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I have no idea why, but I was quite surprised that the Italian highways are so good. They are smooth, wide, and have great signage with lots of time to prepare to stop for gas (petrol) or a quick coffee. I took this photo of the car Umberto was driving with four of our group from the SUV in which the other six of us squeezed together.
However, when we reached the actual city of Rome, we had to maneuver the narrow cobblestone roads of the inner parts of the city. Our hotel was right beside the Pantheon and cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, and other modes of transportation juggled amongst the many pedestrians. We were warned that in Italy the pedestrian does NOT have the right of way so it's every man or woman for him/herself.
This boy and his Dad had set themselves up right in the middle of all this furor. As the Dad played his guitar, the boy played his accordian and sang at the top of his lungs, "O Solo Mio." He was utterly fantastico!
One of the other modes of transportation in this area was horse and carriage. Several waited to be hired when the tourists exited the Pantheon. That's my hotel there in the background on the left - L'Albergo del Senato, rated 6th out of 1199 hotels in Rome. Great start for the trip!
While waiting to get into the Vatican, my roomie took my picture "pretending" to climb on this Italian motorcycle, parked right on the sidewalk. We were hoping a good-looking Italiano would come and offer to take us for a ride. At least, I was!
Again, the highways were fantastico and they took us to Florence where again we saw lots of cobbled streets.
Just as we rounded the corner into the Piazza della Signorina, a parade came by with flag bearers.....
...and drummers, all dressed in colourful garb.
As we wandered the streets looking for the Accademia where we would find "David," we came upon a street artist doing a chalk drawing of the Mona Lisa. You can see the type of tile this part of the street is made with.
Three weeks later, we found ourselves in Sicily. From the top of a mountain in Segesta (well, I'd call it a big hill since I live in the middle of the Coastal Range in BC), I got this shot of the highway snaking through the Sicilian hills.
All in all, I wouldn't hesitate to drive a car in Italy by myself. The roads are great, the scenery is spectacular, and the people are very helpful if you need a bit of direction.
For more Photo Hunt participants, go to tnchick's site and feel free to join in. The more the merrier!