For tourists, driving in Italy is not a difficult prospect. The laws are similar to those throughout Europe.

For American visitors, a United States or Canadian drivers license is acceptable, but it must be accompanied by an international license (talk to AAA before you go) or a translation or declaration, which can be obtained at any location of the ACI (Automobile Club d'Italia).

As with all other countries on the European continents, drivers drive on the right side of the road. Just like in the United States, passing is done on the left. Of course, seatbelts are required for all occupants.

Speed limits are taken seriously in Italy, with fines given for speeding. Limits are set at 50 kilometers per hour (31 mph) in urban areas, 90 kph (56 mph) on local and secondary roads, and 110 kph (68 mph) on the autostrade (freeways).

No u-turns are permitted on the autostrade, nor is stopping allowed, except in case of emergency. Violators are fined. Tolls are also collected on the autostrade while you're driving in Italy. The tolls are collected at exit points, in cash. You can buy a toll card in one of several denominations at ACI offices, on the highway, and in some banks.

Gasoline stations around the country are open from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm and from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. On weekends and holidays, the service stations follow a shift schedule.

Gasoline is called benzina, with unleaded gas being benzina senza piombo. Diesel is gasolio. Most Italian service stations are equipped with pumps for both unleaded gasoline and diesel.

State and provincial roads in Italy are indicated by blue signs with white letters. Highways are distinguished by the letter "A" followed by the road number in white on a green sign.

Emergency services for motorists are provided by the Automobile Club d'Italia. There are call boxes located every 2 kilometers on the highways, or you can call direct at 803.116.

Driving in Italy is a wonderful, relaxing way to see the country. Be sure to acquire some good road maps at the Automobile Club before embarking, and enjoy your journey!

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