Driving a motorhome in Italy

When driving a campervan, you need to have with you the following documents:
– Valid national driving licence enabling to drive the category of the vehicle being driven. Unless your national driving licence has been issued by an EU/EFTA-member state, it must be accompanied either by an international driving permit, (also called international driving licence) to be obtained prior to departure, or by a certified translation (traduzione giurata) into Italian.
– Third Party Liability insurance cover, including passengers, excluding the driver. Theft and fire covers, as well as kasko (comprehensive) insurance, covering all risks regarding vehicle, passengers and driver, are optional. Therefore, for campervans it is possible, but not mandatory, to have additional guarantees, not provided for passenger cars.
– Vehicle registration certificate.
– Residents of non-EU countries should contact their insurance company prior to departure and check whether they need a green card or a short term insurance.
All non-EU-registered vehicles circulating in Italy must display a nationality sticker at the rear.

Speed limits for campervans:
– 50 km/h in built-up areas; 80 km/h outside built-up areas; 100 km/h on motorways (laden weight between 3.5 and 12 t)
– 50 km/h in built-up areas; 70 km/h outside built-up areas; 80 km/h on motorways (laden weight over 12 t);
It is compulsory to adjust speed according to load and road conditions as well as complying with all – even temporary – speed limits on any kind of road.
On highways with three or more lanes, campervans longer than 7 m can drive only on the two rightmost lanes.

Areas where parking or stopping is allowed are indicated by specific road signs and can be found on dedicated websites.
It is also possible to park campervans in areas reserved for vehicles, displaying the payment receipt on the dashboard (if required).
Parking a camper costs more than parking a normal car. The driver of the camper must pay 50% more than that of another motor vehicle in a similar parking lot in the area. In short, if the parking cost 1€/hour for cars, for the camper it will be 1.50€/hour.

Electricity can be reloaded at electric hook-up points located within camp sites or at parking or stopping areas.
Wastewater must be drained into specific areas available in each town or within camp sites.

Mopeds and bikes can be transported provided that the camper is equipped with the appropriate carrier. An overhanging load must not exceed 30% of the length of the vehicle and may only overhang at the rear. It must be indicated by a square panel 50cm by 50cm with reflective red and white diagonal stripes. A carrier can be installed on a campervan to transport dinghies, windsurfs or little boats.

Warning triangle
A warning triangle must be carried in the vehicle at all times. It must be used to signal emergency stop by placing it at a distance of least 50 metres from the stranded vehicle, provided the road allows such distance. Otherwise, it must be placed in the most visible position.

Reflective jacket / waistcoat / braces
A reflective jacket/waistcoat or reflective braces must be worn when stepping out of a vehicle – in
case of an accident, a breakdown or for any other reason – outside built-up areas at night and even
in the daytime in case of poor visibility. This applies also in rest areas and in the emergency lane of
motorways. For this reason, reflective items as above are supposed to be available at all times in
the driver and passenger compartment.

Seat belts are compulsory for the driver and all occupants of the vehicle, including light quadricycles and micro cars.

In Italy you must drive on the right. Drivers must keep the rightmost free lane of the road. The left
lanes are reserved for overtaking.

Driving on the emergency lane is forbidden, since this is reserved for rescue and emergency vehicles and emergency stops.

A safe distance must be maintained so as to avoid collisions in case the preceding vehicle brakes

Children up to 1.5 m in height must always be placed in an approved restraint system or seated in a child seat suitable for their weight. Children over 1.5 m in height must wear ordinary adult seat belts. The driver, or the adult accompanying the minor, is responsible for compliance regarding the use of an appropriate restraint system/child seat or seat belts.

The use of parking lights and dim lights is compulsory outside built-up areas for all motor vehicles, day and night. Full beam headlights can be used in poor visibility making sure not to dazzle other road users with special regard to oncoming and preceding vehicles.

In built -up areas the use of parking lights and dim lights is compulsory from half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise or in case of poor visibility (e.g. rain, fog, snow).

Mopeds and motorcycles must have their parking lights and dim lights on at all times even in builtup areas.
Vehicles equipped with daytime running lights are allowed to use them during daytime (but not in
tunnels) in good-visibility.

It is compulsory to stop and give way to pedestrians on marked crossings.

Driving on the lanes specially reserved for public transport is forbidden. Such lanes are identified by means of special road signs and yellow road markings.

RESTRICTED TRAFFIC AREAS (“Zone a Traffico Limitato” ZTL)
In Restricted Traffic Areas (ZTL) a no thoroughfare is in force for private vehicles, except at certain time of day – usually early morning and late afternoon. Weekdays and hours when accessing ZTLs is possible vary from town to town, according to local ordinances.
Warning: make sure you avoid restricted traffic areas in the historical centres of Italian cities or remember to pay attention to information signs at the entrance to ZTLs.
Anytime a vehicle enters or exits a restricted traffic area (Zona Traffico Limitato – ZTL), cameras take a picture of the license plate. The photo is automatically sent to a computer of the Municipal Police and if the license plate is not registered in the relevant database a violation ticket is generated and sent to the vehicle’s owner.
Restricted traffic areas are clearly indicated by a sign showing a white circle with red borders, stating the hours in which the area is restricted.
wording “VARCO ATTIVO” means that vehicles are not admitted unless they are covered by a special permit. Of course, the first mention is displayed during non-restricted hours and the second during restricted hours.
If your hotel or parking garage is located within a ZTL, please check beforehand whether they can take care to pass your car registration number to the Municipal Police. This is possible in some city centres only.

On approaching a roundabout, priority signs or road markings indicate the right of way. If there are no traffic signs or road markings (stop- or give way signs), priority to the right applies.

In town areas parking places are usually designated by road-surface markings in three different colours. The vertical signs indicate charging hours and prices.
– Blue lines indicate a “pay and display” parking place. An accompanying sign gives the relevant details including charging hours and prices. Charges vary from town to town.
The parking receipt must be displayed on the dashboard inside the car. Payment can be made either at local parking meters with coins, or by purchasing a “scratch and display” tag at tobacconists’ or newspaper shops.
– White lines indicate a free-of-charge parking place. An adjacent sign may indicate a time restriction requiring that a parking disc be set to time of arrival and displayed on the dashboard.
– Yellow lines indicate a parking place reserved for special categories of users (such as disabled motorists, local residents, municipal services and utilities) holding a permit issued by the relevant Municipality.

It is compulsory to wear eyeglasses or corrective lenses when driving if this obligation is mentioned in the driving licence or moped driving permit.
It is forbidden to use a handheld mobile phone or other electronic devices (e.g. Ipod, headphones for music) while driving a vehicle. The use of a mobile phone is admitted only with a hands-free system, provided other sounds are not blocked out and the driver is alert to what is happening around her/him.

The driver can decide responsibly what type of shoes to wear while driving. The ban on wearing open shoes no longer exists, since almost all braking systems are hydraulic or electronic. As a general rule, you are free to choose what to wear as far as it allows you to drive safely, ensuring free movements and a good grip on the pedals.

The general legal limit of alcohol in the blood of drivers is 0.5 g/l (0.05%).
A special limit of 0.00% applies for new drivers (holding a licence for less than 3 years), young drivers aged up to 21 and professional drivers.
Driving under the influence of narcotics and psychotropic substances is forbidden.

Tunnels are frequent in the Italian road and motorway network, both through the Alps and the Apennines ranges. Major Alpine tunnels are subject to tolling. Use dipped headlights even in well lit tunnels.

112 is the European emergency phone number to contact any emergency service throughout the EU. Please note that in Italy, this number is not yet activated in all Regions and Provinces. In this case, the usual numbers shown below are still valid.
112 Carabinieri.
113 Police.
118 Medical Emergency.
114 Social Services for Child Protection.
115 Fire brigade.
117 Tax Police.
1515 Forest Rangers (forest-fires, environmental emergency).
1518 Information on traffic and roads conditions (in Italian).

Useful links to know more on traffic and roads:
http://cciss.rai.it (available in Italian);
http://www.stradeanas.it (available in Italian);
http://autostrade.it (available in Italian and English);

SOURCE Automobile Club d’Italia