|Subject: Driving in Italy|
Your trip sounds wonderful and we are very jealous!
We were in Italy in November and I have to say that prior to going my biggest worry was about driving. But I look back on it now as my favorite part of the trip. And I drove in Palermo! Which everyone tells me is worse than Naples. After that, Rome was a piece of cake. So, don't be afraid of driving in the cities (although I wouldn't drive in Florence, I don't think.)
The biggest thing to know about Italian drivers (in my humble opinion) is that they are much better drivers than those in the USA. I would rather drive the Autostrada (or even the streets of Rome) than drive the freeways here in Seattle. The biggest reason I say that is that Italian drivers are driving. They are paying attention to what they are doing. They never once, NOT ONCE, did anything I did not expect them to do. I wish I could say that for the drivers I see on the roads here. Drivers do what is expected of them. I never found anyone driving 60mph in the left lane of the autostrada unless they were passing someone else and then they immediately pulled over once they had passed.
And looking back on it, I really feel like the lack of police made me a better driver. By the lack of police, I mean that here I have to be on my toes that I am breaking the speed limit, while in Italy, I just had to drive. They don't care (or at least it seemed they did not care) how fast you go. I know that I was doing well over 100mph on the autostrada and being passed regularly by BMWs and Mercedes. No big deal. The drivers knew how to handle the cars and did just that.
I should add that in Rome, we stayed at Zine member Georgio's Hotel della Muse and he was good enough to arrange a rental car from their for us. We followed the easy directions we were given to get on the autostrada going north (we wanted to buy dishes in Deruta) and had no problem going and only a slight one on return (trying to find the car rental return place in the dark during rush hour was a challenge). So, go and have soooooo much fun and don't worry about driving. If you can drive the freeways of an American city, you can handle Italian roads.
Jim in Redmond, WA