach some of the best beaches near Milan, it’s also more convenient by car.

Wrapping Up: Driving in Italy Guide

In conclusion, driving in Italy can be a thrilling and rewarding experience But, it also requires careful planning and adherence to traffic laws.

By following the tips and guidelines discussed in this article, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable journey on the Italian roads.

Remember to stay alert, be patient, and enjoy the scenic beauty of this beautiful country!

Before you go…

Check out some of my most useful posts about Italy:

Best Places to Visit in Italy in October 2023
Where to stay in Bologna
Italian Taxi App: 5 Best Taxi Apps in Italy
Can You Drink Tap Water in Italy?
29 Interesting Things to Know Before Going To Italy
11 Things NOT To Do When Visiting Italy