The first signs of summer traffic are starting to arrive on the Amalfi Coast. More and more buses arrive each day, which means the return of the inevitable mini traffic jams. The one above was caused by a poor tourist who had decided to rent a lovely Mercedes for a day on the Amalfi Coast. In this moment, however, he was about to add some not so lovely scratches down both sides of his rental car by trying to squeeze through too small of a space between the bus and the wall. Some guidance from a friendly local helped him back out of the tight spot and make way for the bus to get through. The locals deal very well with the bus traffic here generally, but I can’t blame the tourists who decide to drive here for not knowing what to do. I just feel sorry for them as they grimace and flinch their way along the Amalfi Coast, because they don’t have time to enjoy the beautiful views along the way.

Update on the my driving lessons: Yesterday we found a very small parking area that was level where I could practice. I think I might get the hang of this eventually! Thanks to everyone who commented and shared their driving stories on the Amalfi Coast. It is great to know I am not alone in this driving adventure!

8 Comments
  • Lola

    That picture says it all! I’ve seen sooo many of those situations in Positano, Amalfi etc. Those monumental buses and the forlorn foreigners in their squeezed vehicles! That’s why I always advise my out-of-towner friends visiting the Cosiera to get cars with chauffers. Nothing beats limo service, in my opinion. Ciao cara and keep up the driving (you’re a local now, you’re exempt from criticism):)

    March 27, 2009
  • LuLu

    Wow, it always fascinates me how in some of these small towns the locals whiz by like it’s nothing. In my father’s town the streets were never meant for cars and it really is a tight squeeze…in some parts of town you actually have to turn your side mirrors in or you won’t fit through.

    March 27, 2009
  • Annika

    It’s strange that I have never yet been afraid on any of those roads. The scariest trip was probably that from Amalfi to Ravello, but even that went okay. I’m afraid of speed as well as heights, but I trust the bus drivers completely, they have to be some of the best drivers in the world.

    Must not forget the car sickness pills though!

    March 27, 2009
  • Chef Chuck

    Yes Laura, I had a few lessons on that those turns! If you are not use to driving with some pressure and one lane areas, don’t try the Amalfi coast!!

    March 27, 2009
  • Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura

    Weren’t they mean’t to pass a law forbidding those large buses from travelling along the coast?

    I always catch the earliest Sita bus possible to go to Salerno then the ferry back!

    March 28, 2009
  • Laura

    Ciao Lola! Monumental is a great way to describe how those big buses look on the Amalfi Coast road. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem like they will fit, but the drivers are really something. I would also recommend anyone who isn’t a bold and adventurous driver to hire a taxi service as well. For not too much money you will have a much more relaxing drive and don’t have to worry about parking. Most limo services seem to have Mercedes, so you still travel in style! I don’t think anyone is exempt from driving criticism in Italy. At least not based on what I hear my boyfriend say when he drives and all the gestures I see on the road! 🙂

    Ciao LuLu! I still flinch sometimes when my boyfriend drives through certain curves. I can’t help it! The wall just seems so much closer from my viewpoint on the passenger side. The side mirrors on our car have been broken so many times. There are some tight spots on the road up to where I live that you have to put your mirror in when you meet another car. Fold in the mirror, take a deep breath and squeeze through!

    Ciao Annika! I’m not afraid of the roads here at all. At least not like I probably should be! 🙂 There are some terrible drivers here, but that is the same all over the world. I am more afraid of those bad drivers than the road. With all the curves here, it only takes an instant and something terrible can happen. I agree that the bus drivers are really amazing here. There is one SITA driver I don’t like (and it has to do with a scary incident on that road from Ravello to Amalfi!), but all the rest I have encountered are very good. Motion sickness pills are a must! I used to have terrible problems with that as a kid, but fortunately it seems to have gotten better. Otherwise I would have to take it everyday! 🙂

    Ciao Chuck! I agree! It is going to take some time before I am comfortable venturing out much on the roads. Hopefully by the end of the summer!

    Ciao Scintilla! Yes, they did pass that law about the length of buses. Most of the buses you will see on the Coast now are the smaller 10.5 meter buses. But you are right that the one in the photo is a 12 meter bus. That is a complicated topic, but one I know a lot about since my boyfriend is a guide. Briefly, bus companies based on the Amalfi Coast can still use the 12 meter buses for the time being. Also, recently, it seems that drivers who live on the Amalfi Coast can drive 12 meter buses. So you can imagine all the fudging that is going on. The law, while not a bad idea in theory, was not very well thought through, and the timing with the economic crisis particularly bad. It is going to hurt tourism on the Amalfi Coast, which in turn is going to impact a lot of people. All for a silly meter and a half. Doesn’t make any difference on the road at all. A bus is still a bus if you need to pass it. The Coast has made a really mess for itself over a meter and a half.

    That’s the viewpoint coming from the tourism industry here – the guides, the travel offices, the restaurant and shop owners. I would love to hear what residents like you think about this issue!

    March 28, 2009
  • Pyzahn

    One of my most exciting — and frightening — experiences was on a tour bus on the Amalfi coast. My vertigo was not well served with views from the coach straight down the steep hillside.

    While staying Sorrento, I had a bad case of bronchitis. I stayed in bed to get strong and had to miss the trip to Capri.

    I took myself out for a lunch and a sweet Italian man/boy offered to give me a scooter ride. We zipped in and round the curving roads to create what remains one of my best memories.

    I send my thoughts and goodwill to you and this beautiful corner of the world.

    March 30, 2009
  • Laura

    Ciao Pyzahn! Thank you for stopping by and for the nice comment. Sounds like you had quite and adventure! I haven’t been on a scooter anywhere on the Amalfi Coast, but your tour sounded exhilerating. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and good wishes!

    March 31, 2009

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