Driving in Italy
Who can drive in Italy?
Americans may drive in Italy as long as they have a translation of their home driver's license. This can be done in one of two ways:
- AAA will make an International Driver's Permit for any U.S. resident with a State driver's license. You will need $10 and 2 passport sized pictures. If you do not have the pictures, they can take them for you for an additional amount. The IDP is valid for 1 year and can be post dated until the date of your arrival in Italy.
- Go to the local A.C.I. when you arrive in Italy and ask for a translation. You will need to have a marca da bollo and 2 passport pictures. The marca da bollo costs around €10.
You do not need an IDP to rent a car but you do to drive a car. If stopped by the police they may not ask for it but if you get someone who does and you do not have it you will face a fine. Not worth it. Get the IDP (click on the link and you can read about the law).
The IDP by the way is not used instead of your license but with it. You must carry your home state license at all times while driving as well as your passport (this is considered valid identification which is required at all times in Italy)
Residents may drive with the IDP and their home state license for their first year of residency. After this they will need to get an Italian driver's license.
International Road Signs
Even though they are called International, these signs are not the standard signs used in the United States. Please pay careful attention. Below you can follow links to the explanation of the signs you will find in Italy. Print them out and keep them in your cars glove box for easy reference. The explanations are in both English and Italian so these can also be used to study for the Italian driving exam. For a small donation I can send you a .pdf file of all of the signs if you would prefer. You can contact me at
An IDP is required so read about it here.
Helpful hint: It is illegal to make a right hand turn on a red light. It is also a good way to get killed so don't do it!
Do you know what this sign means?
This is the "dare precedenza" sign. It is found 50 meters before an intersection or roundabout where you do not have the right of way. It means that you must wait for all others to pass before you may go. Along with the sign there will be upside down triangles on the road, right at the intersection.
Yes, the above is a stop sign and they are used in Italy. Only problem is that some people think of them like a flashing yellow. They only stop if there is a reason. Because of this, never assume that the other will stop.
If you want to know why Italians drive the way they do, it is because they start at a very early age. How early? Check out this short film (make sure you have your sound turned on)