When I first wrote about this odd looking Crosswalk to Nowhere, I thought it was just that--a crosswalk that came from nowhere and went nowhere. There was an older house on the other side of the old wall. On the other side of the road was an impenetrable hedge with a field beyond. This whole installation must have cost tens of thousands of Euros. It has its own solar powered street lamp, signs on posts, speed bump and fancy reflective painting. There are no intersections here. A straight road behind and the curve up ahead. Vineyards and farmland. The location was just outside of San Gimignano.
But recently I discovered (while looking around on Google Earth) that I was all wrong about what this was. You see, this is a speed bump, usually installed in pairs in the rural countryside to warn drivers that they are coming into a tiny hamlet--of which there are many in Italy. One is installed on either boundary of the hamlet warning drivers to be alert for the possibility of pedestrians (farm workers, mostly) crossing the road ahead. In other installations, only one is in the middle, with wide white bars painted on the roadway from either direction leading toward the speed bump.
I thought this was a waste of money, but now that I know their real use, I think it's a sensible idea. If I lived in a tiny borgo like this, I wouldn't want drivers speeding through at full speed, either.