Subject: Re: Driving in Tuscany and Umbria
--- In, Don and Linda wrote:

> Will those of you (North Americans) who have driven in Italy please share your experiences with us....

Dear Don and Linda:

Congrats on making a speedy move to take advantage of the great air sale!

Armed with a Michelin map, you should have no significant problem.

The first two driving tips that come to my mind are probably already known to you two, but I'll share them anyway, as it seems Italy is a hot destination for Ziners (and rightfully so, it's a wonderful place IMHO!): (1) As you approach any town from the highway, you will see an exiting road marked with a green sign with a white bullseye on it and the word Centro. Easy enough to figure out, right? Road to city center. Well, for the first couple of towns we decided to visit without the benefit of a city street map, we panicked if we didn't make the turn the first time we saw the sign, or if we actually made the turn but somehow meandered off the Centro path--and so we backtracked to the place we first saw the Centro sign and began again. [At this point, I know all of the Italian Ziners and other more sophisticated travelers are rolling on the floor laughing out loud!] The fact is, of course, any roadway that could possibly bring you to the city center is marked with the Centro bullseye sign. You will see tons of them. We were simply trying so hard, we forgot to think logically and relax a little! (2) If you choose the Auto Strada for a quick trip somewhere, make sure the race car driver between you is the designated driver! Nerves of steel are required.

It's become something of a joke in our family--whether I'm co-pilot or driver, if we get lost, my husband blames it on me! He'll say, What do you mean, you aren't sure which way? You researched this trip.... As if I possessed superior knowledge over the roadways of this place neither of us has ever visited!?! A glass of wine or an espresso on arrival always seems to heal the wounds of the navigation arguments!

Seeing Italy by car is a real treat. You'll enjoy it immensely.

Diana Ball Houston, TX