Italian town bans use of Google Maps after ‘too many’ people get lost

A town in Sardinia has “banned” the use of Google Maps after too many people got lost locally while using the app, local media reports.

Italian town bans use of Google Maps after 'too many' people get lost
A car being rescued by firefighters near Baunei, Sardinia, after following Google Maps directions onto an impassable road. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

The mayor of Baunei, in the Ogliastra area of Sardinia, has complained that people keep getting lost or stuck after Google Maps directed them down impassable roads and onto rugged hiking trails.

Several hikers have reportedly gone missing and “many” cars have become stuck in the impassable narrow roads of the Supramonte area after following directions from the app, the mayor said.

“Too many sedans and small cars get stuck on impassable paths, sometimes even off-road vehicles too,” Baunei Mayor Salvatore Corrias told the Ansa news agency.

“All this because you follow the suggestions of Google Maps which, on our roads, are often misleading,”

READ ALSO: 'Expect the unexpected': What you need to know about driving in Italy

Last year alone 144 people were rescued by emergency services after getting lost in the area – most recently, two tourists in a Porsche ended up stuck on a narrow mountain pass, reports Il Messaggero.

These rescues in remote areas prove costly for the emergency services and local authorities, the mayor said.

Local authorities are now placing signs near roads and paths saying “Do not follow the directions of Google Maps”.

“We're puttting them everywhere”, Corrias told the Ansa news agency, adding that the council has also complained to Google about its directions.

Baunei is located in a wild and mountainous part of the province of Nauro, north-eastern Sardinia, which is famous for its incredible white sandy beaches, beloved by tourists from Italy and abroad.

“The old paper maps are better”, Corrias said, “or better still, use an expert local guide from our area.”

Sardinia is not the only place in Italy where tourists get into trouble using Google Maps.

In Venice, despite a plethora of road signs in English and Italian warning visitors that they can't drive in the historic city, several tourists still cause chaos each year by attemptng to drive alongside the canals.

READ ALSO: Tourists blame Google for drive in car-free Venice


Member comments

  1. I am Italian, but I love to read your articles. On this occasion, yours about to “ban the use of Google Maps after too many people got lost locally while using the app”, it is really amusing.
    I laughed a lot reading it because it happened to me too during a touristic tour with friends in Sicily. The only thing that bothers me is that when I tell it, nobody believes me – except the friends were with me. Ciao! Daniela

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What you need to know about Italy’s free museum Sundays

Want to see the Colosseum or Michelangelo’s David for free? You can on Italy’s free museum Sundays.

What you need to know about Italy’s free museum Sundays

People across Italy will be able to visit museums for free once again this Sunday, August 7th, under the nationwide Domenica al Museo or ‘free museum Sundays’ scheme allowing ticketless entry on the first Sunday of every month.

First introduced in 2014, the offer was suspended during the coronavirus pandemic amid concerns about crowding but reinstated in April 2022.

READ ALSO: What to do in Rome this August

As tickets for major historical sites and museums in Italy often cost upwards of €15 per person, there are big savings to be made and the free Sundays scheme is understandably popular among both tourists and residents.

The remaining dates for the year are: August 7th, September 4th, October 2nd, November 6th, and December 4th.

Where can I go?

The scheme applies to hundreds of state-run museums, archaeological parks and monuments, including world-famous sites like the Colosseum, Pompeii, Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, the Reggia di Caserta and Trieste’s Miramare Castle.

The offer does not apply to sites that are run by local authorities rather than the state, though many cities run similar initiatives of their own.

READ ALSO: Nine ways to get into trouble while visiting Venice

Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

How do I book a free ticket?

In many cases you don’t need to and can simply turn up and walk in.

However, some venues such as Rome’s Galleria Borghese require advance booking, so it’s always wise to find the attraction’s website and check the rules before you go.

Are there any Covid restrictions?

Right now the Italian government does not have any health restrictions in place for museums.

The culture ministry recommends visitors wear masks, but this is no longer obligatory.

Individual venues – as well as local authorities – can however set their own requirements, so it’s another thing you may want to check before your visit.

Will museums be overcrowded?

This really depends on where you go. Italy most famous attractions always draw huge crowds in summer – free entrance or otherwise – while lesser-known spots or those outside the major tourist areas may be less chaotic.

But frankly, it’s likely to be busy in most places. The scheme was cancelled in 2019 (and then reinstated after a change of government) due to concerns about long queues and overcrowding – long before anyone had heard of Covid-19.

Some sites capped visitor numbers when the scheme was initially reinstated in spring but it’s unclear how many still do this.

What else should I know?

You can find a full list of the sites included and links to further information for each on the Italian culture ministry’s website here.