Renting A Car – Go to AAA and each get an international drivers permit. They are about $20 each. You will need it if you rent a car. When you rent your car, inspect it and take a picture of any scratches or dings prior to driving away. If you see anything, make sure the rental agent notes it before you leave.
Driving – We drive on the same side of the road here as we do in America. Gas and diesel are very expensive – about $6 per gallon. –
Tolls – All the highways are toll roads. You get a ticket when you enter and then put it in a machine when you get off the highway (Autostrada). It’s not too unreasonable, but if you’re driving long distances it can actually be cheaper to fly somewhere or take the train. For example, we have driven from Venice to Naples (7 hour drive). Fuel cost us about $400 and tolls were about $250. To compare, recently we all flew (all 6) from Venice to Naples for about $500. The picture at the top of the page shows a toll booth exit. Do not go through the telepass lane unless you have a telepass in your car. Make sure the lane you choose has the credit card symbol or says “carte”, otherwise you’ll be scrounging the car for € cash or coins.
Speed enforcement – There are no police officers in cars with radars. There are scanners on the highways that read your license plate and calculate your speed based on camera a and camera b miles down the road. This is why a car will speed by you at 180 km/h and then you’ll see them stopping for an espresso! On regular streets there are speed cameras. If you get caught speeding in a rental, you’ll get an expensive ticket in the mail about 6 months later.
Roundabouts – They are everywhere. We actually prefer them now that we’ve been here for a while, but when you first experience them, they can be a little daunting. You go through them counter-clockwise. Yield to the cars on your left. If you approach a double lane round-about, the right lane is for immediately turning right. The left lane going into the roundabout is for going straight through or turning left. When in the middle of the roundabout signal right to change lanes to exit. Here’s a quick YouTube demo.