The Cinquecento (chinkwaychento) is a little Fiat 500. They are an enduring model seen everywhere in Italy. The picture above is a 1957. Rome seems over-run with them. Italians love them. Lingering in a piazza, you might hear a fire truck coming and notice the Cinquecento drivers gearing down as it nears. They do so to wait for the fire truck to pass, sirens and lights blazing, then they tuck in behind it like a chain of car toys and follow it through the red lights, waved through by those suave looking policemen in dark blue uniforms and white gloves. It seems chaotic but in Rome, efficient. Insurance costs are very high in Italy, so some drivers don't bother, but the fine for driving without insurance is minimal so if caught, they simply pay the fine. It is not uncommon to see a family having lunch in their Cinquecento while parked on the street. Perhaps they cannot afford the benzina to run it but owning a car is a prestigious thing and they may make use of it for picnics on Sundays! Walking the ancient streets of the Eternal City you see these imps everywhere and they take on a personality of fun and light-heartedness with a drop of espresso. Inspiring some, (me) to write the song. Ciao, bella, see you on the Via Veneto, I'll be driving the red Maserati.
Cinque Cento tiny little auto ever driving on the streets of Rome
Cinque cento little cinque cento does your mother ever take you home?
turning this way quickly darting that way do you even know which way to go?
Who commands you? What is it that bands you all together running to and fro?
Black and white ones nearly out of sight ones ev'ry colour that you've ever seen
Red and green ones even in between ones some are dirty and some more are clean.
Dancing gaily you can see them daily if you sit in a piazza here
They are made with little cookie cutters and you'll see them any time of year.
(Chorus) Now you know this little happy gnome has become a lively part of Rome.
Sweeping motion absolute commotion they are running like the fountains here
An illusion? Are they in collusion? They just never seem to disappear
Swirling swaying as if they are saying "Come and join me in the fun today,
there are places and so many faces I will show you if you come my way."
Cinque cento one ev'ry momento you may meet one anywhere you go
Cinque cento small as a pimento the Eternal City makes them grow
with the sunshine they run on the red wine Don't you count them 'cause you can't keep score
If you own one make sure it's a lone one I have heard that they can have one more...
If you own one make sure it's a lone one I have heard that they can have one more.
© RC Westerholm SOCAN
The new 2011 Fiat 500 now in North America