One Car Italian Traffic Jam

For those who have gone to Italy, this video should bring back fond memories. It starts with an Italian driver getting wedged in a narrow street. What follows is quintessentially Italian.

First, comes the beeping cars. Then the motorcycle Club. Then the funeral procession. Everyone has to give their opinion as the cacophony reaches a loud chorus. Then the priest intervenes. The result is hilarious (particularly when one of the motorcyclists gives the dim-witted driver a rose in celebration).

Leslie and I once got stuck in one of these narrow streets in a small town in Tuscany right out in front of our hotel. The doorman came running out to help and said with confidence and broken English that “everything good.” He jumped in the car, threw it into reverse, and proceeded to take the paint off the side of the car. He then triumphantly gave us back the keys.

Given the number of people around this tiny car, I am not certain why ten of these instructing men did not simply pick up the car and turn it around. It is moments like this that I am truly proud of my Italian side.

14 thoughts on “One Car Italian Traffic Jam”

  1. jeez, they coulda picked the little car up and carried it to the end of the block in the time it took to turn it around.

  2. I drove all over Italy in a VW Bus. Yikes, talk about a big car to parallel park. The thing to do is locate a town “circle” or “square” early in the day and park the car. Ya gotta be in a safe place from thieves, like in front of a sidewalk cafe area or next to a cop house. Then walk or ride buses where ever you intend to go. Also, a museum, real early in the a.m. or late at night. Crash in the van. Wake up and go see the David. In Firenze (“Florence” to the Brits and Americans) I parked and slept at night in the van right by the square where the museum with the David is located. It is common to see cars being removed from parallel parking spaces by a gang of five. They are small cars and can be picked up and scooted. Of course, this was in a prior life as a human when I was seeing the Vorld. Now, Yugoslavia was a challenge on that coast road when two people passed a vehicle at the same time, one passing the other so that three are coming at you on a three lane (total of three lanes) at sixty miles an hour. Cliff on left to the Adriatic Sea. No cover charge anytime.

  3. rcampbell, You are so correct, Italians have the very healthy ability to live in the moment. I grew up in an Italian immigrant family in the US but going to Italy made it all clear to me.

  4. Just priceless! Thanks for a few minutes of a good laugh. Reminded me of learning how to drive in the US after I moved here from Europe. In Belgium we stop right in front of the red light pole. I was learning to drive in San Francisco and coming at an intersection I drove right through it and stopped at the light pole which had turned red, blocking the intersection of course; pure habit. I was mortified when people started honking and yelling at me. Next thing I know, my car stalled and made the entire scene more dreadful. More yelling, more gestures. I got so freaked that I got out of the car and my husband at that time had to get behind the wheel to salvage the situation. I can now honestly share that I have never had a traffic incident since then and it’s been 31 years and I am a master at parking as well. I’m crossing fingers my good luck stays! The one thing about this video I kept expecting to happen was one of the young Italians offering to replace the older man behind the wheel. I loved that piece of ham. Great video!

  5. Why did the driver HAVE to turn around? There was a spot a car length behind that would have given him plenty of room for the turn around. This whole thing was sooo illogical. What a great way to be the center of attention. Loved the video. It helps explain some of the Italian folks of my acquaintance.

  6. I agree it was so Italian. Part of it being so Italian comes early in the tape when the person doing the taping told someone in the room “Aspetto”, which means “Wait”. The person taping wanted to see what would transpire just as everyone in the street. In true Italian fashion, everything else can wait because the action on the street was the most important thing going on in life at that given moment. Love it.

  7. You are showing your American side Prof when you state common sense solutions. I admit the Italian side is FAR more entertaining though. I think I can understand Fellini better now after viewing this.

  8. I can’t decide who is dumber – the idiot trying a U-turn *between* cars, or the rest for not backing up and finding another way around.

    I’ve seen the same sort of stupidity where I live – morons who “think” they can do stupid things because there was no one around when they started, then they act surprised when other people want to get past them. And people wonder why I don’t want to drive anymore.

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