Driving in Pisa: 8 Tips for Italy Driving Holidays

October, 2018.

Driving in Tuscany doesn’t have to be daunting. Holiday Autos’ extensive travelling experience has given us knowledge and insight into the best ways to make the most of your trip.

We’ve put together a handy guide to our top tips for your driving holiday in Italy, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy your trip.

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Visiting Tuscany

One of the most beautiful places in Italy, the region of Tuscany has many picturesque, scenic routes for drivers. Take the SR222 ‘Chiantigiana road’ from Florence to Siena for a tranquil drive passing vineyards and ancient castles.

For a more traditional look around Tuscany, take the Val d’Orcia in south Siena. This area is famous for its classic landscapes and is one of the most idyllic views in the country. The panorama is UNESCO protected due to its beauty and popularity.

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The city of Pisa is stands out on the Tuscan landscape, with very flat land and a large, winding river running through. With over 90,000 residents and a university in the centre, Pisa is a bustling and lively city.

With equally beautiful views combined with the excitement of city life, Pisa is a welcome change from the tranquil Italian countryside.

Driving around Tuscany is the best way to truly capture the beauty of the region.
Keep reading as we explore our top tips for making driving around Pisa as easy and enjoyable as possible.

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Plan your route

Like anything in life, it’s always better to be prepared. Even for the most experienced drivers, having a clear route in mind to follow keeps you from wasting time and money. Especially in the rural areas around Pisa, one wrong turn can add hours onto your journey.

Planning a route before setting off will also make sure you don’t miss anywhere on your must-see list when driving around Tuscany.

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Know the rules

Whilst driving in Italy carries similar rules to that of the UK, it is important to be clued up to avoid any trouble.

First of all, Italians drive on the opposite side of the road to us Brits – you would be surprised how many tourists forget!

Don’t make the dangerous mistake of sticking to the familiar left-hand side of the road.

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There are also certain items you need to have in your car when driving around Tuscany, such as reflective jackets and headlamp beam defectors. Don’t worry though, if you’re hiring a car in Italy, the car tends to come ready stocked with the essentials.

Watch your speed

The speed limit, although around the same as we’re used to, is in kilometres rather than miles. This is an important fact to remember, as 50 kmph is very different to 50 mph!

On the motorways, or autostrade as they’re known in Italy, the fastest you can drive is 130 kmph.
On normal roads outside built-up areas, stick to 90 kmph, and reduce your speed even further to 50 kmph in built-up areas.

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Choose a designated driver

Drink driving is illegal in most places across the world and Italy is no different. The blood alcohol limit in Italy is even lower than that in the UK, at 0.5% and 0.8% respectively.

That means after just one glass of wine you may be over the limit. Better to be safe than sorry – nominate one designated driver who should stay teetotal.

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Learn the lingo

Of course, it goes without saying that when following road signs around Italy, it’s handy to know what they mean!

We’ve put together a handy cheat sheet to the more basic words and phrases, but it’s always a good idea to take a book of translations.

Destra – right
Sinistra – left
Dritto – straight
Uscita – exit
Pedaggio – toll

Also look out for any signs reading ‘zona traffico limitato’ or ‘zona pedonale’ as these signal a no-go zone for drivers.

It’s useful to be aware of the slight changes in place names in Italian too. Florence, for example, might be seen as ‘Firenze’ and the region of Tuscany is ‘Toscana’ in Italian.

It may be useful to note these differences when planning your route, so you know what you’re looking for on maps and road signs.

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Find your way

Even with a pre-planned route, unless you have a photographic memory, you’ll need guidance along the way of your Tuscany driving route.
Whilst most modern cars come with a built-in navigation system, it’s best not to rely on that.

Google maps is a useful tool when travelling in a foreign country. You can even download your maps onto your smart phone, so you can access them even when you’re offline.

When planning your scenic drive in Tuscany, try to use main roads and look for the more logical routes. It’s probably best to take a physical map with you too, just in case!

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Remember the tolls

When you’re putting together the budget for your trip, keep in mind that you might have to pay tolls when using the autostrade.

You can pay by cash or card are most toll stations, but debit cards aren’t accepted at some. Try to pay with cash where possible to avoid additional card charges.

Euro-coins

Use this handy toll calculator to estimate your costs before travelling to make sure you’re not left high and dry. Luckily for you, there aren’t too many toll booths when driving in Pisa or Tuscany.

Prepare to park

Finding a good parking spot for a reasonable price can be troublesome even in your local town. So, trying to do it on a driving holiday in Italy is understandably daunting.

When planning your journey, it may prove useful to research the best places to park in each of your stop-off locations.

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Secure, underground car parks might be your best bet and a quick internet search will help you find these.

If you’re parking on the street, look for blue zones with car spaces clearly marked in blue. Pay for these spaces at nearby machines or in the local tobacco shop (tabaccaio).

Hiring a Car in Pisa

Holiday Autos makes it easy to hire a car in Pisa. We do the hard work of comparing car hire for you. Our car hire experts negotiate exclusive rates with top car hire brands to bring you the best deals.

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