One Saturday evening, we received a phone call from one of our friends in Itri, asking: “What time our local road was going to be closed tomorrow?”. This was the first we had heard of it, but we were soon to learn that, on Sunday, our normally quiet little lane was to be transformed into a race track . Evidently the local residents had been given little or no prior warning of what was due to take place, a car rally on their doorsteps. This is Italy !!!
Come to think of it, we had noticed an increase in noisy traffic that day, presumably as some contestants had been familiarising themselves with the route.
This 3 day event over 11-12-13 of June 2010, was the very first Gaeta Rally which consisted of various trials and heats over different course routes: http://www.rallygaeta.it/home/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=3
The finishing line of the Sunday race was to be located down by Itri Cemetery.
So, not quite knowing what to expect, the following day, we braced ourselves for the off. In the morning, a marshal, dressed in a high visibility jacket arrived on the stretch of road outside our house and on the sharp bend proceeded to put up a “safety barrier” consisting of a reel of red and white striped plastic tape, tied between the olive trees up the side of the road.
A blue and white Polizia car then drove around the course with siren sounding loudly, followed by the official marshal car with its yellow light flashing.
Before very long we were to hear the screeching of tyres and the revving, roaring and intermittent loud backfiring of highly tuned internal combustion engines reverberating around the valley.
We must admit it was somewhat exciting to watch, but the dogs, poor things, were in totally awe of the proceedings.
This mayhem continued intermittently all day, with only a 45 minute pasta break at lunchtime.
By 7 pm we felt we had had quite enough excitement for one day, and we were more than glad to revert to the normal peace and quiet of the Italian countryside.
All photos by me © Louise Shapcott