Roman Question of the Day: If All Roads Lead To Rome, How Does Anyone Ever Get Out Of Rome?

IMG_0952The concepts of traffic lanes and right of way remain as incomprehensible in Italy as the Atkins diet. As this picture taken yesterday attests, Italians continue to treat signs as entirely discretionary matters when it comes to driving or parking. In this picture, a street was virtually shutdown due to traffic when the driver in the silver car (an impeccably dressed businessman) simply parked in the middle of street and walked away. That’s it. Close enough for Rome, arrivederci! He just walked away and never looked back.


By the way, there were four police officers watching amusedly on the corner. They seemed far more interested in the class of teenage school girls crossing nearby.

The Romans were of course famous for building roads. I imagine that with the creation of the first such road, chariots and carts immediately created the first Roman traffic jam. Over the years, I have found that where there are two Romans, there is a traffic jam.

images-3We previously posted hilarious traffic jams in Italy, including this great scene. This particular sign may explain the problem: someone is stealing the traffic lines.

Since we will be driving in Sicily (starting tomorrow), this video is a bit unnerving as to what to expect:

15 thoughts on “Roman Question of the Day: If All Roads Lead To Rome, How Does Anyone Ever Get Out Of Rome?”

  1. When I arrived in Italy via Rome, I quickly made up my mind NEVER to rent a car in Italy. Taxis, water taxis, buses, and friends’ driving – all good.

  2. Nick,
    Did you ever put the pedal to the medal in Italy? Look in the rear view mirror. It’s Lamborghini Gallardo Police car.

  3. Giuseppe, I drove the toll road from Rome to Naples. It is a nice highway. But I have never seen so many drivers straddle the lanes, like they can’t commit to one lane or the other. No tractor trailers makes the roads all like the Garden State Parkway.

  4. I don’t recall such traffic jams but there was one ride that was terrifying. Everyone was driving fast or stopped. Scooters were zipping by, or stopped, on both sides of the car, close enough to touch. IIRC, there were two lanes that the cars turned into four, plus the scooters. One car decided to pass all others, it hit a curb or something and flipped onto its hood, no one stopped. I wasn’t driving and vowed that I never would drive in Rome. We did a lot of walking,

  5. I commented earlier that driving in Rome was just a bit less terrifying than getting shot at. But, once out of Rome, it was akin to driving in Boston, the worst US city, and most European design of roads. Driving in the rural areas of Tuscany was not too bad, so as long as you stay mostly rural in Sicily, it shouldn’t be too bad. I drove the Amalfi Coast which was both breathtakingly beautiful and terrifying, w/ tour buses whipping around corners and scooters darting in and out.

    All Italian cities have draconian parking rules for people who don’t have a city sticker on their car, signifying they are a resident. So, you have to park in designated areas on the outskirts. I didn’t find that to be a problem @ all since we are both walkers. But, the parking areas are often public transportation stops if you don’t want to walk into town. You pay a STEEP premium for automatic transmission in European rentals. I grew up on a stick and enjoy it. I only switched to auto transmission when I got a car phone in the late 80’s. But, stop and go New Years weekend on the hilly coastal road going into Sorrento caused cramps in my clutch leg.

  6. I think you have to realize there is no connection between modern Italy and the great Roman Empire which fell to barbarians. I am not sure there has been a decent engineer in Rome since the end of the Empire. And the traffic round-a-bouts make no sense at all. I can see why the guy parked his car and walked away. The human mind can only take so much before going postal.

  7. It’s funny until you think about what’s a behind this behavior, a refusal to follow any rules even though it makes everyone’s life, including your own, difficult.

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