How to survive a self-drive holiday through Italy

How to survive a self-drive holiday through Italy

Planning a self-drive holiday through one of the most picturesque countries in the world? Good choice. Sure, some may say you have a death wish; but here at, we think a holiday is never complete without a death defying adrenalin rush. To help you on your merry way, we’ve devised a survival guide to help you deal with the best (or worst) Italian traffic has to offer.

The obvious hints:

If you’re not used to driving on the right, take particular car when pulling out of petrol stations, driveways etc. An International Driver’s License is a must and should be carried along with your passport at all times. As in most other countries, seat belts are compulsory and drink-driving carries heavy penalties, so leave the shot of grappa until after you’ve arrived at your destination. It’ll be a great way to celebrate another safe arrival.

The not so obvious hints:

On the spot fines are the choice weapons of the carabinieri, or municipal police. If you’ve ever wondered how on earth they spotted you as the foreign driver, it’s probably because you were the only one breaking 1 driving rule, not 7. Don’t break any, keep a low profile and they won’t have a reason to stop you.

Roundabouts are a rather prickly issue. Laws change on an almost yearly basis on this! Some locals argue the right of way is to cars already on the roundabout, while others will say cars entering the roundabout should be given precedence. It all depends in which year they took their driving test. We suggest in this case you do what locals do…head in, hover on the breaks and pray to the patron Saint of the town you wish to visit.

Tailgating is another Italian obsession. Don’t take it personally, they would be tailgating you even if you were about to break the speed of sound. We do NOT suggest you do the same in this case however; Italy’s renowned for its multiple pile-ups on highways (50 cars or more), so best to not let it worry you and keep a safe distance from the car in front.

The car horn: Italians know why this was invented and will frequently check to make sure it works. Do the same and use it as a warning, to get someone’s attention or to compliment a particularly nice looking girl walking by.

So pack some Valium before you leave home, and don’t forget to visit, to buy euros online at the best exchange rates.


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