Riding & driving in Rome is very civilised in comparison. Wait 'til you try riding In Naples or in Formia (1 hr north of Naples, 2 hrs south of Rome) in the summer beach traffic. Romans think Neopolitans are crazy drivers. And they are right.
I completely agree. My wife (I had to marry her after this) and I rented a scooter in Sorento and rode it throught the tunnels to Napoli and Pompei. A beautiful and exciting ride, but I may have ruined my chances of ever again driving a scoot in a foreign country.
The whole "use every inch of space" paradigm applies to busses in Italy too. Even if you and your scoot end up in the soft shoulder.
Just returned from Italy last weekend and I regret to say I chickened out on renting a scoot in Rome. The whole getting around part (in my opinion) is easier by foot so you can stop to make out the signs every block. Go ahead, call me a puzzy. In my deUnfortunatley, I was unable to locate a place that still had bikes in Florence, as I was hoping to do some riding in Tuscany. Apparently most outfits send their bikes to Sicily in the colder months. (Italians must get cold easily).
I like Gabe and I like travel stories. Scooters can be practical, fun and yes "cute" (I'll deny it if pressed) but what if your Buds see you on one?
Guy that run's (partial owner too?) my favorite "biker bar" (Judy's, the whole front is Motorcycle parking only, cages to the sides!) had a nice looking blacked out HD. Think bald Sergeant Schultz but carries himself like he's got a pretty short fuse (I dunno). This guy looks and sounds like a Beemer guy for sure... He recently sold his Harley and bought a new Red Vespa scooter (250 I think)??? Sure he lives one mile from the bar and all But, But... Thursday night is still "Bike Night" (every night is there). Wednesday night is now "Scooter night"!!!
Scooter riders never wave back!?
All good, plenty of room for any variation of two wheels there, on the road and under MO's big tent IMHO. They're all "Brothers in the Wind" to me.
Good stuff Gabe, informative, died with the "Nuns" one (brief aside, I was thinking maybe Mad Max in drag, pun intended, Still think he's one of the best Riders in the World and looking forward to watching him race again next year). Yossef doesn't remark much about "traffic", funny the things that can seem normal once you're used to it. Sounds like a great destination and if I'm around long enough I'll make it happen. May even go the Scooter route "When in Rome..." and all but NO PICTURES!!!
I spent 12 days riding in southeastern France and northwestern Italy last summer. The biggest city I rode in was Nice, but Gabe's description matches my experience there too. Despite thinking I was accustomed to splitting lanes from commuting in California, my first day riding in Nice completely reset my understanding.
Also, splitting into oncoming traffic is considered pretty standard. We even had a French cop wave us around him when entering a blind lefthander with cars coming the other way. Wild! Everyone just makes room.
It's a lot of fun, and I'm going back the summer of 2007,but it's not for everyone.
It just so happens I am planning a trip back to Italy in June. I grew up north of Rome and haven't been back in 25 years (family issues- they really pissed me off!). I am staying with a friend and getting the use of his BMW 1200 so that should be fun.
I have to say Gabe's Vespa 250 review convinced me that should be my next mortorcycle it was an excellent review full of useful information and gave a real review of the machine and its potential.
In the same way i enjoyed his review of the Eternal City. Weirdly enough 25 years on I still speak fluent Italian, some things one doesn't forget though i doubt i still have the nerve of my youth for crazy traffic antics. I've rather lost my edge after 25 years of plodding around in the USA.
Recently while riding my Buell Blast I came upon a half mile long backup. I entered the slot between the cars and drove to the obstruction and went around it. How gratifying!!! The Itaqians and Californians have it right.