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  1. I drove a Ford F-150 in Italy up to 2 years ago and now I drive a GMC Sierra and I don’t think it is too difficult to navigate Italian roads and parking spaces. Italian are pretty irrationally, lazy and impatient: they will take the “fastest” route even if ends up being jam-packed, hog that left lane and park as close to their destination (mall entrance, pedestrian zone, bar…) as they can.

    So my 3 advice are:
    – take the less traveled road (it will be empty and stress free)
    – stay on the right lane on freeways – it’s fast enough. Oh, and passing a vehicle on the right is not an offense in Italy if you’re not changing lane and the vehicle you’re passing is slower than you.
    – look for a parking spot where no Italian would ever dare parking (usually 10+ meters from wherever they need to be once out of their car). Also try paid parking lots. Italy’s 2nd amendment is: “A crazy driving experience, being necessary to the beauty of Italy, the right of the people to park anywhere for free, shall not be infringed”

    With that in mind, driving in Italy will be a pleasurable experience. Almost.

    1. Thanks for sharing your unique perspective! I pretty much just drive in the slow lane too. I was always so startled when I’d look in my rear view mirror to see someone an inch away flashing their brights. Crazy diving is all part of the experience!

  2. Here’s my favorite tip for driving in Italy….here in the states, when you want to put your standard shift auto in reverse, you push the shifter down and over. In Italy, you pull the shifter UP and over…..after attempting to explain to a group of older Italian gentlemen we needed help as we just could not get the car in reverse, one was kind enough to assist. I suspect six years later, they are all sitting at their card table (in Sienna) laughing about the two dingdond Americans who couldn’t figure out how to put the Fiat in reverse….

    1. That story brought a smile to my face, Maria! I totally understand. The mechanic I asked to repair one of my reverse lights (there is only one on Italian Fiats) definitely got a good laugh from me. Thank you for sharing your tip!

    2. Just out of curiosity, what is the car rental assistant that cost 700euros? We are headed to Italy in 2 weeks, and renting a car to drive from Venice to Vernazza, then Florence, Siena, Rome and the to Amalfi (flying out of Naples after Amalfi).
      Thank for the tips

      1. Hi Shawn,
        I’m not sure exactly what the scam entailed for Meredith. Just be sure to carefully read the contract you sign (in person and on your booking) and keep the contract you sign. That sounds like a wonderful itinerary. Enjoy!

  3. We avoided the LTZs by renting and returning cars near the airports and just taking trains to/from the airports/car rental places. Much less stressful. An added step maybe, but on vacation, we didn’t mind. Plus, the trains are so easy in Italy! For the Amalfi Coast, we rented a scooter instead. Much smaller on the narrow, winding roads, and easier to park!

    1. I’ve always wanted to rent a scooter!! They are certainly a practical way to hop around the Amalfi Coast. And yes, I completely agree… sometimes that added step is totally worth the reduced stress. Thanks for sharing, Kristin!

  4. In Autumn 2014 we (4 adults + luggage) drove around Tuscany for 10 days. As we were staying in a very in a fairly remote town (just up the mountain form Cortona) it was the best way to see this beautiful part of Italy. We hired a 7-seater van which certainly wasn’t small, but could transport us & our luggage comfortably.
    As long as we parked outside of the hilltop/historic towns (where there was usually plenty of available parking for a fee) and stayed away from major cities, it was fantastic.
    When we visited the bigger towns, we just drove to the nearest train station, parked the car & caught the train to the busier areas. I certainly agree that it’s best to investigate available parking before you arrive at your destination!

    We then moved on to the Amalfi Coast – via Salerno – and it was terrifying driving to Positano, but I now enjoy that fact that ‘I did it’! However, once we parked the car in our hotel’s carpark (quite a distance from the hotel) we left it there for the 4 days and got around by ferry and bus. Definitely should’ve handed the car in at Salerno and caught the ferry to Positano. The Amalfi Coast is so beautiful when viewed from the ocean! We’ll know better next time…and I certainly hope we get to visit again!
    PS: Just be aware of what you sign when hiring your car…we arrived home to a bill for the ‘extras’ that I’d informed the Car Rental assistant we didn’t want…an extra 700 euros!

    1. 700 EUROS?! I’m sorry to hear that! It’s such a shame when tourists get taken advantage of. I’m always very careful about rental car contracts. Next time, check out I’ve always had a good experience with them. Thank you so much for sharing your story! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip full of memories!

  5. Love your blog! Italy is my favorite. Would you have any suggestions for good places to go with teens? We are taking our two teenage daughters next summer and I would love for them to be able to bike everywhere so as to have some independence and maybe meet local teens? We plan to stay a month.

    1. Thanks so much, Jill! Honestly, I’m not really the best person to ask about family travel… BUT, I can say it would be easy to take the public transportation in almost all of the main cities and Florence is one of the more bike friendly places I’ve been to in Italy. Florence would also be a great central base to easily explore Tuscany, Cinque Terre and Rome. It just depends on what kind of experience you’re after! A month long stay sounds fabulous! Enjoy!!

  6. Thanks for the tips. We’ll be doing a road trip in September to Naples to Sicily to Apulia. Hope to do the Vespas in Capri.

  7. You forgot to mention the motorcycles that come from behind you and pass you on both sides regardless of on coming traffic in front of you. That my biggest anxiety while driving in Italy.

  8. First time we drove through the mid part of Italy…Emila Romana, no problem. Next time we drove in Rome. Never again. Not only did we almost have about 5 near accidents…5 months later we are still getting tickets. Expect tickers for various offenses that you had no idea about.

    1. I have driven all over Italy, but never in Rome! You are brave! It’s just better to take public transport or a taxi in the larger cities. I’ve been lucky to never get a ticket in Italy, but I have gotten a ticket from France 5 months later. It’s such a hassle!

  9. I did a brief road trip through Northern Italy and loved it! I’m desperate to go back, so these tips are super! I especially like the idea of checking an Airbnb has parking! That’s something I would totally forget to do!

    1. My husband and I will be going on a road trip from lake como to Italian alps next month, and have rented a fiat 500x. Do you think it’s a touch too big for the narrow lanes? Btw, Alfie is super cute.

      1. Ciao Lisa, I think a Fiat 500X will be perfect! From my experience, the lanes in Northern Italy aren’t quite as narrow. It’s good to have a little more power up in the mountains too. And, thank you!! Alfie is so precious to us!

  10. I have not driven in Italy (don’t have my drivers license yet, but I am working on it!) but we did a road trip (Sofia, Bulgaria – Florence, Italy) and I know I can vouch for all of these things. A hotel/airbnb with a parking is an absolute must, as there were not many parkings anywhere! We looked up all of the parkings we could use before our trip, which helped a lot!


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