One of the first things I noticed, and you may notice it in the photos below, is that there are very few large vehicles in Rome. The many small cars we saw (in the photos below, you'll spot a few of the many Smart cars we saw) were accompanied by numerous motorcycles/scooters. Another thing I noticed was that dividing lines on the road, when they exist at all, are treated as suggestions rather than requirements. I think it was Rick Steves who cited the interesting statistic that Rome has about 2 million cars and 300,000 public parking spaces. In short, I discovered that Rome is a city where
PARKING IS A CHALLENGE,
DRIVING IS AN ADVENTURE,
AND CROSSING THE STREET IS AN EXTREME SPORT!
Dave and I did most of our navigating on foot. At busy intersections, the keys to survival were
- getting embedded in groups with locals who knew how to cross the street, and
- crossing quickly; dawdling was dangerous, or even deadly.
When we didn't walk, we rode buses and quickly developed immense respect for drivers who deftly maneuvered large, unwieldy vehicles through crowded Roman streets. I tip my hat to them.
Finally - If (or should I say when?) you visit Rome, my advice is that you either walk or take the bus. Whatever you do, don't drive there unless you have a greater taste for adventure than I do.