'Forza, sbrigati! - Come on, move! ”The policewoman with the neat uniform and the immaculate white peaked cap is gradually losing patience. She stands in Rome at the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the numerous bridges over the Tiber, and waves a lazy Mercedes driver across the intersection.
The way to work is a struggle in Rome
In Rome, officials from the 'Polizia Municipale' are posted at critical points in order to make traffic a little smoother in addition to the traffic lights with hand signals. The problem: there are neuralgic points everywhere in Rome. 2.4 million vehicles, including around 1.8 million cars and 450,000 two-wheelers, are at home in the hectic metropolis. And every day what feels like 110 percent squeeze through the streets. The way to work becomes a daily struggle in which you should either have good local knowledge or a good navigation system - the network of crossings, one-way streets, bridges and tunnels is difficult to see through.
Bike sharing in Rome for 50 cents per half hour
Many Romans only move around in their own neighborhood every day, hardly seeing anything of the other corners of the huge city with its 2.7 million inhabitants. Rome has two large underground lines and a dense network of bus and tram lines, but that is chronically overloaded in rush hour. Just like in Paris or Athens, many people in Rome are on the move with mopeds or motorbikes. Atac, Rome's local public transport provider, has 360 lines with over 8,000 stops and even rental bicycles on offer. If you get a bike sharing card, you can take your bikes with you at many places in the city center and pay a usage fee of 50 cents for every half hour.
Traffic sins are severely punished in Rome
If you love your life, you should forego it, because as a cyclist you are at the bottom of the food chain in Rome and must have a very thick skin. “Partire in quarta” is an Italian phrase and means to get going with full steam. It literally means: start in fourth gear. And that's what the Italians actually seem to do when they have conquered a bit of free road in the daily traffic jam. We'll race for what it takes. Just don't get caught. For example, if you drive over a red traffic light, you will get plenty of points deducted from your traffic sins account. TheThe point system works in exactly the opposite way to the German traffic offender card index: innocent drivers have 20 points. In the event of violations, points are deducted until the rag is gone at zero points.
Italy's car market is the seventh largest in the world
Those who, on the other hand, are not guilty of anything for a long time gain points. The Italians grumbled at the system introduced a few years ago - and mostly continue as usual. According to a survey by the CAR research institute at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Italy's car market was the seventh largest in the world with 2.16 million vehicles in 2009 (Germany was fourth with 3.8 million cars). More than every second car sold in Italy is a small or micro car. In 2009, the Fiat Punto led the new registrations statistics with 182,741 cars, followed by Fiat Panda, Ford Fiesta, Fiat 500 and Opel Corsa. Only sixth was the VW Golf with 51,670 registrations. Close up was the Lancia Ypsilon, a small car that you hardly ever see outside of Italy.
The streets of Rome cannot be imagined without the Smart
Due to the scrapping bonus, by the way the German car market has become more or less “Italian” in 2009: VW Golf, VW Polo, Opel Corsa and Opel Astra led our registration statistics. In 2008 the VW Golf was also in first place, but this was followed by the larger models Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class and 3-series BMW. It is impossible to imagine Rome's streets without the Smart. With the City-Zwerg, the permanent parking space shortage can be elegantly circumvented, because parking with the rear facing the curb is expressly allowed. So the Smart will find a place even in the smallest gap, where it usually makes itself comfortable with numerous mopeds. Rome is a “smart city”, so to speak: Almost every third Smart that has been sold in Italy since 1998 has been registered in Rome. Among the 20 best-selling cars in Italy, the Smart ranked 17th with around 29,000 units, just behind the Alfa Mito and ahead of small cars like the VW Polo or Peugeot 107.
The Smart Cabrio is the best-selling convertible in Italy
The open Smart is the best-selling convertible in Italy. The most popular engine is the 71 hp version with automatic start-stop. Smart has sponsored the Rome marathon for eight years, and this year a very special city-hopper will lead the field: the Smart Electric Drive. If the electric runabout is at dealerships as planned in 2012, it should develop into a bestseller among environmentally conscious Romans. There are already compact electric buses on the road in the traffic-calmed zones (ZTL), which also come around corners in narrow alleys. Atac also has a small network of charging stations for electric cars. Cars are only allowed into the ZTL zones during the dayGet a special permit.
There are many old Fiat 500s in good condition on the road in Rome
It is also in the small alleys that time sometimes seems to have stood still. You can still see many Cinquecentos (Fiat 500) from the 50s to 70s, which are often in good condition but are still used as everyday cars. When an Ape tricycle rattles by and Italian hits can be heard from the ice cream parlor next door, you almost feel transported back to the picture-book Rome of past decades.