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DRIVING

Some of the best learner sites for taking your Italian driving test

If you live in Italy and plan to drive, you may need to take your Italian driving test - in Italian. Here are some sites and apps to help you prepare for the theory and practical exams.

Italy’s government says it has allocated over 3 billion euros for road improvements.
Prepare for your Italian driving test with these handy resources. Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP

After we published a list of resources to help those study for their driving test in Italian, we heard from some readers of The Local with their own suggestions.

Below you can find our updated list with even more useful sites.

Who needs to take the Italian driving exam?

Driving in Italy is key for many who move to the country – more than a convenience, for some, driving is essential in remote areas to carry out basic life tasks such as getting to work or buying food.

Once you’ve moved to Italy, you can use the driving licence you already own, but only for 12 months after registering for residency.

Some countries have reciprocal agreements with Italy in place, meaning they can convert their driving licences without the need to take the Italian driving tests, according to Italy’s Ministry of Transport.

However, for others, such as the United States, Canada, Australia and currently the UK, this option doesn’t exist, leaving not much time to take and pass the Italian driving exams to get your Italian licence known as ‘Patente B’.

READ ALSO:

Should you not complete the required tests within this timeframe, you can’t drive on Italy’s roads until you do.

As getting through the theory and practical exams is known to take around six months, provided you pass everything first time, getting started on revising for your Italian driving test will likely be a priority.

British residents of Italy can use their driving licenses until the end of this year, the government has confirmed.

Photo by PACO SERINELLI / AFP

One particular obstacle for people who’ve just moved to Italy is the Italian language required, as you can’t take the tests in English (but some regions allow you to take the tests in French or German).

Many readers of The Local have told us that the language involved is as tricky as the technical aspect, particularly for the theory exam – although, reassuringly, others say it’s  “not as difficult as it sounds”.

READ ALSO: Getting your Italian driving licence: the language you need to pass your test

To help you learn the terminology and rules you’ll need for the theory test, here are some useful sites to get you in gear.

The theory exam

The Italian driving theory exam consists of 30 true or false questions, of which you can only get three wrong for a pass, according to the latest government circular.

The Italian Driver’s Manual is likely to be your go-to, whether you decide to go through the process solo or enlist the services of an autoscuola (driving school).

The potential problem with this is the Italian language. However, one reader told us that her driving school gave her an English version of the manual to help with understanding the rules – and with it, a translation of all the Italian road terminology.

If your driving school doesn’t have any English copies, you can buy your own.

Do an internet search for ‘manuali patente per stranieri‘, and you’ll have plenty of options, such as this one that sells the English version for €20.

Other languages can be seen here. More versions can be found Amazon here.

For more interactive learning, there are a few platforms to test your knowledge.

– Websites

Patentati.it has online quizzes and simulations of how the theory test will look, with a timer showing you how many minutes you have remaining to answer all the questions.

When you click on ‘Quiz Patente B’ on the homepage, you’ll find a catalogue of resources, including simple lists of true or false questions, theory broken down by subject and a visual breakdown of road signs.

The practice theory questions are in line with the real, final exam – you’ll come across repetitions of questions worded in a different way to thoroughly check your understanding.

READ ALSO: How do you take your driving test in Italy?

The site is pretty easy to navigate and free to use, plus you can create an account to see your personal progress.

Quizpatenteonline.it also has plenty of interactive quizzes, simulations and the theory manual broken down by subjects.

It’s a cleaner looking site than the above one with fewer annoying adverts. Plus, it also has a list of the answers most frequently incorrectly answered in the last year.

An example of the practice quizzes online. Photo: https://www.quizpatenteonline.it/

If there are questions that often trip people up, this is useful to get a head start on and be prepared for if they come up in your final test.

The site has also gamified the theory exam, so rather than taking a simulation test, you can play some games that take you back to the beginning if you make a mistake.

This is useful for repetition and drilling in the information – and as for the language, the more you keep seeing the same terms, the more you’ll remember them.

Online Italian theory driving test games to drill in the answers. Photo: https://www.quizpatenteonline.it/

Another packed site with lots of resources is Mininterno.netThis government portal isn’t as easy on the eye and looks like a forum from the first days of the internet, but there are some useful nuggets of information in there too.

If you click on ‘Patente di guida’, you’ll find a list of different quizzes and lists of road signs, each with their own vast quizzes according to type, to help you prepare.

The site is a little outdated, though, and still tests you on the previously required 40 questions. Still, more practice can’t hurt.

– Social platforms

Social media also have some good support, particularly for English speakers who may find translating the terms in these online quizzes time-consuming.

The Facebook group ‘Help! I need my foglia rosa (the foglia rosa is a pink slip proving you’ve passed the theory test), helps English-speaking residents in Italy who are preparing for their Italian driving exam.

They require you to already be in the country to accept you into the private group.

(Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

Other pages such as ‘Study for la patente in English‘ gives tips on the Italian language that can trip you up and cost you a wrong answer.

There are also video resources on YouTube, which explain the theory test in English. ‘Patente B in English has almost 3,000 subscribers and breaks down the Italian questions in English – a good way to first understand the motoring language before you can answer the questions.

READ ALSO: Do you have to take Italy’s driving test in Italian?

– Apps

If playing on your phone or tablet is more likely to get your head down to study, there are many apps designed to practice for the Italian theory exam – and sometimes, in English.

The ‘Quiz Patente Official 2022‘ is one of the most popular Italian driving theory apps, available in the Google PlayStore and Apple App Store, offering quizzes, video lessons and theory tips. Plus, it’s available in English.

EasyPatente‘ is available for download in the Google PlayStore and Apple’s App Store in an increasing amount of languages, including Italian, Urdu, Hindi, French and German – although currently, English hasn’t been added.

The ‘Quiz Patente B 2022: Ufficiale’ is worth a try – although this is currently only available in Italian. Download on Google PlayStore or Apple’s App Store.

The practical exam

Many of the sites mentioned above have some tips on how to approach the practical exam, but as far as understanding your driving instructor and tester is concerned, check our guide on the language you’ll need to pass here.

Have you found useful resources to help prepare you for the Italian driving tests? Let us know in the comments below or contact us here.

For more information on driving in Italy, check the Italian government’s page on steps to obtain a Patente B.

Member comments

  1. There is a great book “L’Esame Per La Patente Di Guida Per Cittadini Stranieri” in English – Italian that can be purchased on Amazon.

    Also, we bought a car in Italy last year, but cannot get an Italian Drivers License. We have a unique situation, that other readers may also have. We have dual American and Italian citizenship. We own a home in Umbria, but retain our residence in the United States. We went to the comune and were given a letter which stated that we are A.I.R.E. (Italian Citizens Living Abroad). This gave us a domicile in Italy, but not residency. We were now allowed to purchase a car and get insurance without needing an Italian license. Many police are not aware of this rule, so we make sure we carry our A.I.R.E. letter; and it is also indicated on the auto’s registration.

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DRIVING

Low emission zones: What you need to know if you’re driving in Europe

More and more cities around Europe are introducing low-emission zones, mostly administered by a sticker in your vehicle windscreen – but what if you're travelling between different countries? Here's a look at the rules around Europe, and which countries will accept a foreign vehicle sticker.

Low emission zones: What you need to know if you're driving in Europe

Hundreds of cities across the EU currently operate some form of low emission zone system in an effort to reduce air pollution caused by motor vehicles.

And the numbers are only going to increase, as more towns, cities and Member States set up low emission zones. In France, for example, from 2025 a total 43 towns and cities will require motorists, from home and abroad, to display the country’s Crit’Air stickers – with fines for non-appliance rising from €68 currently to €750.

Will one sticker fit all?

No. Some nations do recognise stickers from other countries – Spain has said it will recognise stickers from all EU states, Switzerland recognises France’s Crit’Air stickers, and Czechia has said that, when low-emission zones start coming into force, at first in the capital Prague, it will recognise stickers from Germany. 

But there is currently no standard, EU-wide system in place, which means that drivers planning multi-country journeys will have to ensure they follow the rules for low emission zones in each and every country they visit. That could mean a lot of stickers…

To make things more confusing, the rules are often complex, and may vary from city to city – even from day to day as temporary rules can come into effect during periods of high pollution.

Which countries in the EU have low emission zone rules?

There are a few, so we’ve broken them down EU nation by EU nation. Strap in.

Austria

There are seven low-emission areas in Austria – notably in the Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Styria, Tyrol and Burgenland regions – where stickers are required for light goods vehicles and heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks, buses, and coaches.

Rules affecting older cars – those registered before January 2006 – are expected to come into force soon. And it should be noted that motorhomes registered in vehicle class N require an environmental sticker.

Some low-emission zones do not officially require stickers (though they may be useful) but you may need to show your vehicle’s documentation if you are stopped by police

A single badge costs €29.90 plus VAT, and can be bought from the DEKRA site here.

Belgium

The whole of Antwerp is a low-emission zone, while most of Brussels and certain areas of Ghent also have stricter emissions rules. 

Newer vehicles with Belgian or Dutch number places are not required to register on a database allowing them to enter these areas, but cars from other nations must do so – for free – before they are allowed to enter these areas. Alternatively, you can pay a fee (€35 per day for cars / 20€ for mopeds and motorbikes / 50€ for heavy goods vehicles) for an exemption pass.

Register your non-Belgian or Dutch plated vehicle for Brussels’ low-emission zone here

Any vehicle entering the Brussels Region Low Emission Zone without registering in advance is liable to a fine of €150, even if it complies with conditions for entry. Any inaccurate information submitted during registration is liable for an administrative fine of €25.

Register for Antwerp’s low-emission zone here, or use one of the Low Emission Zone machines dotted around the city. More information on those here.

You can check whether your vehicle is allowed in the low-emission zone in Ghent, here.

Buy your day-passes here – nb: Drivers of any foreign-registered vehicle (including The Netherlands) who would like to purchase a day pass must first register their vehicle.

Czechia

A low-emission zone is being set-up in Prague for which drivers will need a windscreen sticker. The Czech ministry is yet to announce which foreign stickers will be recognised for foreign vehicles – though it is expected that German ones will be accepted. Czech vehicles are advised to apply for a sticker when they become available.

Denmark

All heavy goods vehicles require a sticker to enter low emission zones throughout the country.

Meanwhile, older diesel vans, weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, lorries and buses aren’t allowed into the low-emission zones unless they’re fitted with a particulate filter.

As of October 1st, 2023, all diesel-powered cars must have a particulate filter in order to be able to drive legally in the low emission zones. 

The fine for cars driving illegally in the Danish low emission zones is DKK 1,500 (€202). 

If you drive a vehicle affected by the rules, you must register your particulate filter and/or euro norm. You can do that here.

Finland

In Helsinki, only local public transport buses and lorries are affected by low-emission zone rules.

France

France’s Crit’Air sticker system is currently in operation in 11 towns and cities, and will be extended to over 40 by 2025. All vehicles – including those registered outside France – are required to buy a sticker from the official site, here before they can be driven in any of the country’s low-emission zones.

The sticker costs €3.72 including postage if you’re in France, rising to €4.61 for those outside France. 

From January 1st, 2023, Crit’Air 5 vehicles (diesel vehicles produced before 2001) will be banned from all low-emission zones. This will be followed on January 1st, 2024 by Crit’Air 4 (diesel before 2006) and on January 1st 2025 by Crit’Air 3 (diesel before 2011 and petrol/diesel before 2006).

Local authorities can also impose targeted local bans – temporary and permanent – in zones under their jurisdiction. Since January 1st, Montpellier, for example, has required every car to have a Crit’Air 4 or lower sticker to drive in low emission zones, while lorries, minibuses and coaches need a Crit’Air 3.

The Mont Blanc tunnel between France and Italy is also an emission-check zone. Checks are manual and based on the age of the vehicle. It’s probably a good idea to have your car documents on you.

France does not recognise other countries’ stickers. 

Germany

Stickers allowing access to numerous low-emission zones in towns and cities across Germany can be purchased from garages, test stations, local authorities or online.

Proof of emissions is needed to purchase the sticker, so you’ll need your car documents if you’re buying in person.

If bought directly from city offices the stickers cost €5. Online they can cost more, while international postage will also add a premium onto the final bill. 

Alternatively, you can buy stickers from TÜV SÜD here – which will be shipped overseas – for €17.50, or from one of 300 TÜV SÜD service centres for €6.

TÜV-NORD, meanwhile, sells stickers online here for €9.90 if the vehicle is registered in Germany, or €17.50 if the vehicle is registered elsewhere.

Greece

Authorities have said that they want the capital Athens to be a diesel-free zone by 2025 and there are currently two schemes operational for part of the year in and around the city – the exact dates of the restriction period varies annually but it is usually from mid-October to mid-July.

In central Athens, during this restricted period, vehicles are controlled by their licence plate. Vehicles up to 2.2 tonnes are only allowed entry on alternate days, depending on whether their vehicle licence ends with an odd or an even number.

A special badge exempts certain categories of vehicle, such as electric, natural gas or LPG, hybrid, or Euro 6 class vehicles that emit less than 120 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre. To obtain a pass, click here

In the outer ring and the Attica prefecture region, Vehicles weighing more than 2.2 tonnes, including buses, must also meet minimum emissions standards.

Italy

Numerous low emission zones operate in Italy – mainly, but not exclusively, in the north of the country – with differing standards and time periods, while in numerous cities – including Rome, Milan, Turin, Florence, and Bologna – restrictions may mean you cannot drive in certain areas during the day on weekdays, or on Sundays.

Penalties for entering restricted zones at the wrong time range from €70 to €450.

In most cases, permits to enter these zones when restrictions are in place aren’t available to visitors, though there may be exemptions to this, while Milan operates a congestion charge system – similar to the one in London – for vehicles that enter the historic centre of the city.

The Mont Blanc tunnel between France and Italy is also an emission-check zone. Checks are manual and based on the age of the vehicle. It’s probably a good idea to have your car documents on you.

Netherlands

Amsterdam, Arnhem, Den Haag, Utrecht and Eindhoven (from 2025) have “green” LEZs for light duty diesel vehicles – meaning only light duty diesel vehicles that meet the Euro 4 standard and above may enter the zone. Rotterdam port, meanwhile, operates to a tighter Euro 6 standard.

Rotterdam and Utrecht have low emission zones which allow entry based on the date of a vehicle’s first registration. Dutch vehicles are registered through the national database, while drivers of foreign vehicles will need to have their documents with them.

Similar to Belgium, drivers of older vehicles can apply for an exemption to enter low-emission zones in Rotterdam and Utrecht. To apply for a day pass in Rotterdam, click here. Passes cost € 22.70, and last 24 hours. 

Drivers of older vehicles without an exemption risk a fine of €95.

Since January 1st, 2022, Utrecht has limited entry to diesel vehicles. Click here  to see if you can enter the city in your diesel vehicle

Portugal

In Portugal, environmental zones are called Zona de Emissões Reduzidas (ZER) (Emission Reduced Zone). There are technically two zones – effectively an outer zone and an inner zone in the capital, Lisbon.

The inner zone (ZER ABC) is more strict than the outer one, allowing only vehicles of Euroclass 3 or better to access.

Euroclass 2 or better vehicles can enter the outer zone. Drivers who flout the rules can face fines of €120. The rules in Portugal allow for vehicle owners to retrofit their vehicles with filters that improve the engine’ Euroclass rating.

Spain

The rules in Spain are getting stricter. From 2023, all cities with 50,000 inhabitants or more must set up low-emission zones – that’s about 150 cities.

To date, however, Madrid and Barcelona are the only cities with low emission zones – Zona de Bajas Emisiones – in place.

Barcelona’s low-emission zone has been in place since January 2020. Vehicles must have a DGT environmental label to enter the zone between 7am and 8pm Monday to Friday. Additional rules may be enforced during periods of high pollution.

You can check whether you need a label here

Between 2023 and 2025, the Spanish capital, Madrid, will gradually become one giant low-emissions zone.

In Madrid, for example, vehicles without a Spanish sticker will no longer be allowed to drive on the M-30 ring road. 

You can order a DGT label, from €5 plus postage, here

Sweden

Low emission zones in Sweden can be found in Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Lund, Malmö, Mölndal, Stockholm, Umeå, and Uppsala. There are, officially, three classes of zone, which apply to different types of vehicle. Two are currently in use, while the third is on the statutes but not the streets.

The most common applies – a class 3 zone – to buses and trucks weighing more than 3.5 tonnes, which must, in affected areas, conform to Euro6 standards. 

The country’s sole Class 2 zone, applies to passenger cars, light buses and vans not powered by hydrogen or electricity, which must conform to Euro5 standards – though diesel Euro5 vehicles were banned from these zones in July 2022. This zone is only enforced on one street in Stockholm – Hornsgatan in the Södermalm district.

Electric, fuel cell and gas vehicles will only be permitted in currently theoretical Zone 3 areas, as the country gears up to ban petrol and diesel vehicles altogether from 2030.

You mention Euro standards a lot. What does this mean?

It refers to emission standards for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

Since 1992, European Union regulations have been imposed on new cars, with the aim of improving air quality – that’s the same year catalytic converters became compulsory on new cars. 

Since then, there have been a series of Euro standards as the rules become more strict – the current Euro 6 was introduced in September 2014 and was rolled out for the majority of vehicle sales and registrations from September 2015.

They define acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new light duty vehicles sold in EU and EEA (European Economic Area) member states.

However, although there are EU standards for cars, there is as yet no EU-wide version of the emissions stickers. 

And finally… Beware of scams

One last thing to be aware of – watch out for scam sites. Make sure you only order your stickers from official websites. Some portals charge as much as five times more than the actual cost of the stickers in “administration fees”. The links on this page were, at the time of publishing, correct.

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