September 26, 2023


Reinvent your ride!

Do I need to have an worldwide driver’s license in Italy?

5 min read


Traveling has always appear with problems. Our By The Way Concierge column will choose your vacation dilemmas to the experts to assistance you navigate the new normal. Want to see your dilemma answered? Submit it right here.

We are arranging a journey to Puglia in April and are renting a automobile. We have been finding mixed messages about whether we require to have an global driver’s license. What should we do? — Joe O., Berlin, Md.

You are right about the mixed messages. The web page for the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Italy claims you “should receive an Worldwide Driving Permit in advance of leaving the U.S.” But a number of paragraphs later on notes that “tourists could also use their legitimate American driver’s license if accompanied by an formal translation in Italian.” I talked to a bunch of Italy vacation gurus to sort out the policies.

Duncan Greenfield-Turk, handling director and chief vacation designer for Global Travel Times, told me he advises any individual who plans on driving in a overseas country — Italy and usually — to get an Worldwide Driving Permit (IDP). He also explained the rules for driving in Italy are distinct: You should possibly have an Italian driver’s license or just one issued by a European Union region. If you really don’t have one of these, you have to have to get a IDP to carry with your house state driver’s license.

Rental vehicle companies might ask you for each your U.S. license and your IDP to decide on up your motor vehicle, but not generally, claims Rocco Giuseppe Gambardella, who owns the Amalfi Coast culinary encounters company Bè Legitimate Residence Practical experience with his wife, Carla. It “depends on the motor vehicle rental companies,” he reported, so you could never ever want to current an IDP whilst you’re in the nation.

Which is been the situation for American journey journalist Angel F. Castellanos, who says he has in no way had challenges obtaining rental cars or driving in Italy with out an IDP. Even when he’s gotten speeding tickets, “I’ve under no circumstances had to current my license to a police officer,” Castellanos mentioned.

Basic targeted visitors violations are captured by digital camera footage, then tickets get sent to tourists afterwards. Individuals have been expensive, Castellanos warns, and occur by way of the rental car corporations who cost service fees on major of the violation.

But in the situation you do get pulled more than by Italian law enforcement or get in a motor vehicle accident, and you really don’t have the allow, you can get fined hundreds of euros. And Kathy McCabe, host of the PBS clearly show “Dream of Italy,” states the need has been enforced extra normally in modern yrs.

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Fortuitously, it is easy to get an IDP, McCabe suggests. There’s a $20 price, in addition tax, to utilize for one particular by AAA, and you really don’t have to take a written or driving test. You just need to be at least 18 years previous and have a legitimate driver’s license. According to AAA, an IDP can not be issued far more than six months in progress of your vacation, but it is legitimate for a calendar year.

You can apply in individual at a AAA branch by printing and filling out this variety, submitting it with two unique passport photographs and displaying your valid U.S. driver’s license. Or you can utilize by mail by sending that exact application kind, two passport photographs every signed on the back again, a photocopy of both of those sides of your driver’s license and the payment. If you are in a hurry, you can also fork out much more for expedited return mail service. (A lot more on the method in this article.)

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Alternatively, as the U.S. Embassy website outlined, you can forgo an IDP and get your license translated into Italian — but it’s far more of a stress than it seems. You will have to get an formal translation (a traduzione giurata) at a place like an embassy or consulate, or as a result of a licensed translator or interpreter.

I’d be remiss to not contain a phrase of warning from some of my sources: Leasing a auto in Italy is not for every person.

For the reason that of prospective “excessive fees and site visitors difficulties,” Gambardella advises purchasers towards leasing a car or truck on journeys to the Amalfi Coast and southern Italy, though he extra that lots of of his prospects have rented cars without the need of any issues.

Dominique Barbeau of the non-public tour operator Accessibility Italy claims the company also endorses against renting a vehicle overseas. Clients generally return dwelling with a lot of website traffic violations, and, “at the close, it is worth employing a driver,” she reported. Gambardella claims you could use a taxi company, this kind of as NCC, or choose trains (Italy has a good coach program) or buses.

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With that getting said, McCabe does recommend getting a car to investigate the Salento peninsula. And owning traveled by Puglia myself, I’d also lease a car or truck to hop involving beaches simply if I went back again yet again.

For excellent measure, I asked my Italian mate Vito Palumbo, CEO of the wine corporation Tormaresca, who has vineyards in Puglia. He’s 100 per cent on board for travelers leasing a auto in Italy — particularly Puglia, where community transportation is limited. While parking can be puzzling, he finds it much less typical to get speeding tickets in the region than in other components of the state.

Should you decide to drive, in addition to making use of for your IDP, download the navigation application Waze. Castellanos claims it has helped him prevent tickets since he started off using it. Not only does Waze give driving directions, but it also offers velocity restrictions and factors out where velocity-trap cameras are situated.

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