Getting an Italian Driving Licence

Information on driving permits in Italy with details on applying for a learner's licence and registering for an Italian driving test...

Anyone found driving without a valid driving licence may be subject to a fine. Car drivers in Italy must be at least 18 years of age, but licences exist for residents under the age of 18 who wish to drive a moped.

There are various categories of driving licence (patenti di guida) for different vehicle types in Italy, which follow the standard categories of the EU. The most common include AM, A1 and A2 for mopeds and motorcycles, and B for cars. When issued, a Patente B has 20 points and when infractions occur, points are deducted.

  • The legal minimum age to drive a car (category B) or motorbike over 125 cc (category A2) is 18 years
  • The legal minimum age to drive a motorbike of 50cc to 125 cc (category A1) is 16 years
  • The legal minimum age to drive a moped up to 50 cc is 14 years (category AM)
Getting a Car Driving Licence in Italy

In order to obtain the Patente B a person must be at least 18 years old and be in suitable physical condition (a medical certificate is required for eyesight, mental health and physical condition).

The process for obtaining an Italian driver's licence is:

  • Pass a theory test (multiple choice, in Italian)
  • Obtain a learner's permit (foglio rosa)
  • Practice driving
  • Pass a practical driving test (road test with instructor and examiner)

As of January 19th 2013, the foglio rosa is only issued after the theory test has been passed.  The learner then has five months in which to pass the practical driving exam.

The Learner's Permit

Learner's permits must be applied for at the nearest Provincial Office of Motor Vehicles (Ufficio Motorizzazione Civile), which will issue the learner's licence. The foglio rosa is valid for a period of five months, and can be applied for by learners on the day after they reach the minimum age for the licence category.  This means that a Patente B cannot be granted on the applicant's eighteenth birthday, for example: it can only be granted the day after.

  • For details of Motorizzazione Civile Offices in the local area: Click here
  • For a full directory of Motorizzazione Civile offices: Click here (in Italian)

Requirements may vary from office to office, but in general, the following must be submitted:

  • Completed form MC 2112 MEC (available from Motorizzazione Civile offices)
  • Medical Health Certificate stating the applicant is of sound health and mind (provided by an authorised doctor)
  • Valid photo identification
  • At least one photocopy of an existing licence (if applicable)
  • Proof of residency (Permesso/Carta di Soggiorno) and photocopy
  • Three passport photographs that match the photograph on the medical certificate, not more than 6 months old
  • Application fee

Learning to Drive in Italy

The learner's permit allows the holder to practise driving only while accompanied by a person no older than 60 years old (if practising using a dual-control vehicle, the accompanying driver may be no older than 65 years old). The accompanying driver must have held a valid licence for at least 10 years in the category the driver will be tested for.

Practice vehicles must be marked on the front and back with a vertically and clearly displayed uppercase black letter "P" (principiante) against a reflective white background, indicating to other drivers that the driver is a novice.

Learner drivers may not drive on the Autostrada and may face a fine of €78 euros if they practice in a busy area.

Most learner drivers opt to take lessons with a licensed driving school for several reasons: instructors can coach students on questions likely to be encountered on the test; and the practical test must be done on a dual-control vehicle, which can be provided by the school for practice and for the practical exam. Otherwise, the test taker must hire a dual-control car and insurance must be obtained before the practical test can be taken. Hired dual-control vehicles can only be rented for driving tests and cannot be used for practice.

The Theory Exam

The theory exam consists of forty true or false questions that test knowledge of the Highway Code (Codice della Strada). As of January 2011, it is only possible to take the theoretical tests in Italian.  There are two exceptions: in the Valle d'Aosta the test may be taken in French, and in South Tyrol the test may be taken in German. Learner's books with test questions are available at bookshops in Italian only; some driving schools may have English translations for sale.

The foglio rosa allows the learner to take three driving tests in total, and two of any one type: for instance, if a driver passes the theory test the first time, they have two chances to complete the practical exam; if they fail the theoretical test twice, the foglio rosa is no longer valid and another must be obtained.

The documents required may vary, but in general, Motorizzazione Civile offices will request:

  • Completed form TT 2112: Click here
  • Tax code (Codice Fiscale)
  • Valid photo identification
  • Proof of residency (Permesso/Carta di Soggiorno) and photocopy
  • Two passport photographs that match the photograph on the medical certificate, not more than 6 months old
  • Photocopies of any other driving licences the applicant possesses
  • Application fee
The Practical Exam

The practical driving test is usually taken after a period of practice although this is not obligatory for drivers carrying a foreign licence.

At the practical exam, the following documents are required:

  • Photo identification
  • Proof of vehicle insurance (and photocopy)
  • For foreigners, a Permesso/Carta di Soggiorno (and photocopy)

The practical driving test must be undertaken in a dual-control vehicle (unless the driver is disabled and requires hand controls). If a driver passes the practical test in an automatic transmission, dual-control vehicle (which are extremely uncommon), they will be restricted to driving only automatic vehicles thereafter.

If the driver fails the practical exam, the medical certificate, proof of payment and photos will be returned to them so they may be presented again at the retest.

After successfully completing the practical exam, the Italian licence will be issued on the spot.

Moped Licence

To drive a moped or motorcycle of 50cc and under, the driver must be at least 14 years old.  After passing an exam, the driver will carry a category AM licence. This replaced the Certificato di idoneità, also known as the Patentino, in January 2013. A short training course at a local driving school must be completed before taking the exam.  As of January 2013, this exam can no longer be taken at local state schools.

While a 14 year old can drive a category AM vehicle in Italy, they must reach 16 years if age before doing so in most other EU countries. Those only eligible to drive category AM vehicles cannot carry passengers.

While the minimum age in Italy for category AM vehicles is 14, most other European states only allow AM vehicles to be driven at the age of 16.  This is still the case if the holder of an AM licence drives in another EU country.

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