Ligurgia, Italy: Autostrada dei Fiori and Azzurra

This is a road for Ferraris. Just get rid of the other cars and the speed limits.

We drove from Grimaud to Lucca, which takes 5 ½ hours in the car. Two hours of this drive are on the Autostradas dei Fiori and Azzura, which run from the Italy/France border to about La Spezia, on the border of Liguria and Tuscany. When we were in Norway, the number of roadway tunnels south of Trondheim amazed us. I think the highway in Liguria surpassed the number of tunnels we travelled through in Norway. And when we were not in a tunnel, we were often driving on a viaduct bridge that crossed over an often ravine-like valley. Towns crowded the mouths of these valleys at the Mediterranean’s edge. Sightseeing if you are the driver is not advised. The road was rarely straight and you had to be constantly alert. The highway is a divided road with two lanes in each direction. That was the good part. There are no shoulders, only SOS pullout spots. The on and off ramps have very short merge/exit lanes with 90 degree turns, which means you have to be alert to slow cars if you are in the right lane when going through these zones. There was almost constant roadwork, so there was extra signage with different speed limits. The speed limits would shift from 60 to 80 to 90 to 110 to 130 in very short time intervals. I kind of gave up on worrying about the limit and drove an even 90 – 110 like most other people. Traffic itself was a challenge. There were the multitude of truckers who have a speed limit of 90 Kmh and the Mercedes owners who are flashing their lights behind you in the fast lane wanting to pass even if you are going 130 Kmh.  Weaving between the slow trucks in the right and getting out of the way of the speeders in the left lane meant lots of lane changing. It felt to me like driving on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco for two hours, with lots of curves thrown in. My hands were tired from gripping the wheel after this drive.

Oh, and as we found in France, the Autostradas in Italy are toll roads. The cost from the border to near Lucca was 32.50 Euro.

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