Ten driving tips for negotiating around southern Italy


1. Italian traffic engineers love tunnels and bridges. If you like driving 120 KPH in narrowly confined, dark and wet place, you will love southern Italy. Oh, forgot to mention that there will be a tunnel, bridge (or both) every 5 kilometers. My only conclusion is the mafia must be into road construction.

2. If the speed limit is 80, you drive 100. If the red light turns red, you must, at least think about stopping. If you see a pedestrian trying to cross the street, do not stop. Stopping will result in vehicle body damage (see #5)

3. If you are walking near a roadway or trying to cross a crosswalk, be assertive. But first make sure your major medical coverage will treat your overseas emergency room visit. The steady,  sometimes endless stream of cars, trucks and motorbikes will only stop for you if you literally throw yourself to their mercy.

4. When booking a B&B in an old quaint hilltop village, you must first ask how many centimeters wide the roadways are. Measure your rental with mirrors folded in. If your car is 5 centimeters smaller than the road,  you’re good.

5. Every car and motorbike has body damage. Some have extensive damage.  WARNING: DO NOT WALK IN FRONT OF VEHICLES WITH EXTENSIVE DAMAGE.

6. Audi is the Godfather of the Autostrada.  If you are in its lane and see one in your rear view mirror, move over.  No matter what lane, move over. If you are in the far right lane, take the shoulder. Seriously.  BMW comes in a close second.  Follow the same rules. Both makes of vehicles seem to have a special speed exemption from the Strada Police. Honestly, I have yet to see either at less than 150 KPH on the strada.

7. You must understand that your clearly marked traffic lane is NOT where you drive. You drive in the middle of your lane and you get sideswiped. The drivers side of your car should stay in the middle to right middle of your lane. Your right tires must be on the next lane marker or on the shoulder. It is difficult to explain.

8. Do not try to pump your own gas. The station attendants will pump. Pumping or attempting to pump your own gas is looked upon as an attempt to “unemploy” the attendant. Do NOT add to the already high unemployment.

9. Do not park on the side of the road along any narrow village lane. Do not leave your mirrors extended out when parking. If you do not heed this advice, your vehicle will look considerably different in the morning.

10. If you rent a car, buy the full insurance protection. Yes, it is usually more than the rental costs but it is worth the peace of mind.



Filed under Mark & Sandy's Camino 2014

2 responses to “Ten driving tips for negotiating around southern Italy

  1. Kathleen Salvas

    Love your posts!

    • Thanks Kathy. This one came into my mind during our eight hours drive from Sicily to Amalfi. We floated across the sea on a ferry, drove like the locals on the strata, were slowed by 50 locals walking in a small town funeral procession and in the next town slowed by a street wedding procession with the husband to be walking a horse up the lane. All in one day!

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