Italy International Driving Guide 2023

Driving in Italy is not so different to driving in the USA, as long as you have an International Driving Permit and an understanding of the basic rules.

With its idyllic coastal towns, majestic architecture, and abandoned cities, it’s no surprise why millions of people consider Italy as their dream destination. Italy is not only famous for picture-perfect destinations but also its palatable cuisine and cheerful locals. Driving in Italy makes the experience more memorable, so, what’s stopping you from visiting this dreamy European country?

If you’re planning to make this dream trip come true, you need to know some important things before booking that ticket. This guide is packed with information you need to know about Italy, from driving do’s and don’ts and driving situations to rental cars and top destinations. Reading this guide is essential to ensure you live the best time of your life while in the country.

General Information

Located in the south-central of Europe, Italy is the home of fascinating architecture and tasty dishes. Because of its vibrant culture and turbulent past, the country attracts millions of tourists all over the world. Before you dream of enjoying a slice of Neapolitan pizza and Italian spaghetti, you need to know the travel restrictions and safety measures observed in the country.

Geographic Location

Italy is a country at the south central of Europe bordering Spain, France, Austria, Romania, and Greece. This boot-shaped country is just a bit protruding into the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the Po Valley, islands like Sicily, and the southern side of the Alps. Italy is known for its scenic landscapes, where you’ll find rugged mountains and pristine lakes in different regions of the country.

With only a few roads connecting each region in this rugged landscape, each town in the country is unique, with varying cuisine and dialect. The country has general temperate climate because of the mountainous landscape. However, as you go to the southern part of Italy, you’ll find beautiful coastal areas. Indeed, the country has a varied landscape that caters to all kinds of tourists.

Languages Spoken

Standard Italian is the primary language in the country. You may notice that there are varying dialects in each region in the country, but not all of these dialects have legal protection and recognition. Because of this, people had to learn the Standard Italian to communicate with others. Aside from Italian, the people also speak French, Catalan, Slovene, German and Sardinian in other regions.

Land Area

Italy has a land area of 301,230 sq km (116,306 sq mi), including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. The mainland is 1,185 km (736 mi) long and 381 km (237 mi) wide, while Sicily covers 25,708 sq km (9,926 sq mi) of surface area. Sardinia, on the other hand, has a surface area of 24,090 sq km (9,300 sq mi).


Italy has a rich yet turbulent history that inspired hundreds of movies. The country was first inhabited by the Etruscans, who founded a civilization between the Arno and Tiber rivers. In the 3rd century BCE, the Romans took hold of the entire Mediterranean, extending its power from India to Scotland. However, barbarian invasions seized power from the Romans in the 5th century CE, ending the reign of the Roman empire.

During the Renaissance era, Italy flourished because of artistic, technological, and intellectual endeavors. However, the loyalty of the city-states was divided between the pope and the Holy Roman Empire, waging a savage war between the states. Italy has suffered immensely during the two world wars under the rule of the fascist Benito Mussolini.


Italy has a bicameral parliament, which primary function is legislation, comprised of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The members of the Chamber of Deputies, or the lower house, are elected by the proportional representation system. Most senate members are also elected in this kind of system, but some of them are appointed by the president and ex-officio presidents.

The country is headed by the president, elected by the parliament, and three representatives of every region. As the head of the state, the president can dissolve the parliament on his own initiative or at the request of the government. The government comprises the president of the Council of Ministers and other ministers of particular departments. The government is responsible for administrative policy.


Italy’s economy in the past centuries relied heavily on the agricultural sector. However, the country is now prospering thanks to its booming tourism. Italy has been attracting millions of tourists every year, making it one of the most visited countries not only in Europe but in the world.

Tourists love to visit the major cities in the country in which the all-time favorite city is Rome. With beautiful monuments, scenic landscape, and majestic architecture, it’s no wonder that Italy is a top country destination in the world.

International Driver’s Permit in Italy

Driving in Italy to explore cities and towns can be one of your unforgettable memories, assuming you comply with all the requirements and follow the driving rules. One of the requirements for driving in Italy is an international driver’s permit (IDP). An IDP is a travel document that allows you to drive in a foreign country.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Italy?

A local driver’s license is valid in Italy for up to six months if you have a visa on your passport. All licenses issued in the European Union are valid in Italy, even without an international driver’s permit for Italy. However, if you’re from a non-EU country, you are required to have an international driver’s license in Italy. An international driving permit is necessary in Italy, especially for driving permits that are not in Italian or English.

Do You Need an International Driver’s Permit in Italy?

Foreigners need an international’s driver’s permit to drive in Italy for up to six months. When renting a car, you are required to present an international driver’s license in Italy along with your local driving license. An international driver’s permit can help you avoid negative situations with the authorities. If you’re driving in Italy with a US license, you still need to present an IDP to the authorities.

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