The renewal of driving licenses in the UK and in Italy is subject to different controls. If one is a non-resident in Italy then one should refer to one’s own country of official residence to apply for a renewal. However, if one is a resident of the comune of Bagni di Lucca (or any other place in Italy) and a renewal comes up then one has to apply for an Italian driving license. Severe sanctions otherwise apply (I believe these exclude being tried under the Inquisition).
I received my Italian driving license in 2011 and it was valid for five years. It allowed me to drive all the same classes of vehicles as the UK one with the exception of mini-buses, (which I found a bit odd but this is due to variations in the driving tests of the respective countries). The license was due for renewal this June and I applied to the Italian Automobile club (ACI) of which I’m a member to find out the procedure.
There is a D-I-Y procedure which involves one having to queue for hours to obtain two special forms with stamps and then wait, perhaps for months, for a medical appointment through the Italian National Health. Frankly I didn’t have the time or inclination to pursue this path which would have cost me half of what I had to pay for the same procedure through ACI where I paid Euros 90.
I turned up at the brand-new ACI office in Borgo a Mozzano, (it’s on the main Lucca road and by the chemist), at the appointed time of 6.30 PM only to find the office full of other applicants who had been told to arrive at the same time. My first thought was that I hoped to get home before midnight. The doctor was late but this is normal here. I wondered what the medical would consist of. The examinees preceding me only spent a short time with the doctor. Then it was my turn. The doctor turned out to be most congenial and asked me if I was suffering from any ghastly disease or had some mental or physical deficiency. I replied none that I knew of and his pen went right through the middle of a list of ailments on his form. He then subjected me to a colour-blindness test. Fortunately I know my numbers in Italian and am not (so-far) colour blind so I passed that one with flying colours. Then there was the standard eye test where I had to identify letters that he pointed to. There again I had no problems. Then the doctor went to the window and seemed to be uttering words at the window pane. I suddenly realised that this was a hearing test and that I had to identify the words he uttered. Again, I was confirmed not to be suffering from any deafness.
(ACI’s New Office at Borgo a Mozzano)
The doctor then gave me a form which I was asked to sign in several different places (with a legible signature it must be said in Italy – no flashy illegible flowery ornamentations are allowed here when signing your name).
The renewed driving license was collected from ACI a couple of days later. It’ll last another five years. I trust I will be still physically and mentally in good nick then….
PS ACI also sells tickets for Lucca shows. I got my Summer Festival tickets from them.