Parking is when I’m thankful for these little European cars. When there are parking lines, they’re painted for a normal-sized car like we’re used to in the US; however, nobody pays attention to the lines so the smaller your car, the easier it is to find a spot it will fit in.
Most parking signs are either ignored or negotiable, depending on how long you want to park there. Double-parking is also common, which is a pain if you need to leave right away. I was double-parked by the market once. Not recommended if you plan on leaving before noon.
When parking your car, it’s “okay” to nudge the cars in front and behind. I haven’t seen this done when someone was in the other car, but otherwise nobody seems to concerned about bent license plates or scuffed bumpers. It’s also acceptable to park half your car on the sidewalk to allow room for traffic to pass. Also, if you like your side mirrors, fold ’em in.
Parking doesn’t have to happen in any particular direction, either. If your car will only fit perpendicular to the curb, then park that way. If there’s only room for one wheel to touch the curb, and the rest of your car is hanging out in traffic, that’s okay too. Nearly all spots are of the parallel variety, except for Smart Car drivers who get to park however they want. It must be nice driving a cube.
Most cities have four categories of parking: yellow spots, for residents with a parking pass; blue spots, for people with more money than brains; unmarked spots, which are great if you can find them; and parking at any of the above without a pass (or where signs forbid it), which is good for stops up to a couple hours.
If you’re in the group of people who want to pay for a parking spot, you have to buy a permit from a nearby Tobacchi, or Tobacco shop. I’ve been told that some cities don’t bother to enforce the parking, and the Tobacchi will tell you not to bother paying for it if that’s the case.
Once I started parking like a Sicilian, I was astonished at how easy it was to find a parking spot.