Driving in Italy can be daunting for most tourists. The historical and culturally rich country is not known for a strong adherence to rules, laws, or regulations. This is demonstrated more on the roadways then anywhere else. We would like to prepare you before you even get into your rental car with the following tips:
Check your credit card’s insurance coverage for car rentals in Italy.
Chances are that your credit card company will offer insurance coverage for any car rental you’ve reserved and paid for in Italy or other destinations abroad. You may find that the coverage offered is sufficient, which means you may not need to purchase insurance through the car rental agency, potentially saving you some spending money. It also never hurts to spring for both kinds of car insurance for more peace of mind.
Make sure you have a good GPS system.
If you have roaming data available while in Europe you may find that your cell phone is sufficient enough to guide you on your adventure. We do however recommend spending a little extra dough to rent a GPS if you are renting a car in Italy. There are definitely areas of “dead zones” where cell phones do not work. If you stick to your phone make sure you have the necessary items to keep it charged. We also recommend purchasing or printing out maps as back up.
Review your route before you even get in the car.
Italy’s roads are not user friendly for foreigners, so if you are not prepared your driving experience could be more stressful then it needs to be. In most small historical villages for example there are zones where cars are not allowed at all, or there are time restrictions for driving on them. If you find yourself driving on a restricted road you may pay heavily for the mistake.
Road signs in Italy.
Be prepared to see Italian road signs with conflicting information. A road may fork in two completely different directions but have the same city destination. This makes step #3 especially important.
Familiarize yourself with Italian road signs.
Before you get on the road make sure you have a basic understanding of Italian road signs. Most car rental agencies offer an information packet, but Wikipedia can also be a great resource.