Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Italy Travels: “Ci è un'automobile.”

“Ci è un'automobile.”

That was the only complete Italian sentence I knew when I headed to Italy in early September. And it was a good one to know since indeed there were lots of cars—on highways, byways, curbs and what I perceived as impassable alleys. Smart cars everywhere, and creative parking was the name of the game in Rome! I hadn’t planned to pay so much attention to cars, but then I had no idea how fascinating the traffic scene would be. I actually rode in very few cars during my two weeks in Italy.

The most memorable ride was in a taxi from La Spezia to Lucca, less than 50 miles away. My friend Veleda and I had headed out early that morning for Riomaggiore, the first of the five spectacularly beautiful towns along the northwest Italian coast in what’s called The Cinque Terre. When we bought our train tickets in Lucca, the folks at the station said that many trains across Tuscany weren’t running--something about a strike!. “If we can get to Riomaggiore,” I figured, “then we can get back.” So, we hopped on the train.

We gasped in awe as we got our first view of the little town nestled among the cliffs on the Ligurian Sea, and we explored as long as our knees would allow. The train back to Lucca arrived a few minutes late; we boarded as happy, tired travelers.

The stop in La Spezia turned out to be our final destination. “No trains until 21:00 hours,” we found out. Two Texas women who were staying in La Spezia heard the news and invited us to share their room for the night. Another woman from Australia invited us to hang out with her.

But I wanted to get back to Lucca, my new home away from home. After learning that there were no buses at all from La Spezia to Lucca, I found a cab driver who was delighted to drive Veleda and me to Lucca. For a mere 150 Euro, more than $200. We didn’t bat an eye, and within the hour were back in Lucca.

So much for “Ci è un'automobile.” I’m going to write about WINE soon!


  1. Great shots, Mary Gordon, thanks for sharing!

  2. Beautiful! Great story too. :)
    I've never been to mainland Italy. My people are Sicilian and when I went there as a little girl we just visited family. No traveling..:(

    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to your next post.