Posted by: debrakolkka | February 28, 2011

Marco saves the day – again

Roads and bridges in our area were built long before there were cars. They probably started out as mule trails and gradually widened to allow horses pulling carriages. At around this time, most of the houses that still exist in the village were built. Once cars appeared it was too late to build roads wide enough to carry 2 lanes of traffic easily. A corner of our house was removed at one stage to allow enough room for cars to turn the corner onto the bridge.

The roads on either side of our river are now major thoroughfares between Lucca and Abetone and on to Modena. The roads are always busy with cars and sometimes very large trucks. On occasion these trucks find themselves in the wrong place and have to turn around and go back the way they came. This involves crossing the bridge. This is all leading to my story about Marco, the traffic warden. He is not really traffic police, he is the lovely Marco of Ristorante Vinicio fame, but he leaps to the fray when needed.

A truck event happened yesterday and I was on the balcony to watch. I grabbed my camera in time to catch some of the action, which I will now attempt to describe.

The truck decides it needs to cross the bridge. To do this it needs to do a 6 point turn to get in the right position. In the meantime, traffic edges closer and closer to the truck. This is when Marco appears to get them out of the way so the truck can do its thing. I missed getting on film Marco actually pushing Edoardo’s car(with Edoardo in it) out of the path of the truck. I may have been laughing too much.

Marco leading the truck across the bridge

showing the way

I could almost touch it

looking for cars coming the other way

the truck edges closer to the corner

the Carabinieri arrive

around it goes

raking over the details

I detect a smirk

This was a very tame truck event because there was not a lot of traffic around. The best ones are when the cars back up and the drivers leap out and shout at the truck driver and each other, blast each other with their horns and get really agitated.  People visiting our apartment return with tales of traffic events that have kept them laughing for half an hour or more. In summer when there are more people and cars about you can sit on the balcony with a glass of wine and watch the spectacle unfold.

Click here to see Edoardo and here to find out more about Marco


  1. I’m going to have to show this one to Brian, he could be Marco’s ‘traffic warden brother’ Hilarious!

    • Marco is one of our favourite Ponte people. He is generous to a fault and the first to offer help if needed. He also makes a good traffic cop.

  2. talk about laughing have you seen

    • No, but I will.

  3. Aaaah….I remember watching from your balcony those perpetual traffic jams during August 2006. One time, the roads were cleared for a bike race. Really hilarious to observe the way the carabinieri attempted to clear those ‘roads’! You describe the incidents very well, and your pictures are a gem, Deb.

    I am pleased to see your pansies still alive and looking jaunty.

    • It is hard to believe that watching a traffic jam can be so much fun.

  4. Love your post! You are a wonderful writer. I now live in the United States but spent many summers in Bagni di Lucca in my youth (in Brandeglio to be exact, where my mother was born), and come back there occasionally, and you really capture the spirit of the place!

    Speaking of traffic, I remember going to Lucca from Bagni with a gentleman who was going EXTREMELY fast on those narrow roads you describe so well. I had a few heart attacks along the way when he passed long trucks with little or no visibility. He really seemed to enjoy the thrill.

    He was a jolly soul too. I remember asking him if he liked driving. He looked at me with a puzzled look and replied: “no, perche?” (“no, why?”).


    • Thank you for your lovely comments. I recently obtained my Italian drivers’ licence and now tackle the roads in my trusty Toyota. I don’t like driving here at all. Not a day goes by that I don’t have a terrifying moment. Italian drivers are very skillfull, but they take major risks. I can’t believe more people aren’t killed on the roads here. There is a lengthy description of my drivers licence experience on the blog if you are interested. Just search for Drivers’ licence or look in Official stuff in Italy. I hope we meet at the Bar Italia one day.

  5. So one visit to our place in Crasciana, outside Bagni-my rental car was spurting and making odd noises-My daughter and I coasted down the mountain into town and this sweet man had to put his arm around me and tell me I had put in the wrong gas! but no worries-he said to top it off with the appropriate gas and it would eventually mix up and out…which I did, and it did…the man at the Farmacia also told me NOT to tell the rental car company as they would make a big deal out of nothing! ha

    • We put petrol instead of deisel in our car by mistake and it cost us 700 euro to have it flushed out – in a German town one Saturday afternoon. You were lucky!

  6. Haha cars and Italy! 😛

    • Yes, it is quite different from Australia, which is one of the reasons we love to come here.

  7. That sounds like fun, I can imagine sitting there sipping on a glass of wine & enjoying the show 🙂

    • It is fun in an odd sort of way.

  8. We caught the bus a couple of times from Como to Tremezzo and how hair raising was that. On the right hand side of the bus the walls flash by seemingly six inches from your face. Some houses with the front doors directly on the street have 30cm round stone bollards either side of the door to give the person leaving a sporting chance of seeing what is coming before stepping out. At one point in a village, on a bend, the bus we were on had to stop and slowly negotiate past an oncoming semi trailer like the one in your photos. Quite an education!

    • An education we could probably do without.

  9. Oh what a fabulous story! I love it! So glad you managed to catch this classic Italian traffic situation on film. LOL.

    • I wish I had got the picture of Marco pushing Edoardo’s car out of the way.

  10. Good job Marco! I can’t believe the trucks would even try to get through there.

    • Incredible, isn’t it? They do it all the time, and we are always amazed.

  11. Italians are so helpful when it comes to getting people to where they need to go, we had a memorable experience in Sicily where a cop got in the car just so he could show us the complex one way route out of town we needed to know to find a certain Slow Food restaurant.

    • Some are very helpful. Marco is particularly so.

  12. […] here to read more about our good friend Marco and here to see Marco in his roll as traffic […]

  13. […] is lots to see and do, or you can just sit on a balcony and watch the village in action. Click here to see Marco solving traffic problems. Deb's pretty balcony  Friends who have stayed in our […]

  14. […] in the way of controversial, so I thought I would show a bit of village life with the post called Marco saves the day – again. Marco plays traffic […]

  15. Hurray for Marco! Every town probably needs a Marco!! I can imagine this traffic spectacle being quite entertaining, most especially when accompanied with a glass of wine 🙂

    • It happens all the time. Trucks are really too big to go across our bridge. Marco is always there to direct traffic.

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