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Going by car on holiday to Italy in summer

<i>Those who think of Italy, undoubtedly think of a car holiday. In the backseat children play games, sing songs and enjoy the beautiful view. However, what exactly do you need on such a car trip? What are the compulsory requirements to consider? This guide has full help, including how to check you have the right paperwork, info on speed limits, emissions rules and the equipment you need.</i>

Entering continental Europe

First of all remember to drive on the right as soon as you are entering continental Europe. If you are taking your own car, you will need headlamp beam deflectors (stickers). That’s because at night headlights of cars designed for driving on the left-hand side of the road may dazzle oncoming drivers where you drive on the right. It is a legal requirement in most European countries.

What is mandatory during your car journey?

Warning triangle: It is mandatory to carry a hazard-warning triangle in the car. When you are involved in an accident or breakdown, the use of a warning triangle is mandatory in all weather conditions.

Driving through France

Breathalyser: There is no fine for not having one, the French law states that you must have a certified self-test in your car.

Reflective safety jackets also required in Italy

Not only must the driver of the car, but each passenger wear a Hi Vis jacket when leaving the car due to breakdown, an accident, poor visibility or when you are stationary on the road at night. Safety vests (fluorescent yellow, orange or red and with retro-reflective lanes) must comply with the EN471 European standard and be kept within the cabin.

First Aid Kit and spare tyre

A First aid kit is compulsory in most countries.

PAY ATTENTION! If you rent a car locally, always check whether it has provided the above items.

Do I need an environmental sticker / vignette?

Mandatory vignette in Austria or Switzerland

To drive through these countries the mandatory the “Autobahn Vignette” must be displayed on your car’s windshield and can be purchased online at https://www.tolltickets.com/ or https://e-vignettes.com/
as well as at petrol stations in the vicinity of the borders. You can buy the vignettes for different periods. In Austria you have the choice between: 10 days (approx. € 9,20), 2 months (approx. € 26,80) or 1 year (approx. € 89,20).
Switzerland requires its 1-year standard vignette (approx. € 37.70) - (prices due to subject internet).

Environmental sticker Germany

- https://www.umwelt-plakette.de/



need an environmental badge if you are leaving the motorways in Germany or driving through low emission zones. Each zone can require a different sticker. The environmental zones aim to promote air quality. You can order it online at https://www.umwelt-plakette.de/, where all necessary and additional information about diesel restrictions and zones can be found or just buy it in a TÜV/DEKRA shop.

Toll roads in Italy

Driving across Italy you will find toll roads “autostrada”. The amount you have to pay depends on the means of transport. This is due to the differences in weight of the cars (cars, trucks, caravans, campers, etc.). You can always pay by debit / credit card or cash at the tollbooths. Major credit cards are accepted. It may also be that the payment fails, there is a service center present and is indicated as Punto Blu, that means blue dot.

Traffic rules in Italy

Although it does not always seem that way, there are strict traffic rules in Italy.

General Info

Unbelievably in Italy, the left lane or fast lane truly is only for passing and the speed limit is to be observed. Another important thing to keep in mind that there is no right turn on red.

Following the most important rules as to facilitate your journey in a pleasant way.

Mobile phone

Both car drivers and cyclists are not allowed to hold a mobile phone while driving/cycling. This also applies if you are standing still at a traffic light or in a traffic jam. Hands-free calling is allowed.

Italian priority rules

Priority must be given to vehicles coming from the right or travelling on rails, except where indicated by road signs. They must give way to pedestrians already on crossings and to cyclists near cycle paths. Drivers must give right of way to all police and emergency vehicles when they are using special audible or luminous warning signals.

Roundabouts in Italy

The general rule is to give way to the left. Almost all roundabouts in Italy have shark teeth or traffic signs. If there are no traffic signs or shark teeth at a roundabout, the drivers of right take precedence. Be careful with this kind of roundabouts, because not all drivers are aware of this rule.

Signaling speed cameras in Italy

As far as is known, the use of equipment with signaling for fixed speed cameras or route checks (such as navigation equipment and telephones) is permitted. However, the use and transport of radar detection equipment is prohibited in Italy.

Italian traffic fine with penalty points

This brings us right to the next topic, namely the traffic fines.
If you get a fine in Italy, this goes via a penalty point system. This also applies to foreigners (holidaymakers). If you have collected a total of 20 points, your driving license will be taken for a period varying between 6 and 24 months. The driver of the car gets the points. If the driver is not the license holder, the license holder will have to provide the personal details of the driver. Refusing is punishable. If you do not pay directly, this may affect the amount of your fine. Payment of the fine must be recorded in the official report.

The amounts of the fines vary greatly. Below are a few examples:
No daytime lighting: approx. € 41.
Standing still or parking where it is forbidden: ca. € 41, -.
Driving without a belt: approx. € 80, -.
Crossing a continuous line: approx. € 80.
Violation of overtaking prohibition: approx. € 85.
Use of mobile phones: approx. € 160.
By driving red light: approx. € 160, -.
Not giving priority: approx. € 162, -.
Fines for serious violations commenced between 22:00 and 07:00 will be increased by 30%. For example speeding or driving through red light.

Signaling speed cameras in Italy

As far as is known, the use of equipment with signaling for fixed speed cameras or route checks (such as navigation equipment and telephones) is permitted. However, the use and transport of radar detection equipment is prohibited in Italy.

Refueling during your Italian car holiday

All fuels are available in Italy. Most of these are also available at all filling stations.
At petrol stations “pompa di benzina” you can choose whether your contact or debit / credit card to be paid. At almost all filling stations along motorways and at 80 percent of petrol stations along other roads, credit cards and bank cards are accepted.


Petrol, also called euro 95 lead-free is well available. In Italian, this is often referred to as Benzina Senza Piombo.

Superplus 98lead-free

is offered under different names, depending on the company. This can be indicated under the following names: Premium, BluSuper, HiPerform and is often called in Italian Benzina Super Senza Piombo Plus.

For the older petrol cars that do require leaded petrol, you can buy a lead replacement agent at the pumping station that you can add to the petrol.


Diesel is readily available at all tank stations. Diesel is indicated under the name: Diesel or Gasolio.


E85 (Benzina E85 / Etanolo E85) is a biofuel mix of 15% petrol and 85% bio-ethanol that is only intended for special flexifuel cars.
Note: E85 is not suitable for regular petrol cars!

Natural gas

Natural gas (Metano / M) is available at around 1000 service stations in Italy.


LPG is not available at every gas station. LPG is readily available in the middle and north of Italy. LPG is indicated as GPL, this means Gas Liquido Propano.

Tips for refueling cheaper

Self-service fuel is usually cheaper than a pump with service. Fuel prices at petrol stations that are not along the motorways are much lower than the filling stations on or on the motorway. For petrol stations with the lowest prices, you can look through the link below:

Breakdown assistance in Italy during your car holiday

A breakdown is no fun when you are traveling abroad but by getting an insurance , you may still easily enjoy your holiday. ACI Road assistance is available all year round, 24 hours a day.
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