Italy Traffic Rules
Italy traffic rules
Are you planning to go to Italy by car? First read the traffic rules below.
General traffic rules Italy
Here are some important general traffic rules, including a number of traffic rules that may deviate from your home country.
- Driving and alocohol
- The maximum permitted alcohol in the blood is 0.5 per mille. With an alcohol of 0.8 per mille or more in the blood, the driver gets a heavy fine and possibly even imprisonment.
- For drivers who have a driving license for less than three years, an absolute ban on alcohol applies.
- It is forbidden to drive under the influence of drugs.
- It is prohibited for drivers of vehicles (including cyclists) to hold a mobile phone while driving.
- Note: Even if the vehicle is stationary in a traffic jam or a red traffic light, the driver may not hold a mobile phone.
- Hands-free calling is allowed.
Headphones or earphones
- It is forbidden to wear headphones while driving. Use of a headset with one earpiece is allowed.
- Pedestrians are obliged to walk as far as possible on the left side of the road if a footpath is missing. Please note: On pedestrian roads, pedestrians in Italy should walk on the right.
- From half an hour before sunset to half an hour after sunrise, it is forbidden for pedestrians walking along a road without street lights to walk next to each other. Walk singel lane!
Basic traffic rules
- You have to drive on the right and overtake on the left.
Priority in Italy
- As a basic rule, at a crossroads drivers of right have priority, unless stated otherwise.
- Trams and regular buses always take precedence.
- If, at an equivalent intersection, two drivers on the other side both want to turn left, they must pass for each other (and not around each other).
- On narrow roads, the heavier vehicle (eg a truck) has priority over the lighter vehicle (for example, a passenger car). In the case of equivalent vehicles, the vehicle that is closest to a pass through location should give priority.
- On narrow mountain roads, uphill traffic takes precedence over descending traffic (and a descending vehicle may have to reverse) unless the upcoming vehicle is close to a pas through location. A postal car always has priority.
- Most roundabouts in Italy have priority signs and shark teeth, which means that drivers approaching a roundabout should give priority to drivers who are already at the roundabout.
- However, if there are no priority signs and / or other traffic signs at a roundabout, drivers of right take precedence, just like on an ordinary intersection. Be extra careful with this type of roundabout, because not all road users are aware of this rule.
Passing another vehicle in Italy
- Drivers may overtake a moving tram on the right if this is possible.
- You may not pass a stationary tram as long as passengers are boarding and disembarking.
In streets with one-way traffic, a moving tram can also be overtaken on the left if there is sufficient space for it.
- It is forbidden to stand still (or to park) in places where your vehicle is not clearly visible or an obstacle to other traffic, such as in a bend, on a hill or at a crossroads.
- Moreover, it is forbidden to stand still in the following places:
- In a tunnel.
- At a level crossing.
- At a traffic sign if you remove other road users from the road.
- It is forbidden to park on the left side of the road (against the direction of traffic), also in parking spaces on the left. In a one-way street you may park on the left side, provided that there is at least 3 m of free road width left.
- It is forbidden to park at a bus or tram stop and for a waste container.
- In all major cities there are paid parking areas, indicated by blue signs with a white P. There are also zones where parking is allowed for a limited time. These are marked with blue stripes on the road.
- In parts of the historic center of Rome it is forbidden to park on weekdays from 7 am to 8 pm. This does not apply to residents of this area.
- Outside the city area, a driver may give sound or light signals during unclear curves and crossings.
- Within the city area, sound signals are only allowed if there is a direct risk of a collision.
- A driver who transports serious injured or sick people may give sound signals at any time.
Maximum speed Italy
Within city areas / Outside city area / Motorways / Motorways
- Mopeds: 45 / 45 / prohibited / forbidden
- Motorbikes <150 cm³ (A): 50 / 90 / 90 / prohibited
- Passenger cars, motorhomes, maximum permitted mass <3500 kg and motorbikes >150 cm³: 50 (B) / 90 / 110 / 130
- Motor vehicles with trailer / caravan (A): 50 / 70 / 70 / 80
- A: On Italian motors up to 150 cm³ a sticker with the indication 90 must be affixed. On Italian trailers (including caravans) 2 stickers with the designations 70 and 80 must be affixed. This obligation does not apply to foreign vehicles.
- B: Where indicated by signs (eg on ring roads) the maximum speed is 70 km / h.
- Where the motorway has three or more lanes per direction, 150 km / h may be driven on some sections. This is indicated by signs.
- In bad weather circumstances, the maximum speed on motorways is reduced to 90 km / h and on motorways up to 110 km / h.
- Drivers with a driving license for less than three years are permitted to drive a maximum speed of 90 km / h on motorways and a maximum of 100 km / h on motorways.
Environmental zones Italy
- ZTL: zona a traffico limitato
- Partly to combat air pollution, many Italian cities have set up a traffic-calmed zone, the so-called Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL).
- The rules for these zones are complex, they differ per city and the fines for violations are high. Motorcycles and mopeds are exempted in some places, but not in others.
Those who do not necessarily have to be within the zone can better park outside the zone and enter the zone for instance by foot, by public transport or by taxi.
- In the zones traffic is allowed at limited times and / or only with a special exemption. In most cities the ZTL extends over the center and the historic city center.
- The zones are indicated by a prohibition sign with the inscription zona traffico limitato. If a ban applies only during certain times, this is indicated on the traffic sign. A bottom sign indicates to whom the closure does not apply.
- Control usually takes place by means of video cameras.
- Unlike stickers in other countries, no stickers are required in the Italian zones.
- Be aware: do not accidentally drive into a zone behind a permit holder.
Temporary environmental license
- Tourists can get a temporary permit in some places to load and unload baggage on arrival and departure.
- The owner of the accommodation provides the permit and provides the necessary information. Contact the owner ahead of your stay, pass on the vehicle details (license plate, make, model) and ask if the vehicle is allowed to remain on a private parking space belonging to the accommodation.
- Put the temporary permit clearly visible behind the car window or windscreen.
- The zones are generally accessible to the disabled. The rules differ per city.
- Owners of a disabled parking card must register their registration number in many cities in advance.
- Inquire at the owner of the accommodation. Do this in time, preferably before departure.
- Consult accessibilitacentristorici.it and view the procedure for each item under the Accesso disabili or Disabled access option. Note: The free phone numbers (numero verde) are usually only available with an Italian fixed or mobile phone.
- In any case, place the disabled parking card clearly visible behind the window or windscreen.
- There are high fines on violating the ZTL rules.
- Often the fine is collected by European Municipality Outsourcing (EMO), a division of Nivi Credit (emo.nivi.it). This debt collection agency works on behalf of the Italian government. It can also happen that a fine is sent by another collection agency or the local government. It can sometimes take months before the fine is received at your home address. The method of payment is stated in the ticket.
- An objection against a fine can be lodged
- In Rome, the ZTL stretches over the historic center and some neighboring neighborhoods. Information: romamobilita.it (Italian and English).
- In Arezzo there is a general driving ban for the entire historical center. Information: comune.arezzo.it/il-comune/polizia-municipale/come-fare-per/permesso-provvisorio-ztl (Italian).
- In Bologna motorists must purchase an environmental ticket (ticket per l’accesso) to be allowed to drive between 7.00 and 20.00 hours in the traffic-calmed part of the inner city. A ticket costs € 6 for a day and € 15 for four consecutive days. Owners of vehicles with a foreign registration number can apply for and activate the zone by telephone at the TPER (Trasporto Passeggeri Emilia-Romagna), tel. +39 051 290 290. Information: comune.bologna.it/trasporti/servizi/2:3023 (Italian).
- In the inner cities of Bolzano, Bressanone (Brixen) in South Tirol, a ZTL applies at certain times. Information: ambiente.provincia.bz.it/aria/missione-aria-pulita.asp (German, Italian).
- In Florence a ZTL applies at certain times throughout the historic city center. Information: en.comune.firenze.it/administration/mobility/florence_by_car.html (English, Italian).
- The historic center of Milan is only accessible for vehicles with a vignette from Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm (Thursday to 6:00 pm). During these hours, a € 5 access card must be purchased for the so-called Area C. The card is valid for one day. Multi-day tickets are for sale for € 30 and € 60. Tickets are available at, among other things, tobacconists, kiosks and a number of retail chains. Information: comune.milano.it/wps/portal/ist/en/area_c (English, French, Italian, Spanish).
- In Palermo, a ticket must be purchased for access to the ZTL in a part of the city center (depending on the emissions € 2.50 or € 5 per day). The admission ticket is only available for cars that meet certain environmental requirements. Motors and electric cars are exempt. Information: palermoviva.it/palermo-ztl-le-zone-a-traffico-limitato (Italian).
- In Pisa, an exemption is required for driving in the city center. Information: comune.pisa.it/it/ufficio-scheda/7620/Zona-a-Traffico-Limitato.html (Italian, concise in English, French, Spanish).
- In Verona a driving ban applies at certain times throughout the historic center. Information: cittadiverona.it/guide/zona-traffico-limitato-verona.php.
- On a number of small Italian islands, motor vehicles from non-residents are not allowed during the summer months. For example, Capri, Ischia, Ponza and Procida.
- Information about the various zones and traffic limiting measures: accessibilitacentristorici.it.
- Information about any applicable rules in a particular city is usually available at the tourist office or on the website of that location. The address is generally: www.comune.PLAATSNAAM.it.
Winter tires in Italy
Winter tires in Italy
Winter tires during wintertime
- Obligatory in winter period – Throughout Italy, it is compulsory from 15 November to 15 April in certain areas and on certain roads to drive on winter tires when indicated by a green or blue sign with the text obbligo di pneumatici invernali o catene a bordo (winter tires or snow chains on board compulsory), unless there are snow chains in the car. This period may be advanced or extended in certain areas and for certain roads if the weather conditions so require.
- Tires marked M + S (with or without snowflake symbol) are considered to be winter tires.
- Winter tires must be fitted on all four wheels.
- When winter tires are on, the driver must adhere to the prescribed maximum speed for these tires. This maximum speed is indicated with a letter code on the side of the tire.
- If the maximum speed of the winter tires is lower than that of the car, a sticker must be affixed on the dashboard within the driver’s vision with the maximum speed of the tires.
- Note: In Luxembourg and Germany, driving on winter tires is mandatory in winter conditions and you can not prevent that rule by carrying snow chains wth you in the car.
Winter tires in the summer
- From 15 May to 14 October, Italian roads may not be driven on vehicles equipped with winter tires (M + S) with a speed index lower than the speed index indicated on the vehicle registration certificate (Nordic tires).
- This prohibition also applies to foreign vehicles.
- Whoever does not comply with this prohibition risks a high fine. In addition, the vehicle can be confiscated.
- Obligatory in winter period – In the whole of Italy it is compulsory from 15 November to 15 April in certain areas and on certain roads to have properly fitting snow chains in the car if this is indicated by a green or blue sign with the text obbligo di pneumatici invernali o catene a bordo (winter tires or snow chains compulsory), unless on winter tires is driven. This period may be advanced or extended in certain areas and for certain roads if the weather conditions so require.
- Snow chains must be fitted on the driven wheels.
- The maximum speed when using snow chains is 50 km / h.
- Permitted during winter period – The use of studded tires is permitted from 15 November to 15 March for vehicles with a maximum permitted mass up to 3500 kg.
- If studded tires are used, they must be mounted on all wheels and on the wheels of any trailer.
- With studded tires the maximum speed on motorways is 120 km / h and on other roads 90 km / h.
- Italian cars with studded tires must be fitted with mud flaps behind the rear wheels. For foreign cars with studded tires, the use of mud flaps behind the rear wheels is recommended.
South Tyrol and Aosta Valley:
- In South Tyrol, it is mandatory to drive winter tires or to use snow chains in winter conditions such as snow and snow mud the entire year.
- For the Brenner motorway (E45 / A22) between Brenner and Affi and in the city of Bolzano, from 15 November to 30 April it is madatory to drive on winter tires or have snow chains in the car regardless of the weather conditions.
- In South Tyrol, in winter conditions and in (starting) snowfall, a driving ban applies to motorbikes and mopeds.
Italy traffic rules car
Traffic rules car
- Outside the city area, low beam or daytime running light (also LED) is also mandatory during the day.
- Be aware: In tunnels and in poor visibility, daytime running lights are not sufficient and low beam must be used.
- Within the city area, motorists are only obliged to carry light during the day when visibility is poor.
- Rear fog lamps may only be used if visibility is less than 50 m.
- Children weighing 9 kg or less must be transported with their backs forward in an approved and appropriate child seat. If the seat is placed in an area with an airbag, the airbag must be switched off.
- Children weighing less than 36 kg or smaller than 1.50 m must be carried in an approved and appropriate child seat or on an approved and appropriate booster seat.
- In principle, the rules for the transport of children in your home country apply to cars with your home country’s registration plate. We recommend however to follow the rules of Italy.
Smoking in the car
- It is punishable to smoke in a car or camper in the presence of a passenger under 18 or a pregnant woman. The fine for violation of this rule is very high.
- The load on a car or trailer must not protrude the front of the car.
- Well visible load may protrude a maximum of 30 cm in width, calculated from the side light or rear light. Less visible cargo, such as rods, thin beams or sheet metal, must not protrude.
- Backward projecting load must always be provided with a square warning sign (plastic or metal) of 50 x 50 cm that is white with 5 diagonal red stripes. At night, the cargo must also be provided with a red light.
- A load covering the entire width of the vehicle shall be marked with two such reflective signs at both ends, the signs being so fixed that the stripes together form an inverted V.
- The protruding part of the load may not exceed 30% of the length of the car.
- Cycling on a bike carrier must not protrude in width.The bike carrier must be provided with the above-mentioned reflective red-white sign.
- From 15 May to 15 October it is forbidden to ride on certain winter tires suitable for speeds up to 160 km / h (speed index Q) or lower (F to P). The fine for a violation is high. It is allowed to drive in Italy on winter tires in the summer that are suitable for higher speeds (speed index R, S, T, U, H, V, W and Y).
Italy traffic rules caravan and trailer
Traffic rules caravan and trailer
Dimensions and maximum width in Italy
- Width combination (excluding mirrors) 2.55 m (A)
- Height combination 4 m
- Trailer length (incl. drawbar) 12 m (B)
- Length combination 18.75 m (B)
- A: The width is calculated excluding the mirrors, provided that they are collapsible.
- B: A possible bicycle carrier on the back is included in the length.
- Bicycles that are transported at the back of the caravan must be marked with a 50 x 50 cm reflective aluminum plate that is white with 5 red diagonal stripes.
Italy traffic rules moped
Traffic rules moped
- For both moped-light and moped riders, wearing a helmet is mandatory.
- Mopeds and light-mopeds must also have low beam during the day.
- It is permitted to carry passengers when the driver is 18 years or older and the moped or light-moped is suitable for this according to the registration certificate.
- Transporting a child under the age of 5 is not permitted.
Place on the road
- It is forbidden for mopeds and light-mopeds to ride on cycle paths.
- A rearview mirror is mandatory for mopeds and light-mopeds.
- Driving ban: in South Tyrol, there is a driving ban for mopeds in winter conditions and (starting) snowfall.
Italy traffic rules bicycle
Traffic rules bicycle
- Wearing a helmet is not mandatory.
Lighting and other requirements
- Bikes must be equipped with fixed lamps. For the bicycle, the light must have the color white or yellow at the front and the color red on the back of the bicycle.
- The bike must have a red reflector and yellow or orange reflectors on the pedals.
- The bicycle must also be equipped with well-functioning brakes and a bell.
- No passengers may be carried on the bicycle.
- An adult cyclist may carry a child aged 4 to 7 years in a suitable child seat.
Cycling and alcohol
- The maximum permitted alcohol content in the blood is 0.5 per mille.
- Cyclists are prohibited from holding a mobile phone while driving.
- Hands-free calling is allowed.
Driving next to each other
- It is allowed to cycle next to each other with a maximum of two people if there is room for this and the other traffic is not hindered.
- Outside the city area, it is forbidden to cycle next to each other at night. Also if visibility is poor and in tunnels, cycling should be done one after the other.
- However, children up to 10 years old may always cycle right next to another person aged 10 or older.
Place on the road
- If a bike path is available, cyclists must use it.
- On combined cycling / walking paths, use must be made of the part intended for cyclists or, if no separation is provided, the speed must be adjusted so as not to endanger pedestrians.
- For an electric bicycle (bicicletta a pedalata assistita) with pedal assistance up to 25 km / h that has a capacity of up to 250 watts, the same rules apply as for a regular bicycle.
- Wearing a bicycle helmet is not compulsory, but is advised.
- If you drive outside the built-up area or drive in a tunnel at night, you must wear a retro-reflective safety vest.
- If there is a bike path, drivers of an electric bicycle must use it.
- For an electric bicycle with pedal assistance up to 45 km / h the same rules apply as for a moped.
- The minimum age for a speedpedelec is 14 years and the driver must be in possession of the moped driver’s license.
- The driver is obliged to wear an approved moped helmet (ECE 22.05 standard). Wearing a bicycle helmet or special speedpedelec helmet (standard NTA 8776: 2016) is not permitted. Please note: Drivers who do not wear an approved moped helmet, risk a considerable fine and confiscate their bicycle.
- Speedpedelecs may not ride on the bike path.
Italy traffic rules motor
Traffic rules motors
- Wearing a helmet is mandatory for driver and passenger. This helmet must comply with the ECE standard 22. This is strictly controlled.
- Wearing a helmet on a trike or quad is mandatory unless the vehicle has a closed cabin or a safety cell and the seats are equipped with safety belts.
- Daytime running is also mandatory during the day.
- It is allowed to transport a passenger.
- Transporting a child under the age of 5 is not permitted.
- It is not allowed to connect a trailer to an motor.
- In Italy, the penalties for breaking traffic rules for motorcyclists are very strict (to reduce the number of motor accidents). Relatively minor violations, such as wearing the wrong helmet, can already lead to high fines or seizure of the engine.
- In South Tyrol there is a driving ban for motorbikes in winter conditions and in (starting) snowfall.