It doesn't require nerves of steel to drive in Italy [though some say it will help]. You just need to be aware that things like speeding and tail-gating are the norm and it's not personal. It did take me quite a few visits to stop waving away the person behind me on the autostrada, seemingly attached to my rear bumper and whose 'whites of his eyes' loomed large in my rear view mirror.
That said, I did drive more assertively than I ever have during an 'excursion' in Naples a few year ago. That 12 inches in front of my car was 'my space' and, if left unprotected, was large enough to fit in another car from either my left or right hand side. The great thing was that there didn't appear to be any animosity from local drivers, it is just 'the way things are'!
Above is one of my favourite photos, taken in Fahenza .... I call it 'Perspective' .... in the foreground is a beautifully restored FIAT 124 [partially parked, of course, on a pedestrian crossing]. In the background is my wife, Helen, studying the 'up to 50%' discount' sales in the shoe and knick-knack shops.
Documents required to drive in Italy
From the Official Italian Tourist website
"Driving licences issued by any of the EU member states are valid throughout the European Union, including Italy.
Drivers in possession of a licence issued by any EU country do not require an international driving permit or a sworn translation of their own licence.
General rules for driving
Driving licences issued by any of the EU Member States are valid throughout the European Union, including Italy.
Drivers with a licence issued by any EU country do not require an international driving permit or a legal translation of their own licence.
To drive in Italy, you must be over 18. Keep right and overtake on the left. Dipped headlights must be used on two-lane motorways. When driving through towns and villages, the horn may be sounded only in the event of an emergency. Trams and trains have right of way.
The use of seatbelts in both the front and rear seats is compulsory, and failure to keep them fastened may result in fines for both drivers and passengers. On three-lane motorways, the lane on the right is reserved for slow vehicles and vehicles that are not overtaking. At crossings, vehicles approaching from the right always have right of way. Seatbelts must be fastened both in the front and the rear (provided the vehicle is fitted with them). Fines may be issued on-the-spot to drivers and passengers stopped by the police and found travelling without their seatbelt fastened.
Mopeds below 150cc may not be driven on motorways under any circumstances. Helmets are compulsory to drive all motorcycles and mopeds, whatever the engine size.
What are the speed limits?
Cars and motorbikes (vehicles with engine size over 150 cc):
In order to ensure that these limits are complied with, numerous speed cameras have been installed throughout the road and motorway network to keep electronic checks on speed.
Cars with trailers or caravans: in urban areas, the speed limit is 50 km/h (31 mph); on minor out-of-town roads 70 km/h (44 mph); on major out-of-town roads 70 km/h (44 mph); on motorways 80 km/h (50 mph).
Camper vans weighing over 3.5 tonnes and under 12 tonnes: in urban areas, the speed limit is 50 km/h (31 mph); on minor out-of-town roads 80 km/h (50 mph); on major out-of-town roads 80 km/h (50 mph); on motorways 100 km/h (62 mph).
Compulsory equipment on board : triangle; spare tyre; extinguisher (recommended) and reflective safety jacket, which must be used outside towns and villages in the event of a stop during the night or in poor visibility conditions, or when stopping on emergency lanes or lay-bys.
Insurance : Civil Liability insurance is compulsory. For visitors arriving from abroad, the best option is the Green Card, an insurance policy that can even be taken out at the border and is valid for 15, 30 or 45 days.
Drinking and driving : in Italy, driving is not permitted with a blood alcohol content superior to 0.5 grammes per litre, in line with the European average.
Useful numbers and emergency numbers :
Road Signs in Italy
Click above for a detailed RAC article on the Road Rules in Italy
TYPE OF SIGN
Blue [Other roads]