What to know about Italy by car

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This blog will be about Italy and how amazing this country is. There are so many places to visit in Italy that you need to go multiple times to really understand the beauty of this big country. We hope one day we can say that we discovered whole Italy from the North all the way to the South, Sicily and the many islands.

This blog will be about the following topics:

Information that you must know about Italy

There is too much to know about Italy to write down in one blog. The basics will be discussed in this blog. If you visit the North of Italy and the South, you will notice that the culture is different. It’s one country, but to fully understand this country you’ll need to visit the North and the South.

Some general information about Italy:

  • Capital: Rome
  • Official language: Italian
  • Currency: Euro
  • Neighboring countries: Austria, France, Slovenia, Switzerland, Marino and Vatican City (is in Rome).

When you visit Italy in July or August, you need to know that it gets packed. Italy is a popular destination all over the world.

There are a some things you need to know when you’re visiting Italy:

  • Some Italian words you need to know are ‘Ciao‘ for hello and bye, ‘Grazie‘ for thanking, ‘prego‘ is used a lot and has many translations look it up! Before you go, you can learn some Italian with a language book. A language book is always handy while traveling.
  • In a lot of places they don’t speak English, only Italian. Of course in touristic places people speak English and in the North it’s more common that they speak English, but the moment you go outside the touristic places English will not help you. It’s good to use Google Translate or buy a book to learn some basic Italian.
  • Make sure you always have cash with you because sometimes you can’t pay by card.
  • You don’t need to tip, but there are ‘no service charge’ restaurants where you need to pay an extra fee if you sit down at the restaurant (around €1 – €5).
  • There is a riposo which means that many shops and restaurants close from 1 to 4 pm. They are on the other hand longer open in the evening. In the big cities, shops and restaurants will still be open from 1 to 4 pm.
  • In Italy, you must drink espresso during the day (€1). You can drink a cappuccino but only in the morning.
  • Italian people eat late, which means most restaurants open around 7 pm or even later.
  • NEVER ask for pineapple on a pizza, it’s a cultural crime!

If you’re planning to visit the mountains of Italy, you need to know that it can get cold even during summer, so bring a sweater with you. When you’re not in the mountains it can get really hot during the summer, so bring sun protection and drink enough water. I always bring my water bag from Osprey or a bottle to fill it with water.

Tip: don’t forget to pack a rain jacket.

Italy by car

Italy is perfect to visit by car. They drive on the right side of the road like most countries in Europe. You need to know that the more South you go, the more crazy they drive, so be careful while driving in Italy. They drive good, but it’s just crowded, they go fast and don’t stay between the lines or quickly go in front of you (even on a roundabout). Some things you need to know if you visit Italy by car:

  • In Italy, there are toll roads, which can add up quite quickly.
  • You can’t drive a car in every city center, there are cities with limited access zones (e.g. Rome). You can read all about that here or if you require more info, please feel free to contact us any time.
  • Bring a map and download Google Maps offline. It can happen that you don’t have an internet connection and Google Maps is not always right in Italy. Be prepared to get frustrated sometimes.

Must visit in Italy

There is too much to visit in this big country. We suggest you visit Italy by car because it gives you the freedom to easily visit multiple places during your travel. It’s nice to pass by the little village and take a quick look and drink an espresso. You can always rent a car on Sunnycars or Booking with fully insurance.

Woman looking right in you eyes, sitting in the middle of the road

We wrote separate blogs about the places we already visited, but we still have some places on our bucket list. Places you should visit in Italy are the following:

Do you think we need to put another place in Italy on our bucket list? Feel free to leave a comment or send us an email, and we will put it on our list.

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