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How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL?

Many visitors who choose to travel by car end up needing to pay a fine due to violation of the ZTL – “Zona a Traffico Limitato” (Limited Traffic Zone). Find out here what it is, and how to avoid fines in Italy.

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How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL?

Foreigners visiting Italy are faced with local particularities for the first time, such as the restricted ZTL and, therefore, they are in trouble and do not know that entry into such areas is a violation of the Italian Traffic Code and involves a financial penalty. And how do ZTL work in Italy? How not to get a fine? ZTL? Stay with us and learn all about the famous and “painful” ZTL. Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”

1) How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL? ABOUT ZTL

This text will aim to clarify this aspect. We start with a simple question: What is a ZTL? It is an abbreviation for the “Zona a Traffico Limitato” (Limited Traffic Zone), normally established in areas of the Historic Center of many Italian cities, with the purpose of protecting the city’s historical and archaeological heritage, protecting the quality of life in the neighborhoods and encouraging the use of public transport, in order to reduce environmental and acoustic pollution of the site. The duration of activation of the service, and with it access to certain areas, is allowed only for authorized vehicles, it can vary from city to city and can distinguish between day and night. Also read our post with more tips on how to drive in Italy.

How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL?
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2) How not to get a ticket in Italy? ZTL? ACCESS ROUTES

The access routes to the ZTL are usually marked with a prohibition sign, complementary tables of the prohibition times and possibly excluded categories. Often, the ZTL is monitored by cameras that record the vehicle in transit and thus detect the vehicle’s license plate.

Many municipalities and cities of art and the favorite destinations of European tourists, have established the ZTL, especially in its Historic Center. Many tourists who do not know everything, do not know the signs or do not know how to interpret them correctly, will probably receive several fines, received after the holidays. To learn more visit our blog in the Driving in Italy section.

How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL?
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3) How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL? ACCESS AND PARKING

Access and parking in ZTL are allowed without authorization in law enforcement only for: security, first aid and emergency services, public and public interest services, vehicles authorized for the transport of disabled people, equipped with the correct identification.

All other drivers may pass or park at ZTL if they have a license, and in any case such permission is restricted to people residing in that area, holders of businesses, production or service in the region, offices and professional studies located at ZTL, for companies that need to carry out professional and medical interventions.

Attention to my reader’s Super Tip !!!!

Special thanks to Reader Marcos Fiori for his collaboration on the Blog Your Travel to Italy.

Reader Tip

“If the person has a mobile internet, I recommend Waze as an app for tracing routes, as it considers variable items such as traffic, works, interdictions and, as I said above, even knows how to deviate from the ZTL. If the person has no internet and wants to save money (not renting a GPS, which is a fortune), I HIGHLY RECOMMEND an application called “HERE WE GO”. It works online, but you can select an entire city, state or country (download the maps before you travel) and then, it will even work in airplane mode, that is, your phone becomes a perfect GPS, without depending on a SIM card, and COMPLETELY FREE . ”

4) How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL? ACTIVE ZTL 

The areas are marked with signs that indicate the start of the ZTL and when you can or cannot enter; are generally ‘active’ for predetermined time intervals. The ZTL therefore works normally only at certain times of the day and not every day of the week, in order to reduce traffic in a given area.

How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL?
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Foreign tourists who come to Italy and rent a car should be very careful with these warnings if they don’t want to have bad surprises; for example, when the sign shows VARCO NON ATTIVO (Entry Allowed) it means that vehicles can enter the area, unlike VARCO ATTIVO (Entry Not Allowed), which means that vehicles cannot access the location unless they have a special authorization. Read also How to get around in Italy?

How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL?
Source Flick

For example, crossed hammers indicate that ZTL allows traffic on Sundays and holidays. ZTL is generally active every day from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm. When you are on vacation in Italy, to avoid getting fines, you have to be careful with the signage and you need to find out, in all the art cities you want to visit, because each one of them has one or more ZTL. See here Examples of Itineraries with Car in Italy.

Paying attention to the signs is crucial because it is often a summary of a myriad of information, which becomes impossible to read and understand in the blink of an eye, while driving in the middle of city traffic.

5) How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL? YOUR IMPORTANCE

From north to south, Italian cities make extensive use of limiting vehicle traffic, mainly in the centers, but not only there. In most cases, the limitations are directed at four-wheel vehicles, excluding the ban on motorcycles and scooters. Between 2008 and 2015, the ZTL increased 5.1%, bike lanes increased 47.7% and pedestrian zones 27.7%, a sign of how municipal governments are trying to reduce the transit space for cars. For reasons of traffic or pollution, in order to improve air quality in the city, or for any other reason, or the growth in the use of public transport, the result is this, and not that it is a bad thing. For the fines, yes, but just a little attention is needed, see below for tips to avoid fines.

Important tips for not getting a ticket

  • Make hotel reservations outside the ZTL;
  • Make hotel reservations in smaller and less famous cities (you may be surprised at how much beauty you can find outside the classical tourism circuit.);
  • Make reservations outside the most tourist areas;
  • In big cities like Milan, Naples, Florence or Rome, you can use public transport and use the car only to go to another place further away.
  • Make reservations at a hostel, hotels close to the historic centers;
  • And in case of doubt, the main thing is to send an email to the hotel before making the reservation to check if it is located within an area with ZTL.

6) How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL? APPLICATIONS

As always: technology in our favor!

  • Recently, to help tourists and locals with the dreaded ZTLs, some excellent applications have been created for download on mobile phones.
  • The applications help to locate the ZTLs and advise the best alternative way to avoid the route that can generate a very high fine.

By entering the application store on your phone, you can download the one you like best. Among the best, free, are ZTL Alert and ZTL City. The apps show the ZTLs areas in all Italian cities and can help you A LOT! Waze also offers the option and tells you where the ZTLs are. Other great apps, but paid for, are: Zona Traffico Limited ZTL Italy, and ZTL Italy, To be quite honest: there is no difference between free and paid.


  • Some cities have an “exclusive” app, which shows only the ZTLs there! To find it, just type ZTL and the name of your destination city – remember that not all cities have the service.

7) How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL? ZTL LOCATIONS

How to understand where are the ZTL in the main Italian cities?

Just access this website when you arrive in each city:

Click here to see the ZTL MAPS

How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL?
Rome ZTL MAP (Source: Accessibilità Centri Storici)
How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL?
Florence ZTL MAP (Source: Accessibilità Centri Storici)
How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL?
Milan ZTL MAP (Source: Accessibilità Centri Storici)

Traveling by car in Italy

How about if I give you a rental car option? Are you ready for it? If you are renting a car be sure to read our posts in the section Driving in Italy on the blog Your Travel to Italy. In addition to car itinerary tips, we have everything about signage, tolls, roads and many more tips.

Don’t know where to rent the car?

We have a partner that can help you: Rent Cars! Have you ever thought about renting a car in Italy, without leaving your home? Click on the banner below to learn more! Search, compare and choose!


How not to get a fine in Italy? ZTL? Italy is a splendid country, a treasure of art, history and culture spread throughout the territory, and these Limited Traffic Zones are designed to preserve and protect this rich heritage that belongs to all of us. And if you feel insecure, have no time, and need help to organize your trip, don’t hesitate to contact me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy come true. And how can I do that? Keep reading this post until the end and you will understand how we make your life and your trip much easier. 🙂

Did my post help you? If so, be sure to post your comment below, but if you still have questions just send me a message I will answer you as soon as possible!

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