I have a sweet set of wheels on this trip. Meet Ravenna, my Fiat500.
My Vespa is named Florence, so now she has a cousin.
For many, the thought of driving in Italy is, well, ominous. The rumours are true. Italian drivers are aggressive, impatient, and they honk the horn incessantly. They are also 100x better drivers than 99% of Canadian drivers. Why? Because they are always on alert. Most learn to drive on scooters and motorcycles, which makes them instantly defensive drivers. (If you are driving here and getting angry … It’s you, not them!)
I love to drive here, because it is fun and provides me with a great deal of freedom. Well, here, as in everywhere in Italy but the Amalfi Coast, but that’s a whole other ball game. Twisty. 😖
Here are some tips to consider, when you are deciding on transportation options, if you are travelling on your own.
- Follow the signs. The Italians are superb with directional signs. Look, there’s a toilet down that road! Look, another church!
- Understand that you are a mere inconvenience to those on two feet or two wheels. I was stopped at a red light today and in the wee minute we were waiting, I was surrounded by no less than 8 scooters and motorcycles, all pulling rank on me. Scusi me! Also, jaywalking is a way of life – just like in Uptown Waterloo – so don’t ever assume that the pedestrians will actually use the sidewalks!
- Take a look at your destination’s map before you arrive. Make note of key roads and general landmarks. Is there a castle? A duomo? An ocean? You will have a clearer lay of the land as you arrive in town.
- Be prepared to be lost, frequently. Today, en route to my hotel in Rimini, I took the same one way loop through town before I found my hotel … 6 times. Yup. 6 times. Made it!
- Consider being lost part of the adventure. Go easy on yourself.
- Be prepared to pull over and ask yourself for directions. Or your roam like home map app. Hallelujah for the Internet.
- If someone is driving aggressively behind you, pull over and let them pass. They may not be on vacation.
If that sounds too daunting, remember that Italy has a fantastic train system. You can also hire drivers very easily – we did that in Amalfi and it was a brilliant choice.
Speaking of vacation. If you arrive at your Italian hotel, nestled in the coastal city of Rimini, there may be one of these there.