Tuesday, 17 May 2016
Petrolhead visits Rome
When I visit somewhere overseas, not that it happens very often, I like to see what the locals drive. It serves as a reminder that you’re somewhere different. When I first visited France in the late 1980s my abiding memory was of the sheer number of Citroen Dyanes driven by the population of Britany. Return visits proved disappointing as the French seem to have largely given up on driving interesting cars; just as the French industry has given up on building interesting machinery.
The Italians, it seems, do things differently; as demonstrated by my recent holiday to Rome. While the majority of Romans drive the same small hatchbacks that are popular across Europe there are plenty of vehicles that you don’t see every day in England.
The FIAT 500 that made its debut in the 1950s is still a common sight in Italy’s capital. Its small size seems ideally suited to the tight streets and tighter parking spaces in the city.
Even the 500’s successor was represented, albeit by a single example.
The original FIAT Panda was also well represented, sometimes looking a little tatty but clearly still appreciated by their owners.
Keeping with the FIAT theme it seems even the Caribinieri hangs on to its old motors. There were a few 1st generation Fiat Puntos but the example was probably the tidiest.