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A trip to Italy is filled with bucket-list items, including renting a vehicle to drive along the famous Amalfi Coast.
Every adjective you can think of applies. The trip is stunningly beautiful, as it literally hugs the Tyrrhenian Sea with scenic views from Positano to Ravello to Amalfi. It is historical, traveling some portions of the road that was built centuries ago by the Romans. And it’s somewhat frightening, as the drive is perched high above the water on limestone cliffs with numerous hairpin turns on already-tight roadways.
It’s also ridiculously congested, resulting in near-constant traffic jams.
Now Italian officials are doing something about it.
According to an article on CNN, a new plan went into place earlier this week to limit the number of tourists driving the Amalfi Coast road. The Italian government said that a 22-mile stretch between Vietri sul Mare and Positano will operate on a system based on license plate numbers. Plates ending in odd numbers can only use the road between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on odd-numbered days, and plate with even numbered-endings can use the road on even-numbered days.
That includes the large tourist sightseeing vans that also populate the road, which at times narrow to a single lane as it passes through 13 different towns.
The rule will be in place only during the tourist season on weekends from June 15 to September 30, and every day during the month of August. Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday in 2023 will also be included.
“It’s started again this year – you can’t drive at weekends, people are trapped at home,” Angela Infante, deputy mayor of Vietri sul Mare, told CNN. “You have to drive incredibly slowly because there are so many cars, and often it’s completely blocked. Apart from anything else, you could have an ambulance (trying to get through) and anything could happen. We have to limit the heavy traffic.”
One man said the plan is much-needed despite what it might mean to his business.
“We’re basically flooded for four or five months a year, and residents have difficulty both parking and using the car to get from one village to another,” Fausto Salsano, who owns B&B Vietri Centro in the town, told CNN. “Unfortunately, the Amalfi Coast’s beauty is in its location, with the towns constructed along the cliffs, so parking spaces are minimal and there’s rarely room for maneuver. … Obviously we’ll lose clients, but it’s for the good of the towns. If you don’t restrict traffic, the roads get blocked and you can’t find parking. There’s no other option.”
Others aren’t so sure.
Antonio Ilardi, the president of Federalberghi Salerno, a tourist organization made up of hotel owners, called the plan “a disaster. It discourages tourists. It makes it impossible to stay for an odd number of days. If you arrive on Wednesday, you can’t leave on Thursday. It’s not like you can send your rental car back on Amazon.”