Weekly photo challenge: the sign says

Share a picture of a SIGN and explain why you chose that picture!

I don’t normally do the photo challenges, however here are two photos from Italy.

One way only.

One way only ?

Italians see road signs and traffic lights, as advisory rather than obligatory.

To give you a couple of examples, I stopped at a red traffic light while we were driving in Catania Sicily. The guy in the car behind me, started honking his horn and waving his hand at me. I looked at Mrs Sensible and said, “what’s his problem, the light is still red!”

Mrs Sensible explained, “the light may be red, but there are no cars crossing the junction so it is safe to go”

It is said that the drivers in Northern Italy are better than the drivers in the south but:-

I was Β driving a friend home one night, she was directing me through the traffic, as we approached her apartment, she said “turn left here”

“I can’t it is a no entry”

It doesn’t matter I am a resident

But it doesn’t say, no entry except residents, it is a one way street!!

Pecora, it doesn’t matter, my apartment is just up the street. I have lived here 15 years and I always turn left up here.

Don't use a pedestrian crossing to cross,

Don’t use a pedestrian crossing to cross,

This photo was taken in Calabria.

When you come to Italy on your holiday, please do not use the zebra crossings when you want to cross the street. There are a number of reasons.

1) You will annoy the car drivers who use them to park there cars.

2) They are very dangerous, no really they are. As you start to cross the road, you will be thinking Β you are safe and the car will stop for you. I am here to tell you, it is not so. The driver is thinking, mmm pizza today, I had better phone my mum and make sure she has put the beer in the fridge. He will not have even noticed you, not unless you have long legs and a short skirt. And even then he will still run you over.

When I moved here, I drove Mrs Sensible’s car from the UK to Italy, I took the scenic route and drove through, Belgium, Switzerland a bit of Germany… I didn’t have one near miss or accident.

Two weeks after arriving here, I stopped at a zebra crossing in Alessandria, to let an old guy cross the road. The old guy never moved he just stood there and watched the Ford Transit Van redesign my boot and bumper.

While we were exchanging insurance details, the van driver asked Mrs Sensible “Why did he stop?”

Because he is English!

This post is for theΒ WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

67 thoughts on “Weekly photo challenge: the sign says

  1. lol, Great Info for my “someday” trip to Italy. Driving In Serbia or crossing the street… not so difficult. But the rules are like those for the English language. always exceptions.


    • It is crazy over here, I think I might do a post on how to drive on Italian roads. πŸ™‚

      I thought Serbia was pretty cool when I was there. Apart from the guy with tattoos who was trying to convince my colleague and I that he was an undercover policeman. He said he needed to have a look at our passports and driving licences. LOL

      I dragged my Colleague into a passing taxi and we made a run for it.


    • Driving is safer, it is much safer to be sat in a car than walking along the pavement.

      Especially in Naples where the motorbikes use the pavement when the road is full


        • Not safe at all. πŸ™‚

          As a general rule, the further North you go the better the driving, but there are some exceptions to the rule.

          Florence is like driving in the UK, lots of speed cameras and nearly everyone behaves.

          Naples is utter mayhem, think of stock car racing without the rules.


          • Sounds like to somewhere to sit (from a safe distance) with a glass of red wine and watch the mayhem unfold when you don’t have to be anywhere in particular. I’m going to love taking photos when I’m in Italy! πŸ˜€


              • I went to a cafe’ on Saturday lunch time and had one or two aperitifs (tequila based) If you order drinks from this bar they always bring you a mixed platter of cheese, meat and bread.

                The cafe was quiet, so when the owners friends turned up, he grabbed a bottle of grappa and sat at a table with them. I was supposed to be finishing my espresso and then going, but the temptation was too great so I slugged the espresso, and walked to his table with my empty coffee cup. Like a gentleman he filled it with grappa.

                I haven’t dared checked the scales since Saturday, so I will go for a run tonight and then see what the damage is tomorow morning


                • Well I don’t see how you could have possibly resisted, in fact it would have been rude to leave without being a little sociable! πŸ™‚ You’ll probably be fine, a little treat here and there normally doesn’t make any difference… it’s when the treats outweigh the eating healthily that the scales start to tip in the wrong direction! πŸ™‚


  2. We saw a sign like the one-way signs in Sardinia and were a tad confused I must say. Your explanation makes everything clear. What would we do without you to guide us through the minefield of the Italian Way? πŸ™‚


    • lol,
      They are everywhere, but nobody takes a blind bit of notice.

      I am a little worried that people might be taking my advice πŸ˜‰ I think I should add a product disclaimer to my blog


  3. Ahahah I had a middle of night argument with my law abiding Husband on this subject! He made me stop at 2 am at a pedestrian light in Rome. He said I had to respect the red light even if there were no pedestrians, no cars, no one to be seen around! These strict people from the North…..! Ah! I wonder how do they manage to live with so many restrictions πŸ™‚
    Good luck with the diet!


    • Mrs Sensible is the strict one, I have developed the Italian driving style, much to her disapproval. πŸ™‚

      One of the reasons she moved to the UK, was because she had watched too many Agatha Christie films, she thought life in England was very law abiding and the English say, “meddling old woman, you caught me, it is a fair cop, I am guilty. πŸ™‚

      She loves the way the English drive and hates the Italian style. I think driving in Italy is like playing a Nintendo game, but with only one life…

      I need to go and step on the old weighing scales, the problem is I was very naughty at the weekend, I might upload the pics of my cocktail and food.


  4. I am still laughing … I mean really laughing with tears in my eyes! I remember those pedestrian crossings so well! Even after I returned to NZ, it took me some time to adjust to the fact that everyone here always stops at the pedestrian crossing without giving it a second thought … I used to wait for cars to move while they waited for me to cross!
    But one thing is for sure – even with all their disregard for rules, or because of it – Italians make you laugh -:)! Providing of course one survives!


    • I love nice comments like yours πŸ™‚ Thanks

      To live in Italy you either have to look at the funny side of life, cry and bang your head on the wall or move abroad. I love it here.

      I no longer stop at pedestrian crossings, because the car behind won’t stop and even when I do stop, anyone waiting at the crossing just looks at you with suspicion, and won’t move until you have driven away.

      I once stopped at a crossing and the car behind me tooted his horn and drove around me.. I sat there in shock


  5. Growing up in Oxford in the 1950’s and 60’s we never used the official crossings, we just walked through the moving traffic. Jaywalking was a local sport, I think it may have been due to the University students having a similar attitude to the Italians. I hardly ever use the designated crossing in our local market town; I have been driven into twice (slowly thank goodness) and much prefer taking my chances further up the road. Many years ago, when I was on a coach tour in Italy the driver had umpteen “special arrangements” (usually involving someone boarding the coach and leaving with an envelope) about using tiny local roads and we never had far to walk to our destination! The elderly ladies on the trip gave him huge tips at the end of the week so he probably still made a profit. I love the Italian ethos and your posts about surviving it.


    • HI Lynne,

      I get the feeling that a lot of agreements (allegedly) are made with little envelopes or a favour that is repaid later.

      Italy is a fab place, just a little disorganised, but the weather is to die for.


  6. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says (Sign Revisited) | What's (in) the picture?

  7. I loved this post – particularly your take on pedestrian crossings.This calls for the green cross man, remember him? He wouldn’t survive long in your neck of the woods. Here neither, come to think of it: crossings appear to be put their as decoration, or maybe to help camouflague passing zebras.


  8. Where I live in the US, we are well on our way to anarchy when it comes to driving. Every time I go out on the road, I think how it’s getting harder and harder to be a “law-abiding citizen” on the streets of Tallahassee. Nobody stops for pedestrians or bicyclists (they call those “speed bumps” around here). On average people drive 15 miles above the speed limit, and this is in the residential areas where there are children and pets around the roads (also considered speed bumps). Drivers here are not at all consistent: they either drive too fast (and come up on my bumper) or too slow (and I’m stuck behind them) and/or they drift into my lane because they are texting and/or they sit at GREEN lights because they are busy texting (usually after I honk three times, then they race off as the light turns yellow and I’m stuck at a RED light). Generally, I hate driving and would prefer to just walk everything (like I used to when I lived in an urban area). But it sounds like being a pedestrian in Italy might be worse than being a driver! (Sorry for the rant above … I’ll be having to leave for work in a few moments and, well, then the fun begins.)
    I should say your post was very entertaining. The photos are perfect!


    • Many thanks, πŸ™‚

      But I thought the Americans drove very carefully !
      Apart from Dukes of Hazzard and the A team.

      You have policemen who hide behind billboards and men on motorbikes who chase baddies (Chips).

      In Italy I have seen cars on the motorway tail gaiting police cars to get them to move over, Honest::

      Anyway come and rant any time.


      • OK, I haven’t seen anyone (yet) tailgating police to get them to move over. But I have been passed by police cars on my commute; they cruise by me usually going 10 miles over the speed limit πŸ™‚ That is our main problem, I think. No enforcement of the traffic laws. Too bad people cannot be relied upon to obey laws without enforcement 😦


  9. Hmmm, must be similar in Portugal because I have stopped for pedestrians waiting at a crossing and they have actually waved me on. When I went to Rome I daren’t even cross the road. Another reason I love Italy but dare not live there!


    • It sounds the same. In the beginning, I would stop at the crossings and I would be waved on, I used to resist looking in my mirror, because I knew the guy behind me would be looking daggers at me and shacking his head.


    • Cars might stop at a red light to see if the road is clear, but if nothing is coming they just drive through.

      My uncle in Sicily just toots his horn and drives through stop signs.

      Scary, very scary.


  10. Ha ha, this is so funny…because it’s so true! I’ve driven our car once in Rome and was a nervous wreck when I returned home after ten minutes. My husband, however, has taken to driving here like a duck to water – he’s the one tailgating police cars and driving faster than all the Italians! We actually shipped our bicycles here from England and used them for one ride in our first week where we genuinely feared for our lives. It was as if Italian drivers had never seen a bike before and wanted to get as close as they possibly could to get a really, really good look! I only use my feet or buses now…


    • I have never driven in Rome, Napoli was bad enough. I was trying to weave in and out the traffic while Mrs Sensible was removing my watch and my Tom Tom. I thought she had gone mad, we nearly had a domestic at a set of traffic lights.

      She was shouting at me, this is Naples, they will smash your window to steal your watch and Tom Tom, listen to me….


  11. I was in Rome last year, and I almost had a heart attack every time I crossed the road! Luckily I had no close-encounters or missteps, however I will be Italy again this summer… hopefully I’ll make it out alive! Do you know how Venice is on this front?


    • I have only been to Venice once, you get about by foot or boat.

      We went during the carnival, but there are thousands and thousands of tourists you are literally heel to toe with everyone. Five of us walked in a single file with one hand on the shoulder of the person in front to make sure no one got lost.. Honest!!!

      Northern Italy it not too bad so go and enjoy it.


  12. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says | Erin O'Leary Photography

  13. I faced death many a time in Rome! It doesn’t help that some of the zebra crossings are huge, making imminent death almost inevitable. I saw so many accidents (admittedly, none of them serious) in Rome and was so lucky not to be involved in one. Frankly, I’m surprised that you’ve lived long enough over there to write a post about it!


    • Ha ha ha,
      I am still alive because I stay away from zebra crossings.

      In the UK a car will stop at a zebra crossing and wait until the pedestrian has completely crossed the road before moving. In Italy cars just drive around anyone on a crossing, normally without slowing down.


  14. Very funny! We just returned from a week in (north) Italy, where we drove, so I feel I can relate to this post now! We were often told to ‘follow the signs’ to various places only to find the signs often ran out. We once saw two signs to the same place right next to each other but with totally different distances on them. I also love how the red traffic light is at least twice as big as the others in Italy, as if to reinforce a point. However I have to say that Italians are still better drivers than the Germans. I bloody hate German drivers.


  15. And I thought Americans are all nutty drivers. Compared to Italy we have a “picnic” driving.

    The driving over there is a bit odd and dangerous. Moving to Italy put you in the “fast lane.” πŸ™‚


    • It is mad here, as soon as an Italian gets behind the wheel of a car, he changes.

      Some of the nicest people I know, do a Jekyle and Hyde as soon as they grab hold of the steering wheel.

      Driving in Italy is like being in a grand Nintendo game…. but with only one life. πŸ™‚


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