Getting an Italian Drivers’ License


drivingAmong the gajillion things that the husband and I have discussed – or at least started discussing, because the task is always far too overwhelming to continue for long at this point – about a potential move to Italy is the car situation. Actually, I’m the one who has thought about it, and I’ve already made up my mind about part of it. The part I’ve decided is that I have no intention of attempting to drive in Italy – at least not to begin with.

My reasons for this are many. First and foremost, Italian drivers scare the bejeezus out of me. I cannot imagine being behind the wheel and trying to navigate the streets of a big city like Rome or Milan. It stresses me out enough being in the passenger seat, or even outside the car altogether. In Oregon, where I live now, the local joke among people who didn’t grow up around here is that Oregonians don’t have a clue how to drive in snow (it’s true) – never having learned anything about which way to turn the steering wheel when they start to slide, they are the ones who end up in ditches when there’s only an inch or two on the ground. So they’re the ones who are a real hazard, not the out of towners who know how to handle their cars. In Italy it would be the exact opposite, seems to me – I’d be the hazard, both to myself and to those around me. Just thinking about it gives me heart palpitations.

The second big reason (really, it’s neck and neck with the first one) is that I can’t drive a manual transmission. I know, I know – I’ve heard it all before, so don’t try to convince me to learn. I can blow off your reasons with the best of ’em, I’ve been doing it for years. I did actually learn to drive a stick shift when I was first learning to drive, and I hated it. Really hated it. So I didn’t drive again (or get my license) until I had an automatic at my disposal. And as far as I can tell, the ratio of manual transmission cars to automatic transmission cars in Italy is the opposite of what it is here – in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an automatic transmission car in Italy.

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Lastly, I far prefer the idea of me tootling around some Italian city on a Vespa than anything else (even though, if I’m perfectly honest with myself, those scare me a little, too), so I’d be quite content to not drive a car in Italy. At least not for awhile. I’m pleased to note that Jackie over at Allora, Aspetta! just got her driver’s license last week after being in Italy for something like four years, so there’s some precedent for waiting.

In other car news, the husband’s prized 1972 Alfa Romeo is one of the items we haven’t really talked about in the whole moving-to-Italy process. Does he bring it with him? Does he leave it in the capable hands of someone here to care for it? Does he sell it and get some other little Italian car over there? Chissa?

>> Learn more about driving in Italy