Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tips for driving in Italy (or, how not to die in a fiery car crash)

Driving in Italy is... different. In a nutshell, you should drive like you own the road and show no fear. Here are a few tips we've compiled:
  • Never, EVER hesitate - people will just honk if you do.
  • Drive as fast as you can, regardless of the posted speed limit.
Yes, you should go a minimum of 90 kmph around this hair-pin turn. Really!
  • Actually, you need to go the posted speed limit in certain places. Fortunately, they are clearly marked.
This is your warning...

Go the speed limit. Right. Here. (If you're a true Italian, you slam on your brakes just before this, then speed up immediately after).
  • Maps are useless. Make it up as you go.
  • Street signs are somewhat more useful, but you have to know where you are going to be able to get there
I wonder which way to Firenze (Florence)?
  • If you miss the first option for getting to a particular place, don't worry, you'll have other opportunities.
It doesn't matter which way you go, you'll end up in Firenze!
  • Parking on the sidewalk is perfectly acceptable.
 Look, even my hubby can do it!
  • The road doesn't actually ever end, it only looks like it does.

Just keep driving...

In addition to these handy tips, we've included a list of road signs and our interpretations of them, as well as a few driving situations.
If you think the road is narrow now, just wait! It gets narrower ahead!

This road is only minimally turny and twisty. It gets much worse in 700 meters.

Left! GO LEFT!!!!

Italians also have creative ways of combining signs. I believe this one means "don't fall off the road while trying to avoid leaping deer."

"Fire hydrant after the turn."

"To avoid falling rocks, swerve a lot."

"If you don't have snow tires, you're going to swerve off the road and die."

"If it's raining or snowing, you're going to swerve off the road and die." (At this point, we just abandoned hope.)

"Jumping deer going 50 kmph. You should be going at least this fast."

And my personal favorites:

"Boobs ahead."

And of course...

"Don't run off the road when you're staring at the boobs ."



  2. Haha, that last piece of signage is hilarious!

  3. I admire your courage! ;)

    Thanks for the morning laughs.

  4. OMG I love the boob signs. Why didn't yall get drunk and steal them?! (Because you're not 18, also they won't fit in your carryons, but don't confuse me with facts...)

    1. Dangit, why didn't I think of that? ;)

    2. I *love* your travelogues -- I did not realize you are such a comedienne!!

  5. ROFL - You'd LOVE the roads on Exmoor, Jen ;-)

    1. I've been to the Isle of Wight, where I recall the roads were extremely narrow and twisty, with 2 meter hedges on either side. Oh, and of course everybody drives on the wrong damn side of the road. What's up with that? ;)

  6. LMAO!! That last sign is priceless!! I hate driving in the States, I can't imagine driving there!