The Italian Autostrada is much like the German Autobahn. They are high-speed roads with at least 2 lanes but many have 3 lanes each way. There are tolls on these roads. Toll plazas can be at exits/entrances or across the entire highway. The main north-south highways are labeled A plus a one or two digit number. Connector highways that can go in any direction are labeled E and have two or three digit number. These roads are easy to navigate. A few driving rules exist:
- Never hog the left lane! Use it to pass and then move back into the middle lane. If a car is approaching from the rear, move over. I can not stress this enough. Italians roads have speed limits by lane. The left is the highest, the middle a little less and the right lane is for slow-moving vehicles.
- Use your turn signal to indicate lane change.
- Lane lines are just a suggestion in Italy! You will see cars driving on them and right next to you. This is normale (normal)!
- Use your GPS device or smart phone to get directions and distances. We use the Tom-Tom App on our iPhones.
- Auto Grills are rest areas on these highways. They have good food, restrooms and all kinds of tourist junk. Take a break from driving, stretch your legs, eat something and have a cafè.
The main Autostrada’s are:
- A1 – Milan to Naples
- A2 – Old Rome to Naples but now it is part of A1
- A3 – Naples south to ferry to Siciliy
- A4 – Turin to Trieste
- A5 – Turin to Monte Bianco
- A6 – Turin to Savona
- A7 – Milan to Genoa
- A8 – Milan to Varese
- A9 – Lainate to Chiasso
- A10 – Genoa to Ventimiglia
The list goes on and on. See a complete list on Wikipedia.
Get out and rent a car and see the real Italy.
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Auto Grills, Autostrada, Car Rentals, Driving in Italy, Europe, Italy
Tags: Auto Grills, Autostrada, Driving in Italy, Italian, Italy, No Tour Touring, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism
First and foremost, the Italians drive on the same side of the road as we do. This makes it a whole lot easier. Rental cars are abundant. You can rent from an American company like Hertz, Avis or Budget or from European companies like Europcar and Sixt. I prefer to rent a diesel when in Italy. The fuel is cheaper there. Fuel prices are very expensive compared to ours (about $10/gallon). Any savings you can make on this will help. I rent economy or compact cars since they get better mileage. Italian cars do not have all the smog and clean air protections we have so they get a much higher MPG than we do.
The roads are great. The largest roads are called Autostrada and are numbered A1, A@, etc. A connecting Autostrada can be named E24 etc. These are high-speed roads usually have three lanes each direction. They are limited access roads. Italians drive these roads at 140 KPH (about 90 MPH). The left lane is for passing only! DO NOT DRIVE IN THE LEFT LANE WHEN CARS ARE APPROACHING BEHIND YOU! Italians are kinder to other drivers than we are but they will get very upset if you drive in the left and hog it. The middle lane has a slower speed limit and the far right has the slowest speed limit. There are speed cameras that will ticket you over 140 KPH. There are tolls on most of these roads. Have euros ready to pay your tolls.
Next are highways with limited access. These are typically two lanes with more curves (a slower speed limit). They are good roads and can get you from the Autostrada to near where you are going. Finally there are regular roads which can range from a flat surface road to a very curving mountain road. Some mountain roads have guard rails others do not (like California).
Fuel stops are everywhere so getting fuel is not a problem. Prices range as they do here. You should have a smart phone with European GPS (we use the Western Europe Tom-Tom App) or rent a GPS unit with your car. Directions are not always obvious and a GPS can help you. We also use our iPhone Tom-Tom for walking directions in big towns like Rome. Go and get lost then plug-in your hotel address and put it in walk mode.
Don’t drive in big cities like Rome. Most will not allow you to drive in the old city center. If you are driving and have a hotel, email them as where to park. They may have to email you a pass to enter the old city center and park. Driving will get you places that tours don’t go. So get out and enjoy yourself and have fun.
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Car Rentals, Driving in Italy, Euro, Europe, General Travel, GPS, Parking Garage
Tags: Driving in Italy, Italian, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Tourism, Travel