I compiled a few tips I thought would be helpful when you travel in Italy. You can have a look at my Italy Trip Itinerary with all my posts and pictures of this great trip!
I`m sure everybody is familiar with what`s been told about the Italian driving… and I have to admit, it is true ;-). I found this funny video to illustrate the difference between Europeans and Italians (the beginning is about driving).
- The speed limit on the ‘Autostrada’ (=highway) is 80 mph (130 kmph), unless posted otherwise, and the Italians pass you by as if you were a turtle on the road, but that doesn`t mean YOU have to speed.
Also keep to the right, because the left lanes are for passing.
- Distances and speed limits on signs are all in kilometers. Here`s a useful table with the distances between Italian cities: Distance Table
- Seatbelts must be used.
- No cell phone use while driving.
- In the cities look out for the scooters, who`ll be to your left, right, front and back, yes… everywhere!
- Gas stations offer service during the day, but close sometimes for lunch and in the evenings. There is usually a self-service pump. On the highways service can be up to 24 hours a day.
Car Rental Tips
- If you`re not used to driving a stick, don`t try it in Italy. Ask for an automatic. This will cost you more, as most cars in Europe are manual and they only have a few automatics which raises the price.
- Take the option of a GPS, you`ll be glad you did! (Have a good map as a backup plan)
- Take the Full Coverage as insurance, because driving in Italy is an adventure and you`ll come back after your trip with some extra scratches! I was told by the car rental company everything is covered with ‘full coverage’ except the tires… Make sure you always ask all the terms and conditions of the insurance you take.
OTHER TRAVEL TIPS
- Having a coffee or a drink is cheaper at the bar than at a table or in the summer out on the terrace (lots of Southern European countries have this, Spain too)
Especially in Venice at the San Marco Square, if you sit down for a coffee, you pay extra for entertainment like music.
- In Italy they charge an extra service called “coperta”, it`s a cover charge that is between 2-3 euros per person which includes bread, table settings,… Pay good attention on the menu card if it says “service is included”. If it is included, this covers the usual tip, about 15 %. Being a waiter in Europe is different than in the USA, here they have a decent wage. Of course they appreciate any tip, so if you thought the service was excellent you can leave them a tip. Usually it`s 1 – 2 euros, depending on the total amount of the bill.
If the service is not included (“servizio non incluso”), you can leave a tip of 10 %, which is considered a good tip. Sounds all a bit confusing, I know. But just keep in mind you`re not in the USA and you don`t need to feel you have to tip between 15 – 20 %, mostly because of the way restaurant workers are paid in Italy.
The voltage is 220 V or 50Hz. Plugs have round prongs, not flat, therefore a European Plug Adapter (round pin) is needed.
General information on traveling in Italy: www.italiantourism.com