Italy Road Trip! Cruising in a Fiat 500L


You can aim the headlights low for when you’re in more urban areas and adjust back up high when you’re on the highway or out in the countryside. Around the towns, you run into these little 3-wheeler delivery vehicles. It’s not a big deal because the speed limit in these parts is only 30 or 50 kmh. Though 30 means 50 and 50 means 80 based on how the locals drive. 


Notice the roads are often narrow with no shoulder. People like to take a bit of a racing line around corners too, even this Toyota CUV with its tires touching the white divider line. I had originally planned to do some cycling, but after seeing how narrow the roads are and how people drive, I decided against it. This road had a speed limit of 50kmh and people were doing 70-80kmh. Nicky Hayden was killed cycling in Italy while I was there, which further convinced me not to get on a bicycle. 


The nearly vertical shaft going between the gas and brake pedals is the steering shaft. Like I said, you sit very upright in the 500L. It’s basically a CUV. Heel and toe? It’s not easy. The other thing is with the diesel engine, the engine response is slow when you try to bring the revs up on a downshift. I typically double clutch my downshifts in street driving, so with the clutch back out and the car in neutral, I’d hold the throttle down for about a second waiting for the revs to come up before finishing the downshift. A quick jab of the throttle that we would do in a gas car barely gets the revs to nudge with the diesel. 


The front cup holders suck for soda bottles. The cup holders are kinda conical in shape and not big enough in diameter at the bottom, so the bottles don’t sit all the way down. 


A small coffee cup from the gas station does fit and my water bottle stayed put. 



  1. Great article, thank you so much. I’ll have a 500L for five days to explore the Piedmont a little, using Turin as a base. Some very useful information, will look forward to learning how to double clutch shift.

  2. Thanks for the tips.
    I’m debating between a 500L and a diesel Clio. We’ll be driving from Salerno to Palermo in July of 2019. We are 2 people with luggage.

  3. The Clio will be more sporty for sure. Looking at the pics, the rear hatch may not be big enough to hold your luggage, so you’ll likely have to put them in the back seats which just means you might not want to stay parked long anywhere with the luggage in view. That’s a heck of a drive you have planned!

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