Driving in Italy is not for the faint of heart. The curves, the speed, the mountains, the goats, cows, dogs and kids, and the dreaded stick shift. I was crowned queen of the road in nineteen-ninety-two in a small town on the outskirts of Niagara Falls, Ontario.
The first time my father taught me to drive I was thirteen years old, and his blue Ford Bronco had aged significantly despite its young years. We were driving old country roads out by the old Avondale store on Stewart Road, the Rolling Stones sang i can’t get no satisfaction on the dust filled, static speakers. Memories were being made, moments to remember.
Then we hit a ditch and ended up sideways.
It was sensory overload, the happiness, the stones, the ice cream parlour, my first taste of freedom and the large curve in the road.
For some reason, unbeknownst to my thirteen year old self, I had thought the old Bronco would automatically straighten out, I didn’t realize I had to control it with the steering wheel. I was only driving 10 kilometers per hour when we found ourselves tilted sideways in the ditch with the ice cream shop not far in the distance.
We roared with laughter, changed places in the truck and went for ice cream.
Four years after that incident when I was seventeen, I got my license to drive in Canada.
Today, twenty-one years after being honoured with a Canadian driving license, I am not legally able to drive, in any country. My Canadian license expired this past October, and to renew I must visit the DMV in Canada, in person.
Did you know:
- If you are planning to move to Italy and have a driving permit from outside of the European Union, you can legally drive in Italy for one year provided you have an international driving permit.
- After one year driving with an international driving permit, you are required by law to take the exam for the Italian driving permit.
- All tests are in Italian.
- Here’s an awesome link which provides exam questions to study for the Italian license.
I’ve been in Italy almost six years and think I’m finally ready to take the official exam. I’ve teamed up with other expats in Italy who are also studying for the Italian driving permit or Foglio Rossa.
Leah from Help! I live with my Italian mother-in-law started a wonderful group on FB called Help! I need my Foglio Rossa where we can support each other in our endeavour to become road warriors.
I finally took the on-line test, in Italian, and did better than I had expected. There are 40 questions, some with diagrams and you have thirty minutes on the clock. Good luck.
This one threw me for a loop! I still don’t understand it’s meaning nor what the sentence says.
Now if only driving stick shift were as easy as studying for the Italian driving permit, I’d be set.
What I learned today:
- I need to study a lot more.
- Groups like Help! I need my foglio rossa will help me achieve this goal.
- Italian driving exams are all sorts of crazy.
- I will need the support and guidance from said group in achieving this goal.
Check out expat Elizabeth’s tales of woe in Umbria – My Italian Driver’s License Part 1: House Arrest. For the sake of our sanity – let’s drive! 🙂
Can you offer any tips, whether it’s driving stick shift or taking the exam?
- Driver License Clone or Novelty (brandonndip.wordpress.com)