October 6, 2009, 03:04 AM
Driving in Italy, a Canadian's Perspective.
We drove for one week in Italy, from Venice, then on to Bologna, Tuscany and Rome. I wanted to post here about our experience from a Canadian perspective of driving in Italy.
We got a nice upgrade to a Fiat Bravo, 6 speed diesel, intermediate size with hatchback. Very nice car! Spacious, comfortable and with some nice torque!
There is 3 kind of driving in Italy.
The GOOD: The highways where you can drive 130kph and no idiots is hugging the left lane and driving 100... Italians drive fast, but they drive well. Driving the Autostrade is very fun, especially if you have a decent car. However, the autostrada are expensive, in one week with the car, we raked up almost 100 euro in toll bill!
The BAD: The secondary roads, sometime straight, most often not. In tuscany, those are mostly 1 lane roads switching around the hills and mountains. They are fun to drive and offer a good driving challenge. Italians however, are nuts... Sorry, but driving 80kph on small switchbacks in the MIDDLE of the roads where you don't see what is coming is madness! But still, it was enjoyabe when we didn't have someone 2 inches from our rear bumper...
The UGLY: Driving in Cities. I recommend you don't. And check your GPS indications. Sometime the stupid computer will have you cross through the city instead of taking the highway around it because it's supposedly faster... RIGHT! Trust me, you do NOT want to drive through Rome at rush hour...
The REALLY UGLY: Parking in cities. It's simple, there is NO parking...
The REALLY REALLY UGLY: Scooters! After a week I was ready to RAM THEM!
But still, we mostly enjoyed driving in Italy and it did allow us to go to a lots of places that cannot be reached by bus or trains.
One thing that is very important is that most of their cars are manual (standart). So you need to be proficient with the stick.
If you drive in Italy, here are my recommendations:
- Don't hug the left lane, it's for passing. Pass, then return to the middle or right lane.
- On the country roads, ignore the assholes kissing your bumper and drive the speed you are comfortable with. They will just pass you when they get the chance.
- Don't drive in the city unless you have to.
I hope this will help everyone wondering if they will be comfortable driving in Italy.
October 6, 2009, 09:30 AM
Wonderful post Mathieu! Very informative and written with a great dose of humor: you've neatly summarized all the main points of what driving is like in Italy, the crazy drivers and maddening parking problems in the city. I am sure others will find it very useful when planning their trips.
November 10, 2009, 11:40 AM
More tips for driving in Tuscany
if you want more driving tips and suggestions, read our article on driving in Tuscany.
February 9, 2010, 12:30 PM
Really great and funny post! I know all what you write about italian roads so well! I travel around Italy with car rentals Rome quite often and have had chance to go through all the kinds of driving you wrote about.
April 17, 2010, 11:18 AM
So intersting, Mathieu.