Friday, May 15, 2009

Italian riders really scoot through traffic

No trip to Italy would be complete without a postcard home complaining about the "crazy" drivers. I am not going to write that, however, because, as best I could tell during my short trip to Sicily, Italian drivers aren't crazy: they're brilliant.

And very, very brave.

Traffic in the Medieval streets of Palermo and other Sicilian towns rarely pauses. Any opening, even a few inches, allows a line of scooters (if not cars) to squirt forward. It's a good thing, too, because it gives the impression that traffic is flowing forward when, in America, it would be stopped dead.

Streets in the old cities haven't gotten bigger, but Italian cars have. Except for the Smart cars, today's European models dwarf the few old Fiat 500s left. The Italians have a reverence for the old cars and scooters.

This Fiat 850 Abarth TC was on display in the square in Scopello.

A Citroen Traction Avant limo was customized for duty hauling wedding parties to the port in Castellammare del Golfo for pictures. It looks sinister enough for the Godfather himself.

An old Lambretta scooter is on display in the window of a travel agency in Palermo. I'll bet I'm not the only one who walked in just to take its picture.

Plenty of three-wheelers are still in service in Sicily; this one and the battered moped next to it were on display in a parking lot at Mozia. It's possible they were still in service.

A bit showy, perhaps? Don't worry. This one is carnival ride.

This Ferrari (it must be a replica) is parallel parked on the street in Palermo (and look how close it is to the car behind it). In America, the owner would have parked this baby diagonally across two wide parking spaces -- if he even dared to take it out at night.

And, finally, when would you see a Harley Davidson guy kissing another Harley guy on the cheek? When they're Italians, of course. This is a gathering of the Harley clans from around Italy in the picturesque old city of Trapani.



  1. Greek Harley (or Bullet, for that matter) riders would kiss on each cheek if they were friends ;-)

  2. Anonymous5/15/2009

    Great photos of Italy David, I love the Citroen Traction Avant!


  3. Bonnie5/15/2009

    You missed a few, David. I think we might have to go back.....


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