Driving, then is not a positive experience. On the whole, I find Italian drivers do not deserve their reputation. They drive at speed and with little regard for officialdom, but (at least in the north) I found them courteous and good humoured, and very, very alert and skilful. I never felt intimidated or at risk. There are some oddities, however, such as this symbol for a speed camera:
—an old fashioned bobby's helmet, in fact. Funny that that should be such a potent symbol of policing in Italy.
And then there is another curiosity. I should introduce this with a passage from Bill Bryson's Neither Here nor There:
But the most preposterous law of all, a law so pointless as to scamper among the outer margins of the surreal, is the Swedish one that requires motorists to drive with their headlights on during the daytime, even on the sunniest summer afternoon. I would love to meet the guy who thought up that one. He must be head of the Department of Dreariness. It wouldn't surprise me at all if on my next visit to Sweden all the pedestrians are wearing miners' lamps.
I'm afraid, Bill, that there is a law that is even more surreal. The same thing is now law in Italy. The land of sunshine! There we were, pounding up the miles at a steady two miles a fortnight (about as fast as you can go in much of the Veneto, on account of the traffic) in the blazing midday sun with our headlights on!