Who among us can say we have never aspired to embark on a European road trip? And when it comes to choosing a country of focus for that road trip, you could scarcely choose a more enticing one than Italy. The famously boot-shaped southern European nation has it all as far as attractions for the intrepid traveller are concerned: stunning mountainous landscapes and lakes, sun-baked towns and villages, enchanting cultural and heritage sites… you name it, it’s probably there to discover.
But this particular blog post of ours isn’t about ‘selling’ you the lure of journeying across Italy on four wheels; you’re probably already well convinced of that. Instead, we will be focusing on what you need to know in order to suitably prepare for your Italian road trip – so, let’s dive right in.
Be Mindful of Italian Driving Culture:
You might have expected us to start this article by setting out such mundane, but critically important things as what documents and other essentials you will need to bring with you – and of course, we’ll get to those in a moment. But before anything else, you will need to ready yourself for the fundamentals of what it truly means to drive in Italy. As Auto Express writer Chris Rosamund has previously explained on this subject, “many UK drivers are unprepared for the different driving culture in Italy, and the driving style of the locals can often appear dangerous and aggressive to motorists used to the generally more well-ordered traffic flows [in the UK].”
As for how you can practically deal with that, Rosamund recommends not “taking things personally” if someone else’s driving in Italy seems perilous – but also to refrain from a “when in Rome” approach to your own driving in the country. After all, you won’t exactly have the kind of hardened instincts on the roads that the locals have, as they don’t tend to be necessary for motorists in the UK.
Have Your Licenses & Documents Sorted:
This is the ‘dull’ bit we mentioned earlier, but we do need to cover it. Naturally, the exact requirements as far as documentation is concerned – including what you will need if you are to be permitted to enter Italy in the first place – are liable to vary over time. So, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on the UK Government’s travel guidance for Italy.
According to that guidance at the time of this article being written, it was possible for those travelling from the UK to travel within the European Schengen area – which includes Italy – for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, without the need to have a visa. For many of those contemplating an Italian road trip, those 90 days will be more than sufficient – but if you wish to spend a longer period of time than that in Italy, you will need to meet the Italian Government’s requirements.
As for the licences and documentation you will require, again at the time of us writing this blog post, it was permitted to drive in Italy with a UK driving licence, insurance, and vehicle documents. No less important to note is that since 28th September 2021, vehicles registered in the UK have been required to display the letters “UK” as the national identifier when driven in Italy, instead of the previous “GB”. This identifier can be incorporated into the motorist’s vehicle number plates along with the Union Flag, or if this isn’t the case for your vehicle, you can have a separate sticker applied to your car.
What else will you need to bring with you?
It isn’t just documents and a valid driving licence that you will need to have with you (as opposed to the mere ‘nice to have’ things that you might choose to leave behind). It is compulsory, for instance, to have a warning triangle in any vehicle you drive in Italy that has four wheels or more. We would urge you to pack reflective jackets too, because although it isn’t mandatory to carry them, if you find yourself having to walk on the road or hard shoulder and you aren’t wearing one, you could be hit with a fine.
Where should you go for your Italian road trip?
To be fair, this could easily be the subject of a whole separate blog post, and in this article, we’re focusing on the essentials that broadly apply to everyone, instead of dictating where you should and shouldn’t go. Nonetheless, with such a wealth of possibilities for places to travel to on four wheels in Italy, we can understand you feeling overwhelmed.
So, this guide to Italian road trips from the Our Escape Clause website might make for insightful further reading, including on potential locations ranging from Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast to Sicily and Emilia-Romagna. The latter, for example, is an instantly recognisable name to petrolheads due to being home to the legendary Imola circuit that hosts the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Isn’t there something else we’ve forgotten to mention?
Well, sort of; if you don’t have an actual car ready to use for your road trip across Italy, you’ll need to consider how you can get behind the wheel of one. And your options here aren’t necessarily restricted to a hire car, a friend-of-a-friend’s car in the UK, or a cheap deal for some terribly unreliable old banger; we can offer you plenty of great car finance deals here at Car Finance Genie. And to begin your journey of discovering just how good and suitable a car you could get behind the wheel of with our help, it’s a straightforward process to apply online for your free no-obligation quote, drawing upon the network of lenders that we represent. Good luck!