Driving in Italy, Why it’s a Wonderfully Terrible Idea

Driving in Italy, Why it's a Wonderfully Terrible Idea

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You know what really kills me?  About a month ago I was sitting on my couch lost in a blog post recounting a couple’s horrific experience driving in Italy.  It wasn’t just a red flag… it was a fire alarm warning against making the grave mistake of ruining ones vacation for the ‘freedom’ of renting a car.

As you can imagine this story goes, the warning was not heeded.  And here I am, halfway through a a Europe vacation and the driving experience has been just as traumatic as the blogger so perfectly outlined.

Here is my list of reasons why you should never ever consider renting a car in Italy (accompanied with a brief video):

1.Italians drive like complete stronzos (means asshole in Italian!). Maybe it’s the gallons of chianti everyone ingests at lunch and dinner, or maybe it’s just the fact when Borchelli hits those high notes, it really makes you want to floor it.. but they drive aggressively.

2. There aren’t any stop lights in italy.  None.  But you will find a death circle (rotary) every 10 feet.

3. GPS is a crapshoot here and your copilot (me) is going to be too busy trying to capture a photo of the rolling hills to help you out with directions.

4. Whoops, you drove through ‘old town’ or ‘city center’ or basically anywhere not on the highway?  GOOD FUCKING LUCK plowing your car through the zombies of tourists.  Note: Set aside your retirement fund now to pay for the tickets you’ll incur driving through these restricted areas.

5. Parking. hahahahah.

6. What was that?  You have a family of 5? Your family + luggage will fit jusssssst finnnnnne in your convertible fiat.

7. Tolls are hideously expensive, like 20 euro every hour expensive.

8. And gas?  Ugh.

9. When someone smashes into you… they don’t leave a note. Supposedly it’s a thing here.  Like just this ‘shame on you for parking in a clearly marked parking spot’ mentality.  I didn’t see a single car in Italy without at least one dent on it.

10. Let’s talk about the lane width really quick.  These winding roads are wide enough for 1 vespa max, yet are miraculously two lane roads with heavy traffic and 40 seat tour buses.

11. traffic. traffic. traffic. Like being stuck in LA on a Friday afternoon.

12. Contrary to LA… this traffic often coincides with rain, sleet, snow, hail & wind. Hooray.

13. should i keep going?

14. drinking + driving.  Your telling me you’re planning on driving through Tuscany and not having any chianti along the way?  hm.

15. Okay, last one… if you don’t end up breaking up with your significant other while letting a little ‘getting lost down a restricted zone in Sienna and nearly smashing up your fiat on a guardrail while you try to take a driving selfie in Positano” then you’re going to have the most absolutely liberating and fun vacation in Italy driving!  At least we did 🙂

Here’s the really crazy part of all of this… I am so grateful we decided to rent a car.

It was fun and adventurous and sure sometimes we were scared for our lives on the winding roads of Positano, but most of the times we were jamming out to Borchelli, and munching on italian treats while the most jaw dropping scenery floated by.

Driving isn’t for the faint of heart in Italy, but it is most definitely a liberating experience to be able to get up and go… and there are so many more things to discover off the beaten path.  We would have never got lost through the Tuscan hills, never been able to wander through the streets of Sienna or visit the place where Matt’s mom grew up on the beaches of Rome.  We wouldn’t have giggled incessantly at our inability to pump gas, or enjoyed one another’s company on the long drive from Rome to the Amalfi coast.  And Amalfi?  I couldn’t imagine having such a wonderful experience without our adorable little convertible fiat.   I’m all about the journey being just as memorable as the destination, and only having a car affords you that luxury.  Sure there were mishaps and bumps in the road (literally & figuratively), but it was all part of the experience.  I wouldn’t have changed a single thing about our trip to Italy (well, besides maybe eating a little less pasta so I fit into my clothes when I returned home).

So if you want my honest advice on renting a car in Italy, you’d be crazy to do it… but crazy not to. 

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Comments

  1. Every single one of these point apply…especially the last one!

  2. Kathi Creedon Says: October 28, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    This is so true! I found the local drivers rode so close to your bumper that you felt yourself continuously bracing for the inevitable bump. And then…because you were slow and careful…there was the erratic passing on the road bends with absolutely no view of the oncoming traffic. You also have to make sure you rent a small enough car. On my 2nd trip we got the car stuck in the entry way of a parking garage. (Insurance highly recommended) There were roads in Florence just too narrow for our car and after several unsuccessful attempts to find the hotel, we had to park outside the city and cab in. The “fast food” caprese sandwich on the auto strada was pretty good too. Driving is definitely the best way to experience Tuscany…but its not for sissies.

  3. […] confined to a tour bus schedule. Watch my video of driving in Italy & read my tips here: “Driving in Italy, Why it’s a Wonderfully Terrible Idea” You’re going to want to be able to get up and go, explore the coast, visit each town […]

  4. Great article! Thanks for sharing.
    ” never ever consider renting a car in Italy “, well, it is sooo convenient to deliver my own car to Italy (a couple thousands miles + ocean)…

  5. thank so a lota lot for your website it aids a lot

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