Driving in Naples/Italy

Hi sighsee, I'm going to Italy in September and because I got a travel package that included a rental car, I'm gonna be driving through Naples to Sorrento and I plan on going into downtown to see Pompeii, Herculaneum, the National Archaological Museum, and also down to Amalfi and Capri.

I've heard the traffic in Naples is some of the worst in Europe, with a hundred forum posts echoing the same message DONT DRIVE IN NAPLES, but unlike most Americans, I actually know how to drive. Is it really that bad? Should I leave my car at the hotel and take trains/taxis/walk to everything? I'll also be driving into Rome which I'm not super stoked about either

Also general any travel advice for a first time visitor to Rome, Florence, Naples. Thanks guys

  1. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    > I've heard the traffic in Naples is some of the worst in Europe, with a hundred forum posts echoing the same message DONT DRIVE IN NAPLES, but unlike most Americans, I actually know how to drive. Is it really that bad? Should I leave my car at the hotel and take trains/taxis/walk to everything?
    I’ve driven in central Naples, as well as other parts on your list; I have driven all over Italy. I would say that driving in Naples is ALMOST as bad as its reputation—along with being a very dense and crowded city, Italians are very aggressive drivers, much more than the American average, Neapolitans probably especially so. And Southerners are less rule-bound than northern Italians, so while most drivers come across as fairly skilled they don’t necessarily obey traffic laws.

    I drive well, and manual transmission is my first language (I assume that when you say you know how to drive, you drive stick at least as well as you drive automatic; lots of Americans don’t, as I’m sure you know), but I find driving in Naples a stressful pain in the ass. I would never use a car as my main mode of transportation there if I were staying inside the city (I’ve only ever driven in from outside). Parking sucks too. Taxis are cheap, metro is good. I don’t love Amalfi Coast driving, either, although it is often beautiful—I’ve had to get the hell out of the way of too many oncoming trucks and buses on narrow clifftop roads for my taste.

    My final thought on driving in Italy is that it’s the only place I consistently take the additional insurance car rental companies are always trying to upsell you—I estimate that my rentals have gotten grazed, dented, or scratched (usually but not exclusively through no fault of my own) about 75% of the times I have driven there.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Thanks for the info man, I guess the stories are true. I can drive stick and handle serious mountain/snow and heavy city driving but I don't want to ruin a perfectly good trip on the off chance some shit does happen. I'll definitely get the rental car insurance, I've heard that like every car in Italy is banged up and dented.

      Ill still have to drive from FCO Airport to Sorrento then into Rome and back to the airport, but I'll stick to trains and taxis for the rest.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Driving in Amalfi seems like HELL. You need to be expert mode to even try it...

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >Driving in Amalfi seems like HELL. You need to be expert mode to even try it...
        It’s mostly fine, and the cliff roads are seriously beautiful to look at—it’s a scenic drive up there with the best-looking bits of the Pacific Coast Highway, if you know CA. But it’s also too narrow for you and an oncoming large vehicle to share comfortably. It was the first place I ever fucked up a rental car, because I backed into a guardrail trying to make room for a bus driver with an apparent death wish.

  2. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I didn’t drive in Naples but overall driving in Italy was a bit frustrating compared with other European countries. And I was in the Northern part, which is already civilised by Italian standards.
    Italians are very fast, they do not hesitate overtaking you even if you’ve hit max speed limit. But I cannot blame them as many, many roads have ridiculously low speed limit (50kph on a normal country road, really?).
    The only country in Western Europe with comparatively aggressive drivers are France but that’s mostly because of immigrants who are absolute donkeys when it comes to driving.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Yea I'm a little sketched even about the highways between Rome and Naples cause I've heard they have automatic speed cameras and ridiculous limits. But I'm sure it's just a matter of being careful and aware. Even the worst roads in Europe have got to be better than most in South America/Asia

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        The thing I find weirdest about major Italian highways is that in a lot of places the speed limits change frequently and sort of illogically—you’ve been doing 130 for the last half hour? Well, the limit is suddenly 70 for the next 300 meters, then 100, then 130 again, then 50. I’ve actually never been ticketed or speed camera photographed there that I can recall (cameras are common at the ends of tunnels, there as in many other parts of Europe; you also see them attached to signage arched over the roads), but there are definitely speed traps around.

        But major autostrada driving between cities or regions is mostly orderly enough, while inner-city driving is generally irritating. For my multi-city visits to Italy I’ve happily road tripped between cities and in the countryside, but just used transit or walked when staying in urban centers.

        You can, of course, drive yourself around inside Florence or Rome or Naples or whichever city you visit, but it’s almost always going to be easier and more enjoyable not to.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I drove in Florence and it was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. I had rented a car there with only one purpose - to get out and drive onwards. It took me over 30 minutes to manage to get out of the city. Signage is almost non-existent, several times I missed a turn that I had to take that was nearly hidden and only saw too late, and I basically just kept driving in circles, even when all I wanted to do was to get to the highway out.

          This was in the days before GPS was ubiquitous, I don't know if that would make it any easier or not. It certainly won't help the parts where suddenly for no reason 3 lanes merge into 2 without warning.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >This was in the days before GPS was ubiquitous, I don't know if that would make it any easier or not.
            I sort of doubt it; ancient city centers just seem to confuse navigation.
            >Oops, this route is pedestrianized/one-way/closed off by a portcullis/only wide enough for a vintage Fiat 500/being repaved gradually over the next 250 years/actually a canal

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Oh they definitely do drive better than in Asia.
        I lived in Asia and I could tolerate Italy. It’s nowhere as bad. They’re just much faster than Asia so keep that in mind, they WILL overtake you no matter how fast you are.

  3. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Highly recommend not driving around Naples. Sorento would be alright but there's plenty of places along the sotentine coast like Amalfi that you can't really drive to because there isn't any parking.

    In Naples I saw a moped driver get hit by a car, it's fucking crazy over there, they drive through red lights, they swerve around, lane share, do U turns on busy highways, it's fucking nuts man, it's hard enough just walking around

  4. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Driving in Napoli is easy.
    1. See a gap
    2. Take it
    Driving in napoli is the ultimate ego destroyer, inshallah, its not personal.

    Parking is an absolute cunt and a massive waste of time. But its still better than the bus so just fucking do it. Dont leave anything in the car. They will 100% smash the window and take it.

    Motorways are just normal 1st world stuff. Speed cameras but everyone speeds. Dont block the fast lane.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Parking may be better than the bus, but is it better than the train? Just trying to get into town to see the national archaeological museum and herculanaem and seems like I can get to those from the train. Staying in Castallamare de Stabia

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Driving/renting a car is 100% worth it IF you do not intend to do exclusively cities.
        It’s great to explore countryside, villages or remote landmarks/historical places.

        If you only do city hopping, just go take the train yeah.

  5. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    IItay was really great visiting as a tourist. One of the few bad things I noticed was the driving was heart stopping at times. I felt like I would lose 5 yeara off my life just driving around there. Fortunately we always took buses or had other people drive us. Also I noticed a lot of cars with damage done to them more often even if they looked brand new. I wouldn't drive unless you are a real good driver and familiar with the areas you are going to.

  6. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Is Italy any good for driving bikes?

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