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ZTL Zones and Traffic Cameras on Roadways and in Towns in Italy

Jane Parker (Jane)

Be aware of traffic cameras in the Chianti and Florence (Firenze)!

Driving in the Chianti can be fun and easy. Narrow two lane roads wind through vineyards, forest areas, stretches of patchwork fields and charming towns. It is easy to be lulled by all of this and forget that there are traffic and speed laws to be followed. Thankfully, authorities have made it fairly easy to avoid tickets and to be good citizens and visitors, but it is important to know the signs and the laws.

Traffic Cameras on the Roads

In much of Tuscany and increasingly in more areas of Italy, it is common to have roadside cameras that clock your speed and license number. If you are exceeding the limit, you will be ticketed. A ticket will be sent to the address of the person to whom the car is registered. If you are driving a rental car, the ticket is sent to the rental agency that then bills the charge to your credit card. Usually this will not show on your credit card statement for several weeks.

To assist you in staying within limits are grey camera boxes along the side of roads, including on the motorways. These are the traffic cameras which note your speed and license number. Just before the box is a sign alerting you to the fact that the camera lies ahead. Italians always slow down for these boxes as should you.

Sign telling you a speed camera is ahead
"Fixed speed measuring box"

Speed box on side of the road

Speed Limits

Speed limits, September 2003

In 2003, new speed limits came into effect:

  • 50 kph in towns/cities
  • 90 kph outside of cities
  • 110 kph on divided highways
  • 130 kph on the Autostrada

Limited Traffic Areas in Florence (Firenze)

ZTL (Zona a Traffico Limitato - Limited Traffic Zones) are found in many Italian cities and towns. It is critical in Florence to be aware of the ZTL signs and restrictions. Failure to adhere will cost 82 euro each time you enter one of these areas.

Often the tourist will not be aware of having crossed this line until several weeks later when:

1. a ticket arrives in the mail or

2. the rental agency places a charge on a credit card.

There is always a sign telling that a restricted traffic area lies ahead. Look up and you will see two cameras mounted high above the street. One will take your picture as you enter the area and the other will take a picture of your rear license plate.

This is the start of a Limited Traffic Zone.
See the two cameras ready to document your entry?

How to Read the ZTL Sign

It is good to know how to read the sign. For instance, this sign indicates that it is a restricted area between 7:30am and 7:30pm (19:30) from Monday to Saturday. The crossed hammers on the sign indicate these restrictions do not apply on Sunday and holidays. If in doubt as to what the sign says, always err on the side of caution.

It is permissible to drive to a hotel within the restricted areas or to a parking garage, but, it is imperative that the hotel or garage call your license plate number into the police. This will give you safe passage. Do not assume that this call will be made, ask them to make the call and then check later that it was made. To be safe, keep your hotel or garage receipt in the event that you do get a ticket, then you can challenge it.

In addition to the call, entering a plate on the list to allow access will cost €1 euro instead of being free of charge. Those with disabilities should call 800 339891 before entering the ZTL zone.

Parking in Florence

Another point to know in Florence, assuming you are not in a restricted area, is that you are to park in blue lined spots. Do not park in white lined spots as they are reserved for residents and those with special parking permissions. Note: In many places, white lines indicate free parking, but not in Florence. Read more about Parking in Italy and Parking in Florence.


Driving in Florence is not fun nor easy but, if you know a few of the rules, you can avoid unpleasant surprises. It is always best to drive with a navigator on board.

Resources

Slow Travel Photos: Larger versions of these photos and other photos about driving.

Driving in Italy: Slow Travel pages about driving in Italy.

Map of Florence ZTL zones


Jane Parker and her family lived in Italy, near Greve in Chianti, for a year. Read about their adventures on her blog Casey, Italy and Other Good Stuff.

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