Whether you are driving your own car or a hired vehicle it is most important that you carry your driving license and the car’s insurance with you at all times. The Carabinieri and the Police do spot checks of both vehicles and drivers’ documents all the time. If uniformed policemen bristling with machine guns and self-importance wave lollipops at you, don’t panic, but please, do stop! They will want to see your license, log book and insurance. They may kick your tyres and check your lights and brakes. The younger and prettier you are, the longer they will spend discussing your motor car. They are generally very polite and friendly. Naturally the armoury induces a polite, even servile reaction from all but the most audacious driver! Speed limits are nastily in force with ruinous fines. Even if you are driving a hired car such fines will eventually catch up with you. These speed limits change depending on the day of the week and the type of road. They also change without much warning from one season to another. This helps the Italian government to collect some of the taxes it loses from the income tax declarations of its native population and assist in holiday funds for its politicians. Currently the speed limits are:
On weekdays, on non-motorway roads (including link roads such as the Firenze – Siena) 100 kms per hour. However, since the local authorities forgot to apply for ‘Superstrada’ status in time, this road is now reduced (temporarily??) to 90 km. per hour. It helps fill the coffers.
On weekdays, on motor ways (Autostrade):
130 km. per hour.At weekends and holidays, on non-motorway roads: 90 km. per hour. At weekends and holidays, on motorways: 110 km per hour Watch out for elongated holiday weekends, short stretches of roads with 50 km. limits, hidden little cameras and giggling policemen, and sudden changes in the law, especially when there is a tax crisis. Fines start at 100.00 euro and go up fast.
And this is why I love the Italians……..giggling policemen? Can’t wait!