Driving in Italy can be fun and it can be a little bit challenging at times…
Today is one of those days that will stick in the memory and be a talking point, as well as a show and tell opportunity, for many years to come.
Because it was the day we took the non-toll (aka free) route to our destination and nearly came unstuck.
Looking at these roads, otherwise called spaghetti, we should have known better.
Take another look at that photo above. When driving in Italy and following a GPS you need to know that the pink road is our destination (according to Emily our GPS), then the green are secondary roads, the orange other main roads we could take, the blue is a river, and the grey, well don’t go near the grey, they are narrow and horrible.
You see we came across a very poorly maintained secondary road, which apparently is okay according to Emily who knows Betsy (our motorhome’s) dimensions. However, someone had decided to place two huge concrete blocks and barriers accross the road with a miserly 2.2m gap between them.
How wide is Betsy?
Well, err, um, she is 2.2m wide.
So, what would you do if you were driving in Italy? No, really, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Stop for a moment to contemplate your fate here.
They say the operator always blames his tools. Alan, the mild-mannered ‘hardly ever swears’ one blames Emily. He even called her a b*t*h! He never(!) uses that word because he knows I hate that word.
Anyway, here’s what we did.
I got out to survey the opportunity or lack thereof. Watch the videos to see what happened next. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to hide on the dash cam video that picks up every word (sorry)!
When I got back into Betsy I was nervous that the barrier was an indication of narrow roads ahead. The driver of the car that passed us suggested we should turn around (spoken in Italian so that we could only assume that’s what he was saying – despite our language learning lessons). I was envisioning a 5 metre long bridge that was 2.2m wide. Alan thought that slips ahead could potentially have washed out the road and provided a 2.2m clear way. Understandable given we have driven past snow on the road today in these high mountains. It was just three weeks ago when it was mandatory to carry winter tyres!
We nervously carried on our way thinking that we will cross that bridge when we come to it, so to speak. Or we will turn around and go back. The thought of going back was nerve-wracking. It would have to be the lesser of two evils.
There always has to be a silver lining when driving in Italy, right? That’s how the universe works, doesn’t it?
I hope so.
In fact, I believe so, because we were richly rewarded with the views.
OMG! Villa Santa Maria!!!!!
Look at the picture above. Can you just imagine coming across this when you are driving in Italy?
We drove around a corner and saw this sight. It came out of nowhere, it was unannounced, on no tourist destination, and almost felt like a town forgotten by time. She is so beautiful “bella” they say in Italian. We would love to go down there and explore if Betsy wasn’t so large. I doubt anyone down there speaks English, let alone having ever seen a 7.5m long motorhome in their streets before.
There are townships and villages stuck on the side of rock faces everywhere we look when driving in Italy, particularly on the mountainous backroads. Why would people live like this? The answer is, ‘possibly’ because they always have and why not.
I think there would be very few motorhomes taking this route, however, should you feel keen, then you too will be richly rewarded when you are driving in Italy.
Fortunately, there were no washouts, narrow bridges or any other thing for that matter to justify the 2.2m width restriction. Maybe they just had some excess concrete blocks they needed to put somewhere? There were, however, two other blocks placed 2.2m wide another 10km or so further down the road, but this time there was another lane with some barriers that we could, and did, dismantle and moved so we had a comfortable 3m or more to cruise through. Phew!