That's because, in Italy, like in many other countries, you have to call a cab by name. Or, you need to head over to the spots where the taxis are beached and catch your cab. They're easy to spot, because there are dozens upon dozens of these white elephants lounging as if they have just had their mid-day snack in the Bush. A few blocks away, dozens of people are busying themselves waving their arms as if trying to keep away a swarm of bees.
There are plenty of sites dealing with the dilemma of taking taxis in Italy, and I've listed some tips in the Caveat Emptor section on my Travel Tips Page on my official blog. Rome was recently voted the worst place in Europe for getting ripped off by taxis, but generally, that has not been my experience. And besides...it would seem that Naples wasn't in the running, or most people just don't bother with the Naples taxis in the first place - which is a very good thing. As for the Roman taxi drivers, they're way nicer than those chip-on-the-shoulder Milanese ones but then again, the Milanese never ever refuse a doggie passenger. In that business capital of Italy, they know a customer when they see one.
|Picture from http://www.mollicone.it|
Italian Taxis wait for a fare
But what to this day still never ceases to amaze me is the standstill of the Roman cabbies. They cite the cost of gas, which I can understand, although they pay less than the rest of us. It's also by law that they can only pick up at the cab stands, so there is that to contend with as well. But, every time I see them amassed there, swapping stories, reading newspapers, while the vast majority would rather hop in a cab than wait upwards of 30 mins for a bus ride, it just makes me wince.
|Picture from http://www.vostrisoldi.it|
New York City cabbies - always on the move
I don't know how one could ever break the literal standstill of Italy's taxis without suffering politically, but just once -- I would love to take the whole cabbie union on a field trip to New York City. Heck, we don't even have to go that far. Barcelona or Màlaga would do. Finally, they could see firsthand what a dynamic day they could be having in their aerodynamic vehicles, whisking people here, there and everywhere--instead of using their time to catch up on the news and soccer scores.
And just think--tourists would love it, because then, not only would they no longer need to wave their arms in the feeble attempt to catch a cabbie's attention, they'd finally blend right in with everyone else on the sidewalk.