Road signs in italy question...

Old Sep 27th, 2004, 10:21 AM
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Road signs in italy question...

going in a week...will have rental car for tuscany area in and out of florence...

can anyone tell me if any of the road signs are in italian only? any english ever?

thanks

gary
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 10:26 AM
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Nope, since it is Italy and they speak Italian the signs are in Italian.
They are easy to figure out though, look in the back of a guidebook such as Rick Steve's and there will be explanations.

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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 10:29 AM
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Try this site for comprehensive information:

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/road_signs/

Once there, click on the list on the right hand side for detail on the variety of road signs you will find (i.e. "restrictive" "warning" etc.)

--Marv
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 10:31 AM
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Also try here for great information regarding driving in Italy:

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/driving/

--Marv
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 10:36 AM
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Marv
You beat me to the puch.
Great and important info. I HIGHLY recommend all first time driving travelers print out a few pages of important driving and parking info.
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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Don't panic about not knowing Italian - it''s VERY easy to work out the signs. Arrows are arrows in any language. Parking signs look the same (a big blue 'P'). You'll recognise the place names. Centro means the town centre, and is always shown by a series of concentric circles. Common sense and a simple guide goes a long way.

But no signs in English - do they have Italian signs in America?
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 11:59 AM
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Color is very important. Ignore all the brown signs -- they are for commercial establishments. Blue and green mean different sorts of roadways (freeway vs local roads). Best to know a little about the system before you go. I have found driving in Tuscany no problem, but definitely helps to know a bit beforehand.
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 12:03 PM
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No, obviously no English, but many of not all the road signs have the city name with arrows and directionals pointing you into the right direction. I usually rely on public transportation when there, I have not rented a car there before. However, I have heard the Michelin guide is helpful in terms of highway information, etc.
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 12:52 PM
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Virtually no road signs are in Italian.

Practically all road signs are pictorial, using the signage that's standard more or less everywhere in the world. Words (other than town names etc) are very unusual indeed, and almost always used in conjunction with the standard icons .

If you live somewhere like Australia that's so isolated that you use different signs, download the standard signage as soon as possible.
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 01:47 PM
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I think trickier to figure out is the kilometers instead of miles.
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 01:59 PM
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The only signs that are likely to cause confusion relate to parking. Often there are restrictions on odd days, even days, first 15 days in a month, last 15 days in a month, market days, street-cleaning days etc, which are described in Italian under No Parking signs. Ask a local. Also an arrow with the words senso unico means one way street.
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 02:07 PM
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"But no signs in English - do they have Italian signs in America?"

Well, I don't know about that. But once driving in Miami I came across a blocked street and a huge sign in Spanish. I wrote down what it said because I was really curious and I bypassed the street. When I asked for a translation later I found out that basically it said something to the effect that there was a gas leak in the area and a danger of explosion. So a person who only spoke English in America could have been in great danger because he couldn't speak a foreign language!
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 02:13 PM
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You won't have any problem driving in Italy on the signs but get something to explain the complicated parking. If I remeber correctly there is one color you can park at any time and one color that only parking permits can park on (blue I think but I could be wrong) so get something that lists the parking info. Its the only thing you'll be confused on.
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 02:18 PM
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How many kms on an italian highway does it take to understand the meaning of the word 'uscita' ?

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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 02:41 PM
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Stop signs say "STOP" in Italy.
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 02:48 PM
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Funny, tomato!
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 03:07 PM
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Donna,

In Italy it is Alt or Alto, not Stop. And they won't stop anyway.

SeaUrchin,
Steves' books have very little meaningful information about driving in Italy even though he has been there a hundred times. You should be able to figure out what a sign with a big black and white sign with a horizontal arrow on it means without knowing the Italian "Senso Unico."

There are many websites with illustrations of international road signs and what they mean, e.g. the British Automobile Association. Google it.

European road signs are iconic and are no-brainers. The signs are the same from Turkey to Iceland.

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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 03:31 PM
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Oh, I know I have read those signs in some books, I thought it was Rick Steve's. I can look it up tonight, but danaeye has some good suggestions of web sites by now.

While I was spinning down the autostrada in Southern Italy once I kept noticing signs at turns saying RALLENTARE and I had no idea what it meant so some of the signs are in Italian without pictures to help.
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 04:22 PM
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As soon as I arrived I would go to a bookstore and buy an Italian road map as many cities/towns have names that are different in English. Example: In English it is Florence, in Italian it is Firenze. Gave a great trip!
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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 05:49 PM
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Rick Steves' book gave me very valuable info -- the phrase "AHHHHHH! Mangiato mi cart" (if I recall rightly) which means "the toll machine ate my credit card" (you can pay tolls with a card -- highly recommended, this really only happened once. Just be sure you know where the flashers are on your car. Italians use them more than their horns.)

Signs for a destination, for example, Sienna, may include an arrow pointing left. That does not mean turn left, it means "You are here, on the road to Sienna" You may also see signs for the A1 Roma-Firenze all over the place. It doesn't necessarily mean that the autostrada is nearby, it means that if you keep following the signs you will eventually get to an entrance to the A1. Be sure you have a good map of Tuscany. It really is very easy to drive in Italy, just takes a little getting used to.
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