DRIVING – You need an International Drivers Licence to drive legally in Italy. You can get this from the AA – either instore or online. You need a passport sized photo to go with the form. Cost is about $35.
SPEED LIMITS (often ignored by Italians and change anytime)
- 50km/h in urban areas
- 80km/h in secondary roads
- 110km/h dual carriageways
- 130km/h on motorways (autostrade)
Besides the obvious Speeding you can be penalised by the police for:
- Not having your headlights on at all times whilst the car is in motion
- Not putting on a reflective jacket or vest when not in your car on the Auto strada (your hire car must contain one by law)
- Not putting out a reflective triangle if stopped on the auto strada (your hire car must contain one by law)
- Not putting your seatbelt on.
- Driving in bare feet or shoes with out a back or strap behind the heel such as thongs, flip flops, mules etc.
Parking Rules – These vary from city to city but as a rule of thumb: They are all expensive!
Blue– parking is limited and you either must buy a ticket from a street machine and display it on your dash board, there will be a sign to tell you the maximum time allowed.
Yellow– Handicapped or loading zone, do not park in yellow spaces.
Red – Means resident only parking.
White – Can mean free parking or can mean resident only parking. The best bet is to park in a pay garage. If this is not possible, try to find a white marked space but read the signs carefully in case they are resident only.
If you follow the sign posts marked ‘centro’ this will take you to the town centre and you will usually find parking but will have to pay. Weekends are very busy with locals visiting town and is very congested.
Be careful entering the centre of cities as they are usually restricted traffic zones and have telecameras. The fine will be put on to your credit card if you have a hire car.
Be careful of Parking Attendants at car parks who take your money. They should always give you a parking ticket that goes in your car. Current scam is taking your money (then when you get a parking ticket, they remove the ticket), you think you are legally parked and then you start getting tickets when you get home. Ask your hotel for details of where to park. And look around the car park to see if there are ticket booths!
City hire car offices usually close on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and public holidays. Airport offices have longer hours and will often wait for delayed flights. We recommend a rental car for rural stays. You don’t need a vehicle in Florence so pick your car up on your last day. The Avis Depot is the most convenient, Via Borgo Orgnissanti depot – a 15 min walk from Duorno.
Parking in Florence is a nightmare. Consider taking the train into the city. Santa Maria Novella station is in the middle of the city and you can walk easily from there. If you do drive in, park in one of the parking buildings, there is one under the train station. The bus system in Florence is good and works well.
Image courtesy of Backroads Touring