If you’ve ever driven through Italy for even just a slither of time, then you will immediately relate to the title of this post. For those that haven’t, then hang around for the ride. I’ll try and give you some insight on what you can expect…
As with France and Spain, Italy has expensive Toll roads, which over time have replaced the smaller free and typically, more winding main roads in these countries.
Don’t get me wrong, these Toll roads are a delight to drive on (even though I’m not the driver…yet) and very well maintained, with designated Services along the way. So, of course, you spill your pockets out onto the bitumen every time you drive on one of these. Apparently the cost is for the upkeep or probably for someone’s personal deep pockets – did I say that?
It appears that when you’re driving on the privately owned Italian Toll roads, especially in the north of Italy, more often than not, you will drive through a tunnel…or more like many many tunnels. The length of a tunnel is sporadic and depends on the depth of the mountain that it was blasted through. A tunnel can be anywhere from a fleeting moment in time, or kilometres in length.
The result of driving through a tunnel that is slightly longer than a fleeting moment in time is: GPS Signal Lost! Assuming of course you are actually using a SatNav, which has become an essential piece of equipment in Reg (our wonderful motorhome) and slowly replacing our paper map…remember those?
The loss of signal is not a real problem…most of the time. I say most of the time as typically the signal seems to be lost at a most crucial point. Such as coming straight off a highway and into a busy city or town, when the GPS proves vital! It also becomes a tad boring hearing the drone of Lizzy’s dulcet tone: GPS Signal Lost every 5-10 minutes, it seems. Just feel like ripping her plug out and putting her to rest!
It’s also a bit of a drag seeing the inside of lit tunnels whilst driving through a countless number, on a 200-kilometre drive. Even the internal lights become pretty when you’re bored! This is a real shame as when you surface for air from these voids, there’s a 5 or 10-minute glimpse of spectacular scenery and just a tantalising tease really, before you’re swallowed up by another dark vortex…I’m going in. Perhaps a slight exaggeration as tunnels are well lit all the way, but you still need headlights on at all times.
I understand that Italy is very mountainous, especially in the north. And that these roads had to be blasted through massive mountains or small hills accordingly. All I’m saying is not only is it expensive to use these roads, but you don’t see much of the country at all, so you may as well fly everywhere! On the other hand, having experienced a few non-toll roads, I can honestly say that the state of these can be quite bad.
I know there are loads of motor homer’s out there that don’t use Tolls because of the cost but perhaps you’re more experienced than us when driving a Sherman tank down narrow cobbled laneways. I take my hat off to you guys out there doing it tough! Perhaps one day, we’ll do the same, but for now, it’s back to dishing out the cash!