You would think that with the Italians being an excitable people and the traffic being a bit chaotic, there would be a lot of road rage here but no. In general, traffic flows fairly smoothly and people are tolerant and forgiving towards each other. This was brought home to me a few days ago when we had an unfortunate incident.
Parking space is at a premium on the little hill where we live and one (not me!) has to parallel park within inches of the cars in front and behind. Imagine how disconcerted we were when we got into the car and it wouldn’t start. Fidz thought the battery had somehow run down so he decided that he could likely start the car by putting it into gear while letting it roll down the hill. First the car had to be extricated out of the parking spot so with me steering and Fidz pushing and cursing, we somehow managed to get it out. Let me just say that it would have been easier with a tin opener! The road down the hill is not only very narrow but also winding so I was very nervous about this whole approach though I didn’t have a better one to propose. Well imagine our dismay when we reached the bottom of the hill and were unable to get the car started. It just gently ground to a halt right in the middle of the road coming up to a busy intersection. Fidz went off to get help while I waited in the car practising what I would say to the carabinieri or other people who stopped to find out why we were stopped in that critical location making a two way street now a one way in both directions. To my surprise, nobody honked, cursed or complained. Cars, buses, vans and even a small garbage truck just made their way around the car when the opportunity arose, without any fuss. After about 45 minutes, a mechanic arrived and jump-started the car and we went on our way. It was just amazing to me and I couldn’t imagine people being so tolerant in many other cities.