Italians have a great passion for coffee, for food (notably offal in Rome), smoking (basta!), football (you should have heard the horns honking after the 2-0 Italy-Rep. Ireland match last night) and cars. It’s fundamentally evident in the language: la macchina means the machine, but it’s most commonly used to mean the car. The machine is the car. The car is the machine

They love their cars. I did read somewhere that around the turn of the millennium, Italian per capita car ownership exceeded that of the USA. I can’t find that stat now. This list on Wikipedia (of vehicles per capita, not specifically cars) has them at 10th in the league table of vehicle-crazy nations. Monaco is first (surely Monaco is small enough to just walk everywhere? Crazy). The US is second. The UK, perhaps surprisingly, is 30th – good for the UK. That’s a sanity point in the UK’s favour.

Anyway. So Italy is still up there. 690 cars per 1000 population.

This car obsession was re-iterated to me this morning not by an encounter with Rome’s daft traffic but by an exchange I overheard between a thirty-ish mother and a three-ish daughter.

“Mummy – what kind of car is that?”
“That’s a Chrysler dear.”

This child was certainly starting young. And a girl to boot. Would you ever hear a three-year-old British girl ask that? Maybe, but the cultures I’m a little more familiar with – British, New Zealand, even US via the old remote viewing of movies and TV – it’s the males who grow up to be petrol-heads.

1 Comment

Filed under Main thread, Rome

One response to “Macchinaphilia

  1. Ma

    No, on the whole English little children are not interested in the make of vehicle. Having said that,Anna was most interested in our new car – though I think it was the material of the seats which did it for her!

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