I’ve always been curious about the driving laws in Italy.
According to every Italian I’ve talked to, the laws are similar to those in the United States.
You get pulled over if you’re going too fast; it’s important to obey all posted warnings and signs.
In my experience, however, Italians like to play a little fast and loose with those laws.
I’ve also never seen anyone pulled over in Italy, although my language partner insists that it does happen. I’ll believe that when I see it.
Until that day, I’ll continue to believe that Italian drivers are crazy.
Creative, but crazy.
An example of some Italian creativity.
I truly experienced Italian driving during the long drive from Naples to Positano.
Never in my life have I felt closer to death.
The hotel my mom and I stayed at during our most recent trip to Italy offered a private driver to take us from the Naples train station to our hotel in Positano. It was either that or cram into a crowded bus with our luggage. Obviously we chose the private transfer.
When we got off the train, we saw the driver waiting at the end of the platform with a sign for ‘Mr. Hannah.’ I assumed, correctly, that I was the Mr. Hannah he was waiting for.
He generously took our luggage and wheeled it through the crowded Napoli Centrale station and to the sleek black car we’d be taking to our destination.
It was such a relief to get in the car and have someone else worry about the traveling and traffic.
The relief ended as we accelerated to 170 kilometers per hour. I took note of this speed with the express purpose of looking up how fast that was once I got to an Internet connection.
It’s 105 miles per hour, the fastest I have ever traveled in a car, for those who are interested.
We dodged pedestrians and Vespas on tiny city streets and crowded freeways as the driver cursed at other drivers in his distinctly Neapolitan dialect.
He mentioned that Neapolitan drivers are crazy and that he had to be careful since the car wasn’t his. I guess driving 105 mph is being careful.
We breezed down the freeway until we reached the winding cliffside roads of the Amalfi coast.
But don’t think that just because the roads were tiny and hugging cliffs with 1,000 foot drops that the driver slowed down. He didn’t.
Here’s an idea of what these roads look like. Note that I found this picture on dangerousroads.org.
My brain sloshed around in my skull as we took every turn at blinding speeds. It was my first experience actually being carsick.
The driver, between about 100 phone calls that he both received and made, told us that taxi cabs drive slow on these streets because they charge passengers based on the amount of time they’re in the car. I wondered idly why it mattered how fast we got there, since we were paying a flat rate anyway.
The drive took a little less than two hours, but it felt like an eternity. We tumbled out of the car once we got to our destination, and then had to lug our suitcases up a bumpy path to our hotel, which then required us to climb 50,000 steps, give or take.
In the end, the harrowing cliffside drive and the hundreds of steps were worth it, as our hotel was one the most beautiful I’d ever stayed at AND we were offered a free bottle of prosecco as soon as we checked in.
It was a little too romantic for a mother/daughter trip, but who complains about free prosecco?
The view from our hotel room the night we arrived.