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Slow Travellers Italy: An excellent site giving information on many aspects of travelling in Italy - particularly on driving (parking, road signs, petrol). Key points are:

Driving

  • Italians drive as if they are the only persons on the road or the only persons that should be on the road. So they will normally cut corners assuming that no one else is coming the other way. So when driving round a blind bend always assume there will be an italian car coming round the bend in the middle of the road, that it will be going too fast and that the driver will be on his/her mobile phone.

  • In Italy you have to put your headlights on when driving on all main road and autostrada.

  • It is very common to be stopped by the traffic police (they have to stop a certain number of cars each day). You should always carry your driving license and the papers for the hire car.

  • In many garages you can choose between self service or having the car filled by a petrol attendent. This second option is sligtly more expensive but takes the hassle out of understanding the self service pumps. As the petrol is slightly more expensive there is no need to tip the attendent.

  • The limit for alcohol while driving is 0.4 mg/litre.

  • Motorways (Autostrada). Entering the autostrada you take your ticket. On leaving you pay at the toll.



    Assuming you are paying by cash then to to the exit which has the signs for paying by cash making sure you go to the toll with the green light on:

    This shows that you can pay cash and that the toll is manned (i.e. a hand holding the tickets).

    This shows that you can pay cash but it is an automated toll.
    (nb the symbol of three cards shows you can also pay by credit card).


    Parking

    Parking disc In parking areas where there are signs limiting the the time permitted to park you put the blue disc (disco orario) on your dash board adjusted to show the time you arrived. With hire cars this is normally already stuck on the inside of the windscreen or in the glove compartment with the other documents. If there isn't one in the car you can buy them in most garages.


    Eating Out

  • Tipping. There is no need to tip in restaurants as you will have already paid the "cover charge". It the service was exceptional then and you really want to tip then a couple of euros is enough.

  • In Pizzerias you can ask for a "pizza bianca". This will be a pizza without the tomato.


    Swimming

  • The cost of hiring chairs and umbrellas varies depending on: the time of the year, which row you which to sit in (row 1 is nearest the beach) and which resort your are in. The costs are set by the local commune.
    Besides paying for the beach you can use the "Spiaggia Libera". This is free but you bring your own equipment.

    This example of the costs for the beach is from Senigallia.

    Prices for Beach Services, 2003 - Senigallia
        Umbrella
    -1st row
    Umbrella
    - 2nd & 3rd rows
    Umbrella
    - other rows
    deck chair sun bed cabin
    1 day Max 6.60 5.70 5.50 3.90 5.00 8.20
    7 day Max 43.00 33.00 33.00 23.00 29.00 45.00
    15 days Max 85.50 66.00 56.00 42.00 52.50 80.00
    1 month Max 129.00 105.00 88.50 66.00 79.00 127.00
    Entire
    season
    Max 242.00 209.00 176.00 139.00 160.00 219.00
    High Season runs from 15/6 to 31/8.
    For the low season there will be a reduction of 25% from the list price
    The prices are inclusive of: common changing room, use of service, showers, VAT.


    On the pay beaches the key to the toilet will be either kept with the bagnino in his/her office or hanging under a particular umbrella which the bagnino will point out to you. The practice seems to be to leave the key in the outside of the lock when the toilet is being used.

    The only problem we have heard of on the beach is the presence of weaver fish who sit in the shallow water with fins raised. If stood on they pump poison into the foot which is very painful. The solution is to put the foot in water as hot as you can bear and the heat breaks down the poison.


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