Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 18, 2015

Renewing my driver’s licence

I can’t believe it has been 5 years since the hideous experience of getting my Italian licence, but last week I began to tackle the task of renewing it.

I went to the local ACI office clutching new photographs and signed a form, was sent off to the post office to pay 2 fees, returned to ACI to be told to report to the office the following Monday for La Visita ( the visit with the doctor).

I arrived at the appointed time, paid some more money and joined an ever growing group of people also waiting to see the doctor.

My heart sank when I saw the form to be filled out and signed by the doctor. On one side of the foolscap page was a list of diseases. The Yes or No box waited to be ticked. I recognised some of them and am happy to declare that I don’t have them. The rest were unknown to me.

The other side of the page was worse, I could understand none of it. I hoped that the doctor spoke some English or I was in trouble.

I had plenty of time to consider my fate, the doctor was an hour late. He finally arrived and those ahead of me filed in one by one. They seemed to be coming out quickly.

Soon it was my turn. I walked in and the doctor noted that I was Australian after looking carefully at my form. He asked me to identify numbers in the test for colour blindness. I passed that one easily.

He then looked at the front page of the form and declared that I had none of the diseases listed. With the stroke of a pen he crossed them all out. He did the same with whatever was on the other side of the page and signed the form.

Then came the eye test. I had to cover one eye and read out the letters he pointed to…all good. Then I had to cover the other eye. That proved a little more difficult and I hesitated on the first one…not to worry…the doctor told me what it was and we moved on to the next, which I identified correctly.

He signed the form and my visit was over. I was told to return in a few days to collect the new licence.

I laughed all the way to the car…siamo in Italia.

I now have the prize in my hand. I don’t have to go back until my birthday in 2021.


  1. Get the feeling you could have gone in blind and he would have signed off you could see? Quite the process!

    • I couldn’t believe it when he crossed out all the ailments, just as well I don’t have any.

      • Wonder why you have to get a medical examine in the first place?

      • Who knows? It is a joke. I suppose the doctor gets paid for his services and people get paid to shuffle bits of paper around.

      • Crazy. But then every country has it’s share of wackiness.

  2. Good on you!

    • It is a relief to have it done.

  3. That sounds like a rather painless experience. You will not believe what you have to go through for a Spanish license…

    • That was just the renewal. Actually getting the licence was horrible.

  4. Sounds just like Italy to me! When faced with Italian bureaucracy, I wish they would just take the money and forget the rest of the formalities! 🙂 Glad you are set for a while!

    • The experience was very Italian. All I could do was laugh.

  5. I hate having to fill out forms too. What a nice helpful doctor you got! I’m going to have to take my driving test again for my Florida license. I’m so tempted to just keep driving on my South African one, but hubby says the car insurance will be greatly reduced if we get Florida ones. 😕 I’m going to postpone the evil moment as long as possible.

    • Getting my Italian licence was a horrible experience. The test was difficult to say the least and I had an awful instructor who made it his job to make me feel useless.

      • Horrors! I’m not looking forward to the ‘pleasure’ at all. 😓

  6. Deborah —

    What’s the reason for having an Italian driving license, given that you are an Australian citizen I presume still with a license from that country?? Maybe you own a car and its required for that??? As opposed to me that comes to my house in the Bagni di Lucca area only 2-4 wks a year (not retired yet) and thus just rents a car with my U.S. license for now?

    • We bought a car here in Italy. To do that required a Carta di Identita and once you have that you also need to have an Italian driver’s licence. Believe me, I would not have gone through that hideous experience if I didn’t have to.

  7. Congratulations! And all of this post with nary a photo. AND, the story was still good!!

    • I suppose I could have taken a photo of the doctor.

  8. I was staying at your home in Bagna Di Lucca (with Louisa) when u were going through this process; wish I handled stress as easily as u Debra!
    I love following your travels, thank u 🙂

    • I really didn’t handle the licence very well at all. I hated every moment of it.

  9. Phew. Well done

    • I am pleased to have it done.

  10. Loved your description of Italian bureaucracy !!!! Italians are sooo good at it. I hope to get back to Italy next year. I shall keep in contact with my dates. Hope you are well.

    • Official things here are never easy or straightforward.

  11. Having driven in Italy, I did wonder about the process of obtaining a licence 🙂

    • Don’t ever do it!

  12. What a breeze through for you compared with five years ago! What a happy ending.

    • I had no idea what to expect. I’m glad it is done.

  13. I remember when you told me the story of taking the test to get your license and right then I knew I probably would never have an Italian driver’s license! I give you a lot of credit for undertaking the whole ordeal.

    • I didn’t do it by choice. It is much bett to just hire cars and use your own licence.

  14. Fantastic Deb,great story hope you had a large Aperol Srpritzer to celebrate.

    • It was certainly a relief to have it done for a few more years.

  15. Regards…Judi


  16. Great story Deb! Have to love the Italian way!

    • It is another world.

  17. Reminds me of my father’s experience in Australia many years back. He was asked how long he’d been driving a tractor on a farm and when he said, since he was twelve, was automatically given his first licence without any test.

    • That sounds perfect. I like that system.

  18. What a terrifying wait for you! And what a very Italian outcome

    • It was all I could do not to laugh at the doctor…not a good move.

  19. This is a fabulous and hysterical story!!! I love it.

    • Siamo in Italia.

      • No kidding!

  20. What a task! I’ve heard a lot about Italian bureaucracy and this seems to sum it up 🙂

    • This episode was at least humorous, not all are like that.

  21. […] was back to Bagni di Lucca in September in time to renew my drivers licence. Official things are always fraught with difficulty, but they must be done. It is just as well […]

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: