Driving in Sicily: A Wall Struck My Car

February 5, 2010

I don’t claim to be the world’s best driver. Not by a long shot.

But I never had actual accidents till I started driving in Sicily.

Look at this. It’s the center of Ragusa Ibla. Could you squeeze through these streets?

Narrow Street in Ragusa Ibla, Sicily

I feel little stabs of fear bumping over the S-shaped lanes of Sicilian hill towns.

I’ve torn off a side-view mirror or two. A bumper or two. Never hit anybody, though.

You can’t blame me. There was this one time when a wall came out of nowhere and hit me. Then there was the time a mirror jutting out from a parked Fiat struck my car.

Motorcycle in Narrow Sicilian StreetThis guy has the right idea. Drive a motorcycle in Sicilian hill towns. It’s really the only vehicle that fits.


Here I am–a straniera of a certain age–trying on a little Vespa for size. What do you think? Should I? Could I? Darest I?


Tourist tip: Get full collision coverage when driving in Sicily. But don’t let the idea of driving on the island worry you unnecessarily: it’s an absolute joy to drive on the open road in Sicily. By the way, Kemwel is the cheapest car rental consolidator I’ve found for Sicily. They’re professional and fast about following up on accidents and suchlike. Ask for your AAA, ARP, whatever discount AFTER they quote a price.(Just please don’t mention me or this post if you contact them! Yikes. They’ll never let me rent again. )


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10 comments to Driving in Sicily: A Wall Struck My Car

  • susan ploplys

    Hello Jann,
    Your Blog is a dreamscape for me. Joe and I now plan to work a few more years in Denver but we may be able to travel to Europe in a couple of years because we’re putting off retirement. Our summers are free. Maybe someday I will really find myself awake in my dream. Susan

  • that looks scary..but surely just takes time to practice!Thanks for these nice photos.

  • This doesn’t only happen in Sicily. One time while going to the caverns in Frasassi, near Ancona, my boyfriend and our two friends went off the road we were supposed to continue following. We followed this tiny road and came upon two buildings that were nearly touching. We just managed to squeeze by. The sideview mirrors were only about an inch away from the corner of the walls. Yikes!

  • jodi talsma

    I’m with Sandee, go with the Vespa and the turquoise is adorable! Fun to read your blog. Take care now and watch out for those walls jumping out!

  • sandee wheeler

    Absolutely! Go with the Vespa! And that color in the picture is a must! Turquoise looks good on you! Feeling young again?

  • Your photos remind me of Toledo, Spain where, as a pedestrian, I often had to plaster myself against slightly-recessed doorways to allow a compact car to pass. It’s a small price to pay for such ancient charm. I say go for the scooter! You look great on it, they’re fun and obviously a good size for Sicilian-sized passageways, er, roads.

    • jann

      Ah, yes. The “ancient charm” and the price we will pay for it. Oddly, I’ve met many Sicilians who aren’t impressed by “ancient charm” and would like nothing better than to get to a new place like New York… Go figure.

  • Lexi Morgan

    This post cracked me up!!! I once was with my godfather and had to back up on a curvy hillside road to find a place to turn off so another car could pass!Nail biter!

  • This post made me smile! So many times I have been lost in the labyrinth of tiny streets in the sicilian towns. I drive a mini cooper, and still find it difficult to navigate. However, I often find the best photographs hidden down these tiny alleyways.

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