Should I Bring My SUV to Italy?

A worry for folks moving to Italy is the POV, more commonly known as the family car.

I have discussed in other posts that driving in Italy is different. The roads are narrower and more winding. The drivers are more aggressive. Parking is at a premium in many places. This fact brings up some questions.

Should I bring my SUV/truck/mini-van?

Is it easy to buy a car once I am in Italy?

These are all common questions when families are getting ready to PCS.  I think everyone has different priorities for their situation. There is no right or wrong answer.  Here are some considerations will help you make your decision.

Driving Abilities

I have horrible depth perception. I can’t parallel park into a tight space and am nervous if I squeeze through tight spaces when driving. That being said, I would not bring a large vehicle such as a Suburban or a full-size truck to Italy. I know I see many people driving full-sized trucks and large SUV’s.

If you are confident in your driving abilities and don’t necessarily mind searching to find a parking space, it may be okay to bring a larger vehicle with you to Italy. If you plan on living in downtown Vicenza, just remember the parking spaces are not geared toward larger vehicles.

Family Size

If you have more than two kids, you may want to have a larger vehicle. If your family can’t fit in a regular full-sized car, parking problems become irrelevant. Smaller SUVs and mini vans seem to work out well here. Sometimes the parking spaces are a bit tight, but definitely not too small. I have seen a large family on post with a full-sized van that seems to make it work.

Value of Vehicle

If you are a person who has a very valuable vehicle or someone who is extremely upset at door dings, Italy might punish you. Because of the tight parking spaces and the general disregard of vehicles, small scratches, dents and door dings are common. I would not bring a very expensive new vehicle here. That being said, I have seen a Cadillac Escalade driving around on post. If you are a “car person”, it might be  worth the risk.

Purchasing a Car Here

If you are interested, many used cars are available at different times. Check out the MWR Marketplace on the Vicenza MWR Website for a listing of used cars. Used cars are a good bet for those wanting a second vehicle. Registering cars you buy here is much the same as you register a car that you bring to Italy with you. New car sales located near the main gate is always an option if you are in the market for a new car.

Think about these points. Whether you ship one or two vehicles or buy a car when you arrive, every person must take a course and test to receive a SETAF driver’s license.  Unless you ship your vehicle many months before your move, there will be plenty of time to prepare for the test before your car actually arrives.


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