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I just received a traffic ticket from our Italy trip (3 mos. ago)

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Oct 7th, 2010, 11:01 AM
  #1
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I just received a traffic ticket from our Italy trip (3 mos. ago)

This week, in the mail, I received a Notice of Payment before notification from Polizia Locale di Varenna.

It indicates our rental car was "parked inside built-up area, in a forbidden zone according to by-laws".

I don't know if this is true, b/c I don't recall (obviously) what any signs might have said. We stayed at the Villa Cipressi, and we were told by their front desk staff to find a parking spot along the side of the road, which we did.

Nothing was left on our car - but perhaps that it not the protocol for traffic tickets in Italy?

Is it typical to receive notice like this via the mail and not on the car - and this much later?
karens is offline  
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Oct 7th, 2010, 11:06 AM
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Yes, very typical. You parked in a Zona Traffico Limitato, which is illegal. Whether or not you noticed the signs is irrelevant, as is whether your hotel mistakenly told you to park there. There ARE signs, even if you didn't see them. ANd yes, it's typical to get the notice months later.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 11:09 AM
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"Is it typical to receive notice like this via the mail and not on the car - and this much later?"

So typical that we get at least 3 or 4 threads a month asking the same thing
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Oct 7th, 2010, 11:14 AM
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I'm trying to gather information on how to avoid just such a situation, so thanks for posting Karens!

We'll be in Florence and Pisa.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 11:22 AM
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Just curious... How much is the fine?
Jean is offline  
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Oct 7th, 2010, 11:25 AM
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Central Florence and Pisa are both ZTLs; do *not* drive in central Florence or Pisa. You can drive into central Florence to load or unload or to park in a garage - *if* the hotel or garage notifies the authorities in advance - but you can't drive around.

Why would you want a car to start with? If you're only going to Florence and Pisa, they're both eminently walkable cities and extremely well connected by train.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 11:48 AM
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Zerina - we're ultimately driving to the Nice, France area where we'll be staying for about a week after this quick trip to Florence. I have a thread going on it if you click my name.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 11:49 AM
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...but here's the question and I'm not looking for a lecture on morality...what can they really do if you ignore the ticket? Can they ban you from entering a Schengen country? Does the statute of limitations eventually run out? Personally, it almost seems as if it is a tourist trap to get money from unsuspecting tourists...I know; I read all the pious discussions how you have to obey the rules hwether you like them or not. I understand that but if there was no intent to violate a law, there usually are mitigating circumstances. It seems as if in these cases, you don't get a chance to defend yourself. You are guilty as charged something alien to American law (yes I know you're not in America) so the question remains, if you don't pay the ticket, are they going to come and get you and extradite you back to Italy? Knowing the possible consequences might help you make a reasonable decision.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 11:55 AM
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cynstalker, I do hope you're not planning to leave that car in France - you don't need it in Florence and Pisa, and you'll pay a hefty fee to leave it in another country.

And no, you won't get extradited, but you might never be able to rent a car in Italy again.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 11:59 AM
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Already factored that cost in, StCirq - thanks. It's 265euros, and it still worked out to being cheaper than flying from Florence or Pisa to Nice and then renting the car there for the week. I have other questions in my thread if anyone has the time to click over to it. Thanks!
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Oct 7th, 2010, 12:06 PM
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>>it almost seems as if it is a tourist trap to get money from unsuspecting tourists...<<

That's where you're wrong; 86% of traffic fines handed out in Florence is to Florentines and other Italians.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 12:18 PM
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Some good friends that live in Florence but not in the area where residents can drive and park leave their car in a small city in the Region of Veneto where one of their family lives. They take the train back and forth when they need to use their car as even though they are Italian they received too many citations in the past when they first moved to Florence and didn't notice the restricted signs. So, as our Zerlina posted, residents of Florence and other Italians receive the citations also.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 12:25 PM
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xyz - I don't know about in Italy but in the Netherlands they check to see if you have any outstanding fines when they check your passport. If you do you must pay them on the spot or not be allowed into (or sometimes out of) the country.
And because you haven't paid the fine within a set time it is doubled, then quadrupled - which gets to be seriously expensive.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 12:33 PM
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Yeah but Hetismij....two things. First of all I entered the Netherlands less than a year ago through Schiphol and was entering form the UK so I had not gone through Schengen passport control so had to go through passport control there and they didn't run my passport, they just looked saw it was a USA passport, stamped it and that was that. And of course, if you enter the Netherlands overland from Belgium or Germany, there is no longer or almost never a passport check because of Schengen regulations so that seems not to matter...it seems to be a different world now. Not that I'm saying it will never happen of course.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 12:47 PM
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het: You're saying they won't let you into the country if you have an unpaid parking ticket? Wow. And I thought the Iranians were tough?
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Oct 7th, 2010, 01:18 PM
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You may be able to get the hotel to contact the police and let them know you were a guest. If you had to travel thru the ZTL to get to the hotel they may be able to help you out. Most drivers are aware of the common traffic laws and obey them. The ZTL's are a "horse of a different color" and there needs to be more info spread around to warn drivers.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 01:33 PM
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http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...m-florence.cfm

This is a link to an ongoing thread about traffic fines in Florence.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 05:13 PM
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First they can charge ou back through the rental ar agency - which has your credit card info. Second, they could put your name on a watch list and if you try to rent another car it could be a problem.

Finally - if you parked or drove in the wrong place - why would you think you are justified in not paying? If you get a parking ticket in another state do you ignore that too? (I know some people routinely do this - they're called scofflaws.)
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Oct 7th, 2010, 05:20 PM
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I know it's common exactly the scenario you describe, only because I read about it frequently here on Fodor's.
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Oct 7th, 2010, 05:53 PM
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I once got a parking ticket in Montreal...I remember it very well...I didn't think it was justified and I didn't pay it...besides, the ticket was improperly filled out. It was supposed to have the color of my car. I had a red car at the time. The officer wrote rouge...sorry not my car.
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