A cliché within a cliché

For the week at Positano we booked the smallest rental car we could. For those of you who know the roads and the local drivers, this makes perfect sense. We were aiming to be the smallest target possible.

The rental turned out to be a Fiat 500 – the quintessential Italian car.

On top of that we were offered the cabriolet version which meant the chance of open air motoring on fine sunny days. How could things be any more classically Italian.

Our road trips were all cream scarves blowing in breeze, polka dot print dresses, white linen shirts and designer sunglasses. Truly la dolce vita.

Our little Fiat made trips down to the village for groceries (no one wants to carry heavy shopping bags up the hill at Positano during summer) and over the hill to Sorrento to explore old haunts – as well as the hour and a half drive to and from Positano.

The bonus was returning it undamaged – no mean achievement given the roads and drivers of the Amalfi Coast.

Farewell Renault, hello Fiat

On Saturday we returned our trusty Renault Megane Estate. Its 6 month lease was over and we couldn’t extend the term any further. It has been a fantastic car – reliable, spacious, comfortable, fast, economical, everything you could want. We returned it almost intact to the Renault Depot at Heathrow, just a couple of scrapes on one side resulting from trying to squeeze into a narrow driveway in Firenze.

We will miss its luggage capacity, its start/stop button (just like an Aston Martin) and the way its side mirrors folded in when parked. We won’t miss its cable gear shift which meant that second and fourth seemed to be in the same place, or the cacophony of beeping that greeted any parking manoeuvre thanks to the front and rear parking sensors.

So what car would you get as a replacement for a capacious, comfortable estate car? A Fiat 500 of course.

The irony that all through Italy we drove French cars and now in the UK we drive the quintessential Italian car is not lost on Jean and I. The irony that we have an estate cars worth of luggage and the 500 is about the size of a roller-skate is also not lost on us.

But it’s a Fiat and a really good one at that. It handles like a go-cart, it looks cute and it just makes you, well, smile.

It’s ours for the next two weeks or until Mr Avis wants it back again.

Note: The photo of our Fiat 500 was taken at Woburn Estate just before sunset. I quite like this shot.