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    Driving in Italy - What is a ZTL and how to avoid it?

    When in Italy it's important to gain a good understanding of what 'Zona a Traffico Limitato' (ZTL) are. The following guide will explain what these are and how to successfully avoid them. It will also inform you of where the ZTLs are located and what you should do if you enter one.

    Restricted Driving Zones in Italy – Frequently Asked Questions

    When driving your car rental in Italy, the most common reason for receiving a fine is by accidentally entering a ZTL. Most of the time, tourists are unaware of the existence of ZTLs and what their road signs mean. Due to this, Auto Europe has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions.

    What is a ZTL?

    The 'Zona a Traffico Limitato' or ZTL as they are more commonly abbreviated too, are certain areas within a city where the traffic is restricted. These are generally always in the centre of cities or towns – but do not exist throughout all of Italy. However, if you are planning to visit a major Italian city such as Rome, Florence and Pisa, then expect to come across a ZTL designated zone.

    How do I know that I've entered a ZTL?

    Reading ZTL signs when driving in ItalyAlthough it is clearly signposted and obvious that you are entering a ZTL, if you do not know what you are looking for, it can be easily missed. Signs are located at the entrance to these zones, including numerous cameras to record your vehicles number plate. A ZTL sign consist of a white circle with a red border – with the wording 'Zona Traffico Limitato' clearly displayed. Underneath the circle, is information regarding the actual restriction, operating times, etc. All this information is set on large white rectangular background. Please note that once inside a ZTL, you will not see any other markings or signage to notify you that you've entered a restricted zone.

    I see others driving inside a ZTL zone, but why can't I?

    Each city ZTL has different restrictions, although, in general traffic types that are allowed into these zones are residential and public transport. Just because you may see other vehicles circulating inside, does not mean you may do so too. Always pay attention to the ZTL sign and the information it is displaying.

    What do I do if my accommodation is located inside a ZTL?

    If you're staying within the ZTL zone, it is vital to get the place you are staying at to register your vehicle's number plate with the local police. In doing so, they will also need to specify the duration of your stay. Registering is normally free; however, you should confirm this before proceeding. Confirm that this has been successfully done before entering a ZTL – otherwise you will be fined.

    Please note, that if you are allowed to drive within the ZTL zone where you are staying, this does not mean that you will be allowed to enter other ZTL's within the city. It is best to avoid other ZTL's altogether for greater peace-of-mind.

    What if I accidentally enter a ZTL?

    If you accidentally enter a ZTL with your vehicle you can expect a fine. Surveillance cameras are located at entry and exit points along the ZTL, if you are caught on multiple cameras, you can expect to receive multiple fines.

    How much is a fine for driving in a ZTL zone without authorisation?

    If you enter a ZTL without authorisation then you can expect a fine of between 80€ to 300€. The exact amount can vary between zones and cities. In addition to this fine, you will also in most cases receive a traffic violation fine from the car rental supplier. The amount will vary between rental suppliers and shall be charged directly to the credit card you supplied at time of pick-up.

    How can I be fined for entering a ZTL zone, if I am no longer in Italy?

    Once your vehicles registration number is caught by the cameras, the vehicle will be traced back to the car rental supplier by the police. In turn, the car rental supplier is then obliged to provide details of the driver, including an address to where the fine can be sent. In addition, you may also be charged a further administration fee directly to the credit card you supplied at time of pick-up.

    Why wasn't I warned about the existence of ZTL at the time of pick-up?

    Onus is on the driver to be fully aware of any countries local road rules and regulations.

    Why do ZTLs even exist and isn't it just another way of making money off tourists?

    The sole purpose of a ZTL is to minimise the effect of heavy traffic in zones of historical or cultural importance. Restricting traffic lowers pollution and improves air quality within these areas. Furthermore, it allows for the creation of more pedestrianized areas and safer environments, especially in parts of the city with a large concentration of tourists.

    Maps over Popular Italian Cites and their ZTL zones

    Rome ZTL Map

    Restricted Driving Zones

    Florence ZTL Map

    Restricted Driving Zones

     

    Milan ZTL Map

    Restricted Driving Zones

    Pisa ZTL Map

    Restricted Driving Zones

    ZTL zones - Driving Tips

    During your time in Italy you may consider using a GPS device to try to avoid ZTL zones. Please note, that generally GPS devices do not provide data on ZTL areas, meaning you may inadvertently enter one if solely relying on your navigational device. The lack of ZTL data on your GPS device is due to these zones ever-changing boundaries and regulations. Your navigational device will normally also calculate the shortest route, without taking into consideration whether you will enter a ZTL.

    Other useful resources when travelling in Italy

    Driving Information in Italy - A guide to Italian road rules and regulations.

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