The one who doesn’t honk is a tourist!
And you want me to drive here with the Porsche?
More than two million vehicles pass through the historic and sometimes super-narrow streets of Rome every day.
You can not overlook it, nor ignore it, and your nose also gets a good dose of smog.
Imagine the worst traffic jam on a two-lane road. Now, add moped and scooter drivers coming from everywhere, who go from one side to another. Because this is still understated, imagine people making four lanes out of two Technically, it does not fit, but people still do it. To all this, add crazy honking and freaking heat. Et Voilà!
Our trip with the Porsche Travelclub included a 2 day driving convoy through the Roman countryside. However, we had to pick up our cars from the Porsche Center in the middle of Rome. Just thinking of having to steer a beautiful Porsche through this traffic jam made me sweat from fear.
In a nutshell: an awesome whip.
All that was quickly forgotten. We were allowed to drive the new 911 Targa 4S in mahogany metal. A super beautiful car and just the right model to cruise through the late Italian summer.
After the safety instructions and the insurance requirements, our Porsche polonaise set in motion. At the top of our convoy, there was the guide in a Macan, we followed behind her in the 911 Targa and then two 911 convertibles made up the rest of the convoy. Oh yes, many passers-by stopped and looked at us and some gave us thumbs up. Although I’m sure that if it had been a Ferrari column, they would have been more euphoric. Of course, it took us quite a while to get out of the city center of Rome. And no, driving was not really pleasant there, but the further we got from the city center, the more empty and beautiful the roads became.
This is where the pope went on vacation.
Our first destination was near Lake Albano, the Castel Gandolfo, home of the famous Barberini gardens. The papal summer residence was often used by almost all popes. In 2014, Pope Francis opened the gardens to the public. Visitors must register in advance. Guided tours are offered in different languages and are compulsory. There are beautiful long avenues of ancient trees, huge geometric patterns and coats of arms of hedges and flowerbeds, terraces, fountains, statues, frescoes, excavations, cryptoportories and much more. Actually, you could spend days on the 55-acre site. Unfortunately, we only had two hours. Here are some impressions:
If you are interested in guided tours of the gardens of Barberini or the other Vatican Museums, here is a good overview.
To the sea.
Our journey took us from Rome to the Mediterranean Sea via Latina. Directly overlooking the water and bright sunshine, we made our second stop. We had lunch at il Fogliano, a very stylish, modern restaurant. The location, view and food were excellent! On a full stomach and very happy about the wonderful weather, we moved on. Many small country roads and serpentines took us to Fiuggi.
Fiuggi – with cloche and glamor – as in ancient times.
Our hotel in Fiuggi was a five star Grandhotel, built on a hill above the city in 1913. Unfortunately, we did not get there before it got dark. The Grandhotel Palazzo della Fonte welcomed us with chandeliers, marble, parquet, thick carpets and murals. A real Grandhotel from old times, a bit tufted but with lovable charm.
After we arrived, there was just enough time for a shower and to jump into our suits and evening dresses. Our group came together at the round table and felt a bit like we traveled in time. The 4-course dinner was served by individuals wearing white gloves, with cloche – that is, a serving bell – and plates with gold rims.
We were so tired after the excitement and the food. The next day we started early and I had far too little opportunity to look at the hotel and also Fiuggi in peace. So, I cannot reasonably write much more about the hotel itself.
In the morning, the view from the room window looked promising.
You like to drive straight? Then this is not for you! Curves, curves and more curves.
On the second day, we left for Rome right after breakfast. Narrow curves and serpentines through dreamily sleepy landscapes made the trip a lot of fun. The motto is: brake, steer, gas!
Our group was quite homogeneous when it came to driving skills, so we didn’t have to worry about somebody falling behind. I was particularly impressed by a driver from Lichtenstein, I guess she was in her mid-60s, incredibly elegant, very delicate, fine and reserved. But woe! When madame sat behind the wheel, there was not much restraint to be seen. Always hard on the gas, very safe and confident. Chapeau!
The driver in her Marcan at the front of the convoy warned us by radio about oncoming cars or other obstacles. For example, stray cattle that just stood in the middle of the road.
The closer we got to the core of Rome, the less attractive the traffic became again. It was already evening when we returned the car to the Porsche Center and said goodbye to it. Taking the minibus, we went to our hotel in the heart of the city. Two days of pleasurable driving with many impressions of the Roman countryside had gone by in no time.
(Translates by Barbara Riedel)
Interested in Driving Experiences? Off Road Training with Land Rover