If you’ve ever driven around Rome, you can feel my pain. The pain of a girl who’s been driving a car in the Eternal City since the age of 18.
I’m not talking about the obvious Lungotevere jams and the dreaded (never-ending) Roman rush hour, the worst part of driving in Rome are not the cobblestones, the holes or even the traffic. It’s the parking spot.
Rome was definitely not built for cars. Maybe for chariots, but not for cars!
Anyone driving a motorino is immune to the Eternal City’s parking situation.
But for those driving a car, we have to cope with the Roman jungle.
Competition is on.
The proverb “patience is a virtue” was probably invented by someone that spent most of their time in Rome searching for a place to park. Patience, is definitely something you need.
But there is one factor that few drivers possess, and that is definitely a must-have in surviving the parking jungle of the Eternal City: the luck factor.
Luck my friends, is something you need. Never go in search of a parking spot with someone that has sfiga – or bad luck – trust me.
Let me tell you the hierarchy of luck when it comes to parking in Rome:
1. Il posto sotto casa
It’s the spot under your home. Or under the place you need to be at. It’s the luck you have when it’s raining, you forgot your umbrella and you find a parking spot right under your house/work. It’s the purest form of luck.
2. The nod
When you ask a person if he/she is “leaving” and they nod: it’s a moment of extreme satisfaction. You know the universe wants you to have that spot. Your day has come!
3. Strisce blu di domenica
Everyone knows that Sundays are considered festive days in Italy. Which means that we ain’t got to pay for the parking spot. How good does it feel to park on strisce blu – for hours and hours – without having to pay? It feels good.
4. Strisce bianche
It’s a moment of joy. You find them and you think God is looking over you. It’s one of the best parking spots in town: no need to pay.
5. Without strisce but where they will never fine you
When you park in a place without strisce, but a place where you know you’ll never be fined! It’s like having the thrill of breaking the law, but you’re not actually breaking the law.
6. Strisce blu
It’s a good moment. Not so much for your wallet with the 1€/hour fee, but hey, you found them! No need to waste more gas searching for another spot!
7. Half on strisce blu half on pedestrian crossing
It’s illegal to park on pedestrian crossings – of course – but when the situation is real bad, Roman drivers get so mad they park anywhere. The best thing is when you park halfway on the strisce blu and halfway on the pedestrian crossing. It’s that moment of uncertainty; it feels like you’re embracing risk. And of course you pay that 1€/hour fee, in the hope that the police sees you’ve paid and closes an eye! Badass.
8. Parcheggio sul marciapiede
When people are desperate, this is where they park their car: on the sidewalk. I don’t care if it’s not allowed, we’re all doing it.
9. Doppia fila (double row)
When you’ve been circling and circling for over 30 minutes and no luck. You’re late and you’re frustrated. The doppia fila is something embedded in our daily lives. You put your car in doppia fila at the grocery store, when you go to the pharmacy, even when you want to buy that nice pair of shoes. You usually do it for a short period of time (and if you’re a well-mannered person, you’ll also leave a note indicating where you are). But when we’re desperate, we may just leave it there for hours (often without a note). And expect never-ending honking from the cars in the first row.
Can you relate? What is the worst place you’ve ever parked in?