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Italy / Tourists Beware Traffic Fines

Italy Review updated:
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Cities of Pisa, Florence
After traveling in Italy by rental car in March 2008 I have now received 2 traffic tickets (8 months and 10 months later) stating I drove in "unauthorized" areas. The fines have been Euro85 and Euro 135 (if paid immediately). In Pisa, the fine is for being in the area around the Leaning Tower - we followed the signs as we entered the city ("this way to the tower") and then paid for a parking spot at a municipal machine near the tower area. The photo accompanying our fine claims no vehicles are allowed on that street without prior official authorization and that all cars without this authorization are photographed and fined. The traffic ticket from Florence was a similar scenario - we were fined from traveling on a street that led into a parkade where we paid to park our car for a day near the Uffizi Gallery. These are heavily visited tourist sites, and it seems abusive and unfair that the Italian police hand out such expensive tickets to unknowing tourists. They claim that international treaties support their right to collect these fines. My efforts to find out where the warnings are posted, and exactly what they say, have been unsuccessful. But future visitors to Italy should beware. Our rental car company gave us no warning of this restriction, and we did not spot one sign indicating we were entering a restricted area (we had 2 passengers navigating plus our driver). It's an expensive lesson we thought we should pass along.


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A  25th of Feb, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
There are many useful details related to this subject here: http://www.bella-toscana.com/traffic_violations_italy.htm
A  22nd of Jul, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes

Yes we just got 2 signs similar circomstances in Florence
After almost 1 year visiting Florence = 1 fine for each visit
Italian GPS provided by italian car rental company mislead us we are tourists trying to look at the map and no signs about that and all signs in Italian

Unfair practice by Italian goverment
If anyone knows the right authority or government to compalain and cancell the fines please let me know

A  25th of Aug, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
We have received 8 tickets, 3 in Florence in the famous restricted area zone near the Ufici. Each ticket about 105 euro or 150$. Some were speeding tickets by the automated systems on the highways (We may have been going 10 km/hr over the speed limit). Our rental car company "auto europa" has nailed our credit cards with 85$ x 8 = 680$ for processing these tickets alone! This does not consider the roughly 1200$ to pay the tickets. What if they double them for non-payment? I have driven in the US for 30 years now and have gotten 3 moving violations and no parking tickets, again in 30 years.
In Italy, you are notified months later, and as a tourist have no recourse to contest the fines. I consider Italy to be hostile towards tourists with these ticking traps. I would not drive again in Italy.

I also consider their historic site admission fees ridiculous as they charge 12 euros per person to enter the coliseum to non- eu residents, which is really discriminatory. So the Danish family doesn't pay, but my American family pays $ 85 to enter the coliseum and walk around for an hour.
BE REALLY CAREFUL IN ITALY, I was told to watch out for gypsies, but you really have to watch out from the government!
A  9th of Sep, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Just got back from three weeks in Italy. Vacation Dream of a Lifetime. Yeah Right. Our bank card identity was stolen in Venice (some kind of fake electronic device attached to an authentic bank!). Took a short flight from Rome to Venice, and Air Alitalia wanted $10 Euro PER KG over the bag limit of 20 kg per person or they wouldn't let us on the plane. (When we left home, we were NOT informed of this "domestic" flight limit) so we paid the $300 Euro so we wouldn't miss our flight.

Everywhere we ate, there were "cover charges" at the restaurants and cafe's. Out of curiosity, I picked up a reciept off of a table next to ours, and there was NO cover charge to those people, turned out they were Italian... getting the picture yet?

It gets worse. We also found that you had to check the price of the food on the menu and compare it to the actual bill. Many times the price simply went up two minutes after you sat down...once you bring it to their attention, you get a miserable little "oh, mistake mistake" comment...and an angry shuffle off to recalculate the bill...

Then, the traffic and parking tickets. Yes, there are NO SIGNS to indicate, even in ITALIAN, at many of these spots. I think the officers simply go around looking for car rentals and start slapping tickets on the windshields...afterall, what are you going to do? Well, I marched to the local Police Station that was just around the corner in Pienza, and the policeman shut the door and wouldn't come out !!! I buzzed and buzzed the doorbell, but they were probably just laughing their ### off at me inside...

One of the bed and breakfasts we stayed in, the husband and wife owners were bickering and locked us out of the use of the living room during the entire stay! And when we checked out, we were presented with another charge of $160 Euro for two meals! Luckily we had our original email confirmation that said the meals were included in the price of the stay... AGAIN, a miserable little "oh, mistake, mistake"

We are tennis players, and chose a hotel in Rome that showed pictures of a beautiful tennis court, so we packed our rackets (remember the extra charge from Alitalia?) and put on our new tennis outfits and marched to the court, , , which was a jungle. No one had played on that court for at least 20 years... Roots from the trees popped up everywhere, and nice flowers were growing in the cracks...forget the fact that there wasnt even a net.. So, we go to the front desk and ask "Would there happen to be a court nearby that we could play at?" But get this, all we were told is that the hotel plans on "resurfacing" the tennis court soon.. and they sent us on our way... WE just stood there looking quite silly, but at least we were spiffy!

We also paid a fortune to play golf at Monticello near Lake Como... and we rented clubs ahead of time.. only to find out that they didn't even HAVE a ladies set for me to play with, and the ones my husband played with, well, the guy just pointed to a wall and grunted... the wall had mismatched antiques to chose from... even the zippers on the bags were rusted shut! and there were no three woods in sight, and I didn't even get a putter! WE had to share!

And DON'T take a picture with a Roman Gladiator, , we had one chase us 1/2 way around the coleseum AFTER my husband kept telling him NO WE DON'T WANT A PICTURE! He insisted we pay him, and actually felt threatened by him and his wooden sword. (I actually wanted to give him money to make him GO AWAY, , , or buy some deodorant)...

I have to stop now, because there IS more, but I think the vein in my temple is about to pop. We have travelled ALL OVER THE WORLD. We have lived in four different countries...Italy is absolutely the worst place for thieves and liars, and that's just the goverment...

Maybe I should write a book, or start an email advice column for poor taken advantage of Tourists. Kind of like a Dear Abby for victims of Italy. Too bad, cause actually, the country is BEAUTIFUL.
A  23rd of Sep, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
We also got a ticket 1 year and 10 months after our 11/2007 trip to italy. We just got one from Rome saying we were driving in a limited traffic area without unauthorization. WHat BS!!

So the letter says it is "Notice of Payment before the Notification". Does anyone know what that means?

If I don't pay this bogus ticket does anyone know how/if i can prevent them from charging my credit card?

FInally does anyone know of any other websites where there is info/we can get some type of consumer movement going? If americans protest this by boycotting italy or something i wonder if we could impact these extortionist tactics.

thanks to any and all for help or info


A  18th of Oct, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
I received a 140 euro ticket from Florence in the mail a year after visiting. I was only in Florence to drop off the rental car, otherwise I never drove in the city. It took driving around in circles to find the car rental drop off. The rental guy told us to leave the car parked in front. No signs, etc.

I ignored the fine and never paid it. Three years later they have a US collection agency in LA calling and threatening me. I was told today I owed $473 and if I didn't pay, I would be arrested the next time I tried to enter another country. I offered $100 to be done with it.


After negotiating, he graciously said he could drop the price down to $390. I told him BS and ended hanging up after he argued with me for 15 minutes. Don't know what will happen next, but I know I will never visit Florence ever again and perhaps never visit Italy again. Next summer I'm going to Greece.

Stupid greedy Italians (this is the country in which my parents were born). I guess the Italian national government figures they have enough tourists and won't intervene.
A  21st of Feb, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Same here; 15 months after a week's vacation in Italy, got a ticket for "driving in a limited traffic area".
All letters are in Italian, or at best Google-translated to English. Phone # has call-routing voice response in Italian, and the letters have all sorts of funny amounts to them: starting 75 euro till about 320 euro.
I sent an English letter, and go no response. I am now sending it Google-translated to Italian (I checked the Hebrew version and it came out fine :-)). Hope for the best. Take care!
A  29th of May, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Similar is my case were I paid 150 euros in rome + 115 euros in florence for traffic fines (non authorized circulation ?). These fines are a bussiness for italy police contractors so they do whatever they can to get the money even using abusive methods and they don't care, there are so many visitors. I paid, I don't feel I'm protected enough from this people. Next vacations I go back to Spain or France which are much more welcome to tourists (I didn't have any fine on these countries). I wouldn't recommend Italy, there are beautiful places but so many bad experiences ...
A  29th of May, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Just an update. After about 5 months of not hearing anything, the California collection agency started auto-dialing my cell phone about 3 times per week with a recorded message. I just ignore it. They don't have any authority in the US. They can just be a pest. I just got back from Panama and Costa Rica. No problems. Treated nicely in both countries.
N  29th of May, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
One additional comment. If you tried to post these complaints on Trip Advisor, you would be hounded by a cadre of travel agents lurking as world-wide tourists that would call you an ignorant American that fails to respect the laws of a foreign country. Check out: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187895-i68-k1475356-Traffic_ticket_scams-Florence_Tuscany.html
A  4th of Feb, 2013 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I also got 9 tickets from 3 days stay in Florence (May 2012)! All of them are for restricted areas. I was not aware of this rule and the sign was in Italian. Interestingly, I have received two tickets from the same camera in less than half an hour!
AutoEurope have already charged my credit card for processing the tickets ($85 per ticket) while they were able to send everything in one package! They made much more money than the car rental (25 Euro per day).

Now I have to deal with the actual payments for the tickets. This has made a very bad and negative impression from my trip to Italy. If this was in Canada I should have gone to the court and make an appeal.
A  26th of Jan, 2014 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
we only have one ticket from being in a non signposted restricted area as a result of not knowing how to pay a toll bill. i have been emailing back and forth with the authorities who demand to see a receipt of a motel we stayed in. we offered about 20 of them but because none of the receipts were inside the locality where the fine was applied (obviously we were travelling through) they demand payment. its only $ 100 so its not the money but its the stinking principle. I have written to the Italian embassy in Australia about it but have received no response. Any suggestions? if i dont pay the fine will this put us in some difficulties if we ever go back. Like everyone says, its an amazing country. The problem is the dubious types who are running it. I am a 4th generation Italian. My great great grandfather came from their in 1858. No wonder the old guy got the heck out of it.
A  21st of Jul, 2014 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Thirteen months later over a minor local authority infraction I
just received a ticket from the Roma Police -
incredible - I guess I went down the street where my hotel was but needed
special authority (tough for a tourist to know). As a tourist from Canada I
spend thousands of dollars on my trip and planned to return next year again - because
of the pettiness and desperate money chase I altered next year's Europe trip to
exclude Italy.

No tourist needs this non-essential infraction chase - who
knows which other Italian local authority will still give me a ticket yet???? There
seems to be no recourse or time limit to these actions. I just paid the ticket
but that will be the last money I have spend on Italy.

Does Italian Tourism care?
A  22nd of Jan, 2018 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
My wife and I went to Italy for a 3-week honeymoon last summer, we have now received 4 traffic violation notices from Europcar, 1 in Rome, 1 in Florence, and 2 in Parma. Only one ticket has actually made it to us in the mail and it was the Florence speeding ticket for 5mph over for $180. Depending on the 3 others we're looking at $500-800, plus additional violations could be on the way. The Italian government thinks they're clever by setting up all these traffic traps, and you know they're traps when I've driven in California for 17 years and haven't received ONE speeding ticket, and then I go to Italy for only 3 weeks and get at least 4 tickets??? Talk about corruption. But anyways, I used to buy a lot of Italian-made wine, pasta, cheese graters, couches, Ray-Ban's, etc. Now I figure I need to cut about $500-800 in spending on Italian products, oh, and also never go back to Italy, which will cut $1, 000's. I probably spend between $100-$300 a year on various Italian made goods. About 25% of that goes to the Italian government as corporate tax, so maybe $50 a year on average. So I figure I have to cut about $700, at $50 a year, cut out a 2nd expensive Italian trip years from now, so I'm going to try not to but an Italian-made product for 10 years. And that's how you make the Italian government pay for it one way or another. I actually prefer French-made wine, cheese, Le Creuset etc, so I won't be affected much :)

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