words and shots by Robert Turner
"On most Italian streets there are no marked lanes. And if there were, nobody would pay attention to them anyway…so why bother?"
Like I said, my wife was a bit anxious about driving in Italy. Did I mention that my wife was a bit anxious…you probably get the picture. She quickly discovered that the Q5 had navigation. That’s a switch from the US since most rentals do not (they want to charge you extra). By using the menu options, she quickly figured out how to set up navigation in English. After about 10 minutes of fiddling with the settings, she had our address for the Ferrari Museum dialed in and our route was calculated.
And then there were the traffic circles or roundabouts (if you prefer). There are lots of them. I would say that 50% of all intersections in Italy are roundabouts. And you have to know which street to exit to take or you are totally screwed. Oh and you have to compete with the aforementioned Trams, Buses, Cars, Taxis, scooters, bikes, ETC. They are all vying for the same patch of pavement as you. But being in a big car (for Italy) helped and those other forms of transport seemed to move aside for us. Except for the trams and buses of course. They did not give a shit about some smallish SUV trying to crowd their space. My wife kept telling me to follow a car (any car really) so that I would kind of know which general way to go. I followed her advice for about 4 blocks until I got pinched behind a VERY slow Fiat going about 10 MPH. Then I swerved around and did what everyone else in Italy does. I floored it and got into the flow of the traffic.
Finally out of central Milano, we merged onto one of the Tangenziale (or one of the main ring roads around Milano), picked up speed and made our way onto the A1 Autostrade. Next stop Maranello.
And on that exhaust note, see you next time.
Robert Turner is the author of The Driver, a series of six novels your editor in chief finds intoxicatingly engaging and superbly written; Book I— Decision and Book II— Training are currently available here. He also has a blog entitled My Life with Porsches. Robert can be contacted at email@example.com.