Italy / Tourists Beware Traffic Fines
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.