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Driving in Europe is very different from driving in the United States. While most laws are similar, roads are typically smaller, traffic patterns differ and there are far more motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. Road speeds are also faster on the Autostrada, the Italian equivalent of the interstate, than most places in the U.S. Read below to learn about the steps necessary to get a license if you or your sponsor are assigned to Vicenza or Camp Darby.
Before you hit the open road to explore the Italian countryside, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the proper documents and have registered your privately owned vehicle (POV). Remember a max of three vehicles are allowed per active duty member along with their dependents at one time. We hope you find this section useful on how to get around here in Italy and abroad. Safe travels!
To drive in Italy, newcomers must first do the following:
- Attend driver’s orientation class at the Central Processing Facility
- Pass the test SETAF license (this will consist of info and commonly used Italian Road signage)
- Secure insurance
- Register Vehicle (link to Registration Form HERE)
- Pass vehicle inspection
Note: Soldiers and dependents must have a SETAF license to register and drive a SETAF registered vehicle in Italy. To drive a motorcycle overseas, Soldiers need an MFC Certificate and motorcycle endorsement on their U.S. license while dependents only need the endorsement.
Be aware also that the SETAF license is valid ONLY in NATO countries (this does not include Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria). U.S. drivers in Italy are strongly encouraged to get an international driving permit (IDPs). IDPs are honored in more than 150 countries outside the U.S.
Road Side Assistance
Only the Automobile Club of Italy is able to provide towing services on the Autostrada (toll roads).
Vehicle Insurance Coverage in Italy
Italy has one of the highest insurance rates in Europe. In Italy, only liability insurance is required. Optional coverage includes policies such as, collision, comprehensive, towing, and personal medical coverage.
Winter Driving Requirements
From about Nov 1 - Apr 30, Italian law requires that you carry tire chains in your car or that you install Mud and Snow tires (M + S noted on tire wall) on your vehicle.
Traffic cameras are abundant in Italy and tickets can be issued up to one year AFTER a violation occurs. Get a 30% discount by paying within 5 days of getting a citation.
Autostrada & Telepass
In Italy, you’ll pay tolls to use major highways. You can purchase a Telepass which is an electronic device that you put in your window to use fast pass lanes.
Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL)
Driving in a ZTL means big fines without a permit. ZTLs are in city centers and are marked by signs and are often accompanied by painted markings on the ground.
U.S. military members, government Civilian employees, contractors, and their command sponsored dependents in Italy live here pursuant to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The NATO SOFA determines entry and departure from the host nation, jurisdiction, taxation, driving privileges, employment, mail, and much more. The SETAF Carabinieri through the use of USAG Italy Provost Marshal Office interpreters notify the violators of the need to report to the SETAF Carabinieri in reference to a ticket.
What are the responsibilities of Army families in paying traffic fines?
U.S. military members, government Civilian employees, contractors, and their command sponsored dependents in Italy live here pursuant to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).The NATO SOFA determines entry and departure from the host nation, jurisdiction, taxation, driving privileges, employment, mail, and much more.
Are Americans required to pay the fines?
Yes. Although the NATO SOFA determines your legal status, it is important to understand Italian law applies to U.S. military members and their command sponsored dependents both on and off the installation.
Is there an appeals process?
Yes. Legal Assistance can help navigate the appeal process. There are four options:
- Send the authorities a registered letter in Italian stating that the ticket is unenforceable because the ticket was not received within the 360-daydeadline as per Italian Traffic Code (Codice della Strada). This option is not without risk as the authorities can respond, providing evidence as to why the offender could not benotified before expiration of the 360-day deadline.
- Pay the ticket and submit a request to the authorities for return of themonies paid. However, it is likely the authorities consider a payment as a final settlementand will deny a request for return of monies paid.
- Pay the ticket.
Can the U.S. Army force a Soldier to pay the fines?
TheU.S. Army encourages all Soldiers and civilians accompanying the force to payhis/her fair and just debts.
What happens if a Soldier leaves Italy without paying fines?
The Republic of Italy has jurisdiction over traffic tickets and accompanying fines issued by host nation law enforcement agents on Italian soil. Accordingly, enforcement of all fines and punishments resides with the host nation.
Do we have to check out with the Carabinieri when we PCS?
USAG-Italy requires PCSing personnel (military and civilian) to check out with the Carabinieri. The U.S. Army encourages all Soldiers and civilians accompanying the force to pay his/her fair and just debts.
What is the legal authority regarding the processing of traffic tickets in Italy?
The Italian legal authorities include Articles 201 and 209 of the Italian Traffic Code (Codice della Strada) and Italian Law, November 24, 1981, n. 689.
I wasn't notified of my violation. Is there a time requirement for processing and notifying violations?
Art. 201 Codice della Strada (Italian Traffic Code) provides a 360-day limit for processing tickets and providing notification of such tickets to foreign offenders. The statute of limitations to enforce aticket is five years from the day of the traffic violation (Art. 28, n. 689/1981).The rules are different for Italian nationals.
Does that mean I do not have to pay an Italian traffic ticket I receive after the expiration of the 360-day processing and notification deadline?
No. While Italian law considers a ticket "canceled" after 360-days, the authorities can still consider a ticket valid after expiration of 360-days if the authorities were unable to identify the offender within the processing and notification deadline.
A maximum of 3 vehicle registrations is permitted per tour. For your primary vehicle, you won’t pay Italian road tax and you will be authorized tax-free fuel coupons.
NOTE: You’ll pay annual registration and Italian road tax (100€-500€ based on engine & age) for any POVs beyond your primary vehicle.
REGISTERING YOUR VEHICLE
In accordance with NAVSUPPACT Naples Instruction 11240.19G, to register your vehicle, you must have:
- Original Title and/or Registration Documents
- Proof of insurance as required by Italian Law
- AFI Driver License (SETAF license)
- Proof of Eligibility (PCS Orders or Logistical Support Letter)
- Military/Civilian ID Card
- $55 (Administrative Fee)
- €5 (Euros) (Initial Registration Fee)
- Additional money in Euros for road tax if you are registering a second vehicle. Cost is dependent upon engine size.
- Other documents are required based on whether you purchased the vehicle in Italy from an Italian individual/business or from a person stationed at USAG Vicenza, or had it shipped from the United States or brought it from another location in Europe. Call vehicle registration for particulars.
- Power of Attorney from Sponsor, if not accompanied by Sponsor.
Vehicle Registration Office
Torri di Quartesolo
DSN: 637-7820 / 7821 / 7823
Civ: 0444-61-7820 / 7821 / 7823
Mon-Fri 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Closed on all Federal Holidays
DSN: 633-7587 Civ: 05054-7587
Mon-Fri 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Closed on all Federal Holidays
Obtaining a Motorcycle Endorsement
Toll Payment Methods
- Enter Autostrada: Push red button. Take ticket.
- Exit Autostrada: Insert Ticket. Throw required change in bucket or insert bills. Gate will lift.
- Card: Debit, Credit, or Via Card (pre-paid toll card)
- Same process as above, but with card.
- Buy Via Cards at Punto Blu points, tobacco shops, toll booth operators, Autogrills, highway gas stations
NOTE: Chip cards present fewest issues at booths.
- Telepass: Device attaches to window and debits your account when you drive through a Telepass lane.
- Enter Autostrada: Camera scans window device.
- Exit Autostrada: Camera scans window device. When the camera validates device and the light is green, you can go.
Calculate Italian Autostrada Fees
Visit the Autostrada website to estimate tolls. In far left column, input your departure and arrival city and submit.
Where to buy a Telepass
- Vicenza Ovest Punto Blu autostrada station. Toll fees are automatically debited from your account. Fees may apply.
- BNL on post. Toll fees are automatically debited from your account. Extra set up and service charges apply.
NOTE: Telepass holders sometimes complain that cameras don’t consistently scan their window device, meaning you could pay extra fees later if you go through the gate without getting a green light. Just know that if you don’t get a green light, it’s difficult to back out of Telepass lane to get over to cash/credit lane due to the multitude of cars behind you.
Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL)
What is a “Zona a Traffico Limitato”?
ZTLs are limited traffic zones meant to reduce traffic and pollution and improve pedestrian safety in busy city centers by allowing only vehicles with permits to enter the ZTL. Some ZTLs are in effect 24/7 while other cities may implement ZTL rules only during rush hour. Learn to read and identify ZTL signs along with any exceptions listed.
Avoid steep fines by learning to recognize ZTLs:
- Look for posted ZTL signs and road markings
- Only authorized resident vehicles may travel in ZTLs
- Zones are monitored by cameras
- Tickets are issued automatically to registered owner
- Tickets can be issued up to 1 year after incident
- You are fined for entering AND exiting ZTLs
- Don’t trust GPS to warn you about ZTLs
- ZTLs are often on one-way or narrow city streets and difficult to back out of, so know the roads!
TIP: Google “City Name + Zona a Traffico Limitato” to find a ZTL Map of an area you are visiting.
NOTE: If you plan on living in downtown Vicenza, Verona, Padova, Pisa, Livorno or Lucca, you will be issued a permit that allows you to enter the ZTL.