driving in Italy

Old Sep 1st, 1997, 12:48 PM
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driving in Italy

My husband & I are planning a trip to Italy in May. The plan is to arrive in Pisa, drive around Tuscany & nearby areas, driving to Florence-leave car there and take the train to Venice. My husband is one of those male drivers who doesen't like to ask directions anyway, and is having second thoughts about driving in Italy. ANy thoughts on the level of frustration he might experience! In Venice, how difficult is it to get around via the vaporeti etc. Thanks for your help! I don't want to go to Italy & have my husband grouchy re driving!
Old Sep 1st, 1997, 01:26 PM
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He will have no problem on the freeways, they drive 80-90 MPH. He will have a problem in Florence. The traffic is very congested. Always ask for directions if you can't read the map!! Florence is the most beautiful city in all of Europe to me. Has more history and culture than any other city. Hope you are staying a long time as there is much to see! You can only walk in Venice or use water taxis, so take some good walking shoes. My computer is very slow so if you want to know alot more about Italy send me an e-mail and I will give you all the info you ever wanted to know and didn't want to know!! My e-mail is [email protected]
Old Sep 6th, 1997, 07:11 AM
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There is only one law about driving in Italy. You
must pass the car in front of you regardless of his
speed, weather conditions, etc. Stay out of the left
lane on divided highways unless you are driving 100
mph or they will run you over.
Old Sep 7th, 1997, 05:14 AM
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Ditto Ed above. One more thing. Drivers should drive approaching pedestrians as close as possible without knocking them over.
Old Sep 8th, 1997, 12:29 PM
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I just returned from Italy two days ago and we drove throughout the country. We found the signage to be very good, and as long as one of you is driving and one is watching the signs and directing, you will be ok. Green signs indicate autostrades (highways) and blue signs indicate the "back roads". Be sure you have a good map with you so that you can choose directions based upon the nearest city. I have to second the statements above though - the Italians drive VERY FAST and the roads are so narrow, that trucks often take up more than their own lanes. People pass in situations we Americans would never consider. Be alert, be defensive, and don't drink and drive. PS: We found driving in Florence to be easy. Maybe just luck.
Old Sep 12th, 1997, 09:56 AM
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forget the car!
buy a eurail pass in the USA at a travel agent or call the eurail office in USA- phone book
or travel agent will tell you
the train is awesome!
you can the train to all your destinations
you can but days of travel you can use within a month or two, three month time of the first time you use it
driving in italy is hell
gas stations and parking are extremely extremely hard to find
hotels do not have parking like in the USA
gas is expensive and drivers in italy are like stunt car drivers
and car theft is prevalent in rome
and you can use a car in venice
and most of the streets in florence are pedestrian
streets same in rome and many other italian cities
Old Sep 12th, 1997, 07:00 PM
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Not asking for directions is definitely determined by the Y chromosome! My husband says it is easier without asking directions. Seriously, getting around in Italy really isn't too bad. You may find getting around in Florence itself a little confusing, but otherwise it shouldn't be too bad. Try to stop in San Gimignano; it's a wonderful medieval town in Tuscany. The vaporetti are a great way to travel.
Old Oct 10th, 1997, 12:22 PM
Joe Lomax
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I have written an article titled: "Have You Considered Driving in Italy". It is posted on the e-zine InItaly at: It describes much of what is mentioned above, and give many helpful hints about how to approach driving in Italy. Proper use of maps and teamwork in navigating is vital. The driver, presumably him,
should have full control of the manipualation of the vehicle. The navigator, presumably you, should have full control of which direction to go. There is an inherant tension in this and if the tension will be too large, you are better off with the train. However, perhaps both can grow into their own responsibilities. There is a certain satifaction in accomplishing the difficult and driving and navigating, respectively, should give each of you sufficient challenges.
Old Oct 15th, 1997, 05:56 PM
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Thanks to each of your for the tremendously helpful and humorous responses! Can't wait to go! SFink
Old Oct 16th, 1997, 06:07 AM
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In Venice buy the 24-hour vaparetto pass (especially if you are going out to Murano--the glass is pretty tacky but the ride is great and it is very pretty out there); you should also take a vaparetto the length of the Canale Grande--start at the train station and take the Number 1 all the way around--it takes about 40 minutes and is fabulous; you won't take vaparettos everywhere since sometimes it makes more sense to walk (there is a 3-day pass but depending on what you want to do the 24-hour is probably good), but time the pass right to include a trip to Murano or Burano.

As far as driving, we just drove all over the Tuscany countryside--it was fine; don't miss Montalcino and Montepuluciano--they both have big carparks outside their walls.

Have a great time.
Old Oct 17th, 1997, 02:43 AM
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I would say that driving in the North of Italy is not that frightening (compared with Rome and the South!). We went from France to Venice through the north of Italy and did not experience any problems. Compared with French standards, their driving was ok. Of course, I cannot say about American standards...
You can easily drive from Florence to Venice and leave your car at the Tronchetto parking. You may also enjoy a reduced rate, check with your selected hotel in Venice. I can't recommend trains in Italy as they tend to be late (very often...) and it seems to take a long time, even for short distances, while their motorway system works fine (but tolls are a bit expensive and have to be paid cash).

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