I just returned from Italy so I totally can relate to many of your comments in this story. I belong to Women on Wheels and Edelweiss Bike tours put a package together for us to ride scooters in Tuscany. Many of us added three days in Rome at the beginning of the trip and two days in Venice at the end.
I was very glad not to be riding my scooter in Rome since we witnessed many of the things you mentioned about the lack of traffic rules!

I too marveled at the fact that we were walking in the same places as people did 900 years ago. We toured many, many churches that dated back to the 1300s. I was trying to figure out how they can allow the volume of people through the Vatican and museum that they do since it has to be doing a lot of damage to the building. We were fortunate enough to have a tour guide that got us to St. Peters Square in time to see the Pope give his Sunday morning sermon.

The rides we took through Tuscany on the scooters did provide us with some fantastic scenery and lots of curves and twists. I was glad to be on a scooter that I didn't have to be constantly grabbing my clutch! Now that I am home I relish my memories from such a beautiful country!

Marlene Morris
Ham Lake, MN
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Editor Response
Hi Marlene,
Thanks for sharing your experiences. What a neat opportunity you all had. Glad you could vouch for me on the Italian drivers. I felt bad having to write that, but it's so not what we are used to in the U.S. All the scenery and culture certainly makes up for the bad drivers though.
Genevieve Schmitt, Editor
I read this article with interest. I too love to ride in Italy. It is a privilege to experience their much more ancient culture and there is no better way than on a motorcycle. But I must disagree with your assessment of Italian drivers. Yes, they ARE much more aggressive, but they are also more skilled. It is up to us as visiting drivers to first observe and try to understand our host country's rules of the road (or lack there of). Traffic signs and markings in Italy are more or less just a suggestion. Unlike in the US they do not expect everyone else to look out for them (though they do expect everyone to be aware of them). They may seem pushy at times, but mostly they just don't give you a lot of time to take your right-of-way and if you give them an opening they'll take it. They expect you to do the same. When riding in other countries it will benefit you greatly to throw out your old driving attitudes and try to be more like the locals.

Karen Thomson
Snohomish, WA
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Editor Response
You are right Karen. The onus is on us to adopt their way of driving and adhere to the way they do things. When in Rome do as the Romans do! Isn't that the saying?

That said, what I shared were my first impressions, and when on a motorcycle trip there for the first time, one better be on his or her game or you'll get clobbered by all the chaos. And I do mean chaos because again, if you're not used to it, it will seem like all rules and regulations have gone out the window.

You speak from an authority of someone who has been there and is used to it. And indeed after just one visit there, one will certainly be more aware of what the driving customs are.

Thanks so much for your valuable feedback.
Genevieve Schmitt, Editor