my random thoughts about driving in Italy
1. Italians are INSANE drivers!
2. Do NOT trust your GPS in Italy; It takes you down dead end roads or makes you take a side street just so you end up back on the main road.
3. Italians drive FAST… and I mean really fast!
4. Why bother painting lines on the road … Seriously think of all the money the Italian government could save ?!?! I say this as Italians do NOT drive inside the lines.
5. Seriously 130 as a speed limit !?!? What the hell is Italy a race track? What ever happened to “piano piano” ?!?!
6. And really with a speed limit of 130 and Italians still speed?? Wth !?!?
7. Driving IN Italy is insane !!!!!
8. Driving on the highway costs a freaking fortune. All the highways cost a lot of money … basically they charge per km … so the more km you drive on the highway the higher the cost … it cost me over 50 Euros when I got off the first time … I was not impressed coming from canada where there are almost no tolls, although I knew there was some cost I did not think it was so high :/
9. Seriously stop honking at me for driving in the freaking lanes !!!!!!! Italians honk A LOT!!!! I got honked at as I would drive in the lane and someone would want to pass in the 3rd lane yet they wanted me ( in the middle lane) to move over closer to the 1st lane … and they would pass me extremely close pretty much while driving on the line separating the middle and 3rd lane… whereas in north american if one wants to pass a car in the middle lane they simply move to the 3rd lane and pass … I am not sure how I didn’t get hit by any car … i swear it was a miracle.
10. La vita e Bella so slow down and enjoy it a bit !!!!
bonus 11. parking in one town I stayed in was close to impossible … but love how cars park in either direction when they find a spot … no need to do a u-turn just to park on the other side of the street
bonus 12. after having gotten in a car with my cousins son who is around 21 year old I was totally beyond NOT impressed … the kid drove me a total of 90 seconds … and he did not put his cell down at all … this is very common behaviour for many young Italians that I saw driving …. I think the police should be monitoring this a lot closer and giving much higher stricter fines … including loosing your license for such behaviour.
bonus 13. roundabouts are just absolutely amazing!!!! in the south I think I barely saw any traffic lights … they have roundabouts every where and they work so well to get traffic to move
a side note… public transportation … like the long distance train and local trams in cities like venice and florence are really great and I highly recommend them … I traveled alone with 3 young kids and a lot of luggage so I did not feel ready to do the long distance train thing this time… but our next trip to Europe will likely be all public transportation as I do not want to deal with a car in Italy again … at least not for the whole time we would be there; perhaps renting one for a weekend would be a lot less stressful.
I rented from avis and overall it was okay. Do I recommend them? … yes and no. I had a lot of issues contacting them directly while I was IN italy as I needed to speak directly to the venice office which was close to impossible to reach as the direct number would only work after 9 pm and they would rarely answer the phone as they were so busy. Also I had to clear up some issues and had to spend a good 45 minutes with them prior to my return flight as a seasonal employer charged me for stuff she should not have (an error or about 200 Euros) I got back to see that my credit card was charged for all the mistakes and it took me a lot of frustration to get back in touch with them. Finally twitter saved the day… yes twitter ! Amazing how companies are so helpful when the world is watching!
If you can I recommend taking the train instead … otherwise just search for the best rental rate you can find as I think all the rental companies are the same at the end of the day. and unless you have amazing insurance on your credit card; do yourself a favour and get the full insurance package. I ended up having to pay about 500 euros for some odd scratches when I returned the car; luckily I do have great credit card protection that covered all of them!