Driving in Le Marche
Drivers need a current EU licence or an International Licence. If travelling in
your own car you need the vehicle registration book - if it is not in your own name you should have the owner's written permission to drive the car.
You will also need your insurance certificate, preferably with a policy extension (in the U.K. a "green card") to make the cover comprehensive
while motoring abroad - without it your insurance is only the legal minimum. The international green card comes with a standard accident report form which must be filled in at the time of an accident.
Motorists must have all their documents with them while driving as police spot-checks are common.
The only toll motorway (autostrada) in the Marche is the Bologna-Pescara A14 along the Adriatic coast. Some of the main SS (strada statale) routes
are fast, toll-free dual-carriageways, or superstrade. Travelling east-west you are going against the grain of central Italy and will have to put up with slower roads over the Apennines.
But the real point of a car is to leave the crowded highways to meander along the Marche's often deserted inland country roads. Some of the
region's smallest roads are unmetalled gravel "white roads" - although usually well kept, beware of potholes if your car has a low wheelbase.
The area's antique towns were never built for cars and you will find that some historic centres are now closed to unauthorized traffic. Parking,
particularly in the morning and early evening, is often a headache.
Where signs indicate a time limit you will have to set a disco orario to your time of arrival; you can buy the disc from most newsagents and garages. If parking spaces are marked with a blue line, it means you have to pay - usually by buying a ticket from a nearby machine.
Off the motorway, petrol stations close for up to three hours at lunchtime and all day Sunday. Carry a few uncrumpled banknotes to use in the 24-hour,
self-service petrol dispensers now common in garage forecourts. Lead-free petrol (senza piombo) is available everywhere.
Traffic rules follow European norms and signing follows international conventions. If in doubt over precedence at a junction give way to traffic coming
from the right. Seat belts are compulsory and you must carry a reflective warning triangle to be placed at least 50 m behind your car when broken down.
Speed limits are 50 kph in built-up areas, 90 kph on country roads, 110 kph on dual-carriageways and 130 kph on motorways. It is now also compulsory to
switch on your dipped headlights during the day on all main roads.
Police speed checks are frequent and on-the-spot fines are severe. Contrary to received opinion, the standard of driving in the Marche is generally good
and, avoiding city centres, you shouldn't return home prematurely aged.
Away from the big cities, your car is unlikely to be stolen, particularly if it is right-hand drive. Car radios, however, are an easy target - if you
can't take them with you, make sure windows are closed and doors locked.
If your car breaks down you can dial ACI (Italian Automobile Club) on 116 for foreign-language assistance. On motorways there are SOS telephones at regular
intervals with two buttons: one for medical assistance and one for breakdowns.