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Driving in Venice

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Venice.
|-Driving in Venice

1. Driving in Venice

Driving in Venice is not possible in the traditional sense. Venice is a city built on water with canals instead of roads. The city is made up of islands connected by bridges, and the primary modes of transportation are walking and boating. Cars are only allowed in the mainland areas of Venice, such as Mestre and Marghera, and on the island of Lido.

2. Car Recommendation

Since you can’t drive in the city center of Venice, having a car isn’t necessary. If you’re living in the mainland areas or on Lido, a smaller car is recommended due to the narrow streets and limited parking spaces. However, many residents prefer to use public transportation, bicycles, or scooters.

3. Parking in Venice

Parking in Venice can be challenging and expensive. The city has a few parking garages, such as the Autorimessa Comunale at Piazzale Roma, the only point where cars can enter Venice. The rates are quite high, and it’s often full. It’s advisable to reserve a spot in advance if you plan to use it. On Lido, street parking is available but can be hard to find during the summer months.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Italy with an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with their valid national driving license. The IDP is valid for one year. After that, if you’re a resident, you’ll need to obtain an Italian driving license.

5. Obtaining an Italian Driving License

To get an Italian driving license, you’ll need to pass a medical examination, a theory test, and a practical driving test. The theory test is available in multiple languages, including English. However, the practical driving test is usually conducted in Italian. It’s recommended to take a few driving lessons to familiarize yourself with the Italian driving rules and procedures.

6. Public Transportation

Given the unique structure of Venice, public transportation is a viable and often preferred option. The city has an extensive network of water buses, or vaporettos, which are the aquatic equivalent of a bus. There are also water taxis and the famous gondolas, though these are more expensive and often used by tourists rather than locals.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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