Car Hire - a Guide to Driving in Italy

By: Liam G

Driving is undoubtedly, one of the most exciting ways to truly explore Italy. If however, you plan to stick to the bigger towns and cities and have no intention of venturing out into the countryside then its probably best avoided.

There are a number of reasons for this, the main ones being the difficulty in both parking and getting around.

On the whole driving in Italy requires a certain amount of bravery and a good deal of patience, with speed and small margins for error seemingly being the essence of Italian drivers.

Even though driving regulations and rules are governed by the same EU laws as in the UK, the degree to which such laws are enforced varies greatly.

Traffic lights are generally respected, within Naples though, stopping at a red light becomes more of an option than a given.

Finding a parking space in most of the cities can be very difficult; this is especially true in Venice. Instead, parking in a supervised car park outside of cities is generally a better idea.

As Italy has an extensive public transport network, connecting most of its bigger towns and cities, it is advised to make use of this in favour of driving around them yourself.

As mentioned above, if however, you plan on spending a lot of time in the country, or have accommodation outside a city, then renting a car and making your own way round is going to be the favoured option.

This is because Italy's public transport does not stretch out into the country, making many of the smaller village's inaccessible without your own car.

When out and about on Italian roads one of the main things to watch out for is drivers overtaking. Those more confident on the road tend to get very close behind cars and then shoot out. With most roads being bendy with only one lane per direction, this can prove quite dangerous.

The trick is to just remain calm and concentrate fully on the road at all times. It's best to have one person navigating and one driving.

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