For members


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.

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

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 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: ‘Expect the unexpected’: What you need to know about driving in Italy

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.


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.

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. 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


The 7 signs that August has arrived in Italy

While summer holidays are important everywhere, Italy takes the tradition of le vacanze estive particularly seriously. Here's what to expect now that August has arrived.

The 7 signs that August has arrived in Italy

1. Cities are largely deserted

If you’re in a city or town, prepare for it to feel strangely empty away from the obvious tourist destinations.

In Rome, car journeys that once involved a half-hour battle through wild traffic become surprisingly quick and stress-free. And where are the crowds at your usual after-work drinks spot in Milan? Even the smallest towns will be noticeably quieter than usual.

READ ALSO: Ferragosto: Why the long August holidays are untouchable for Italians

This is because all sensible Italian residents have packed up and gone to the beach or the mountains for a month. Next year, you’ll know to do the same.

2. But beaches are packed

Italy was a nation of staycationers even before the pandemic, and in August it’s tutti al mare: everyone flees to the beach, or maybe the mountains, at the same time.

Expect resorts to be packed and hotels, Airbnbs and campsites to be fully booked, especially as international tourists return after two years of travel restrictions.

3. Shops have cheery ‘closed for holidays’ signs

Shop workers and owners take time off like everyone else and it’s very common for small independent businesses like bakeries, pharmacies and florists to close for up to a month.

Some will tell you when they expect to reopen, others just put a sign in the window saying ‘chiuso per ferie’ – closed for holidays.

4. The summer sales are (still) on

Those shops that do remain open – mainly large chain stores and supermarkets –  offer discounts throughout August to those dedicated shoppers who aren’t at the beach. Italy only allows two retail sales a year, and one of those runs through July and August.

5. Everyone you email is out of the office

Need to contact anyone urgently at work this month? If they’re in Italy, then too bad.

Office workers are also usually on holiday, and a great many offices close altogether for three or four weeks.

Forget about out-of-office email replies suggesting an alternative contact or that the person will be checking their email sporadically – they will be on the beach and whatever you want can wait until they are back.

This applies to banks and to any kind of government bureaucracy, and you may also have trouble getting medical appointments at this time of year.

There’s only one place to be in Italy in August, as far as many Italians are concerned. Photo by Giovanni ISOLINO / AFP

6. There are ‘red alert’ heat warnings in place

This summer has been an unusually hot one and Italy has already experienced several extreme heatwaves. But as we get into August temperatures will no doubt be high across the board, meaning the country’s health authorities put heat warnings in place on the hottest days and strongly advise people to stay out of the sun during the hottest hours of the afternoon.

7. Every major road has a traffic warning

Italy’s state police make good use of the red pen when putting together the official traffic forecast for August. All weekends feature ‘red dot’ traffic warnings as people head off on holiday, or return home.

The final weekend of August, when people head home in time for il rientro (the return to school and work in September) is also best avoided.