15 July 2011

Unofficial Car of Basilicata

Pre-2003 Fiat Panda
Fiat Panda

The local vigile drives an older model, the postina drives a newer model and it seems that one in five vehicles on the road in Basilicata is a Fiat Panda. The Unofficial Car of Basilicata. They are a very practical vehicle for this mountainous region with a high clearance, easy parking ability and very good gas mileage (40 to 50 mpg).

We have recently become the proud owners of this Unofficial Car of Basilicata, a 2009 Fiat Panda.

Soon after we arrived in Italy in 2006 we realized we would need a car and started to look in the Anzio area with the help of our friend Giorgio. We eventually found a car that was 10 years old at that time but with low kilometers and in very good condition. Five years and 100,000 kilometers later (we’ve seen a lot of Italy) our Ford Fiesta was beginning to require a few too many visits from the meccanico.

We visited several dealers in Potenza to look at the new vehicle offerings but they were beyond our budget. I also found it interesting some of the items that are options on a new car in Italy that would be standard items in the US: rear passenger seat belts and air-bags for anyone other than the driver?!

I did a lot of searching on Italian web-sites, local publications and some lots for a used vehicle more in our budget range. We mentioned our search to a local friend who told us his cousin had a used vehicle lot in Rome. We had met this cousin before, Osvaldo, who taught us how to find asparagi. We knew Osvaldo lived in Rome but he never mentioned he sold cars.

Soon after, we saw him in Trivigno and told him of our search. He asked what kind of vehicles and price range we were looking for and said that he might have some good deals coming on his lot, I started to ask details about the process to actually purchase a vehicle and Osvaldo just said “Don’t worry about it, you’re just like family”. This is true in that we know his mother, his uncles, several of his cousins, nieces and some nephews. The small town advantage.

Our "nuova" Fiat Panda
A few emails and phone calls later and we had agreed on this black 2009 Fiat Panda with low kilometers. We took the bus to Rome on a Saturday where Osvaldo met us at the bus station with our vehicle to take us to his lot where he and his wife finalized the paperwork; they are usually closed on Saturdays. Who says there is no customer service in Italy?

We are pleased with our purchase and look forward to touring Basilicata and more of Italy.


Louise at Abbastanza Buono said...

I really love reading about your adventures. It makes me miss our (part-time) home in Italy but also makes me feel connected. Thank you and Valeria so much for including the rest of us. Cari saluti, Louise

Gil said...

Looks like a real practical car. Happy Motoring!

Bryan said...

Louise - Thanks for the kind remarks, glad you can keep connected to Italy even when you aren't here.

Gil - Very practical!

Judy said...

As Guido gives up the ghost,
happy motoring in Enrico!
Small town life, where everyone knows everyone and everything ~ can be a very positive thing!

Bryan said...

Judy - Viva Enrico!

Steve said...

Nice ride! I think Fiat has started selling the 500 here in America through a deal with Chrysler. I have not actually seen any on the road though. The Panda can not be far behind.

Bryan said...

Steve - Fiat is an owner of Chrysler so you may start seeing more Fiat vehicles. Here Fiat is selling the "Freemont" which is a Dodge Journey with different labels.

We are enjoying Enrico!

Steve said...

We are enjoying our Enrico, too!He just competed in his first bagpipe event. Came in first in a field of one! He was thrilled none the less. His second competition will be in September.

Bryan said...

Bravo Henry!!

Barbara Larocca Myers said...

I am thrilled to be reading your posts. I am an American Larocca living in Newport Beach CA. My Grandfather left Trivigno circa 1880-1890. My family visited our wonderful Italian Family in 1997 and walked the walk in August of that year. We were fortunate to meet many of the family visiting from various cities throughout Italy. These memories are so precious and dear to my entire family.
We are expecting Osvaldo and family to be visiting with us in Az and CA next year. I feel the warmth and love of these wonder ful people through your blog.
Our boat is named Trivigno in honor of my Grandfather's
birthplace. In the salon is the picture of the flag of the region. Mayor Fanelli is my cousin.
Can you imagine our SURPRISE when this tiny village was featured on HHI??? Please share this with my family. Sending them all love and very best wishes. Keep your blogs coming. Watching you from afar.
Barbara Larocca Myers

Bryan said...

Barbara - We will let your relatives know of your greetings. Tonino is no longer the mayor but a very good friend of ours. We are honored to count many of the Larocca's as our friends in Trivigno.

Ash Kidman said...

Hi Bryan,
It's good to catch up with you and Valerie via your blogs again. We are getting ready to watch your HHI episode tonight. Love the Panda.....my first car back in England was a 1983 Panda and looked just like the white one except mine was red....it also had no brakes and the floor was rusted through so you could see the road underneath! I also had a Punto...loved my Fiats. Take care you guys!

Ash Kidman

Bryan said...

Ash - I can picture you in a Panda! I hope you enjoyed the HHI.