For members


How will Italy’s Amalfi Coast traffic limit for tourists work this summer?

The Amalfi Coast has reintroduced traffic calming measures for the summer in an effort to unclog the coastline's congested roads. Here's what visitors need to know.

How will Italy's Amalfi Coast traffic limit for tourists work this summer?
The Amalfi coast is a beautiful - but busy - summer destination in Italy (Photo by Tom Podmore on Unsplash)

Dramatic, lush, and improbably picturesque, it’s one of Italy’s foremost attractions – but in recent years, the Amalfi Coast has become a victim of its own popularity, drawing so many crowds in the summer months that its tiny roads routinely become paralysed by traffic.

Now, authorities in the area are hoping that seasonal regulations – first introduced in 2020 – will once again help to ease the pressure on the coastline’s teeming thoroughfares.

As of June 15th, alternate driving license plate rules now apply on the 50km stretch of road between Positano and Vietri sul Mare, known as the SS 163.

Vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers will only be allowed through on odd number days, and those ending in even numbers on even number days.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Italy this summer

The rule currently only applies between 10am and 6pm on weekends, but will be in force every day throughout the month of August.

From the 1st to the 30th of September, the rules will once again apply only on weekends.

The narrow roads connecting the tiny towns along the Amalfi Coast quickly become congested in the summer months.
The narrow roads connecting the tiny towns along the Amalfi Coast quickly become congested in the summer months. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP.

Taxis, buses and local residents are exempt, as are vehicles displaying the ‘H’ sign indicating a disabled person is on board (provided they are carrying the disabled person in question).

In addition to Positano and Vietri sul Mare, the rule affects travel between Praiano, Amalfi, Atrani, Ravello and Cetara, popular tourist towns which all fall on the SS 163 route.

The measures have proven popular with some residents, but not everyone is pleased with the restrictions.

In the absence of private transport, tourists staying in the area will either need to travel by taxi or public bus on days when their vehicle is not allowed on the roads.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches?

Antonio Ilardi, head of the hoteliers federation Federalberghi Salerno, has requested that the rules be adjusted to allow guests to return to their hotels and to permit staff who live outside the area to get to their jobs by private transport.

Alessandro Russo, Praiano’s chief of police, told the Positano News daily that the rule has helped with the traffic problem in previous years, but hasn’t eliminated it – and that for the restrictions to be truly effective, more resources are needed to allow police to conduct checks at the main entry points.

Without a dedicated taskforce, the outlet says, it will be very difficult for the authorities to enforce the traffic rules.

For more information on the Amalfi Coast’s summer traffic rules and schedule and how this may apply to you, contact your accommodation provider or the Comune di Positano‘s tourist office.

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For members


EXPLAINED: What’s in the Italian driving licence theory test?

The theory quiz is by far the most daunting part of Italy's driving test. We take a look at what the questions are about and what you’ll be asked to do on the day of the exam.

EXPLAINED: What's in the Italian driving licence theory test?

There are all sorts of reasons why people who’ve relocated to Italy may want to get an Italian driving licence, not least because of the potential lack of a reciprocal agreement (an arrangement allowing foreign nationals to exchange their licence with an Italian one) between Rome and their country of origin. 

As things stand, people from the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and South Africa are not allowed to swap their ‘original’ licence for an Italian one. 

READ ALSO: Explained: Who needs to exchange their driving licence for an Italian one? 

And, while the Italian Highway Code states that non-EU nationals can freely drive in Italy on a foreign licence for up to one year from the moment they become Italian residents, drivers will be required to get an Italian licence at the end of that grace period. 

Unfortunately though, the Italian driving test isn’t exactly a piece of cake and that’s largely because the theory exam, which candidates must pass in order to progress to the practical test, requires quite a bit of technical knowledge and cannot be taken in English. 

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

So, for those who are considering getting an Italian licence and might, one day, be faced with the dreaded quiz, here’s what the theory test is about. 

For starters, once they have put in a request to take the theory exam, candidates have six months and a total of two attempts to pass it. 

Foreign nationals are generally advised to take the test through a driving school (autoscuola) as they will not only help you with all the relevant paperwork but will also provide you with the adequate training regarding the exam questions. 

That said, residents can also choose to take the test privately, which means that they’ll deal with their local licensing office (Ufficio di Motorizzazione Civile, which is roughly equivalent to the UK’s DVLA or the US DMV) directly and book their exam independently. 

Regardless of which path you choose to go down, the structure and procedures of the test are the same for all candidates. 

READ ALSO: Why is it taking so long to book a driving test in Italy?

The theory exam consists of 30 questions of the true or false type and each candidate is given 20 minutes (that’s a little over half a minute for each question) to answer them. 

Italian police officers setting up a roadblock

The Italian theory test consists of 30 questions ranging from road signage to civil liability. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Only three mistakes are allowed, with any number of errors equal to or above four resulting in a failed attempt. 

The questions presented to candidates are randomly selected, which means that some sections of the Italian Driver’s Manual (Manuale di Teoria) might not figure in the test at all. 

That said, you should know that the exam questions generally refer to the following macro-subjects: 

  • Road signage
  • Driver’s duties
  • Speed limits and restrictions to circulation
  • Safe following distance
  • General rules on vehicles’ circulation
  • Right of way
  • Braking, stopping and pulling over
  • Rules on overtaking
  • Use of indicator lights and horns
  • Personal safety equipment
  • Driving licences, circulation documents and penalty system
  • Road accidents and proper response
  • Driving under the influence and first aid
  • Rules on civil liability and insurance
  • Pollution and respecting the environment
  • Basic knowledge of car parts and vehicle maintenance

So, what actually happens on the day of the exam?

Barring some rare exceptions, the theory exam will take place at your local licensing office. 

Prior to the test, examiners will ask you to produce a valid identity document and the copy of a medical certificate testifying to good mental and physical health. After these formalities, you’ll be asked to take a seat at your designated station. 

Please note that you won’t be allowed to take any electronic device nor any notepad to your station. 

Cars queueing before road stop

Candidates only have two shots at passing the Italian theory test. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Once at your station, you’ll find a pc with a touch screen, which is where you’ll be taking the exam. 

By law, all candidates are shown a brief video tutorial prior to the test. After that, it’s game on.

Candidates cannot ask their examiners any question during the course of the exam – this includes questions about words or expressions that one might not know. 

It’ll be possible for you to move freely from one question to the other (i.e. you don’t have to answer a question to progress to the next one) and change your answers. That said, you’d best keep an eye on the remaining time (this is usually shown in the bottom-right corner of the web page).

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

Once you have reviewed all of your answers and submitted the test, you will be automatically logged out of the exam page.

What happens after I take the test?

Results will be made available online the day following the exam. 

If you pass, you’ll get the ‘pink slip’ (or foglio rosa) and you’ll have 12 months and a total of three attempts to take the practical test.

If you fail, you’ll have to wait a month before you can have another go. Should you fail your second attempt, you’ll have to re-enrol and submit a new request to take the theory exam (this means paying all the relevant fees again).