Over the past few years gasoline service stations in the US have evolved into large facilities with multiple pump islands and of course the ever present “convenience store” selling over-sized drinks, snacks and alcohol. Italy has a different view on the gas station, one that actually includes some service. Granted on the autostrada you find service plazas that aren’t much different than what you find along toll roads in the US (I read that Autogrille has taken over the plazas on the PA Turnpike). But many gas stations in Italy are simply that, a place to get just gas.
In cities it is very common to see a gas station that is little more than one pump and a small booth, all of which takes up no more room on the side of the road than what will fit on the sidewalk.
Many stations here are also operational 24 hours with no personnel on site. This is accomplished with pay at the pump facilities for either cash or bank cards. Cash still seems to be the prevalent method of paying for fuel.
The word “service” is also an actual part of most stations here. Many facilities will have “servicio” (full service) and “fai da te” (do it yourself). The full service is exactly that, no need to get out of your vehicle they will pump for you, wash your windshield and if you ask even check your oil. Many times if the full service line is slow I have had attendants pump my gas at the fai da te line also. Sometimes it seems like the attendants don’t want anyone else messing with their pumps.
And for those who complain in the US about the price of gasoline, here it comes out to over $6.00 a gallon.