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DRIVING

EXPLAINED: How do you take your driving test in Italy?

Many foreign residents find themselves needing to take a driving test in Italy, but the process can be daunting for non-native Italian speakers. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How do you take your driving test in Italy?

Whether it’s because you’ve moved to a rural location and can no longer rely on public transport, or because you’ve been hit by the Brexit rule change, there are all sorts of reasons why people who have relocated to Italy may have to take their driving test in the country – even if they already have a licence issued by their home country.

If you’re a resident in Italy and want to drive on the nation’s roads, it’s mandatory to have an EU driving licence or Italian patente di guida. (Non-residents do not face this requirement.)

This means that if you’ve moved to Italy permanently from a country outside the EU (now of course including the UK) this rule probably applies to you. See further details on the Automobile Club d’Italia website here.

Unfortunately for those who aren’t fluent in Italian, the country does not give the option to sit the test in English – making the process even more challenging.

But as many of The Local’s readers have shown, it can still be done. Here’s a breakdown of the steps to obtaining your licence in Italy, and the resources you’ll need.

Medical certificate

To apply for a Patente B, which is the licence for cars (and motorbikes up to 125cc), you have to be at least 18 years old and in a good enough state of health. You’ll need a medical certificate, obtained via a checkup on your eyesight, physical condition and mental health.

The country’s highway code states that this certificate must come from an authorised doctor.

Photo by Jure Makovec/AFP

Permit application

With your medical certificate in hand, you can then apply for your provisional licence or permit at the local Ministry of Transport office, the ‘uffici della motorizzazione civile’.

There’s usually at least one of these in every town. You can find a list of locations on the Ministry’s website.

A driving school, or ‘autoscuola’ can in fact obtain the temporary driving permit on your behalf.

This document is valid for six months – which is the time frame for passing your theory test, as stated on the Italian Ministry of Transport website.

What documents do you need?

To apply for the licence, you need to provide:

  • A completed TT 2112 application form.
  • Proof of payment of €26.40 to current account 9001 (pre-printed stamps, ‘bolletino’, available at post offices and motor vehicle registration offices)
  • Proof of payment of €16.00 to current account 4028 using the same methods as above.
  • A valid identity document, for example a passport + photocopy.
  • Photocopy of the medical certificate along with receipt of payment.

Taking the theory test

You’ve got two shots to pass you theory exam within the six month timeframe.

From there, you have five months from the month following the date you pass the theory test to take the practical test.  You have two chances to pass that test too.

A driving school can coach you on what you need to learn to pass the theory exam – and some may even offer language help.

The theory test is often the part non-Italians who need to sit the Italian driving test find most daunting – with some readers telling us they’re still putting it off because they don’t feel confident enough with either the language or the large amount of detailed theoretical knowledge needed.

READ ALSO: The language you need to pass your Italian driving test

The following sites contain useful resources to supplement your lessons, along with the Italian Driver’s Manual:

Once you’ve passed your theory exam, you’ll receive the foglia rosa, the ‘pink slip’ permit which allows you to move on to the practical test. Taking the practical test

After you’ve been issued with this, you have six months to take and pass the practical driving exam.

But there’s another step to complete first.

Six hours of driving lessons with an approved instructor are compulsory – even if you’ve already been driving for many years and already have a licence from another country.

The lessons must include driving at night, on motorways and on roads outside of urban areas.

READ ALSO: How drivers in Italy face new problems after passing Italian driving test

Once that’s out of the way, the practical exam is the final stage of the process.

To take the practical exam, you must provide the following:

  • Photocopy of your tax code (codice fiscale) or health card showing your tax code at the time of booking the practical test.
  • Proof of payment of €16.00 to bank account 4028 (pre-printed stamps, ‘bolletino’, available at post offices and motor vehicle registration offices).
  • A certificate of attendance to show you took those compulsory six hours of driving tuition.

The test usually takes around 20 minutes, and if you pass you’ll receive your Italian licence there and then.

Remember:

You can’t hold two licences at the same time, so you’ll surrender any from other countries when you get your Italian patente.

There’s a time limit from the moment you pass the theory part. If it expires, you have to start from the beginning. If you fail, you need to account for the time it takes to re-sit a test.

As you have 12 months in tota from obtaining residency in Italy, it’s advisable to get  started as soon as possible.

Please note The Local is unable to advise on individual cases. To find out how Italy’s rules on driving licences may apply to you, check with the relevant Embassy or Consulate or the Ministry of Transport uffici della motorizzazione civile.

Member comments

  1. So, if I have an Italian driving licence but want to add motorcycle to it, is the procedure the same? I’m thinking specifically about being able to ride a scooter bigger than 50cc.

  2. your Italian B license allows you to drive up to 125 cc motorcycle or scooter: above that level you must take further road tests and have other qualifications, mostly age related.

    Rmastri.it has good prep materials for the driving theory test.

  3. No, the question is why has Italy and the UK not come to an agreement like all other EU countries have to exchange the UK licence for an Italian one, WHY?

  4. Everyone I have spoken with who has a non-EU license has not had to hand over their foreign license after passing the practical exam. I have assumed this is because you are not exchanging your license but instead becoming a neopatente like any 18 year old.

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For members

LIVING IN ITALY

The Italian holiday calendar for 2023

Italy gets a good number of public holidays, but they sometimes fall on a weekend. Here are the dates to plan for next year.

The Italian holiday calendar for 2023

Italy has long been known for being fairly generous with its public holidays, with Austria being the only EU country with more holidays (13). 

In total, Italian residents enjoy 11 national public holidays plus a local holiday for the patron saint of their cities (for instance St Ambrose in Milan, St Mark in Venice, St John in Florence, etc.).

READ ALSO: Why do Milan residents get a day off on December 7th?

But, as some Italian speakers might say, ‘non è tutto oro quel che luccica’ (all that glitters is not gold). In fact, all national holidays in Italy are taken on the day they fall on that year rather than being moved to the nearest Monday as is the case in other countries, including the UK.

This means that if a certain holiday is on a Saturday or a Sunday, there is no extra day off for residents.

It also means that there are ‘good’ holiday years and ‘bad’ ones, and, while 2022 wasn’t a particularly good one – as many as four public holidays fell on a weekend day – 2023 only has one such holiday: New Year’s Day, which will fall on Sunday, January 1st.

Deck chair on Italian seaside

Italian residents will get five three-day weekends in 2023 thanks to public national holidays. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

2023 holiday calendar

  • January 1, 2023 (New Year’s Day): Sunday
  • January 6, 2023 (Epiphany): Friday
  • April 10, 2023 (Easter Monday): Monday
  • April 25, 2023 (Liberation Day): Tuesday
  • May 1, 2023 (Labour Day): Monday
  • June 2, 2023 (Italian Republic Day): Friday
  • August 15, 2023 (Ferragosto): Tuesday
  • November 1, 2023 (All Saints’ Day): Wednesday
  • December 8, 2023 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception): Friday
  • December 25, 2023 (Christmas Day): Monday
  • December 26, 2023 (St Stephen’s Day): Tuesday

As shown by the above list, Christmas Eve (December 24th) and New Year’s Eve (December 31st) are not official public holidays in Italy, but many local companies do give their staff both days off as a gesture of goodwill. 

That said, in 2023 Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve will both fall on a Sunday, so residents will already be home from work. 

Like both ‘Eves’, Easter Sunday is also not considered a public holiday, but, once again, residents are already home from work on the day given that it falls on a Sunday every year.  

2023 ‘bridges’ and long weekends

Whether or not a certain year is a good one for holidays also depends on the number of ‘bridges’ available.

For the uninitiated, ‘fare il ponte (‘to do the bridge’) is the noble art of taking an extra day off when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday – the most audacious might do this with a Wednesday holiday too.

Sadly, 2023 doesn’t provide a lot of opportunities to do this. There are only two possible bridges: one for Liberation Day, falling on Tuesday, April 25th and one for Ferragosto, on Tuesday, August 15th.

But, on a more positive note, six of next year’s public holidays will fall either on a Monday or a Friday, giving residents five three-day weekends and a four-day one – Christmas Day (falling on Monday) is immediately followed by St Stephen’s Day on Tuesday.

Italian non-holiday holidays

There are seven dates in Italy’s calendar that are considered official but not public holidays, meaning you don’t get a day off. 

These are known as ‘solennità civili’ (civil feasts) and include National Unity Day on the first Sunday of November, the day of Italy’s patron saints Francesco and Caterina on October 4th, and the anniversary of the unification of Italy on March 17th.

Display from Italian Air Force for Italy's Unity Day

National Unity Day, which is celebrated every year on the first Sunday of November, is one of Italy’s ‘civil feasts’. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

That’s in addition to nearly 30 national and international days of commemoration or celebration that Italy recognises, including Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27th), Europe Day (May 9th) and Christopher Columbus Day (October 12th). 

Much like the previously mentioned solennità civili, none of the above will get you a day off.

Other holidays

If you’re an employee in Italy, you’re entitled to paid holiday time, and the very minimum allowance is four weeks (or 20 days) a year – that’s 18 days less than in Austria, which leads the EU pack in minimum paid leave.

That said, many Italian contracts, particularly those for state employees, allow for five weeks (or 25 days) of paid leave per year. 

It’s also worth noting that, by law, employees must take at least two weeks of paid leave consecutively (i.e. two in a row) and all paid leave accumulated over the course of a year must be taken within 18 months from the end of that year.

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