You’re proper concerning the combined messages. The web site for the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Italy says you “ought to receive an Worldwide Driving Allow earlier than leaving the U.S.” However just a few paragraphs later notes “vacationers may use their legitimate American driver’s license if accompanied by an official translation in Italian.” I talked to a bunch of Italy journey consultants to type out the foundations.
Duncan Greenfield-Turk, managing director and chief journey designer for Global Travel Moments, instructed me he advises anybody who plans on driving abroad — Italy and in any other case — to get an Worldwide Driving Allow (IDP). He additionally stated the foundations for driving in Italy are clear: You should both have an Italian driver’s license or one issued by a European Union nation. When you don’t have a type of, you want to get a IDP to hold with your private home nation driver’s license.
Rental automotive companies might ask you for each your U.S. license and IDP to choose up your automobile, however not at all times, says Rocco Giuseppe Gambardella, who owns the Amalfi Coast journey firm Bè Real Dwelling Expertise together with his spouse, Carla. It “depends upon the automotive rental corporations,” he stated, so chances are you’ll by no means must current an IDP when you’re within the nation.
That’s been the case for American journey journalist Angel F. Castellanos, who says he’s by no means had issues getting rental vehicles or driving in Italy with out an IDP. Even when he’s gotten dashing tickets, “I’ve by no means needed to current my license to a police officer,” Castellanos stated.
Fundamental site visitors violations are captured by digital camera footage, then tickets get despatched to vacationers later. These have been dear, Castellanos warns, and are available by the rental automotive corporations who cost service charges on prime of the violation.
However within the case you do get pulled over by Italian police or get in a automotive accident, and also you don’t have the allow, you can get fined hundreds of euros. And Kathy McCabe, host of the PBS present “Dream of Italy,” says that the requirement has been enforced extra usually lately.
Happily, it’s simple to get an IDP, McCabe says. There’s a $20 payment, plus tax, to use for one by AAA and also you don’t must take a written or driving take a look at. You simply have to be at the least 18 years previous and have a sound driver’s license. In response to AAA, an IDP can’t be issued greater than six months prematurely of your journey, however it’s legitimate for a 12 months.
You possibly can apply in particular person at an AAA department by printing and filling out this form, submitting it with two authentic passport photos and displaying your legitimate U.S. driver’s license. Or you’ll be able to apply by mail by sending that very same utility kind, two passport photos every signed on the again, a photocopy of each side of your driver’s license and the payment. When you’re in a rush, you may as well pay extra for expedited return mail service. (More on the process here.)
Alternatively, because the U.S. Embassy web site talked about, you’ll be able to forgo an IDP and get your license translated into Italian — nevertheless it’s more of a hassle than it sounds. You’ll must get an official translation (a traduzione giurata) at a spot like an embassy or consulate, or by an authorized translator or interpreter.
I’d be remiss to not embody a phrase of warning from a few of my sources: Renting a automotive in Italy isn’t for everybody.
Due to potential “extreme prices and site visitors issues,” Gambardella advises purchasers in opposition to renting a automotive on journeys to the Amalfi coast and southern Italy — though he added a lot of his clients have rented vehicles with none issues.
Dominique Barbeau of the personal tour operator Access Italy says their firm additionally recommends in opposition to renting a automotive abroad. Shoppers usually return house with numerous site visitors violations, and “on the finish it’s value hiring a driver,” she stated. Gambardella says you could possibly use a taxi service like NCC, or take trains (Italy has a fantastic practice system) or buses.
With that being stated, McCabe does advocate having a automotive to discover the Salento peninsula. And having traveled through Puglia myself, I’d additionally lease a automotive to hop between seashores simply if I went again once more.
For good measure, I requested my Italian good friend Vito Palumbo, CEO of the wine firm Tormaresca, who has vineyards in Puglia. He’s 100% on board for vacationers renting a automotive in Italy — notably Puglia, the place public transportation is restricted. Whereas parking could be complicated, he finds it much less widespread to get dashing tickets within the area than different components of the nation.
Do you have to determine to drive, along with making use of to your IDP, obtain the navigation app Waze. Castellanos says it has helped him keep away from tickets since he began utilizing it. Not solely does Waze give driving instructions, it additionally supplies pace limits and factors out the place pace entice cameras are situated.
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