|Subject: Re: The Amalfi Coast
My wife and I have been to Italy four of the last five years and were reluctant to drive in Italy until we decided the limitations of trains and buses prevented us from seeing some wonderful parts of Italy. On our last trip we screwed up our courage and rented a car for a trip down the east coast of Italy from Venice to Pescara (mainly off of the Autostrada on secondary roads). We found the experience to be pleasant and not nearly as frightening as we were led to believe. We returned mainly on the autostrada and were able to drive in Rome and Florence without too much difficulty.
I will admit that there are a few differences to driving in the US and Italian drivers can be very aggressive in a very few instances. If there are two of you, one to drive and one to navigate, you should have very few problems. We did stop alot to take in the scenery and sites, as well as, take many, many photos. We found that the drive was easier in daylight and to take our time where signs pointing to nearby towns were in large numbers. We also had one of the Michelin spiral bound map books of Italy which was a great help.
My wife and I are planning a trip to Italy in 2007 which will include Naples, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast and points south. After our experience with driving last year, we think we should be fine. If you can negotiate roads along the California coast (US 1) and cities like San Francisco or L.A. you should be fine too.
Good luck, Sam in Crescent City, CA