ALL ABOUT DRIVING IN ITALY
Driving in Italy's main cities can be a white-knuckle experience, but head out to the country and you'll find that the pace slackens and the roads are a lot less stressful. The cities are difficult to drive in and parking is scarce (or expensive), plus most cities have good public transportation, so you do not need a car if you are staying in the cities. There are lots of places in Italy where having a car is the only way to go. Just keep in mind that where driving is toughest, the trains are the best choice.
We have created a number of suggested itineraries for you that combine trains and cars. We strongly recommend taking advantage of traveling by train between the main cities and just picking up your car on the last day, when you are ready to head into the countryside.
Take Tuscany, for example. If you want to tour in Tuscany anywhere outside the cities of Florence, Pisa and Siena, you will need a car. The trains just don't cut it for touring countryside Tuscany, or - with rare exceptions like the Cinque Terre - countryside anywhere. How would you ever tour the Dolomites without a car? Buses and trains to the smaller towns and villages are not frequent. If you rent a place in the countryside, you will need a car to get to the nearby towns and villages for supplies and to explore the area.
On the whole, the Italian drivers are aggressive and fast, but competent. You must concentrate on your driving and be alert at all times. It works best when one person navigates and one concentrates only on driving.