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Driving in Rome

Driving in Rome is very difficult.  If you can, it makes more sense to use public transportation.  Keep in mind, that renting a scooter is only about 40 euros a day, and it can make navigating the dense streets and finding parking easier, along with helping you blend in with the locals, who buzz about their daily routines on two wheels.

The first thing to remember about driving in Italy is to keep to the right-hand side of the road and give way to traffic from the right on roundabouts and at crossroads. If you have a right-hand drive car you will find the left-hand wing mirror indispensable; it is anyway obligatory to have one. It is also obligatory to carry a warning triangle in your boot and to have your driving license and car registration documents on you at all times.

Signs are difficult to find and it can be enormously difficult to find the correct road, even with a good map. Quite often the junction is signposted only at the actual turning and not in advance, and there may be a display of 20 signs to scan through, including those for hotels, restaurants, businesses and public services. It is far from uncommon to find two signs for the same destination pointing in opposite directions.

To add to this, most roads around big towns and cities are very busy, while the centers themselves are positively traffic choked. Nearly all Italians have at least one car per family and many have two, or even three. Road congestion is not the only problem. Car parking is a headache almost everywhere, and when the winter brings fog and mist to the cities of Northern Italy there is the problem of car exhaust-enhanced smog too. When pollution levels reach an unbearable limit cars are restricted by allowing number plates ending in an even number on the roads one day and those ending in an odd number on the next. Sometimes vehicles are banned from using the roads altogether.