Italian Road Signs – Guide for Visitors + Photos

You’ve got your International Driving Permit, your rental car is booked… now what? 

It’s time to learn the Italian road signs!  Some may look similar to signs from home, while others may leave you scratching your head. 

Based on my time driving here as a cycling guide, trip planner, resident, and licensed driver, I feel like I’ve seen them all!

I’ve photographed and explained the most common and most important road signs you’ll need to know while driving in Italy.

Andiamo – let’s go!

SHAPES AND COLORS OF ITALIAN ROAD SIGNS

Italian road signs give indications depending on their shapes or colors.

SHAPES OF SIGNS

SQUARES or RECTANGLES are informational signs.

Informational Italian road sign.
This sign gives information about upcoming turn-offs, roads, where parking is, etc.

TRIANGLES are warning signs.

Wild animal crossing warning road sign in Florence, Italy.
This sign warns drivers of wild animals crossing.

CIRCLES with red borders are ‘not allowed’ or ‘do not’ signs.  

50 km/hr speed limit sign in Italy.
Do not exceed the speed limit of 50km/hr.

CIRCLES that are blue are compulsory signs.

Compulsory road signs at an Italian traffic circle.  Stay to the right of the blue sign with white arrow and move in a counter-clockwise direction.
It’s compulsory to stay to the right of the blue sign with white arrow and to move in a counter-clockwise direction in the traffic circle.

COLORS OF SIGNS

GREEN signs are for the Autostrade, Italy’s toll highways.  You’ll also see green signs for non-toll roads that connect you to the Autostrade, called raccordi

GREEN signs are for the Autostrade, Italy’s toll highways

BLUE signs are for non-toll roads.

Blue road sign on the superstrada highway in Italy.
BLUE signs are non-toll roads.

BROWN signs are for points of interest, which are places like national parks, museums, and monuments.

Brown point of interest Italian road sign pointing to the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy.
BROWN signs are points of interest.

WHITE signs are for hotels and public services (hospitals, train stations, police stations, sports stadiums, etc) and urban roads.

Close up of road signs in Italy.
WHITE signs are hotels, public services, or urban roads.

Good To Know:  Italian roads are classified as:
AUTOSTRADA (toll motorway, green signs)
STRADA EXTRAURBANA PRINCIPALE (major highway, blue signs)
STRADA EXTRAURBANA SECONDARIA (minor highway, blue signs)
STRADA URBANA (urban/city road, white signs)
STRADA BIANCA (dirt/gravel road)

IMPORTANT ITALIAN ROAD SIGNS

STOP

Road intersection in Italy with a stop sign.
STOP SIGN: Red octagon with STOP in white

You’ll probably recognize this one, because it’s like stop signs in other parts of the world.  It’s even in English! 

Good To Know:  Italian drivers don’t always come to a complete stop at stop signs.  Keep that in mind if you’re at the same intersection (or if you’re a pedestrian crossing the street).

YIELD

Yield sign in Italy at the entrance to a traffic circle.
YIELD SIGN: White inverted triangle with a red border 

You must yield to others at the intersection or traffic circle.

GIVE PRIORITY

Give priority sign on the road in Italy.
GIVE PRIORITY SIGN: White circle with a red border and two arrows – a black one on the left pointing down and a red one on the right pointing up. 

You’ll see this sign when the road narrows, there’s construction work, or part of the road has been washed away.  It means you need to yield to cars coming toward you in the narrow section. 

TRAFFIC (Coming Toward You) GIVES PRIORITY

Blue sign showing that traffic gives priority in Pienza, Italy.
TRAFFIC GIVES PRIORITY SIGN: Blue square with two arrows – a red one on the left pointing down and a white one on the right pointing up. 

Like with the GIVE PRIORITY sign, you’ll see this sign when the road narrows, there’s construction work, or part of the road has been washed away.  It means the traffic coming toward you should give you priority.

Still, be cautious while you’re driving in that section of the road.

MAXIMUM SPEED

Entering the town of Pievasciata, Italy, there is a white town name sign on the right, along with a speed limit sign and other signs.
MAXIMUM SPEED SIGN: White circle with a red outline and the speed limit (in kilometers) in black numbers.

This is the maximum speed limit.

Good To Know:  If it’s raining, the speed limit automatically decreases by 20 km/hr on faster roads like the Autostrada.  So, instead of 130 km/hr, the speed limit becomes 110 km/hr.

Good To Know: The END MAXIMUM SPEED sign is a white round sign with black numbers and a black almost-vertical slash.  For example, in the photo above, when you leave Pievasciata, the speed may go back to what it previously was (50 km/hr).  To indicate this, you’ll see the END MAXIMUM SPEED sign with the slash through the ’40.’

DO NOT ENTER – Type 1

Do Not Enter Italian road sign in Buonconvento, Italy.
DO NOT ENTER SIGN Type 1: White circle with a red outline. 

Restricted vehicular access. If you’re driving a rental car, don’t enter a road that has this sign. Sometimes you’ll see this sign with a black silhouette of a vehicle inside the circle – it means that vehicle can’t enter the street. For example, if you saw the above sign with a black bus inside, buses aren’t allowed to enter (but other vehicles can unless otherwise posted).

DO NOT ENTER – Type 2

Do not enter sign posted at the beginning of a pedestrian street in Italy.
DO NOT ENTER SIGN Type 2: Red circle with a white horizontal bar. 

No vehicles are allowed to enter. That means you! These Italian road signs are usually posted at the beginning of a pedestrian only street (like in the photo above) or to keep you from going the wrong way down a street (for example to keep you from entering a highway on the off-ramp instead of the on-ramp).

No vehicles are allowed to drive past the sign!

ONE WAY

One way sign at a road intersection in Tuscany, Italy.
ONE WAY SIGN: Thin blue rectangular sign with an arrow indicating a one-way street in that direction.  Sometimes it also has ‘SENSO UNICO’ (one direction/way) on the sign.

REQUIRED DIRECTION

Good To Know:  There are also blue circular signs with white arrows (see photo below) that indicate you must travel in that direction (right, left, or straight ahead).  These DO NOT indicate that the street the arrow is pointing to is one-way, so expect traffic may travel in both directions.

Road intersection in Florence, Italy wit a stop sign and blue required turn right sign.
REQUIRED DIRECTION SIGN: Blue circular sign with a white arrow.

This sign indicates the required direction of travel.

At the intersection in the photo, after stopping at the stop sign, you must turn right. The street you’re turning onto may be one-way or may have traffic moving in both directions.

ZTL – ZONA TRAFFICO LIMITATO (Limited Traffic Zone)

Road intersection with ZTL signs in Florence, Italy
ZTL SIGN: Varies

ZTL signs take different forms, including:

  • White circle with red border and details on restricted entry (times, days, vehicle types) – sign on right in photo above
  • White circle with red border and ‘zona traffico limitato’ (and possibly with details on restricted entry) – sign in center of photo above
  • Electronic sign, usually red when active (no entry allowed) and green when inactive (entry allowed) – sign on left above

When you see a ZTL sign, it means you’re about to enter a limited traffic zone.  It doesn’t mean vehicles can’t enter – it means don’t enter the zone unless you have permission.  Residents have permission, and you do as a visitor if:

  • You’re staying in a hotel in the ZTL.  You’ll need to give your license plate number with the hotel so they can register it with the authorities (so you won’t get a multa, a fine).
  • You’re parking in a parking lot or parking garage in the zone.  The staff of the lot or garage will register your license plate number with the authorities.

If you don’t have permission to enter the ZTL, don’t enter.  You will be fined!

Good To Know:  Remember, sometimes the ZTL is inactive, and you can enter freely without being fined.  There will either be a green light OR the sign will say inattivo (inactive) OR there will be hours posted on the sign when the cameras are inactive.

NO PASSING

No Passing Italian road sign.
NO PASSING SIGN: White sign with a red outline and two vehicles – red on the left and black on the right. 

This means you cannot pass on that stretch of road (typically due to heavy traffic in the area, road work, or curvy roads). 

Good To Know:  If there is a red truck on the left instead of a red car, the sign indicates trucks aren’t allowed to pass.

RIGHT OF WAY / END RIGHT OF WAY

Rural road in Italy with right of way sign and bump sign.
RIGHT OF WAY SIGN: Yellow diamond (square rotated 45°) with a white border. 
Rural road in Tuscany, Italy with and end of right of way sign and a curve in road ahead sign.
END RIGHT OF WAY SIGN: RIGHT OF WAY SIGN with a black slash through it.

These Italian road signs mean you have the right of way and traffic entering from side streets is supposed to yield to you.  When your right of way ends, you’ll see the RIGHT OF WAY sign with a black slash through it.

Good To Know: The ‘slash through the sign’ indicates that whatever the sign was telling you is complete or no longer applies. You’ll see them through town signs indicating you’re leaving town, through speed limit signs indicating that limit is finished, through pedestrian zone signs indicating it’s no longer a pedestrian zone, etc. Exception: the NO PARKING sign.

TRAFFIC CIRCLE AHEAD

Italian road sign indicating a traffic circle is ahead.
TRAFFIC CIRCLE AHEAD SIGN: White triangle with red border, inside has three black arrows forming a circle and pointing in a counter-clockwise direction. 

This sign indicates a traffic circle is coming up on the road.

Italians (and Europeans) love traffic circles (aka roundabouts).  You’ll see them in big cities and small villages and everywhere in between. 

TRAFFIC CIRCLE

Traffic circle in Italy with a yield sign and sign showing the direction of traffic in the circle.
TRAFFIC CIRCLE SIGN: Round blue sign with three white arrows forming a circle and pointing in a counter-clockwise direction. 

This sign indicates you are entering a traffic circle and the direction the traffic moves.

AREA PEDONALE

Sign at an intersection in Italy with a no entry sign and a pedestrian zone sign.
AREA PEDONALE SIGN: White sign with blue circle containing a white pedestrian. 

This sign indicates a pedestrian only zone.  You may not enter the zone unless you’re one of the exceptions listed below the sign (usually for deliveries, emergency services, or transporting disabled passengers).

IMPORTANT ITALIAN PARKING SIGNS

PARKING

Italian road signs.  The bottom one has a blue square with a white 'P' which indicates parking.
PARKING SIGN: Blue square with a white ‘P.’ 

This may indicate an outdoor parking lot or a parking garage.  In larger cities, you’ll often see a digital sign with a number indicating the number of spaces remaining in that lot/garage.

NO PARKING

Italian no parking road sign.
NO PARKING SIGN: Blue circle with a red outline and red diagonal slash

It may also have a small white rectangular sign below indicating when the no parking is valid.  For example, ’13-15’ means you can’t park there from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Another example, ‘1° venerdì’ means no parking on the 1st Friday of the month.

In the photo above, you can’t park there EVER (from 0:00-24:00), and if you do, you’ll be TOWED.

NO STOPPING

No stopping sign on a street in Forte dei Marmi, Italy.
NO STOPPING SIGN: Blue circle with a red outline and red ‘x’ 

You may not stop along the stretch of road. In the photo above, the small white sign with the two black arrows indicates the sign applies to before and after the posted sign.

Good To Know:  Don’t confuse this with the ‘no parking sign,’ which has a red slash, not a red ‘x.’  No stopping means you can’t pull over for any reason (and therefore can’t park either).

PASSO CARRABILE

Passo carrabile sign in Montalcino, Italy on a garage door.
PASSO CARRABILE ROAD SIGN: NO PARKING SIGN (blue circle with red outline and diagonal slash) with ‘passo carrabile’

This sign means leave the passage free. You’ll usually see it in front of garages or driveways – places that cars need to be able to move in and out of. So, don’t park your car in front of it!

MORE ITALIAN ROAD SIGNS

ENTERING URBAN AREA

Italian road sign that indicates entering a town.
ENTERING URBAN AREA SIGN: Rectangular white sign with black text of the town/city.

This sign indicates you’re entering an urban area.

Good To Know: You’ll see this type of sign in other colors. BLUE indicates you’re entering a province (while driving on a non-Autostrada road), GREEN indicates you’re entering a province (while driving on the Autostrada). Provinces are make up a region. For example, Pisa and Florence are both provinces in the region of Tuscany.

LEAVING URBAN AREA

Italian road sign that indicates leaving a town.
LEAVING URBAN AREA SIGN: Rectangular white sign with black text of the town/city and a red slash through it.

This sign indicates you’re leaving an urban area.

Good To Know: As with the ENTERING URBAN AREA sign, you’ll see this type of sign in other colors. BLUE indicates you’re leaving a province (while driving on a non-Autostrada road), GREEN indicates you’re leaving a province (while driving on the Autostrada).

DIRECTIONAL CITY/TOWN SIGNS

Road signs in Chianti, Italy pointing to towns.  There is a bicycle in front of the signs.
DIRECTIONAL SIGNS: Thin blue rectangular signs with a point in either direction and a city/town name and number in white. 

These signs tell you which direction the city/town is in and how far away it is (in kilometers).

CENTRO (City Center)

Road sign for centro, or city center, in Italy.
CENTRO SIGN: Black and white bullseye. 

This sign indicates the city center.

ELECTRONIC SPEED CONTROL (CONTROLLO VELOCITÀ ELETRONICA)

Green Italian road sign indicating electronic speed control.
ELECTRONIC SPEED CONTROL SIGN: Rectangular sign (color varies depending on the type of road) with ‘controllo elettronico della velocità
Blue Italian road sign indicating electronic speed control.
Another ELECTRONIC SPEED CONTROL SIGN

These Italian road signs indicate there is electronic speed control ahead. Italian law requires warning, so pay extra attention here for the speed control.

AUTOVELOX

Autovelox speed camera on a road in Italy.
AUTOVELOX SIGN: Varies. Here it’s the white sign with the black silhouette of a police officer and ‘autovelox’
Another AUTOVELOX SIGN: Here it’s the blue sign with the black silhouette of a police officer

These Italian road signs mark electronic speed cameras. The machines measure your speed and if you’re above the limit, it will take a photo of your license plate number as you pass.

BUMPY ROAD

Italian road sign for bumpy road.
BUMPY ROAD SIGN: Triangle with red border and black ‘bumps.’

This sign indicates the road is bumpy ahead. The white sign below indicates the bumpy section is for one kilometer in the direction the arrows are pointing.

DEAD END

Street in Florence, Italy with a dead end sign on the left.
DEAD END SIGN: Blue square with a T that has red for the horizontal part and white for the vertical part

This sign indicates the road isn’t a through road.  It either dead ends or leads to other roads that dead end. 

This is a very helpful sign in small villages with narrow roads. Pay close attention because it’s not fun to reverse out of a tight road!

ROAD NARROWS

Sign on Italian road showing that the road narrows.  There is also a sign that indicates a school zone.
ROAD NARROWS SIGN: White triangle with red border and black road ‘narrowing’

This sign warns that the road ahead narrows. In the photo, it narrows on both sides.

Sometimes the sign will only indicated narrowing on one side (if the right side is a straight line and the left shows narrowing, only the left side narrows).

SLIPPERY ROAD

Warning sign that road ahead may be slippery if it's been raining or snowing.
SLIPPERY ROAD SIGN: White triangle with red border and black car with wavy tire lines.

This sign warns that the road ahead may be slippery. In the photo above, it warns of the slippery road if it’s been raining or snowing. The vertical arrows below indicate it’s a continuation of the warning.

TUTTE LE DIREZIONE (All Directions)

Tutte le direzioni Italian road sign.
TUTTE LE DIREZIONI SIGN: A thin (usually white) rectangular sign with ‘tutte le direzioni’ and an arrow

This sign points you in the direction of where to get on major roads.  The translation of tutte le direzioni is ‘all directions.’ You’ll usually see it when you’re in a city or a confusing part of a town.  It’s the traffic gods ‘throwing you a bone’ and helping you get out of town.

Important Italian Road Sign Vocabulary

Here are some words that you’ll see on Italian road signs:

entrataentrance
uscitaexit
servizioservice station (gas)
passo carrabilekeep clear
pedaggiotoll
contanticash
carta di creditocredit card
corsialane
Autostrada toll motorway/highway
Dogana customs
alt stazionestop to pay toll
deviazionedeviation
raccordoconnection
stazionestation
ospedalehospital
centrocity center
area pedonalepedestrian area
ZTLlimited traffic zone
apertoopen
chiusoclosed
soloonly
area successivanext area
senso unicoone direction
eccettoexcept for / excluding
lun/mar/mer/gio/ven/sab/domMonday, Tuesday… Sunday

Languages Used on Road Signs in Italy

Yes, we’re in Italy, but other languages are spoken in certain parts of the country:

Where in ItalyLanguages on Road Signs
northwest (near France)Italian, French
north (near Austria)Italian, German
northeast (near Slovenia)Italian, Slovene
north (Ladin Valleys)Italian, German, Ladin

You may also want to read our posts on
Renting a Car in Italy

Renting a Car in Florence
International Driving Permit – Why and How to Get One
Can I Rent a Car in Italy With a US license?
Italian Gas Stations and Getting Gas in Italy

FAQ