September 22, 2023

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


Touring has generally arrive with difficulties. Our By The Way Concierge column will consider your vacation dilemmas to the specialists to enable you navigate the new standard. Want to see your issue answered? Post it below.

We are setting up a journey to Puglia in April and are leasing a auto. We have been obtaining mixed messages about no matter whether we will need to have an intercontinental driver’s license. What need to we do? — Joe O., Berlin, Md.

You’re proper about the combined messages. The web page for the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Italy says you “should acquire an Worldwide Driving Permit just before leaving the U.S.” But a number of paragraphs later notes that “tourists might also use their legitimate American driver’s license if accompanied by an formal translation in Italian.” I talked to a bunch of Italy journey professionals to sort out the principles.

Duncan Greenfield-Turk, managing director and chief travel designer for International Vacation Times, told me he advises any individual who designs on driving in a international place — Italy and normally — to get an International Driving Allow (IDP). He also explained the principles for driving in Italy are distinct: You must both have an Italian driver’s license or just one issued by a European Union region. If you do not have one particular of all those, you want to get a IDP to have with your house state driver’s license.

Rental vehicle agencies may well question you for the two your U.S. license and your IDP to select up your car, but not normally, states Rocco Giuseppe Gambardella, who owns the Amalfi Coast culinary encounters firm Bè Legitimate Residence Knowledge with his wife, Carla. It “depends on the motor vehicle rental companies,” he said, so you may well never ever want to present an IDP while you are in the region.

That’s been the case for American travel journalist Angel F. Castellanos, who suggests he has under no circumstances experienced issues finding rental cars and trucks or driving in Italy devoid of an IDP. Even when he’s gotten dashing tickets, “I’ve hardly ever had to current my license to a police officer,” Castellanos stated.

Simple traffic violations are captured by digicam footage, then tickets get sent to vacationers later. Individuals have been expensive, Castellanos warns, and occur as a result of the rental auto firms who demand service costs on leading of the violation.

But in the case you do get pulled above by Italian law enforcement or get in a motor vehicle accident, and you don’t have the permit, you can get fined hundreds of euros. And Kathy McCabe, host of the PBS demonstrate “Dream of Italy,” states the prerequisite has been enforced extra frequently in the latest decades.

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Fortuitously, it’s effortless to get an IDP, McCabe claims. There’s a $20 charge, plus tax, to use for one particular by AAA, and you never have to just take a written or driving test. You just will need to be at minimum 18 a long time outdated and have a valid driver’s license. In accordance to AAA, an IDP can’t be issued more than 6 months in progress of your excursion, but it is valid for a yr.

You can apply in human being at a AAA department by printing and filling out this type, publishing it with two authentic passport photographs and demonstrating your valid U.S. driver’s license. Or you can utilize by mail by sending that very same software form, two passport shots just about every signed on the again, a photocopy of both equally sides of your driver’s license and the price. If you’re in a hurry, you can also pay additional for expedited return mail service. (Much more on the approach in this article.)

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Alternatively, as the U.S. Embassy internet site outlined, you can forgo an IDP and get your license translated into Italian — but it’s much more of a trouble than it appears. You’ll have to get an official translation (a traduzione giurata) at a spot like an embassy or consulate, or via a accredited translator or interpreter.

I’d be remiss to not include a phrase of warning from some of my sources: Renting a vehicle in Italy is not for everybody.

Due to the fact of possible “excessive prices and traffic challenges,” Gambardella advises purchasers against renting a automobile on trips to the Amalfi Coastline and southern Italy, whilst he extra that a lot of of his buyers have rented vehicles with out any complications.

Dominique Barbeau of the personal tour operator Access Italy claims the company also endorses from leasing a car abroad. Clientele usually return residence with loads of targeted visitors violations, and, “at the conclude, it is value employing a driver,” she mentioned. Gambardella suggests you could use a taxi service, these types of as NCC, or choose trains (Italy has a fantastic practice technique) or buses.

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With that staying claimed, McCabe does advocate owning a vehicle to discover the Salento peninsula. And obtaining traveled by means of Puglia myself, I’d also lease a auto to hop amongst beaches very easily if I went again again.

For fantastic evaluate, I questioned my Italian close friend Vito Palumbo, CEO of the wine organization Tormaresca, who has vineyards in Puglia. He’s 100 percent on board for vacationers leasing a auto in Italy — specially Puglia, exactly where public transportation is limited. Whilst parking can be bewildering, he finds it considerably less typical to get dashing tickets in the location than in other sections of the state.

Should really you decide to drive, in addition to making use of for your IDP, down load the navigation app Waze. Castellanos suggests it has served him prevent tickets considering the fact that he started out employing it. Not only does Waze give driving instructions, but it also gives velocity boundaries and details out the place pace-trap cameras are located.

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