| Academic Content |
Italy Links | About
Us | Italy
News | Italian-English
Dictionary | Tourist
Weather | Site
|An American Living in
Driving in Naples
At first, I found
driving in Italy to be a very frustrating experience. The roadways
are just plain insane. Roads in town are very narrow and there are
no shoulders (try not to break your side view mirrors). It is a regular
event to have to stop to because the guy in front of you has decided to
stop in the middle of the street, park and roll down the window to have
a little chat with a friend. Stop lights? Those are merely
suggestions. (However, a few are strictly obeyed. ...a
few.) Street signs? Who need's 'em? Everyone knows the
names of the streets. Smog control devices?? You wont find
too many here in Italy. This is readily apparent if you find yourself
behind a truck or bus going up a hill. Every freeway is a
toll road. The speed limit is just a technicality. The fast
lane is, ...well, ...fast. Keep right unless you plan on driving
160km/h+ (about 90 MPH+) Above all, watch out for those crazy
kids on Vespas and mopeds. Driving is probably one of the most obvious
cultural differences-- or, at least, it is one that is readily observed
immediately upon arrival in Italy. To avoid insanity you must adapt
to the Italian ways of the road.
history has had an affect on every aspect of their development; driving
is no exception.
It seems to me
that a somewhat fatalistic attitude is prevalent among Italians while they
are behind the wheel. It reminds me of an old Disney cartoon where
Goofy (as a mild mannered family man) does a Jeckel and Hyde thing when
he gets behind the wheel. He turns into Mr. Leadfoot, a fast driving,
irritable, horn blowing maniac. What I mean is that a well mannered
person, who (if you met them while walking down the street) would greet
you with a tip of the hat and a friendly "Buon giorno!", may be likely
to cut you off without thinking twice about it if you were to meet them
while driving down the road.
Perhaps this is
due to the impersonal nature of driving. While driving you don't
see another person approaching, you see only a car.
Perhaps Italian driving habits can also be attributed to the Italians "Us
against the world" attitude. I don't know... Maybe everyone
is always late!
In any event while driving
in Italy be sure to pay extra attention. Stay alert and above all
look out for number one.
The Melting Pot