Tips for those who travel by car

1. As I have written above, it is preferable to rent a car in advance.
2. Try to choose the right car for your needs.

A self-guided tour in Northern Italy provides many hours of driving. So you should rent a comfortable car at the same time taking into account the petrol price. Besides, if you are a couple you do not need to rent a big family car.

In addition to this, you should take into account that Northern Italy is noted for its mountainous landscape sometimes quite rough. I’m afraid if you rent a smart car it will be a problem. Therefore make your choice in accordance with your route requirements.

1. Diesel engines save a lot of money. So, if possible order a diesel car. As for us we really hit the jackpot.

2. Traffic rules

Sometimes it seemed to us that in Italy there are a lot of drivers who hardly know traffic rules. Even when you are driving at a speed of 130 km/h you see cars overtaking you all the time.

But there are a lot of traffic cameras in Italy and it often happens that people have to pay penalty charges of 200 euro or more! I was imposed such a penalty charge for driving at a speed of 79 km/h instead of 70 km/h near Venice. What a pity!

One more thing for you to take into special account:

5. Restricted traffic zones (traffico limitato, ZTL, Zona a Traffico Limitato).

Road sign in Italy

Road sign in Italy

Nearly every Italian city has restrictions placed on vehicle entrances for the historical, central or some other part of the city. As a rule this is not displayed on maps, GPS or anywhere else. At the best they put a small board with entrance rules and at the worst it may be a small unremarkable sign.

But don’t be fooled by the meaning of the sign. It doesn’t really mean forbidden entrance. The sign is intended to make money from tourists thus giving the town inhabitants an opportunity to live and work.

Cameras installed next to the signs bring millions of euro for the municipality. So, as I have written above, don’t be fooled by the fact that the sign is small and rusty and drivers ignore it.

6. GPS

You will surely need the GPS with new and good maps. Of course you can do without it using a low-grade device or ordinary maps but it’s better not to do that because it would be a pity to waste even a minute in Italy.

As for me I used Novogo z800. Below you will find instructions of how to check if your GPS is working abroad too.

7. Highways

In Italy all big cities are connected through highways. I highly recommend making choice in favour of fee-paying roads. You are legally allowed to drive along them at a speed of 130 km/h and with less traffic.

The price depends on the road segment length and the average price is 5 euro per segment. But it seems to me that they take into consideration traffic jams. For example, when we were travelling from Brescia to the Lake Garda we got stuck in a traffic jam and though the segment was very long (around 30 km) we paid only 1 euro.

When entering the highway you should pay attention to the driveway where a cash payment is required. You will see a sign with a picture of money and a long queue. If you drive a line for season tickets owners without having it you will be imposed a penalty.

Category: Hints and tips

8. Parking

11:00 p.m., the town of Garda, a pastoral-looking quay, bars and restaurants right along the coastline… and a municipal service worker prescribing penalties for those who didn’t pay for parking – that’s what we saw in Garda. But in any case, it’s your choice.

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