Driving in Rome can get pretty hectic and stressful at times. Italians are calm and laid-back at the point A and at the point B, but between point A and point B they are always in the rush, always stressed and are very anxious to get to the point B as fast as they can. Driving in Rome is not easy, parking spaces in Rome are almost impossible to find, plus the City can change the direction of the traffic and regulations without any notice at all, two way streets become one way streets over night.
Driving in Rome is a mess, but it’s not impossible, and can be very pleasant and romantic. Who wouldn’t want to drive by Colosseum at night?
You have to keep in mind that most of the cars, here, in Rome have standard or manual transmission, so first thing to do would be checking with a rental company if they have both auto and manual transmission cars, unless you feel comfortable driving a stick.
Second: in North America people are used to drive big cars, and even if you think that your car is a small, four door sedan- IT IS HUGE HERE! It is convenient to rent a smaller cars like Smart or Mini or 500 Fiat, these cars are easier to maneuver through the narrow streets of Rome and definitely easier to park.
Third: the traffic is limited in the center of the city during certain hours, there are special gates called “Varchi” installed around the historical center. Varco Attivo means that only people with special permits can enter the center, Varco Non Attivo means that anybody can enter and exit freely. It works like that: as you drive through the Varco it snaps a photo of your license plate and few weeks later you get a fresh and crispy ticket by mail. The fine could be anywhere from 80 to 200 euros. So before getting behind the wheel plan your itinerary.We will provide the link to the Rome Mobility Agency, where you can find all the necessary info related to the topic.
Fourth: Stop signs! Romans don’t like to stop at the stop signs, they just slow down and keep driving, so you have to be extra careful!!!!
Fifth: SCOOTERS. These guys are everywhere, scooters are small, fast and sometimes hard to notice, the riders DO NOT respect the rules of the road, the can go on the sidewalk and they pass on red light!
Sixth: Do not drive on Yellow lanes, those are for buses, taxis, police, ambulances, diplomats, and NCC.
The Parking: white line means free parking.
Blue line means paid parking, use the machine to pay for parking and leave the receipt in the car behind the windshield.
Yellow line means no parking.
Gas Stations: self service will cost less, at some gas stations they will charge you 10-20% for the service, so just do it yourself and save some money. Remember that 50% of the cars in Italy drive on diesel, it can be a little tricky because Diesel is Gasolio in Italian, and Gasoline/Petrol is Benzina. So if you’re driving diesel make sure to pump Gasolio or Diesel.
One more time Gasolio=Diesel. Benzina=Gasoline/Petrol.
That’s about it guys, as long as you respect the road, the road will respect you. Drive safe and enjoy.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.
The link to the Rome Mobility Agency : http://www.agenziamobilita.roma.it
Varco Attivo means you cannot enter unless you have a permit
Varco Non Attivo means anyone can enter