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Driving In Italy - Essential Information: Part Three
Driving in Italy
Essential Information: Part Three
When you're driving along the Autostrade and need to take a
break, you'll be pleased to know there is a chain of highway
rest stops called the Autogrill.
The Autogrill started in Italy in 1946 and has spread to 43
countries around the world, so you know they are a trusted
rest stop chain you can take a break at.
If you get hungry during your drive, look for and follow the signs
that have a knife and spoon symbol.
The best time to stop for a bite at the Autogrill to eat is between 1
pm and 8 pm.
The most popular Autogrill rest stops will be noticeable by the
number of big rigs in the parking area.
All the food at the Autogrill is served cafeteria style, which makes it quick
and easy to load up the items you want to eat.
When it comes time to pay, you can stop by the register, which accepts
If the cashier says “caffe” and you agree, you’ll be charge for an espresso
and you can pick it up at the bar area on your way out the door.
7-Days A Week
The Autogrill stays open 7-days a week and has late
operating hours. Additionally, some are open 24-hours a
If you miss your chance to pull off at an Autogrill, don't
worry because there will likely be another one just a few
miles down the road. Plus, there are other smaller chains
of rest stops but their quality and selection may differ.
If you aren't looking for a hot meal and just need a snack
or a cup of coffee, look for signs on the highway with a
coffee cup symbol. These symbols mean there's a smaller
rest area with coffee, restrooms, fuel, snacks and cold
Additionally, there may be a gratuity plate or cup with an
attendant by the restroom who keeps the laboratory
clean. So if you can, leave them a few cents because it's
their job to maintain the rest rooms.
More than likely, you'll have to stop for fuel while driving around
Italy and it's hard to find a gas station that doesn't accept major
credit cards like Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
For a better exchange rate, use your ATM card as a credit card,
providing it bears the Visa/MC logo. Also, leave your mainstream
gas credit cards at home because even if the same company
operates in Italy, it likely will not be honored.
Italy offers two different types of gas stations, self-service and
full service. Self-service is as it sounds, you're responsible for
fueling up. Full service is where the attendant will gas up your
vehicle and submit the payment for you.
Full service may be more beneficial, especially when you're
unsure as to how, where and when to insert money or cards
Look for the word "Servito" for full service, where as "Fai da
Te" is self-service. Say the words "il peno per piacere" that
translates into fill'er up please.
Liters Vs. Gallons
Fuel sold in Italy is sold by the
liter and that rate winds up
being four liters for a little over
one US gallon.
By fuel standards, gas in Italy is
expensive, so you may need to
figure about $6 US for one US
Don't fret too much over the
cost of fuel because Italian cars
are much more fuel efficient
than their American
Gasoline powered rental cars will use unleaded gas ("senza
piombo") or "verde" which means green.
Sometimes you'll get a diesel powered car that runs on "diesel" or
"gasolio". Avoid using high octane fuel or eco-diesel to save
Additionally, it can be hard to reserve a diesel rental car since they
are more fuel efficient, so don’t be surprised if the rental
company supplies you with a gasoline powered vehicle.
Keep in mind: "chiuso" means closed and "Aperto" means open –
comes in handy when looking for gas stations.
Parking spaces in Italy are color coded
White spaces – FREE
Blue spaces – PAID
Yellow spaces – Reserved for handicap permits, taxis or
Pink spaces – Reserved for expectant mothers or moms
traveling with infants
White Parking Spaces
Free, white parking spaces may come with some
restrictions that can be a little confusing if you aren't
paying close attention to the signs. Sometimes they may
have restrictions on certain days or times of the day,
however, there are obvious signs that designate the
If you see the icon above, it means disco parking. Disco
parking is a thumbwheel timer disc that all Italian cars have –
it's either pasted on the windshield or in the glove
compartment. All you have to do is set the current time you
are parking and leave it on the dashboard. Ensure you are
back by the time the street sign indicates.
Paid parking is similar to how the system works in America –
you either pay an attendant to park or you use a parking
meter that accepts coins or credit cards.
Some cities around Italy feature garage parking and you
can find them by following the blue P signs around the
area. They can be moderately priced to overpriced, so
be aware of how much it'll cost before pulling in. Most
will accept credit card payments and makes sure you
check the closing time of the garage!
And one final tip, don’t leave valuables out in the open
of your parked car. While Italy is a safe country, it
doesn’t mean the possibility of your items being stolen
is completely ruled out.
Driving in Italy
Driving, getting gas and parking in Italy isn’t too
hard to handle as long as you have the right tips
on mind before you vacation in Italian Villas!
Get even more travel tips from Parker Villas