Of my trips to Italy thus far, two have involved driving around in a rental car (well, the husband did the driving). Italy’s main sights, the ones most tourists come to see, can be reached without actually having your own set of wheels – and in fact, I think it’s much easier to travel in Italy without your own car. Some places, however, that are a bit more off the beaten path, require either lots more time (to accommodate the bus schedules) or a rental car.
So, if you’ve decided to opt for renting a car in Italy, your first real hurdle is likely going to be finding a place to park it. Sure, navigating in a foreign country with unfamiliar road signs can be confusing, but decent guidebooks and educated guesswork usually can get you where you want to go. But parking? In old city centers on streets that weren’t designed for cars to even drive on them, much less be parked on them? That is either an art or a headache, depending on how good you are at it.
Many Italian cities have constructed some sort of parking garage just outside the city center which will accommodate you nicely. On our last visit, we spent a day in Asolo with some friends (they drove) and after circling the old town a few times and realizing that with two weddings going on that day there was going to be no parking nearby, we circled back down the hill and found Asolo’s parking garage. It was a short hike (uphill) from the parking garage to the town, but it was much easier to give in and park in that modern facility than to continue circling, hoping against hope that a spot would open up, and then struggling to squeeze a car into said spot.
…upon entering the city limits of any town in Liguria, you and your passengers rub your buttocks. Your own buttocks, and with sincerity.
Perhaps the Ligurians have passed on a time-honored tradition, and perhaps they are laughing their asses off every time they see a foreigner roll into town rubbing his or her own buttocks in the hope of finding a parking spot. Either way, it’s a great story.