Apparently Italy is not the worst place in Europe for road traffic fatalities. I think it might be France, where they are even more murderous behind the wheel.
But whatever. If you plan to rent a car and drive here, you’ll need to know what to do when the (almost) inevitable happens: call the ‘vigili’!
The ‘vigili urbani’, otherwise known as the ‘Polizia municipale’, is the local police force which is responsible for the less-exciting law enforcement duties such as directing traffic and checking foreigners are residing where they claim.
They don’t get to wear medals, or trousers with crimson stripes down the legs, as the Carabinieri do. Nor do they much feature in TV whodunnits, played by fotogenic actors and actresses, like the Polizia di stato.
Nevertheless, the ‘vigili’ have a vital role. For a thrilling read, check out the ‘Polizia municipale’ homepage on the local authority website for Bologna, where I live. They have a FAQ page that contains just two Frequently Asked Questions:
C’è una bicicletta in evidente stato di abbandono sul suolo pubblico, cosa posso fare?
A chi devo rivolgermi per sapere quanti punti ho sulla patente di guida?