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Understanding Italian Road Signs

Cristina Fassio

International Road Signs

Even though they are called International, these signs are not the standard signs used in the United States.  Please pay careful attention. On the right you can follow links to the explanation of the signs you will find in Italy.  Print them out and keep them in your cars glove box for easy reference. The explanations are in both English and Italian so these can also be used to study for the Italian driving exam.


Helpful hint: It is illegal to make a right hand turn on a red light. It is also a good way to get killed so don't do it!

Do you know what this sign means? This is the "dare precedenza" sign. It is found 50 meters before an intersection or roundabout where you do not have the right of way. It means that you  must wait for all others to pass before you may go. Along with the sign there will be upside down triangles on the road, right at the intersection.

Yes, this is a stop sign and they are used in Italy. Only problem is that some people think of them like a flashing yellow. They only stop if there is a reason. Because of this, never assume that the other will stop.

Recent Changes to Italian Driving Rules

Recent additions to the laws of the road in Italy are:

  • Lights must be turned on while driving on freeways and highways (autostrade, superstrade, tangenziale, raccordo etc.)
  • Phones may only be used with either hands free equiptment or headset.
  • The alcohol level for D.U.I. has dropped from .08 to .05 BAC. This means that if you have a glass of wine and a grappa with dinner and you get stopped, you will be fined.

Test your Knowledge

There is a wonderful program that you can download called Web Patente that you can use to practice for the exam or test your knowledge.

Cristina lives in Vagliagli, Siena, Italy and keeps busy with her website Expats in Italy (expatsinitaly.com) and her relocation business.

© Cristina Fassio, 2002

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