I’ve been in Italy for 10 weeks and have driven it north to south, south to north and I’m still not sure how to use Italian filling stations. Mind you I’m still not sure who has right of way at unmarked roundabouts … but given the way that many Italians approach them I don’t think they know either!
In Motorway service stations the first thing you realise is that you don’t follow car signs for parking when in a Motorhome, you follow the truck and bus signs. However doing that for filling up gets you shouted at, you have to follow the car signs.
Next up is self-service and service pumps. The latter are up to 40 cents a LITRE dearer! So need to reverse out of those fairly sharpish.
Then there is paying. There are stations where you pull up, fill up and go pay in kiosk.
However others you have to go to kiosk, pre-pay certain amount and then fill up. Yet others you pay by phone app.
But the most confusing are the ones where there is a machine to pay by card and then fill up. Further complication is there is generally not one per pump so you have to input pump number. Just when you thought you were getting the hang of this type they have ones where one machine covers a number of pumps and another covers a different set … so you have done all the card stuff, look up to see what pump number you’re at and find out your machine doesn’t cover that pump, so start again at a different machine, or move Motorhome to different pump!!
Another issue is Italian opening hours which can appear fairly random. Best avoid midday to mid afternoon and late evening. This is not a problem at the card machine ones … as long as they work. I have pulled up at pump, got out and did the card thing at the machine only for someone to holler in Italian that it doesn’t work so fill up and pay at kiosk.
We have driven into filling stations, spent some time on the filling up game, given up and driven away without any fuel.
It’s not like each company has its own system, more like each location has its own variation. I’m now beginning to see why people will pay 40cents a litre more to avoid all the hassle!!
Then there’s LPG (GPL) which we need for cooking, fridge (heating haha!). This can only be operated in Italy by a filling assistant, and that’s when the opening hours drama really comes into play. Station open, kiosk closed, can’t get LPG.
A lot of things in Italy appear ‘designed’ to stop you doing stuff in auto-pilot. Refueling is one of those. Can’t believe many people put the wrong fuel in their car, by the time you have worked out which part of the forecourt you should be on, which set of pumps you need, how to pay, you are fully clued up to what fuel you should be putting in the car!
Having said all that we have managed to fuel over 4,500 miles of travelling round Italy so far 🙂