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Driving in Italy

  • Driving in Italy

    To drive in Italy there are some important things to remember;
    When driving in Italy you must always carry these documents:
    Driving License
    Car registration document/log book
    (this should be provided with hired all cars)
    Car insurance (this should be provided with all hired cars)

    Other Italian Laws
    Autostrade Speed Limit 130 km - Motorways with green coloured signs - Toll roads
    Super Strade Speed Limit varies/usually 90 km - dual carriageways with blue signs - Free
    You must carry identification documents at all times (passport).
    You must wear a luminous reflecting jacket if you get out of your car on all main roads, this should be provided if you hire a car.
    You must have purchase receipt within 20 meters of purchase.
    In vehicles, when you park you must turn the visible clock on the windshield to the time parked. If you do not you may receive a parking ticket.

    Check List
    Before setting out on your trip to Tuscany by car we suggest the following checklist.
    1 Check insurance cover - make sure you know what to do in the event of an accident.
    2 Breakdown insurance - check you are fully covered for breakdown insurance even if your car is new!
    3 Remember to drive on the RIGHT - we suggest that you stick a note on your steering wheel to remind you to drive on the right, even the most experienced of drivers should do this!
    4 Car Service - check that your car has been fully serviced including tyres and brakes one week before you travel.
    5 There are main dealers for most of the major car companies here in Tuscany should problems arise while you are here; don't forget your dealers guide.

    Italian Motorways
    There are 24 hour Petrol Stations along the Motorways, you should try and fill up before leaving the motorway, fuel is sometimes difficult to find in the countryside and more expensive. Tolls can be paid for by Credit Card in Italy, this is often easier on long journeys.
    For the latest traffic information on Italian Motorways, petrol stations and for a toll calculator (English version available)

    For excellent maps and driving directions click here to look at the michelin website. This site also provides cost of tolls.

  • Driving In Tuscany

    Click on the links to download our driving tips
    White roads
    Parking - Blue, yellow or white lines?
    Be a smart tourist - tips from a local

    Tips For Driving On Narrow Gravel Mountain Roads

    Tuscany has a variety of different roads. Whilst you may spend most of your time on main roads, you might have to negotiate the odd challenging road. In some of the hilly and mountainous areas you will stumble upon very narrow gravel country lanes which aren’t paved or even maintained.

    Some of our more remote villas may be located down long mountain roads, so it’s important to know what you’re up against. Read the villa descriptions on our website to check to see where they are located and whether the road you need to drive down is challenging.

    The countryside in Italy has a mixture of roads with varying difficulty. From dirt and gravel roads, to roads that are paved but narrow with lots of hairpin bends. Check before you leave and find out if your route includes gravel surfaces.  These roads are a whole different ball game to normal roads, and demand great care and concentration.

    Here are some tips for driving on narrow gravel mountain roads in Tuscany.

    Driving tips
    The key with winding narrow gravel roads is consistency. Erratic driving results in all sorts of problems, and can cause your car to slide all over the place, which you obviously want to avoid at all costs.

    Try not to dramatically change your speed, and keep your distance from the side of the road roughly the same. Ease round corners without jerking the steering wheel, and keep an eye out for obstacles in the distance.

    You may not always get road signs on some of the more remote gravel roads, but do keep an eye out for any signs that signal hazards or instructions. If you’re driving down a single track road, keep your speed down and take extra care around blind bends, you never know what could be coming your way.

    If you do meet a car coming the other way, always give right of way to whoever is going up a hill (unless there is an obvious place for them to pull over). You may find you have to reverse back down the road - don’t feel under pressure to do this quickly. Take your time.

    Gravel roads
    If you are driving on an unpaved gravel road, keep in mind that there will be a lot less traction. It’s wise to take a wider berth around corners. Try if possible to go over bumps and around turns without stopping or slowing too much, or you may find your tyres spin when you try to speed up.

    Weather conditions can cause your experience of driving on gravel roads to vary significantly. For example, if the weather is dry for long periods, the gravel will be looser which will mean you may be more likely to spin out.

    Although driving on ice is always hair raising, gravel roads tend to be better than paved roads as there’s a little more grip. Gravel roads can get quite muddy in the winter and very dusty in the summer which can sometimes impair visibility.

    Rain can obviously cause a buildup of surface water making the road slippery or create dips in the road. Following heavy rain, puddles can hide massive holes, so do take extra care. Your best bet is to check the weather in advance of your arrival so you know what to expect. If snow is forecast then you’ll need snow chains as a backup.

    We’d also advise arriving within daylight hours because most gravel roads have no lighting whatsoever, so driving on them at night is more hazardous. Arrive in the daylight and get a feel for the road first.

    General tips and advice
    ● Carry out key checks on your car before traveling.
    ● Avoid driving low cars on these roads.
    ● Allow plenty of time for your trip, try not to arrive when you’re exhausted and your concentration will be low.
    ● Find out about the different road types in Italy - narrow dirt countryside roads are called ‘strade bianche’ (white roads) and are rarely paved.

    Car rental tips
    ● Make sure you have a car with enough power to get up the steep country roads and provide acceleration when you need it.
    ● If possible opt for a 4 wheel or all wheel drive car if you’re staying on a mountain road.
    ● Opt for a car with a generous amount of clearance, cars low to the ground may catch on lumps and bumps in the road.
    ● Smaller, nipper cars may be better for narrow winding country roads.

    More Information

    For steep gravel roads the car’s weight power ration should not accede 20kg per KW of power. This is a great site for determining the car weight power ratio but don’t forget to add passenger and luggage weight in your calculation (e.g. 150kg per adult).

    This is a great guide on how to drive on steep slopes.