Speeding, and other traffic fines in Italy

PLEASE READ THIS:

I would like to underline that I do not suggest or condone the non-payment of fines. If I did, I would probably end up in big trouble here in Italy, and seeing as I live, work and have family here, I would like to avoid such a situation. If, by chance, someone has read this post, the comments, and then decided not to pay, then do not blame me if you end up with problems as a result.  Any and all advice I have provided to others has been and is provided informally – I am not an authority, and have not made any claim to be. For conclusive advice on the payment of traffic fines received as a result of a trip abroad, I recommend contacting motoring organisations, embassies or the police in your country of origin.

Sorry about the legalish stuff, but I thought covering my back may not be such a bad idea. You never know nowadays and this blog is public (Indeed, I have now been lucky enough to have been accused of being a scammer, I am not, but see the comments below and make up your own mind.) Now you can read this post… and wade through the 900+ comments!

UPDATE: December 2013

Watch out for this: Hertz Italia in Rome appear to have been trying to charge people for processing fines which never existed. Beware – see this: HERTZ ITALIANA SPA ROMA Complaints & Reviews – Verbale fine on line. Read the comments too.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: May 2013

While chatting with a tourism business operator in Tuscany today May 25, 2013, I was told that car rental companies now have a database which shows if you have not paid fines received for driving offences in Italy or in other parts of Europe. If you do not pay the fine at the time you attempt to rent a car, you will not be allowed to rent it.

One person, I understand, managed to avoid paying overdue fines by renting a car in his wife’s name.

It is not clear which car rental companies in Italy are using this database, nor for how long, although I was told that the system could have been in place for as long as three years.

What this means is that by ignoring, not paying or not appealing fines for driving offences in Italy you may cause yourself problems if you come to Italy again and attempt to rent a car.

If anyone has had experience of this, please let us know in a comment.

END of update.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: January 2013

If you are renting a car for a trip in Italy, some car rental agencies are now offering passes for entry into limited traffic (ZTL) zones in some of Italy’s cities and towns. Information on  this is still rather sketchy, although the website of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs does mention it. See the section Road Use

City center hotels should know about the existence of these passes, as should car rental companies.

Having one of these passes should help you avoid these pesky fines.

END of update.

Please read Section 1 BEFORE leaving a comment – thanks!

There are now three sections:

  • Section 1 – the Important ‘need to know’ stuff – read this if you have received a notification of fine or a fine
  • Section 2 – General background on the issue of receiving fines for driving offences committed in Italy – read this information if you wish to go the whole hog and pay a lawyer
  • Section 3 – General background on the issue of receiving fines for driving offences committed in Italy

Don’t forget to read the most recent comments as they may well answer any questions you have – many of the questions are similar – Thanks.

Section 1 – the Important ‘need to know’ stuff

UPDATED 4 September 2010

Summary of How to Deal with Fines received while in Italy

I’ve been getting lots of email from people on the subject of fines, so instead of repeating myself many times over, here’s how I understand the situation – BUT I am not a lawyer.

What happens:

  • You receive a ‘notification of fine’ – the notice of payment before official notification – from a fine collection agency for some infraction or other which you allegedly committed while in Italy.

Your options:

  • Pay the fine or fines at the time of the notification.  No further action will be taken – but you are not obliged to pay.
  • Wait until the actual fines arrive – usually a letter you have to sign for.  The Official Notification must be sent by registered/ recorded deliver mail.
  • Write to the agency which sent the notification in an attempt to carry out a form of ‘informal’ appeal.  While the agency is not bound to do anything, and cannot cancel the fines, it can contact the municipality in which the infraction took place and bring further information, such as extenuating circumstances, to the municipality’s attention.  This might cause the fine or fines to be cancelled or reduced.

What are the grounds for the ‘informal’ appeal?

  • You have a blue invalid badge because either you have a registered disability or you were transporting someone with a registered disability.  Even if you did not have the badge, but were transporting someone with a registered disability – the municipality might reduce the amount of, or cancel the fine or fines.
  • You had a hotel booking made before you entered a limited traffic area with a hotel within a limited traffic or ZTL area of an Italian town or city.  You would need to provide documentary proof of the booking – by producing a receipt showing for how long you stayed and when you checked out.
  • Factual errors.  Wrong car, or driver, wrong registration/licence plate.

If your ‘informal appeal’ did not work and you receive the actual fines.  What then?

  • You can pay.  Payments from outside Italy can be effected via credit card or bank transfer.  This perhaps the easiest way to bring the situation to a neat conclusion and is what the vast majority of people should really do – but read once more ‘What are the grounds for the ‘informal’ appeal?’ above.

The Formal Appeal

  • You can register a formal appeal within 60 days of receiving the actual fine to either the prefect or the justice of the peace for the Italian city, town or area in which you allegedly committed the offence.

Now it becomes complicated, and, potentially, expensive.  You do one or the other, not both.

Appeal to a Prefect

If you lodge an appeal with a prefect, which is easier, you may lose and be ordered to pay double the fine.  This is the risk inherent in appealing.  And appeals to Italian prefects are, I’m told, rarely successful.  The fine collection agencies, from what I’ve seen, tend to advise people to appeal to prefects.  In the main this is suggested because it is easier for foreign drivers to do, indeed, the EMO agency helpfully provides those who ask with all the necessary appeal documentation in English.

But, you can, if you like:

Appeal to a Justice of the Peace

If you appeal to a justice of the peace, you will have to make a payment of €38, and you really will need the services of an Italian lawyer to lodge an effective appeal.

The advantage of this option is that appeals to Italian justices of the peace are more likely to be successful – indeed, a good lawyer should be able to give you an idea as to whether an appeal is likely to succeed or not, before it goes to court.  Italian justices of the peace do sometimes annul or reduce fines, but do not always double them.  However, as lawyers the world over will confirm, judges can be unpredictable creatures, so the outcome of any appeal can never be 100% certain.

Should an appeal to a justice of the peace be unsuccessful, an appeal to a higher level court in Italy may be possible – but it will be very expensive, and time consuming.  Legal fees alone are likely to exceed the amount of any fine.

Time limits

Note first, and as I mentioned at the start of this section, the time the Italian authorities have to send out fines is changing – but one crucial aspect is not – the statutory time limit – which is the length of time which passes before a case can no longer be perused under Italian law.  This period is 5 years from the date of the offence was committed, as far as both Al, who has been reading up on this, and I am aware.

While ignoring these fines is an option, it is not an option I can recommend.  Not paying may cause you problems if you return to Italy within 5 years or so of an alleged offence.

Other updates follow, but most of what you need to know is in Section 1.  Section 2 below is merely supporting information which may or may not prove useful

With thanks to Al who has been throwing lots of information and documents at me recently – I hope I’ve managed to summarise the situation succinctly, and, more to the point, accurately. Remember though, I am not a lawyer.

Corrections received from reader Al – thanks, Al!

Prevention is often better than cure.

Some readers, iPhone users, for example, may be interested to hear that there is an iPhone application which can warn you of the presence of speed cameras – it’s called iSpeedCam Italy, and can be bought here for a couple of dollars: iSpeedCam Italy on Apple’s iTunes store.

For those who do not have iPhones, try Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk for GPS speed camera detectors – but before you buy something, make sure it will work in Italy. Note that the older type ‘radar detectors’ are illegal in most European countries, and you will be fined if you are caught using one.

Section 2 – General background on the issue of receiving fines for driving offences committed in Italy

Revisions to Italy’s highway code have been approved by the Italian parliament – new law n.120, dated 29 July, 2010.  Since August 13th  2010, the amount of time traffic fines have to be sent out to Italian residents has been reduced from 150 days to 90 days – Art. 201,1 – Notificazione delle violazioni (Notifcation of violations)

For foreign residents the 360 day period for sending out fines is unchanged.

Art. 201,1 – Notificazione delle violazioni.

Qualora la violazione non possa essere immediatamente contestata, il verbale, con gli estremi precisi e dettagliati della violazione e con la indicazione dei motivi che hanno reso impossibile la contestazione immediata, deve, entro novanta giorni (within 90 days) dall’accertamento, essere notificato all’effettivo trasgressore o, quando questi non sia stato identificato e si tratti di violazione commessa dal conducente di un veicolo a motore, munito di targa, ad uno dei soggetti indicati nell’art. 196, quale risulta dai pubblici registri alla data dell’accertamento.
Se si tratta di ciclomotore la notificazione deve essere fatta all’intestatario del contrassegno di identificazione.
Nel caso di accertamento della violazione nei confronti dell’intestatario del veicolo che abbia dichiarato il domicilio legale ai sensi dell’articolo 134, comma 1-bis, la notificazione del verbale e’ validamente eseguita quando sia stata effettuata presso il medesimo domicilio legale dichiarato dall’interessato.
Qualora l’effettivo trasgressore od altro dei soggetti obbligati sia identificato successivamente alla commissione della violazione la notificazione puo’ essere effettuata agli stessi entro novanta giorni dalla data in cui risultino dai pubblici registri o nell’archivio nazionale dei veicoli l’intestazione del veicolo e le altre indicazioni identificative degli interessati o comunque dalla data in cui la pubblica amministrazione e’ posta in grado di provvedere alla loro identificazione.
Per i residenti all’estero la notifica deve essere effettuata entro trecentosessanta giorni dall’accertamento.
Quando la violazione sia stata contestata immediatamente al trasgressore, il verbale deve essere notificato ad uno dei soggetti individuati ai sensi dell’articolo 196 entro cento giorni dall’accertamento della violazione. (When you are ‘caught in the act’ – parking in the wrong place, for example or flagged down by a policeman, the fine must be served on the person who committed the offence within 100 days of the violation being committed)

The relevance the EC -v- Italian Republic case no C-224/00 as grounds for an appeal (case no C-224/00 is mentioned below) still stands, but as Al, who’s been kindly offering lots of advice to people leaving comments on this post has, rightly, pointed out, quoting such a lofty case is not likely to get anyone anywhere during an initial appeal.  To stand any chance of using the C-224/oo argument successfully would mean taking the matter to higher level courts – read engaging the services of a lawyer – the cost of which is likely to be much, much higher than the level of the fines involved.

At the end of the day, the situation for foreign motorists who commit driving offences in Italy has not changed.

Alex Roe – end of September 4 revisions

UPDATE 17 February 2010 – please also see the 6th April 2010 Update below

Revised: 7 March 2010

Reader Peter has very kindly drawn my attention to the called EC -v- Italian Republic, case no C-224/00.  The text of the case which is available in English and other European languages, can be seen here:

Judgment of the Court (Sixth Chamber) of 19 March 2002.
Commission of the European Communities v Italian Republic.

Failure by a Member State to fulfil its obligations – Article 6 of the EC Treaty (now, after amendment, Article 12 EC) – Difference in treatment of persons contravening the highway code according to the place of registration of their vehicle – Proportionality.

In essence, it does look as though the fines European Union citizens have been receiving are, and always have been invalid.

Again, I would reiterate that I am not a lawyer, so I cannot be sure, but I would repeat Peter’s suggestion that if you are a European Union resident and you have received a fine more than 210 days after an offence, you should write back quoting case no C-224/00, and saying you will write to MEPs etc about this.  If this does not get the Italian authorities off your back – then speak to a lawyer (class actions are possible in Italy now -and I know a good firm of lawyers too!).

In summary – if you received a fine for any motoring offence after 210 days, and you are an EU citizen, you may be able to refuse to pay on the basis of C-224/00.

And here is a comment from reader Pablo, dated 7 March 2010, which other people may find interesting:

Many posts above complain about the Italian authorities’ delay in notifying traffic penalties and their insistence on communicating in Italian. Fear not – the law is on your side, as I think both issues contravene the European Convention on Human Rights, specifically Part I Article 6:

“1 – In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgement shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.
2 – Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.
3 – Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;
(b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;
(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
(e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.”

NOTE: This should not be confused with Article 6 of the EC Treaty referred to in Alex’s 17 Feb “Important Update” at the top of this blog.

Key words/phrases italicised above are “within a reasonable time”, “presumed innocent”, “promptly”, “in a language which he understands”, “in detail” and “free … interpreter”.

You must be told promptly of an accusation – presumably so you can recall the circumstances of the incident and collect any evidence you need while memories are still fresh. It follows that if you were not told promptly, then you have obviously been denied the opportunity of “a fair & public hearing within a reasonable time”. Thus it seems the Italian law allowing up to a year to tell you about an accusation is incompatible with the ECHR and is therefore invalid & unenforceable. As Mike, James & Peter have mentioned, a UK prosecuting authority must serve a Notice of Intended Prosecution within 2 weeks of an alleged traffic offence, and a penalty notice or court summons within 6 months. If the UK can do it, so could Italy – if it wanted to. You can form your own opinion of why Italian authorities delay sending a penalty notice for a year or more. My guess is it’s to reduce the likelihood of drivers remembering what happened or having kept car hire paperwork & hotel/restaurant/fuel/shopping receipts (to prove when & where you were) after such a long time. Depending on its timing and the extent of detail given, notification of a violation (such as an “amicable” EMO invitation to accept a fine) might satisfy the requirement to inform you promptly of an accusation. But the penalty notice sent by registered post is the important one, so if it arrives after 210 days you can reject it as denying you the option of a hearing “within a reasonable time”.

Regarding time limits, if you receive a penalty notice ask the car rental Co for a copy of documents showing when the police asked for the renter’s data and when they were given, so you can check whether the prescribed time scales were complied with and reject the penalty as out of time if they over-ran. If they claim they’re allowed 360 days remind them of European Court case C-224/00 (see Alex’s 17 Feb “Important Update”). Although that case concerned disparity in the treatment of drivers depending on where their cars were registered, it reinforced the principle in ECHR Pt.1 Art.14 that laws must not discriminate between nationalities. Thus you can reject any liability on the basis that the 360-day rule discriminates against non-Italians, so is incompatible with the ECHR and is therefore invalid & unenforceable.

You can insist on being told of the accusation in your own language, despite what Italian authorities might prefer. Again, an Italian law allowing authorities to demand communication in Italian is incompatible with the ECHR and is therefore invalid & unenforceable. It seems you are allowed 60 days from receiving a fine to pay up or appeal, so you could email or fax – in your own language – on the 59th day from receiving a penalty notice in Italian (or an incorrect own-language translation containing bad grammar or wrong spelling such as “Grait” Britain), saying you don’t understand it and ask for an accurate translation. Meanwhile the 210-day clock is still ticking, as the notice doesn’t count as served unless it’s “in a language which [you] understand”, and of course sent by registered post. If it contains any factual errors (name, time, date, location, car Reg.No, make, model etc) you can safely ignore it as it does not accurately describe the accusation and is thus unprovable – but don’t tell ‘em as they could re-issue a correct one within the 210-day period. The longer you spin out the arguments the more they would be likely to abandon the fine or run out of time. As Alex suggested, you could impose your own time-limit, such as “If I do not receive the information requested within 14 days I will assume you have (a) withdrawn all accusation/s, (b) cancelled all associated penalties & charges and (c) ceased all action/s”. With luck they won’t bother to provide a proper translation in time, or just give up. If they complain send them a copy of Article 6 – in English – with the relevant text highlighted (to be ultra-helpful you could also send the Italian version if you can find it).

Another thing: in earlier posts Alex (and the Bella-Toscana link) suggested that Italian law assumes you are guilty until proved innocent. That too is incompatible with the ECHR, under which – as in most western-style democracies – the accused is presumed innocent until proved guilty. Thus an authority has no right to collect a penalty unless the accusation has been proved. Just saying you were seen in such a place at such a time does not prove you were. A photo of your car – or its number plate, or the driver, or the road – proves nothing without context such as time, date, place, nature of infringement and applicable law – including evidence that adequate signage was in place and operative (the international symbol of a red ring on a white background with a pictogram and/or text specifying the restriction). A close-up snap of a number plate without any verifiable context might lead a suspiciously-minded person to wonder if there could be an element of fakery involved, but of course I can’t imagine who could possibly be so uncharitable… Find the road in Google maps – there might be a “street view” showing if there were proper signs, properly positioned and visible. You could make their life more difficult by asking for proof – in your own language – that the recording equipment has been properly maintained, calibrated and tested, as we can in the UK for camera-related allegations. If the authority can’t prove the camera was working properly, who’s to say it recorded the correct time & date when the photo was taken or if a restriction actually applied when it was taken? Ask for the make & model of equipment and copies of certificates etc (translated to your language) showing this particular device has been certified & approved for this particular use; does it have a good or bad reliability history? You can probably think of a string of other things to slow up the process which you can keep trotting out, one after the other, until they get bored. If they don’t like it or won’t co-operate, tough – the greedy, profiteering scumbags shouldn’t try to rip off foreign tourists with unverified accusations. I certainly wouldn’t even think of using the appeals procedure, for which you have to deposit twice the initial fine! If they try to pursue you for non-payment, you’ll probably have a whole bunch of unanswered technical questions as your defence. The bottom line is, they must prove their case if asked.

EU member nations are legally bound to ensure their laws comply with the ECHR. Therefore I believe the above applies to all nationalities driving in Italy, not only EU citizens. National laws that don’t comply with EU legislation can be challenged in the European Court, as Alex pointed out in his 17 Feb “Important Update”. Italian cities probably issue several million of these fines every year (the Bella-Toscana article said 859,959 in Florence alone in 2008). If even only 10% were challenged it would clog the fines system to the extent it would be unworkable – and might even persuade city authorities to review their policy of killing off the tourist trade.

For those concerned at the legality of the above strategies, I must stress that none of them contravene any valid regulations or laws. On the contrary, they rely on applying the appropriate laws, though not necessarily those the Italian authorities would like. These arguments are equally valid if your own national traffic authority tries to collect under some sort of reciprocity agreement.

Like you Alex, I’m not a lawyer, just an ordinary bloke who can read & think, and I’ve no idea if any of this has been tested in court. If not, who’s first …?

End of 17 February 2o1o and March 7 2010 Updates

Section 3 – General background on the issue of receiving fines for driving offences committed in Italy

Speeding, and other traffic fines in Italy

I had a contact via this blog from some people (And I hope they don’t mind my mentioning this situation, but I do think it needs mentioning) who have, in a sense, come face to face with the black side of European unity, in that these people found an Italian speeding fine, written in Italian, lying on their English doormat after the postman had done his thing.

John Folkard, one of the many who have been caught out by the restricted traffic zone in Piza, posted something about the problem on the travel tips message boards of the UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph.

Check out my updates to this post, but please do try to read everything and the comments, yes, I know there are lots of them:

  • SEE ALL PAGES FOR UPDATES and YET ANOTHER UPDATE, May 2007, for more info on Pisa, and
  • look at One more update – 18/09/2007, for some potentially interesting info.

20th May 2007: SUGGESTION: If you wish, you can tell me where (Place, street, time, date) you got your fine and I will add it to the Platial Map system. I’d also like to post photos of the restricted traffic zone signs to help others avoid falling into the same trap.

Have a look at this more recent post:  Speed Cameras in Italy

It will help you to know what you need to look out for and where the cameras are.

Although, regretfully, it may be too late for many who arrive here, I’ve also written a post entitled:
How to Avoid Fines while Staying in Italy

I’ll try to keep both posts up to date, so check back here from time to time.

Time Limits – this is confusing – Updated

Important April 6th 2010 UPDATE

A son of one of the victims, Al (not Alex Roe) who knows Italian, French and English, supplied me with some very interesting information on the subject of time limits.

Al states that the time limit for the sending out of notices to drivers who are not resident in Italy is 360 days from the date the offence was committed – not, as had been my previous interpretation, 360 days, plus the 60 days which is often used to ‘identify’ the driver of a hire/rental car.

Here is Al’s research (note that Al is not a lawyer – and like everything else here, his interpretations need to be verified) – which I’ve published in its entirety with only a few minor edits, because I, we, think it may help a few people:

Codice della strada http://www.aci.it/index.php?id=869

Art. 201. Notificazione delle violazioni

1. Qualora la violazione non possa essere immediatamente contestata, il verbale, con gli estremi precisi e dettagliati della violazione e con la indicazione dei motivi che hanno reso impossibile la contestazione immediata, deve, entro centocinquanta giorni dall’accertamento, essere notificato all’effettivo trasgressore o, quando questi non sia stato identificato e si tratti di violazione commessa dal conducente di un veicolo a motore, munito di targa, ad uno dei soggetti indicati nell’art. 196, quale risulta dai pubblici registri alla data dell’accertamento. Se si tratta di ciclomotore la notificazione deve essere fatta all’intestatario del contrassegno di identificazione. Qualora l’effettivo trasgressore o altro dei soggetti indicati sia identificato successivamente, la notificazione può essere effettuata agli stessi entro centocinquanta giorni dall’identificazione. Per i residenti all’estero la notifica deve essere effettuata entro trecentosessanta giorni dall’accertamento.

As I, Al, see it you have two “notions”:

1 – “identificazione” which can be “applied” (if necessary) to the resident in Italy,

2 – “accertamento” which refers to the day you were ascertained, “controlled” (“checked”).

(For instance the day a ZTL traffic camera took a beautiful picture of your license plate).

In this case “accertamento” doesn’t mean ascertainment (checking) of your identity.

Al’s opinion matches that of the Aduc (Associazione per i Diritti degli Utenti e Consumatori) web site:

http://sosonline.aduc.it/scheda/multe+violazioni+al+codice+della+strada+verbale+sua_12880.php

LA NOTIFICA DEL VERBALE

Resident in Italy

E’ quindi chiaro che il giorno da cui partire col conteggio dei 150 giorni non e’ facile da stabilire perche’ puo’ variare da caso a caso, e non e’ pertanto possibile standardizzare ne’ le regole ne’ i possibili ricorsi riguardanti questo delicato punto.

Resident abroad

Il caso di residenti all’estero, invece, il verbale dev’essere notificato entro 360 giorni dall’accertamento, calcolati inequivocabilmente dalla data dell’infrazione.

Al’s translation: For the resident abroad, however, the fine must be notified within 360 days of the ascertainment / (police) control, calculated unambiguously from the date of the infraction.

Decision 198/1996 of the Constitutional Court

Excerpt from Alex Roe’s post: My translation: Decision 198/1996 of the Constitutional Court established that the 150 (360 days – for non-Italian residents) day period in situations in which the identification of the actual offender is subsequent to the moment in which the violation occurred shall run from the date the authority is able to identify such offender. “

Alex Roe should never have added : “(360 days – for non-Italian residents)” (I agree – I should not have added this – Alex Roe)

Decision 198/1996 of the Constitutional Court established that a resident in Italy is ”identifiable” from the first day he’s registered at the DVLA. Not five months later when the police finally decided to inquire.  “If you behave in such a way there’s no time limit anymore” said the Judge in essence.

Regarding Residents abroad in that same decision

mentre per i residenti all’estero il legislatore fissa un termine di notificazione assolutamente insuperabile, sia pure determinandolo in un’ampia misura (più del doppio di quella prevista per i cittadini italiani), per questi ultimi invece il termine di centocinquanta giorni viene fatto decorrere dal momento in cui l’effettivo trasgressore o gli altri soggetti responsabili siano stati identificati successivamente”

si consentirebbe una protrazione del termine, rimessa in ultima analisi alla discrezionalità dell’amministrazione, con un possibile slittamento perfino oltre l’ampio ma rigido termine previsto dalla stessa legge per la contestazione della violazione ai residenti all’estero”

While there is an ample 360 day time limit (for residents abroad) that from the onset (the date of the traffic violation) cannot increase : it’s 360 days (and that’s all folks!), not 361, 362, ……………..

On the contrary the time limit of 150 days (for Italian citizens subjected to the whims of their administration) could…………….”slide along”……………to the point that it could even go beyond ……… the ample but rigid time limit of 360 days for foreigners abroad.

To bring the matter of time limits to a close

Yes, I do agree with you: “Time Limits – this is confusing” (Thanks, Al – it confused me!)

An Italian Court can render a sensible decision. Too rare not to be appreciated.

There can be no doubt any more that 360 day time limit for residents abroad runs from the date of the offence, not later.

The EMO fine collection agency’s Misleading Information

On their web site (http://www.emo.nivi.it/) the collection agency EMO appears to mislead traffic offenders when they answer FAQ n°17 (http://www.emo.nivi.it/Faq.aspx) :

According the Italian Traffic Code the police have 360 days after the date of the violation or identification of the owner of the vehicle within which to notify fines to foreigners. In the event of rented vehicles, the 360 days start as from the date of identification of the holder of the rental agreement at the time of the violation, or from the date of receipt of the personal data sent by the car rental company.”

Al spoke to someone at EMO and tried to explain the 360 day time limit but EMO would not listen.

EMO acts on behalf of the municipal police of more than 150 Italian local council areas.

The FAQ section of the EMO web site is in ten languages, but there are many mistakes, not only with spelling and grammatical mistakes, but also with fact.  For example:  The answer to FAQ n°16 in the French version states the opposite of what it should say: NO, you must absolutely not pay the fine after having received the Official Notification if you intend to lodge an appeal !

They must have availed themselves of Google or some other translation web site.

Not taking into account the matter of the 360 day time limit.

What bugs me is that I can’t seem to find out if EMO misleads foreign tourists deliberately or just out of sheer stupidity.

I would not exclude the second assumption !

Also this article: (attempt from Milan to recover fines in Ticino)

http://www.tio.ch/aa_pagine_comuni/articolo_interna.asp?idarticolo=449497&idsezione=1&idsito=1&idtipo=3

Excerpt: Errore che riguarderebbe i “termini di notifica all’estero (dall’Italia) delle violazioni del Codice della strada”.

In sostanza il Codice della strada dice  che “per i residenti all’estero la notifica deve essere effettuata entro trecentosessanta giorni dall’accertamento”. Secondo quanto ricostruito, molte delle multe notificate ai cittadini sarebbero avvenute oltre i 360 giorni necessari. “Le pretese zurighesi (e a monte milanesi) sono tardive” scrive il giornale, arrivando alla conclusione che “la C&S se ne infischia altamente della decorrenza dei termini”.

I responsabili della C&S Credit Management Ag di Küsnacht, contattati  sulla questione e messi di fronte alla legge secondo la quale il termine ultimo di notifica è 360 giorni dopo l’accertamento dell’infrazione, hanno spiegato che per “accertamento” si intende dell’identità del possessore della targa, non dell’infrazione.

C&S Credit Management Ag di Küsnacht appear to adhere to the interpretation of the word “accertamento” as referring to the date that the driver’s identity has been established, not, the date of the infraction.  This, in Al and the Italian Aduc consumers association, appears to be wrong.

To cut a long story short, foreign drivers who have received fine notifications beyond the 360 period can write and request that the fine, or fines, be annulled.

With great thanks to Al for all his research into this matter.  Shortly, I will publish a letter which people can use to request that these pesky fines are officially torn up.

END of April 6th 2010 Update

This issue has been discussed on several forums:

If you come across any more, let me know.

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Comments

  1. Alex says

    Hi Stuart,

    Yes, you could ignore the fine, but, as they say, ‘they know where you live’ and if the reciprocal agreement comes into force next year, you may find that a new and larger fine will appear on your doorstep, so, why don’t you try phoning the number I mentioned in this blog entry 0044 8702400009 – it’s the DVLA, and see what they can tell you. And please let me know how you get on so I can add something to the blog entry to help everyone else who gets into this slightly sticky situation.

    Good luck.

    Regards,

    Alex

    • GF says

      Hi Alex,
      Not sure if you’re still helping victims of ‘restricted zone’ fines, but following a visit to Italy in August 2009, I’ve had 4 fines (each 105 euros), two of them 3 minutes apart! They refer to visits I made to apparently restricted areas in Florence and Arezzo – like everyone else on the website I had no idea I was breaking any rules.
      I’ve emailed my MEP as the quickest one came to me 228 days after the offence and I cannot recall what I was doing on those days. I’ll see where I get to with that. But I wonder what is likely to happen to me (in your view) if I simply ignore these letters and do not go back to Italy within the next 2 years? I know you wouldn’t condone this and I want to do the decent thing, but these fines are so vast that paying them is an issue.
      Any advice for me? Do we have any kind of reciprication deal between UK and Italy? If not and we get one will it be applied retrospectively?
      thanks for any help you can offer me.

      • says

        Hi GF,

        One at a time:

        “But I wonder what is likely to happen to me (in your view) if I simply ignore these letters and do not go back to Italy within the next 2 years?
        I know you wouldn’t condone this and I want to do the decent thing, but these fines are so vast that paying them is an issue.
        Any advice for me?”
        – I don’t really know what will happen. As I think I’ve commented elsewhere, I doubt whether they will send an Italian cop to knock on your door. Your passport may be flagged, I suppose – but Italy is not very good at networking, – they are getting better. You may be detained at an airport. Personally, I think this is unlikely – but don’t blame me if you try to get into Italy and they come knocking on your hotel door! Or something like that.

        “Do we have any kind of reciprication deal between UK and Italy?”
        This is on the cards, but is not yet operational, although the Eucaris system https://www.eucaris.net/index.php may speed up the implementation of communication between EU countries on such issues.
        “If not and we get one will it be applied retrospectively?”
        Something may happen in 2013 when an EU directive on Driving Licences is due to be issued apparently. Although I don’t know, I would doubt that any new system would be retrospective – it’s going to be enough of a nightmare to make all those computer networks speak to one another without adding in the extra complexity of retrospection – and they’d have to get each and every EU member to agree on the same retrospective date too – this may not be simple!

        Sorry if I have not been of much use.

        Alex

        As always, I recommend paying up – then at least you will not have to worry about ending up with some huge bill down the line for 20,000 quid! If you decide not to pay, then that is up to you.

        • F V Serra says

          One important fact that needs to be considered is that NIVI Credit does mnot have a collection license to collect these fines in the US. As such, NIVI is in violation iof US Federakl laws and can be prosecuted. The same may hold true in other countries such as England.
          I received the initial notification from EMO, a NIVI Credit Division and asked in addition to all kinds of proofs, for their license to do business as a collector in the USA. Let’s see what they produce.
          NIVI is also using the italian car rental companies (the US subsidiaries such as AVIS, HERTZ, etc) as their collection arm which is also illegal as those are Italien entities and the US counterparts could be braking the laws. The rental contract states the renter is the one that pays the fine.
          There is room for a class action lawsuit which I am looking into and will let all interested parties know of my findings.
          Val Serra

          • says

            Hi Val,

            The absence of a “collection license” on the part of the agencies collecting fine payments is an interesting point.

            With this point, we are moving into the realms of international law, I suspect. This complicates matters and is something I know nothing about. Potentially, if such a license is required under US law, and you are saying that it is, then nobody in the US is obliged to pay these fines via the collection agencies – but this is something which needs legal clarification.

            As I’ve mentioned before, it is possible that someone who returns to Italy and who has not paid a fine may receive a visit from the Italian police. However, Italian laws on time barring would come into play after a certain number of years – 7 years I think it is.

            If someone is never planning on returning to Italy, and does not live in the European Community, then they may get away with ignoring these fines – unless some mutual arrangement is made between the US and Italy.

            However, I do not condone the non-payment of legitimate fines, I am not a lawyer, and I recommend taking advice on these issues from someone who is legally qualified to offer such advice.

            The licensing issue is interesting though, and I wonder what the US Department of State might have to say on this issue. Someone, and American citizen, needs to write to the Department of State to ask about this.

            Best,

            Alex

          • Patti says

            Hello,

            I also have received two infraction notifications almost a year after the date of “offence.” What I truly find offensive is that such a beautiful country can have such a ridiculous attitude towards foreigners. These tactics awe me, especially since Italy clearly needs tourism given their current economic situation. The sheer cost of tracking down international drivers, serving them and then paying for the administration costs to recover the so-called fines must almost nullify their possible gains.

            As far as I can see, they are stepping on their own tails. Tourists spend thousands of dollars visiting their country and almost all leave dreaming of returning. Receiving a questionable fine a year after their lovely vacation clearly extinguishes any desire to return to such a corrupt country. It is an injustice to the Italian community, as well as to the unsuspecting tourist visiting their country. If this occured in North America there would be rioting in the streets.

            I will be paying my fines, only because I have a daughter living in Milan and I KNOW how impossible it can be to deal with the government. Finding any positive resolution is more than unlikely, even it is appropriate and probably legally inforceable. The sheer time and frustration is not worth my efforts. And therein lies the problem…they count heavily on this!

            Frustrated and 250 euro down,
            Patti

      • Martin says

        Hi
        I just god excatly the same. 2 fines yesterday and another 3 today. The 3 fines where within 3 minutes. This must be a joke… This was only for the first 3 days of my holiday so im really curius what will come!!!!

        Do you have any experience of handling this..? I cant afford paying all of them

        • F V Serra says

          I suggest you do what I did and see what happens.
          I requested for EMO to provide proofs of business licenses as well as a collection license in your state to collect the funds. I also requested for camera maintenance certification, the photographs taken of my rental car, explicit definition of my alledge infraction, the actual street number where the infraction took place, proof of adequate signs with clear description of the restrictions. All, of these to be provided in English.
          I sent this letter registered so that I can track the delivery. This is the least expensive way to send a secured letter as well as sending the letter via email. I gave them 15 days to provide the proof.
          As a precaution I suggest you cancel your credit card used with your rental company. EMO will issue a charge for the amount of the fine(s) request through your rental company if you dom not pay the fine which I recommend youm do not pay it and in turn the rental company will add a fee which for what I have read can be uop to 25% iof the fine.
          Next send a letter to your rental company and tell them you are handling this issue directly with EMO and the police and have requested proof of the violation and business licenses. Do state that they have no authority to charge your credit card as it does not constitute a purchase of goods and services.
          Then wait for a response.
          Val

          • Jady says

            Val: I, too, have had a similar circumstance to those posted here with 2 infractions of driving in a restricted zone in Florence that were almost one hour apart from one another, while trying to locate the car rental company to return the rental car! Interestingly, I received 2 notices of charges to my credit card from Hertz (all in Italian I might add) about 2 months after my return to the US. Each of these charges was for 30 EU. Then, almost one year from the time of the “infractions” , I received 2 “Notice of Payment” letters from the Florence police stating that I owe them 105.88 EU for each infraction (or a total of 211.76 EU). I already paid 60 EU through Hertz. Sounds like a bit of a scam to me, just like the Italian government. Any ideas on why, after paying 60 EU through Hertz, I’m now receiving additional charges?

            I no longer have the credit card used at the time of my Italian visit & don’t have any future plans to return to Italy in the near future. And, I definitely will never rent a car in Italy again – what a hassle.

          • H-Rene says

            Hi to all,
            I got too speeding violation charges in sSeptember 2012.
            First, my rental car company, took 2*37 euros for providing two times my address data (which was incorect, sic!) for each violation.
            Now in March 2013 the fines arrived on wrongly placed address (i know because I contacted previously the wrong address holder).
            So what should I do?
            Other than ignoring or paying:)
            Should I go and take the fine letters from post office (ignoring the fact that they were sent to wrong address) and then should I write a letter EMO for more informtion (in Estonian, as I’m EU citizen and this is official EU language)?

            Thanks in advance for reply!

          • Al says

            Hello Estonia,

            “Should I go and take the fine letters from post office […] and then should I write a letter EMO…?”
            NO!!!
            Get your post office to send them back to Italy with an “unable to deliver – nobody by that name at this address” sticker on them! :-)

            Best,

            Al

          • Supermario says

            Cheers everybody,
            apparently you people are unaware of how Italian municipalities are hard up for cash and all methods are adopted to retrieve funds from whoever may be asked, including of course hapless visitors from abroad.
            As far as I know from available documents the present situation does not really constitute any enforceable obligation to pay. Noone will ever come knocking at your Italian hotel to cash a fine.
            All these attempts to get cash are based on computerised paperwork only.
            The Comuni outsource their fines to specialised collectors who don’t even bother to send the fines in the receivers’ language which they are obliged to do. They’ll only use English so Germans, French, etc. can simply discard the lot.
            Those from UK or Eire are the only receivers of “legitimate requests”, yes requests which is what they are after all, since they are in no position to demand.
            Also the EU directive to be eventually enforced (??) does not cover ordinary traffic fines but only serious infractions (crossing with a red light, driving contrary to a one-way street, etc see list on the net.
            But then the only way to have fines enforced would be sharing the relevant cashflow. No country will enforce fines for another unless costs are covered and noone wants to share the fines bonanza.
            My suggestion is to simply ignore the matter and hire your net car under your wife’s name etc.
            Ciao
            Night Auditor at a ZTL hotel in Italy

          • says

            You are entitled to your own opinion, Supermario, but your ‘advice’ may land people in, expensive, trouble. Are you a lawyer?

            Best,

            Alex

    • Henry Psaila says

      Hi Al,

      What a nightmare, I have a situation I was in Rome with a hire car:

      Date of offence 05/09/2008 driving in restricted area not aware of this.

      Hire company informed police 05/02/2009.

      I recieve by normal post penalty notification dated 18/06/2010 from Firenze -Italy to pay fine of 106.90 euro.

      Reminder recieved 30/07/2010.

      I have rang them and been informed that fine is out of 360 days no need to pay, I have emailed them 15 time and written to them by registed post, no answer, what a joke.

      How long is this likely to go on.

      Regards

      Henry

      • Al says

        Hi Henry,

        If you’ve read this page (or at least part of it) you know that Article 201,1 of the Italian Highway Code (Violations Notification) states clearly that the 360 day notification time limit runs from the date of the traffic violation.

        EMO (situated in Florence, and acting officially on behalf of the Rome police and many other Italian Municipalities) purposely misleads foreign tourists when they claim shamelessly that the 360 day notification time limit runs from the date of the traffic offender’s “identification”.

        The “penalty notice” dated 18/06/2010 is a “Notice of payment before notification”.
        You are unofficially informed of the traffic violation perpetrated.
        I presume that the “reminder” you received on 30/07/2010 was the official notification sent by registered mail. (and not a second unofficial notice sent by normal post)

        You say that you rang EMO and “been informed that fine is out of 360 days, no need to pay”.
        When did you call them? Before or after receiving the second notice?

        At that moment Emo must have cancelled your fine because, even according to their (absolutely wrong) definition, your fine is invalid.
        It was sent in July 2010, more than 360 days after your” identification” (5/02/1999).
        I know for a fact that EMO has already cancelled fines which were sent over 360 days after identification.

        So, it looks like you’re out of the woods!
        But to make sure, I would call EMO again and ask them if my fine has really been cancelled.
        And I would demand that they send immediately written confirmation by email!
        Yeah! EMO has a deplorable tendency not to answer emails.

        If, after this, the matter is still not resolved, you must dispute your fine and lodge an appeal to the Prefect of Rome within 60 days from the day of receipt of the official notification.
        In your case before 28th of September (60 days from 30/07/2010).

        Read April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am (an appeal template is included) comment.
        Copy/paste the appeal template and send your registered letter with proof of receipt to:
        Al Prefetto di Roma
        Prefettura di Roma
        via IV Novembre 119/A
        00187 Roma

        But I doubt that it would come to that, though you never know with EMO!

        Best,

        Al (not Alex)

        • David Fownes says

          Hi

          Is this still the same situation?

          I have my official violation paperwork which is well after 360 days of the offence (time of infraction) but was dated (but not received until over 360 days) 357 days after the date of ascertainment – date of hire company telling them i assume.

          Do i have any chance of getting off?

          It seems legally based on comments that i might i.e. after 360 days of the infraction but if so how?

          1. Will emo accept this if it conflicts with their guidance?
          2. Appeal to prefect – has anyone any examples of success of such an appeal in this situation?

          thanks

          • Al says

            Hi David,

            Contrary to what EMO claims, the date of ascertainment is ALWAYS the date of infraction.
            Article 201,1 of the Italian Highway Code (Violations Notification) mentions the word “accertamento” 5 times, always in reference to the ascertainment of the traffic violation, NOT the ascertainment of the driver’s identity.

            The date of identification (date at which the police receive the driver’s details from the hire company) can apply only to Italian residents.

            Are you sure that you have received the official notice from EMO?
            The official notice, sent via registered mail, is headed “Notification of Violation of the Highway Code” and is the only one which mentions that you can appeal to the Prefect or the Justice of the Peace within 60 days.
            The unofficial notice (“Notice of payment before notification”) is sent via normal post.

            For notification purposes, the relevant date is the fine sending date.
            According to EMO’s misrepresentation of the law, your fine is legitimate.
            The letter is dated 357 days after the date of identification, but was it sent within 360 days?
            Check the time stamp on the envelope!

            Read “Important April 6th 2010 UPDATE” near the top of the page, April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am comment (http://italychronicles.com/speeding-fines-in-italy/#comment-27584).
            And (if possible) scroll down through the comments since May 2010.

            Best,

            Al (not Alex)

        • Sandra Forsyth says

          I have a notification from Budget rental car of €42.35 charge for them kindly passing my details to the police for a traffic offence. The offence is TIPO MULTA: RIC SUBL. Do you have any idea what this might be?
          (I have actually received two such notices, different dates, same fine description.)

    • Sergio says

      I just received 5 violation notices with attached “Verbale Di Accertamento di Violazione Al Codice Della Strada” all for the same infraction but on different days. The infraction, in Florence was for circulating in a restricted area with authorization. The apartment I rented for 1 week was on the Street with the restriction and my brand new TomTom cheerfully directed me down that road each day. The notices arrived three weeks shy of 1 year of the infraction but the car rental agency gave my information to the police in November, a few months later. The notices came with registered receipt card attached. My postman, not being able to read Italian, never collected them so the Italian agency does not have a record of my receiving these notices.
      Do you have any suggestions

      • Al says

        Hi Sergio,

        You could send an email to EMO (Nivi) with a copy of your rental contract.
        Will the Florentine police cancel your fines?
        Or, you may never have received them…

        Best,

        Al

    • Bev says

      I’ve just received a letter from the Polizia Municipale di Sorrento for driving into a ZTL area on Via Tasso over a year ago. The annoying thing is that I couldn’t find any info about ZTL’s in Sorrento and we honestly didn’t realise we had driven in one until the car rental company took £35 off my credit card (without even sending an invoice!). Looking at google maps I can now see the sign but it’s not clear which road the ZTL is in (it’s on a cross road). The ironic thing is that there’s also a barrier with a no entry sign on it in the google maps picture – shame it wasn’t there when we were.

      The letter says that I can appeal to the Prefect but doesn’t say who that is (or where to send it) and perhaps worse still it doesn’t even say how to pay the fine and where to send that either.

      Does anyone have any advice? I don’t really want to send a letter to the Polizia asking where and how to pay, They don’t make it easy for you do they?

      Thanks in advance.
      Bev

  2. Julie says

    Stuart, I recevied the exact same thing today from the Municipal Police in Pisa for driving in a restricted zone and have to pay €110. How did you do it? We were lost and didn’t even know we were in a restricted zone thanks to those great italian road signs!.

  3. Peter says

    Is this a scam?

    I’ve had a request for Euro 99.4 for restricted zone (which we too didn’t notice) in Pisa and they want paying by bank transfer which will double the cost!

  4. Stu M says

    Bizarrely – I had just received a letter today from the Municipal Police in Pisa for driving in a restricted zone – same 110 Euro fine! I really didn’t see anything indicating that there was a fine-able zone anywhere. I rang the number on the form and a guy was able to tell me that I’d entered a resident-only area.

    Sounds a bit of a scam, really… OK I can’t play the innocent abroad, but it wasn’t obvious. Clearly – if on the same thread there are another couple of people with exactly the same ‘offence’ with the same fine!

    • Jim says

      I got the same fine for two offenses in Rome. AVIS charged my c/c foe 40E each time for “providing information to the police”. Nothing I can do about that. However, being Canadian, I’m required to have an International Driver’s license to drive in Italy. Does that not by default mean that all traffic signs displayed in Italy must conform to International Traffic sign standards. These fines for “Driving in a limited traffic area without authorization”, as I could confirm through googlestreetview are displayed in Italian only; along with the “Varco Ativo / non ativo” electronic boards. My intention is to argue that “Italy has put me in danger” by displaying this information in Italian only.

      • Al says

        Hi Jim,

        Even the “Varco attivo / non attivo” electronic boards are not always clear to all Italians. :-)
        But didn’t you see this international traffic sign on Google Street View?
        http://italychronicles.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/restricted.jpg
        The road sign with a white background surrounded by a red circle? No entry except…

        Anyway, appealing to the Prefect/Justice of the Peace on such grounds won’t get you anywhere. And you’d have to appeal in Italian.
        Read April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am comment (http://italychronicles.com/speeding-fines-in-italy/#comment-27584) and scroll down through the last (2011) comments.

        Best,

        Al (not Alex)

        • scott M says

          Hello all

          I too fell foul to this soft tax aimed at unsuspecting motorists. I got papped driving into a ZTL in Alghero, Sardinia in Oct 2010. My official notice / fine came through Jan 2012 – exceeding the 360 day time limit. emo’s response was that this 360 day time limit was from when the authorities had been notified by the car hire company. They advised me to appeal. I did, including sending a copy to the Italian tourism minister!!

          I received a letter written in Italian, which I think translates into me being summonsed before a judge in June in Sardinia – talk about over reaction to a very minor traffic offence.

          I have tried contacting various authorities, but none have helped. My question is: do the Italian authorities have any power in terms of enforcing payment whilst i reside in the UK or dare i say even extradition!!?? – What is likely to happen if i simply ignore any further correspondence?

          Any advice that you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

          • scott M says

            Thank you for yours and Kemiker’s advice. You have been more helpful than everywhere else i have turned.

            I have written back to the “justice of the “peace” and informed them that they need to write to me in English firstly. I have also quoted regulation (EC) No 1393/2007, EU framework decision 2005/214/JHA and article 201,1 of the Italian Highway Code. All noted down from your excellent blog(s)

            Let’s hope that stops their pedantic behaviour.

            I will also send copies to the Italian Ambassador in the UK and the UK Ambassador in Italy!!

            If i can’t travel to Italy for the next 5 years of so, i can live with that. It’s just a shame that Italy feels the need to behave this way. I am sure it will put people off returning to such a beautiful part of the world.

            Once again – thanks for your help

            Scott

          • scott M says

            I have had a reply from SOLVIT at http://ec.europa.eu/solvit/site/index_en.htm, which concerns me, as it appears that Italy does have enforcement powers over UK residents when it comes to traffic violations in Italy

            Here it is:

            “Dear Sir/Madam,

            Please find below the reply to your enquiry. Please note that the advice given by Your Europe Advice is an independent advice and cannot be considered to be the opinion of the European Commission, of any other EU institution or its staff nor will this advice be binding upon the European Commission, any other EU or national institution.

            Dear Mr. Marsden,
            Thank you for contacting the “Your Europe” Advice!

            If you should decide to ignore any further correspondence with the Italian authorities, this may have as a consequence that the fine for traffic violation received in Italy becomes final. The Italian authorities would thus have a pecuniary (a financial credit) against you, and they may wish to enforce it. On this purpose, they can apply with the Italian judge to issue a sentence of enforcement; the judgment handed down in Italy could be enforced in UK where you live, or where you have your assets, so that to obtain the reimbursement of the credit.

            Based on EU legislation there are different modalities to enforce in UK a judicial decision of payment issued in Italy:
            1) As an example, at the European Union levels it finds application the European Small Claims Procedure, as established by Regulation (EC) No 861/2007, for cross-border claims of up to €2000: a judgment given under the European Small Claims Procedure in Italy is recognized and enforceable in another Member State (like UK) without the need for a declaration of enforceability and without any possibility of opposing its recognition. See for further details: https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_small_claims-42-EU-en.do?init=true
            2) The European enforcement order for uncontested claims, as established by Regulation (EC) No 805/2004 of the European Parliament and the Council.
            In order to certify a judicial decision as European enforcement order it is necessary a form: European enforcement order certificate – court settlement, it can be find on the EC website: http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/judicialatlascivil/html/rc_eeo_filling_it_en.htm?countrySession=5&
            As soon as this certification is issued, it is sent to the executive authority from the Member state concerned (UK) where the debtor is resident or his goods are located.
            The British national legislation will establish the modalities of execution of the European enforcement order. For further details, link: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32004R0805:IT:NOT
            3) The recognition and enforcement of the judicial decision based on the Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters: a judgments given in Italy and enforceable there can be enforced in UK after being declared enforceable there on application by anybody who has an interest in the matter (exequatur). The modalities of applying for exequatur in UK are laid down by the British national legislation; anyway, as modalities of enforcement there are: bank account confiscation, or mobile goods confiscation, or immobile goods confiscation etc.

            Some personal observations:
            ●You state that you lodged an appeal against the fine received in Italy for traffic violation; consequently is normal to be summoned by the Italian judge (“”Ufficio del Giudice Di Pace Di Alghero”) to produce your arguments for defence, so that the judge may issue the sentence. Therefore, we do not believe that the “Italian authorities are trying to make your life difficult and expensive”, but it seems to be simply the pursue of the appeal procedure (as you appealed against the traffic violation).
            ●In your enquiry you haven’t considered also the 4th option: simply to pay the fine; instead of paying a lawyer or travelling to Italy, paying the fine would probably result being the cheapest solution in your case.
            ●With regard the argumentation that you did not know that there was a restricted area and that no one informed you about that: we believe that, once that you decided to drive a car on the road in Italy, you are supposed to know of the rules governing traffic road there, including traffic signs (the restricted zones are indicated with a specific sign) and you have the responsibility to respect such rules. No other people (like the car hire company or hotel) had such obligation; it’s only the personal driver’s obligation to drive properly and respect the traffic road rules.

            We hope this information may be useful to you. Should you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact our Service again!
            Best regards,
            Your Europe Advice

            To submit another enquiry, please visit Your Europe Advice , but do not reply to this e-mail.

            Yours sincerely,

            Your Europe Advice”

            Any advice on the above would be most welcome

            thanks

            Scott

  5. says

    To Peter – as you know we have already corresponded about this and, hopefully, gone some way towards sorting it out.

    To Stu – It does sound as though you are yet another victim of the often confusing and downright complex Italian road signs. I don’t know Pisa, but it looks as though it has even more confusing and complex signs than usual. Not knowing the lingo does not help either, but there is not a lot anyone can do about this.

  6. Loren says

    Add to the list two couples from California fined by mail 110,4 Euros for driving in a restricted zone. Okay. It was at night. We were lost. Had we been able to determine that there are restricted zones we would happily avoid them. My local banker cannot decipher what portion of “IT 04 X 06200 14021 000002257243″ is the account number. I will try to get clarification by Fax or email. It allows somebody to translate my question and translate a reply. I am thinking that Comune Di Pisa is not motivated to post their restricted zones too prominantly.
    We had an absolutely wonderful experience in April. A beautiful place to visit.

  7. Stu M says

    Hmm. I’m considering going to Italy again at some point – though the experience has left me with a rather unpleasant taste! I really would *not* have gone into the charge zone if I’d have known, and had all this hassle! Lesson to learn that you run such risks if you don’t understand the language, but I’d argue that since we’ve all been EU members for a long time, signage which is a bit more graphical/multicultural/pan-euro-language-friendly should be used!

    Thanks Alex for passing on the info though. I couldn’t get the website to work – I’m guessing there’s an ID somewhere in your link that stops it working. I’ll look through the pisa website though.

  8. says

    hey, traveling to Italy used to be fun BECAUSE YOU COULD drive on opposite direction in one way streets, drive on sidewalks, do crazy things, park in double and triple row. But the italians have complex of inferiority towards the germans or other rule-loving strict northern europeans and want to imitate them, and now the fun of driving in italy is over.

  9. says

    Well, Sherpes, I suppose that is one way of looking at Italy’s tightening up of the enforcement of traffic offences! I guess you will have to find other countries that are fun to drive in now.

    I would quite like to know just how many Italians, as opposed to non-Italians actually pay these fines…. Although, a few years back a new system was introduced whereby if you did not pay a fine you ran the risk of having your car taken away from you. This would have certainly encouraged more people to pay up, I’m sure.

    Stu M – sorry the enormous link would not, er, link. You could go to the Pisa council site and wander around until you come upon the right section, I suppose, but we are back to the old ‘knowing Italian’ thing. I imagine that at some point Pisa and many others will get round to providing English language and other language versions of their site on air. In the meantime though, these international fines are going to continue to cause headaches for some time to come, I feel.

  10. Richard says

    I seem to have had the same experience as others. I was actually in Bologna, but the situation was the same – it was the first day of my holiday, I was getting used to the hire car and Italian roads, I got lost, and I didn’t notice the restricted zone.

    All the documentation looks genuine and I can believe I did (unintentionally) commit the offence, but: It took 5 months for the fine to land on my doormat, and the fine is 80 euros but the hire car company have added a 60 euro admin charge. I am not happy about either of these things – does anyone know if I have grounds for complaint on these?

    As regards paying, the hire car company kept my credit card details and apparantly I signed something at the time to say they could recover costs such as this after the event. However, I’ve spoken to my credit card company and they say they weren’t authorised to keep my details or take a payment at a later date. So far no payment has been taken but if anything is my credit card company will help me. Does anyone know anything about this?

    Many thanks for your help, and good luck to others in the same situation,

    Richard

  11. says

    Richard – sorry to hear you are yet another to have been caught out – at least this time it was not the infamous Pisa no traffic zone.

    Anyway, the 60 Euro admin charge sounds a bit steep. Most of the fines I have seen have come via the local traffic police, whereas it sounds as though yours have been ‘dressed up’ a little by the hire company. This should not have been necessary – they should have taken enough info for you to have got the fine at your house, minus any extra admin charges, at least that seems to have been what usually happens – Bologna could be different though. Maybe the hire company have already settled the fine; in which case you should be required to refund them with the 80 Euros + 1 Euro or so that the local post office charges for processing things like this.

    • Kathy says

      Just got a Pisa traffic restricted zone ticket today, June 10, 2013 for 121 euro. The traffic ticket was dated August 2, 2012 for driving around the circle with electronic recording . If not paid in 60 days, fees increase to 198 euro. Give me a break.

      • Richard says

        Kathy – join the crowd, just received a letter from Pisa for a supposed violation dated 09/16/2012. Has the same amount of fine E121 pay now or E198 after the 60 day period. Since I will not be renting a car in Italy, do I ignore the letter or risk being stopped at customs any time in the future. Since I am now 81 years old, I do not believe that I am eligible to rent a car in Europe from now on.

  12. Richard says

    Alex – thanks for your response.

    Yeah, if I end up paying the fine, it won’t be too hard to swallow, but I’m keen to avoid the admin charge. That said, I spoke to a friend who used to work for a hire car company and she said they have teams of people to deal with drivers’ fines and this is how they pay for them, so if I end up paying that maybe I won’t feel too bad.

    I guess I’m feeling philosophical about it all now!

  13. Nick says

    Very interesting.

    I have received two of these Pisa letters with fines for driving where we shouldn’t have. Both were the same night when my wife and I were desperately trying to find a hotel and fell foul of this Pisa zone thing. The letters were by registered post and the fines totalled about 200 euros, which was more than the cost of the car hire.

    My wife wrote back to the Pisa authorities appologising for our ignorance but saying we wouldn’t pay as we were totally unaware of the restrictions.

    We are going to Rome on Sunday for a few days and will discover whether I am going to be arrested for non payment as the hirer of the car.

  14. says

    Nick,
    I would not worry too much about being arrested. Although I imagine you’ll see this reply when you get back from Rome. However, if you book into a hotel again in Pisa, then you may possibly get a visit from the local police – but things move quite slowly here, so I would not lose too much sleep over this. There is more chance of you being visited by the police if you end up back in Pisa some five years down the line, but which time someone may have updated and cross referenced some database.
    The Pisa thing is a little odd, as I understand it up here in Milan foreign cars can enter the city centre. It’s a sort of catch 22 situation down in Pisa possibly – you may be able to drive into the centre if you are booked into a hotel there, but obviously to get to a hotel and book it you may need to drive into the centre. You may be able to use the hotel booking as a way to get off one of the fines you got. You could have a go at writing to them – in English, which would only be right seeing as they send the things out in English.
    Good luck,
    Alex

  15. Nick says

    Thanks Alex,

    We have returned without being arrested!

    On the night in question we were driving a hire-car and didn’t manage to find a hotel room in Pisa as there was a conference using all the rooms in the town – hence all the driving around. We ended up staying out by the coast in an ancient hotel with those tea-towel style towels! (Am I supposed to be drying the pots with these?)

    The letters from Pisa each came with an attached registered postcard – presumably these should have been returned by Royal Mail as proof that we had received the letters? So if we hadn’t written a reply, our receipt of the letters would not have been known.

    Ciao

  16. says

    Ciao Nick,

    Glad to hear that you had no arresting experiences whilst over here!

    As for the postcards, I’m not sure what you were supposed to have done with them. In any event, I doubt whether the Pisa authorities would go to the trouble of seeking an European arrest warrant just because a fine has not been paid – but you never know. With regard to your reply, honesty is the best policy, but……….!

    All the best,

    Alex

  17. Steve PFEIF says

    Interesting notes. I received 2 tickets from pisa (2 weeks apart) for restricted zone violations that were 7 minutes apart! The violation happened in June 2006! I had no idea what I did wrong while vacationing there. I did get a notice from hertz a couple months ago indicating the Pisa authorities requested operator info on the car I drove…. that cost 18 Euro for each notice. i argued with Hertz, that an 18 Euro Administrative charge from them was steep — but 2 charges for the same info for a violation 7 minutes apart is ridiculous… Hertz refunded oneo the charges…

    I still don’t know wheteher to pay…certainly not 2 99.4 euro fines!

    I guess I won’t be returning to Pisa again!
    Steve

  18. janet says

    We went to Pisa in November last year. Hired a car from Hertz and guess what we have received this morning. Yes a notification from Hertz that we have committed a traffic offense whilst in Pisa and a charge of 18 Euros. We don’t yet know what the offense is and cant remember doing anything wrong. Indeed as a mature couple we go out of our way not to cause offense and to respect other countries laws Looking at others experiences it seems we can expect to receive a fine in excess of 100 Euros. Who knows, we might even have unknowingly committed this offence twice! We had arrived in Italy just two hours before and had the hire car for one hour. When I think of all the money we spent contributing to the Italian economy and supporting their tourist industry and how we came home vowing to return to relive what we thought was a wonderful holiday we are absolutely furious and will never return. We will pay the fine somehow but Italy will get no more money from us. Tourist in Pisa are sitting ducks! Going to cancel our Italian lessons at the local night school to help pay for the fine. Also looked on Trip adviser site and no mention of this nasty trick on there so maybe it should be posted on there also to warn other tourist how they can unwittingly fall fowl of the law. It might be legal but it is a scam to take money from unsuspecting tourist. I wonder just how much money the Pisa authorities are making from this. I dearly hope that they will be investigated by someone with some clout to let the whole of Europe know what they are doing.

  19. says

    More and more people seem to be being caught out by this Pisa thing. Write to your local MEP time, maybe? It does sound as though this needs to be looked into.

    Alex

  20. janet says

    Hi Alex,
    Have Emailed MEP. I will let you know if anything happens. If it gets looked into it might just mean better signposts, but at least it will help others not to fall into what seams a very unfair trap.

  21. says

    Well done and thanks Janet. Let’s hope this thing gets sorted out and soon. Summer is almost upon us, so many will be heading for Pisa….and ending up with a little ‘souvenir’ that they had not expected….

  22. Ross says

    Same story,I have just received in New Zealand a registered notice of a 110.4 euro fine this time in May last year having arrived in Pisa at midnight, stayed in prebooked Hotel then driven to Florence in the morning.
    The time of the alleged offence “Circulating in restricted traffic zone without authorisation” must have been after leaving the Hotel and finding the way to the motorway. No signs or any other way of knowing we had done wrong. Again we had a Hertz car and Hertz had deducted 18 euro’s from our credit card “to cover costs of supplying details to to the relevant authority” It is very easy to believe that someone in Hertz is in cahoots with the independant collection agency sepi-pisa to send out dodgy fines and split the proceeds. Best advice seems to avoid both Pisa and Hertz like the plague. Pity-Pisa is a lovely town (if you can take your eyes off the road) and Hertz supplied us with a brand new Mercedes, but the fines totalled more than the hire! someone is making a profit here I think.
    I have e-mailed the only address which is the sepi-pisa one suggesting it is a scam and requesting proof that the offence and fine are genuine. Then I found your dialogue on the net and realised I am not alone!

  23. says

    Let’s hope Janet’s letter to her MEP gets some results. If this is a fiddle, then it is being orchestrated on a large scale. Nice way of filling local council coffers and making the signs difficult to see means that the income stream is just about guaranteed. Not that I am saying this is the case, but all these cases here do start to make you wonder. Wandering into Pisa by car does not seem to be a fine thing to do.

  24. scras says

    Hello,
    Same story here.
    Just received two fines from european municipality outsorcing. Fines were driving in a restricted zone in Arezzo (not Pisa), fines were made on 19:25 and 19:33 . So they were only 8 minutes apart ??? No I have to pay € 202. Does someone has any idea wether these are genuine, or has any clarification of some sort? Sanne from Belgium

  25. says

    Sanne – if you want to hop over to my Englishisin site, you can use the messaging system to send me a mail. I have some scans of the genuine articles so I could compare them for you if you like.

    Alex

  26. Jane says

    hi scras
    I have had exactly the same problem with two fines from EMO on behalf Commune di Arezzo arriving today – again both 8 minutes apart – 19.04 and 19.12 in august last year- same total 202 euros – in a hire car from Hertz. This is either an illegal scam or a creative way of balancing local authority finances. I saw no signs and have driven in this area of arezzo many times over the last 20 years. I love Italy, particularily Arezzo and the surrounding area, but feel so angry that I would consider a new destination for future holidays.
    Jane from London

  27. says

    Nadine,
    I can wholly sympathise with your momentary lapse. It is very easy to get caught up in the flow of Italian traffic and if you hesitate for a nano second, you will be beeped at. This pressure means that it is inevitable that wrong turns are made and you end up where you did not intend to be.

    It will be interesting to see if a fine arrives – but it does depend upon whether you passed one of the cameras. You may be lucky, but maybe not.

    The congestion charge system would probably be an answer, but so far, such a system has yet to be adopted here, as far as I know.

    Wait and see time, in your case, I’m afraid – as you know.

    Please let me know if a fine does drop through your letter box.

    Alex

  28. Eileen says

    We have just received notification of two parking offences in Pisa which we had made in October of last year. We paid for parking and we were totally unaware that we were in a restricted zone. We were informed by our car leasing company that they had paid the fine and that they had deducted the amount from our credit card which we had used to pay for the car. The letter was dated in April. On checking it appears that the fine has not yet been paid.

  29. says

    Eileen – this double fine thing is a little odd – if you read above, another commenter – Howard is in a similar situation – though not regarding Pisa.
    Are you sure the hire company has actually paid the fines and not just charged an ‘admin’ fee for processing them? If you look at your credit card statement and you find two amounts for around 18 Euros, then I think this refers to the processing fees, not payment of the fines. This may explain why the fines have not yet been settled. As some point you should receive formal notification from the Pisa authorities re the actual fines.
    Hope that helps.
    All the best,
    Alex

    PS Suggestion: Could someone try contacting Tom Tom or any of the other sat nav providers and asking them to add the Pisa restricted traffic zone to their maps?

  30. Morten says

    Hi there, I just wanted to conclude on my comment of 3rd May 2007 whether EMO is a legal entity or the fine that tey had submitted was a refined fraud; with the assistance of the Danish consumer organization, which is gov´t sponsored, it unfortunately (since I now have to pay) turns out that EMO are for real. In fact I already did the payment online by credit card – just as easy as when buying anything else on the web. All the best.

  31. says

    Hi Morten.
    Many thanks for having independently checked out the EMO set-up. Although my own investigations meant that I had reached the same conclusion regarding EMO, it is good to hear a second opinion which confirms what I believed.

    This will be useful info for all those who happen upon this blog entry.

    Alex

  32. says

    A further update: after querying things with Hertz, they agreed to refund the two 18-Euro administration charges “as a gesture of goodwill”. Very pleased with this outcome! Thanks again to contributors to this page, very useful to have this extra info.

    To clarify – the 18-Euro Hertz charges were added as an admin fee by Hertz Italy, following a request from the Italian authorities to Hertz Italy about who was renting the car in question. We have not yet had any direct correspondence from Italy about the traffic fines themselves.

    We queried Hertz about this, and asked if we should expect a letter from Italy for the traffic fines to be paid. Interestingly, they said this might not happen. Was surprised by this!

    So – haven’t (yet) been asked to pay any traffic fines yet, and had the associated Hertz admin charges refunded. Just shows it’s worth chasing the rental company.

    Howard

  33. says

    Thanks for the update Howard – good news about the Hertz admin fees! Let’s hope those fines really don’t turn up.
    “We queried Hertz about this, and asked if we should expect a letter from Italy for the traffic fines to be paid. Interestingly, they said this might not happen. Was surprised by this!”
    I wonder if someone from the Italian authorities has been reading this entry in my blog…..! Hope someone from Pisa council finds his or her way here.
    Blogger (and commenter) power??
    All the best,
    Alex

    PS I’m going to get hold of that Make A Jazz Noise Here Frank Zappa album that you love – I love guitar, especially electric and electro acoustic stuff. One of these days I’ll get round to getting another geetar and trying to learn to play it! (I think my hands are too dinky) I’d love an Ovation electro acoustic model, and when funds permit…..I’ll get one and shave down the neck!! In which case I shall be back to your site which is full of very useful info. I’m glad you dropped in here!! Cheers!

  34. Kelly says

    My spouse was in Italy in June of 2006 and we too received the $18 Hertz charge and the SAME exact wording and numbers for the bank as others posted on here for “circulating in restricted traffic zone without authorization”…. Seems a bit odd that all infractions appear around the same time frame, with EXACT wording and bank numbers. We are from the US- not sure where others were from that posted here…

    The item that I’m stuck on is, if the bank numbers are exactly the same on all of these “transactions/offenses”, then how in the world would Comune di Pisa know if it was my spouse that paid and not someone else???

    I was relieved to see your postings on this matter! Thank you!!!!

  35. Kelly says

    I’m trying to fill out that form mentioned above from e.pisa.it and cannot find a “tax identification number” anywhere on the offense letter…??? what is this number? thanks!

  36. says

    Hi Kelly,

    I think you can leave the Tax Identification number blank, because you don’t have one. I think this refers to the Italian Codice Fiscale – Fiscal Code which everyone who lives or works here legally gets. I shall have a look at the form and check that what I’ve said is accurate. I’ll post again here if it is not.

    All the best,

    Alex

  37. says

    What you say is very true Karin – foreign drivers are easy targets – they pay up and shut up. Whereas Italians, in the main, neither pay up nor shut up. This is why one of those MEP gods should be looking into this issue.

    Regards,

    Alex

    • Merijn says

      Hi Alex,

      I am Dutch. I have received 4 traffic fees dated 6-7-8/June/2011 due to ZTL violation in Alghero/Sardinia. The official letters I received are dated 25/July/2012 so 360 days after infraction. I would appreciate if you could advise how to cancel the said fees due to the late receipt.

      thnx,

      • Al says

        Hi Merijn,

        When did you receive (sign for) the official fines? Late July/early August?
        Remember that you have (only) 60 days to appeal to the Prefect!

        IF you’re not too late, send one letter of appeal for the four fines. Same grounds: over 360 days, same town (Prefect): Sassari.

        Al Prefetto di ____
        Raccomandata A.R.
        Oggetto: ricorso contro multe notificate oltre 360 giorni dai fatti.
        Il/la sottoscritto/a ___, residente in ______, titolare del contratto di noleggio della vettura targa _____,
        premesso che in data 1ST DATE, (2ND DATE?,) ha ricevuto i verbali di accertamento di violazione al codice della strada n. N° 1ST FINE, N° 2ND FINE, …, fa notare che le notifiche degli stessi sono avvenute oltre 360 giorni dai fatti, estinguendo quindi l’obbligo di pagamento.
        Come stabilito dall’art. 201, comma 1 del Codice della strada, nel caso di residenti all’estero, il verbale deve essere notificato entro 360 giorni dall’accertamento, calcolati inequivocabilmente dalla data dell’infrazione.
        Per quanto sopra
        Chiede che i provvedimenti vengano annullati.
        Allega: fotocopie dei verbali notificati.
        Date…………… Signature (readable)

        I would also enclose with the letter, not only a readable copy of the formal notifications but also Decision 198/1996” of the Italian Constitutional Court with the relevant passages highlighted.
        Page 3: “Come si nota dal raffronto […] siano stati identificati successivamente.”
        Page 4: “si consentirebbe una protrazione […] ai residenti all’estero;”
        Write: “Allega: fotocopie dei verbali notificati, sentenza Corte Costituzionale 10-17 giugno 1996, n. 198.”

        Download Decision 198/1996 as a pdf document from: http://www.cortecostituzionale.it/actionPronuncia.do
        (“Anno: 1996, Numero/i: 198”, click on “Ricerca”)

        Send your registered letter with proof of receipt to:
        Al Prefetto di Sassari
        Prefettura di Sassari
        Ufficio Ricorsi per Violazioni al Codice della Strada
        Piazza d’Italia 31
        07100 Sassari

        I would also send an email to the EMO (Nivi Credit – infoemo-en@nivi.it) to inform them that you’ve appealed against (fine)/infraction number … with the Prefect of Sassari.

        Read April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am comment.
        (http://italychronicles.com/speeding-fines-in-italy/#comment-27584).

        Best,

        Al (not Alex)

      • Kemiker says

        Hi Merijn

        In addition to Al’s input I would also add a little more persuasion because the prefect of Sassari has previously rejected appeals made on this basis.
        http://italychronicles.com/speeding-fines-in-italy/#comment-31479

        Other prefects are accepting appeals on the basis of expired time limits, calculated from the date of the offence and max 360 days.
        Pisa has accepted one (http://italychronicles.com/speeding-fines-in-italy/#comment-32096). Florence has also just accepted mine by definition (see bottom of blog).[Al maybe you could write a suitable sentence in Italian for this].
        Add this link to the website of Comune di Roma which contains the correct interpretation of the law so the prefect of Rome would also accept this argument.
        http://www.comune.roma.it/wps/portal/pcr?contentId=NEW145409&jp_pagecode=newsview.wp&ahew=contentId:jp_pagecode

        Finally you can cut and paste this into your appeal. It’s from the Italian consumer rights organisation ADUC and sourced from this blog. I used it in my successful appeal.
        Associazione per i Diritti degli Utenti e Consumatori è d’accordo:
        http://sosonline.aduc.it/scheda/multe+violazioni+al+codice+della+strada+verbale+sua_12880.php
        “Il caso di residenti all’estero, invece, il verbale dev’essere notificato entro 360 giorni dall’accertamento, calcolati inequivocabilmente dalla data dell’infrazione.”

        Hopefully that will push the decision making process in the right direction!

        Additionally if you want to question the validity of the notification itself according to ECHR in terms of 1) language:
        Inoltre, secondo la Convenzione per la Salvaguardia dei Diritti dell’uomo e delle Libertà Fondamentali:

        Articolo 6§3a
        In particolare, ogni accusato ha diritto di: essere informato, nel più breve tempo possibile, in una lingua a lui comprensibile e in modo dettagliato, della natura e dei motivi dell’accusa formulata a suo carico….

        La lingua in Danimarca è danese. Il servizio devono essere scritto in lingua danese legge enligt internazionale.
        ….you need to exchange Danimarca and danese with the Italian words for Netherlands and Dutch.

        2) The presumption of innocence:
        Articolo 6§2
        Ogni persona accusata di un reato è presunta innocente fino a quando la sua colpevolezza non sia stata legalmente accertata.
        La clausolo “ must be considered guilty of the infraction until proven otherwise” [“…essere considerate colpevole di infrazione fino a prova contraria”] è illegale

        Best
        Kemiker

  38. Asbjorn says

    Same boat here. I got this letter from Hertz today telling me that 18€ charged my credit card for giving information to the “Nessesary authorities”. It is commented with Offence: “Verbale fine on lane”. My belief up to this date was that if you violate anny law in Italy the police will take direct contact with you. Because of this was not true I thought it was a scam so I called the credit card company to block my credit card. I was in Milan in the beginning of April and now after 5 months they start messing with this offence that I don’t know wath is. I live in Norway and we are not a member of the EU. If I recieve this Fine my plan is to ask for Evidence, If evidence is not given to me I will go to the Police here in Norway and report it as a Freud. I will simply claim that this offence never happend. Than the norwegian laws is like this: Companies that are making people pay by force can not take this case because than they will lose their authorisation if they participate in Freud. However I am not sure if the Italians have anny agreement with Norway to get theese money by force annyway. And after this I rather go to Spain next time.

  39. Mike says

    I have received notification of a speeding fine from Pisa.

    The date of the offence is October 06, it is now September 07.
    The document is very kindly translated into English.
    According to the document, I am the owner of the car in question (whereas I hired the car).
    The document gives an account number into which the fine (57 Euros) is to be paid
    Oh, it cost the person sending it 4 Euros.

    So is it genuine?

    If I pay an amount into the numbered account given, how do the police know it is from me? I could have it paid from an account not in my name. The only way they could tell that I had paid fine is if there was an account opened for my fine only – and nothing else. Do you think the Pisa police have an opened a separate bank account for everyone to whom they issue a fine?

    However, I am not going to just ignore it. Clearly someone has passed my hire car details (from Pisa) on to these scammers. What other information do they have on me?

    If someone were to rob a shop of £100, people would quite rightly expect the perpetrator to be arrested. If someone sets up a bogus bank account to collect money from people they have scammed, I would expect the police to ask; who owns the account, checkout who has paid money into the account and why, and arrest those concerned. But sadly the police have better things to do (catch motorists on speed cameras).

    I expect the scammers to respond to this message – explaining that the fine is genuine and how the police can trace that my fine has been paid.

    There are other faults with the document – but I don’t want to give the scammers too much information – anyway, why should they bother to improve the fake speeding notice, if so many are falling for it.

    Mike.

  40. Alan says

    Alex

    I’ve just received aletter from Europcar charging 36 euros for administration. Attached were two letters from the Rome Polizia Municipale to Europcar, alleging my hire car went into restriced traffic zones on the 4th & 5th May 2006!

    We were there on hols on those dates with a Europcar hire car, but after all this time – should I pay the police?

    The document says the fine should be paid within 60 days!! or else it escalates to 275 euros. So I guess I would be charged 275 for each offence if I paid now, although of course – like others- I was unaware that I’d gone into these ‘restricted zones’.

    Should I wait for something to come to me direct from the Police?

    Is the offence now ‘out of date’?

    Alan

  41. says

    Hi Alan,

    Sorry to hear about your fine, but you raise an interesting issue. That is, should you pay the original fine or the 275 Euros, times 2? A very good question, but seeing as you did not receive the notification until recently, the 60 days should run from the date of receipt not the date of offence. However, i do not know the rules on this. I’ll give the police a ring tomorrow and ask them. Then I’ll post back here.

    Alas, the fine is not out of date. Info on the State Police Site mentions 5 years before the fine becomes expires.

    Alex

  42. Mike says

    Alex seems very keen on promoting the fact that these fines are genuine – he says he will e-mail me re my comments above (I await his e-mail with interest).

    Does Alex have my e-mail address?

    Imagine if the police in your home country, wrote to you advising of a motoring offence and gave details of a bank account into which to pay the fine. They provided no reference number to allow traceability of payment.
    Either such a scheme is a scam or the police have no way of determining who has paid their fine.

    Take my ‘fine’ of 57 euros, let us say, my uncle in the USA pays the fine on my behalf – how the hell do the police in Pisa know my fine has been paid (unless they have set up an account for my fine only)?
    Alex is going to expalin this one!!!!!

    I suspect the poilce might be interested in Alex’s e-mail and postal address as part of their investigation into this scam.

  43. says

    Mike,

    Oh dear, looks as though I might get myself in hot water over this. Let me say that I am not at all ‘keen’ on promoting the fact that these fines are genuine, and I would be quite happy for the police to have my email address etc, then at least I would know something is being done about this and so I too could establish whether these fines are in actual fact genuine and then let people know.

    What I try to do, when I have the time, is ringing someone, mentioning the offence number and waiting for them to give me the car registration plate details and model – it is not an exhaustive check, I know, but it is all I can really do to check these things out. Sorry, if it is not enough. If someone can suggest a better way, then I’d be happy to hear it and publish it on this site.

    I am neither an investigator, lawyer or a member of any police force, and I have tried to point out that I really am no expert on this. I don’t think I have ever made myself out to be one, and I do try to encourage others to check with the authorities in their own countries. What I can do, if you want, is contact the authorities here, but I maybe just making this all up and taking my cut – which could be the case – and if you believe this, and if I offer some assistance, you can simply say no. This would be understandable.

    Maybe I should stop trying to help, and hope that, as I have mentioned on more than one occasion, someone contacts an MEP, or speaks to a lawyer in their own country.

    As for your email address, I am assuming that the one you left is genuine. If not, and I would not be too surprised if it is not, after all, you do not know me from Adam, which means you have every right to be suspicious.

    As for the case of your uncle paying the fine on your behalf, as long as someone pays the money into the bank account which the Pisa police use, and quote the correct reference number, then the matter is closed. It does not matter who pays, so much as if the amount is settled. At least this means that the next time you come to Italy and go to Pisa, nobody will come knocking on your hotel room door (although the chances of this happening are slim) asking you to pay a fine.

    If you do want to give the US or UK police my email, then please do by all means. If they think I can help, or wish to check that I am not in the scam, that’s fine by me. Got nothing to hide.

    I suppose I should have expected a comment like this at some point. Oh well, trying to help probably was not a good idea. Sorry. I shall have a think about how to proceed in the future.

    Kind regards,

    Alex

  44. Asbjorn says

    I have returned to this Blog often to get some updates. In my first post several days ago I told that I received a letter from Hertz where I was charged the 18€ administration fee. I thought it was a scam so I blocked my credit card. I found this blog and had a lot of interesting reading before I called the car rental company (Hertz). This blog made me realize that my Fine can be real. However I have still not got the Fine it selves.

    Before I called Hertz I did some “homework” where I prepared my selves what to say (thanks to this blogg!!!).

    Than I called them: (This is a bit simplified, but gives you an idea about my feedback to Hertz)
    First I told them that charging my CC after 5 months initially made me think about a scam, than I blocked my CC.
    Than I told them that I had investigated this my selves. And for my case this fine probably was real.
    I than told them that these Italian Fine’s is a problem for tourists in rental cars especially. And here I made a point of that people are being so confused about this that there exists blogs on the internet where this is being discussed and Hertz is mentioned explicit. (I said “blogs” but so far I only know about this blog). I pointed out that “People” are discussing whether these fines are real when the rental companies are charging their customers for administration fee anyway. And I ended my “speech” with: Due to my observations there is a growing opinion among people in the blogs that the combination of Hertz** in Pisa or Milano is to be avoided. Because some people doubt the realness of the Fines. And people are thinking that the car rental companies are cooperating with the authorities in squeezing the tourists for money.

    ** Since I was talking to Hertz i gave all the pepper to them. But I realise that other companies also are mentioned. I did not give the link or address to this blog. My basic Idea with the feedback was to make them understand that “if you f**k the tourists they will f**k you” and the Fine’s is a real problem that put their name into shame because when Italians drive like they are late for their own funeral, well-driving tourists are bugged with Fines for being in a restricted area.

    The Customer Service did actually thank me for the feedback and called my speech “interesting”.

    Thanks for this Blogg Alex!!

  45. says

    Asbjorn – First, thanks for your thanks. Second, thanks for drawing Hertz’s attention to this little problem. Let’s hope it starts an internal investigation, and that Hertz at least manage to establish that nothing untoward is going on with regard to its operations. If it is, and I not for one moment saying that it is, then Hertz brand image could end up being dented. I do hope Hertz’s customer service sits up and takes notice, and just does not sit on this issue and file it away as being a minor complaint.

    It’s a shame that no newspapers are looking into this, too.

    Incidentally, I know of three or so forums where this issue has come up and two have linked to this post, so at least people are becoming aware that this is going on.

    Watch this space time, I feel.

    Thanks again, Asbjorn.

    Kind regards,

    Alex

  46. Arthuro says

    Ciao,

    I used my friends car when I was visiting in Italy. Now she has got a speeding ticket by mail. Propably they have had some camera/radar contorl in a highway where I drove too fast. I’d like to know if the speeding fine is for a owner of the car in this situation. Should it belong to the driver of the car. Will she get some nasty consequences if she doesn’t pay the fine.

    Respect,
    -Arthuro

  47. says

    Arthuro,

    First, I am not an expert, so please have what I say checked.

    Now, check that the fine is actually for a speeding offence and not some minor infraction that will not lead to points being deducted from an Italian driving licence.

    If the fine is for speeding, then, as I understand it, under Italian law your Italian friend is obliged to pass your details, driving licence, address, etc to whoever issued the fine within 60 days of the notification of the offence. See, in Italian, here

    Otherwise, your friend had better pay the fine or she may face another fine of between 250 and 1000 Euros. If your fine concerns an offence which leads to the deduction of points from an Italian driving licence, and your friend pays, she will lose some of the 20 points that each Italian driver has on his or her licence. Lose all twenty and the driver concerned will be required to re-take the Italian driving test. This is something to keep in mind. So, the fine, in answer to your question, applies to the driver of the car, not the owner, at the time of the offence.

    If your friend does not pay the fine, the amount will increase and things will become more complicated for her. So get her to pass your details to the fine issuers, if there is still time.

    Hope that helps, but do check what I have said.

    Kind regards,

    Alex

  48. says

    Arthuro,

    One other thing, if the fine is for something that will not cause points to be deducted from your friend’s licence, then you could ask her to pay it and then send her the money. In this case, the fine will be settled and the matter should go no further.

    But, please get a second opinion on this. Sorry to be such a bore about this, but I feel that I need to cover my back in case someone accuses me of giving them the wrong info and they end up getting in trouble as a result of following my informal advice. Or worse, I end up being labelled as a scammer.

    Thanks for reading.

    To all readers:
    Maybe someone else here could either confirm or otherwise that what I have been saying is accurate or not. I would have no problem at all with being corrected, in fact I would welcome it – then at least everyone will have something concrete to go on.

    Cheers to one and all,

    Alex

  49. Asbjorn says

    Thanks Alex! For using a lot of time on answering people in this blog. I have seen that there have been posts where people have started to doubt your intensions. I have spendt some time in reading most of the postings here and I have to say clearly: Not at any time have any of your posts or comments made me doubt your intensions. For me it is clear that you are not a scamer. I just wanted to write wath I think, and probably most of everyone else in here also thinks. Thanks for beeing honest, but I think it should not be nessesary for you to point out that you are “not an expert” all the time. The people comming to this blog should simply take their time to read the blog before they start to mean anything about the intensions behind the blog, and the answer will come by it selves. I just want to give you clear support on this issue.

    Thanks,
    Asbjorn

  50. Sean says

    I have also recently received notification of a traffic violation (driving in a restricted zone) in July 06. Europcar had deducted an €18 admin fee from my credit card, and has sent me a copy of page 1 of the polizia municipale document. This mentions the €68 fine, 60 days to pay, and the higher fine of €275. However I found a statement on the web that the time limit for notification of the fine is 150 days. When I raised this with Europcar in Rome, they said that the police have 150 days to notify the owner – the car rental company, who then have 60 days to reply to the police with the renter’s details, and the police have then a further 150 days to contact the renter directly, making a total of 360 days for the violation to be valid. I have yet to receive anything formal from the police, and I am now outside the 360 day period. So I wonder if I am now in the clear, or should I pay?

  51. says

    Asbjorn – thanks once again for being so supportive. I don’t expect any thanks for trying to help out a little, but when I am thanked, it is greatly appreciated. So, cheers once again! I think I will continue to point out that I am not an expert – although I do feel a bit silly doing it – this is only a little blog after all!

    Sean – OK, I’ve had a look into this time limits thing a bit more and from what I can make out from the Italian Automobile Club site here:
    http://www.aci.it/index.php?id=427

    There is indeed, as you say, a time limit of 150 days for the notification of the fine, if the individual committing the violation is resident in Italy. This limit extends to 360 days for individuals committing violations who are not resident in Italy, however, both these time limits run from as soon as the actual offender has been identified:

    In Italian: La Corte Costituzionale, con sentenza 198/1996, ha stabilito che il termine dei 150 giorni, nel caso in cui l’identificazione dell’effettivo trasgressore avvenga successivamente rispetto al momento in cui la violazione è stata commessa, decorre dalla data in cui l’autorità è in grado di identificarlo.

    My translation: Decision 198/1996 of the Constitutional Court established that the 150 (360) day period in situations in which the identification of the actual offender is subsequent to the moment in which the violation occurred shall run from the date the authority is able to identify such offender.

    So, in your case, it appears that the 360 days starts running from as soon as the police have been advised by the car rental company who you are, so this means presumably that the police must send you a fine within this 360 day period, otherwise it is no longer valid.

    My understanding is that you now need to know when the rental company got round to telling the police who you are and then add 360 days so you can check by when the police should send you this fine. For the moment, seeing as you personally have not yet received any notification from the police, you may get away with this.

    Let’s hope nothing drops through the letter box. Please have my translation checked out – sorry, but I’m going to point out that I am not an expert on this subject yet again.

    Hope that helps,

    Kind regards,

    Alex

    PS I shall add the info about the time limits thing to my main post.

  52. Sean says

    Many thanks Alex.
    Your translation is perfect, as far as I can see. It looks like I had better pay up before the fine increases to €275.

  53. says

    Rhonda – Many thanks for the info regarding telling the authorities that you are staying in a hotel within a restricted traffic area. Very useful, and I shall be adding it to the main post, way above here!

    Cheers,

    Alex

  54. says

    Luis,

    Thanks for the thanks! Always appreciated.

    As to what you should do, well, I would say move house – sorry! Only joking. I guess that you will just have to wait until the actual fine arrives, although from the experiences of others it is not altogether clear when the fine will get to you. However, on the basis that Hertz have charged you the admin fee, then this should mean that the police now know who you are. In which case, the fine could arrive at any time.

    Keep an eye out for a registered letter from Italy, unless of course you happen to get lots of registered letters from here!

    All the best,

    Alex

  55. Rhonda says

    Alex, Thank you for your support and also, thank you for removing my email address, I didn’t think about spam until after I had sent.

    Regards.
    Rhonda.

  56. Max says

    Today I also got the surprise carryover from the holiday that everyone else has. However, unlike most, I got not one, not two, but THREE of them all from a TWELVE minute period in May.

    Apparently in driving to the hard to find hotel in Florence, I managed to hit three of the limited traffic areas and they’re very keen to talk to me about e300 in fines.

    I’m going to try to get info and plot where the roads are compared to the hotel to see whether this is valid but really, no matter how genuine the offences are, some leaway needs to be given to tourists at times providing they’re not driving dangerously.

  57. says

    Hi Max,

    Sorry to hear about three fines – I think that must be some kind of record here, and all in a twelve minute period.

    I certainly agree with you regarding the leeway, but the cameras are rather impersonal, however, if you read Rhonda’s comment above, you will not that if you have pre-booked a hotel within a restricted traffic area you should tell the hotel staff, who should, in turn, advise the local police – will then exclude your car if it ends up being photographed.

    I have not looked into this, so I am not sure which cities operate this exclusion idea (which seems reasonable). When I have a spare moment, I’ll try to find more information about this.

    Kind regards,

    Alex

  58. Stephane says

    same fine but from sardignia (travel in october 2006).

    I have a look and it permit to find a private society employed by italian police to recover money in all europe.

    European municipality outsourcing belong to NIVICREDIT SRL (www.nivi.it).

    It seems to be legal … but I m sure that in France the french police come to you ordered by nivicredit to make you pay after the 60 days …It happens to a friend of mine with a fine caught in Pisa.

    For myself wait and see …

    I just hope to be helpful …

    best regards

    Stephane

  59. says

    Hi Stephane

    Thanks for dropping in and telling us about your situation – everything helps.

    Re the use of a private company to collect fine payments, this appears to be quite a common form of outsourcing in Italy, even if it must make people worry about the legitimacy of the fine.

    The nivi site looks OK, but it is easy to make a site look OK.

    Can you tell us some more about your friend in Pisa? Was he/she caught in Pisa? Did the Italian police come and collect the fine? Or is your friend French, and so did the French police go to his/her house to ask him/her to pay the fine he/she got in Pisa?

    Kind regards,

    Alex

  60. Johan says

    Hi and thanks for this great blog !

    I’m in the same case as Rhonda, possibly caught by a cam in Firenze. Like Rhonda, too, I’ve received a letter from EMO for 92,5 euros. After having a look at the website, it seems pretty fake, a student could have made it !
    So I emailed the Police Municipality of Firenze (direz.pol.municipale@comune.fi.it) to have a confirmation. First, I have written in english, but after 3 days, no answer … So I have written in french (cause I’m French :) ), and 3 days later I’ve an automatic answer telling me (in italian), that my mail as been forwarded to the competent officer ..
    Now I’m waiting for an answer …

    Best regards,

    Johan

    PS : forgive me for my english, no problem for reading … but for writing it’s a little bit hard

  61. Rhonda says

    Well, I have some news back from Florence, Italy.

    Email received back from infoemo@nivi.it Which is the email address on the fine.

    Dear Mr xxxxxx,
    the Hotel Il Granduca where you were staying on the 28 and 29 May 2007 is outside the limited traffic area (ZTL) of Florence, so it wasn’t necessary to enter this area to get to the hotel.
    For this reason Municipal Police won’t cancel your fine.

    For any further information please feel free to contact us again.

    Best Regards
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    I also, sent an email too: Polizia Municipale Comune Di Firenze, with an attachment copy of the fine. This was their responce.

    Good morning,
    it’ s better waiting for formal notification of fine ( from Municipal Police of Florence ) and then you can decide for payment or appeal.

    Best regards.
    xxxxxxxxxxxx
    email: pm.verbali.notifiche@comune.fi.it

    Well! maybe I am wrong but it looks to me that Municipal Police of Florence, didn’t see the attached fine as being official.

    The email address for Florence Police:
    pm.verbali.notifiche@comune.fi.it

    Written by Alex.
    “Rhonda’s comment above, you will not that if you have pre-booked a hotel within a restricted traffic area you should tell the hotel staff, who should, in turn, advise the local police – will then exclude your car if it ends up being photographed.”

    Alex,

    I hope I don’t offend you but I have a problem. I have a degee in history and every quote, must be quoted as it was.

    I Wrote:

    “However, they also, have another law, which is: while tourists are staying within these areas the hotel manager by Law must take a copy of your passport, international drivers licence, and Car Number Plate, the hotel manager by Law must send copies to the local Polizia within 8 days of your stay. So that if a car Number Plate is picked up on the camera they can check against their recording of Authorized vehicles of tourists residing, even if it be a few days.”

    It doesn’t matter whether you have pre-booked a hotel or just driven into Florence, and found a hotel, and spent the night. You were residing in Florence on those nights.

    We received an email back from our hotel management saying: Your stay 28-29 May 2007,was registered with Municipal Police of Florence. Please, contact us again if you have more problems.

    The four of us were out to dinner last night the matter came up and we have decided not to pay.

    I hope this helps.
    Regards.
    Rhonda.

  62. says

    Hi Johan,

    Thanks for the thanks! Let’s wait and see what reply you receive….

    Best regards,

    Alex

    PS Your written English is a whole lot better than my French, written or spoken:-)

  63. says

    Hi K,

    Glad you found the info useful.

    As for the address, well, that did make me chuckle!!! Highly appropriate for the living museum. The late Machiavelli has a lot to answer for IMHO!

    All the best,

    Alex

  64. Kasper says

    Hello

    April last year I visited Firenze with my family, and got caught 8 times on camera in the “restricted traffic zones”. I’ve waited to do anything about it untill now that I got the real fine( the one you receive after the “notification”)
    I’ve talked to these people at EMO a couple of times to get advice on what to do about this.

    Appealing, I will probably end up paying the double amount which will be a disaster for my family and I. So this morning I talked to somebody at the EMO who, strangely enough, told me a secret on how to avoid payment…..
    I promise everyone who read this and you Alex, that when I’ve tested this method I will tell you all how it works out…

    Best regards
    Kasper

  65. says

    Hi Kasper,

    Thanks for the info. We shall all wait with baited breath the hear about this secret method of avoiding having to pay these fines.

    Hope it’s legalish!

    And if it works, I’ll think about publishing it here – although anyone who decides to try out such method – must do so at his or her own risk.

    Regards,

    Alex

  66. Katie says

    Hi Alex,

    First of all, THANK YOU for providing a forum for people like me to vent and seek assistance and advice. Now for the nitty-gritty; I am fuming. I received two tickets in the mail this week for fines incurred in July, 2007. I drove through a ZTL twice in the same day and owe EMO nearly 200 Euros

    Interestingly, our hotel was in a ZTL (I didn’t know what a ZTL was until yesterday). I am fluent in Italian (my mother’s family still lives there) and I have visited and driven all over Italy many, many times. Never seen these ZTLs before, never received tickets… I speak with a very noticable English accent and I presented my Canadian passport on arrival at the hotel so clearly, there was no mistaking that I am a tourist. When I ask where I should park my car, I would expect the hotel employee to have the common sense (and courtesy) to know that my car probably doesn’t have ‘authority’ to drive through a ZTL so she shouldn’t send me past another camera. She should also have asked for my license plate. I assume that it’s too late for the hotel to call now…7 months have passed.

    I just wanted to let you know that when I got my International Drivers License, I received a book with laws and signs specific to Italy which I actually studied. The book I received from CAA (AAA equivalent in Canada) did NOT include the ZTL sign. The “Do Not Enter” is a red circle with a horizontal white line going through the middle – same as it is in North America. I have since notified CAA and AAA of my incident and of their ommission.

    I am not saying that tourists should be exempted from these rules – the municipality of Firenze is free to make and enforce any rules they deem necessary. But for a city that relies heavily on tourists for income, they should have considered the fall-out this sort of gouging will have on their tourism industry. DID THEY? HOW DO I LET THEM KNOW THAT THIS IS A BLACK-EYE FOR THEM? It’s a trap really – if your hotel is in the core area of the city, there is no way to avoid these ZTL areas….pedestrian traffic, people double-parked – detours are inevitable!

    Imagine had I known what that the ZTL sign meant and tried to stop my car in the middle of a busy street. That would surely upset the people behind me. Italy is not known for their patient or courtious drivers.

    I am going to pay the fines as I will be back in Italy in the near future and will be renting a car again. But need some advice on who I can write to to let them know what a negative effect this is having. Any suggestions? I booked three other families for their vacations in Florence this summer. They all want to drive through the wine-country and will have their own cars. I cancelled all three reservations today because of this and am sending them to Trento instead.

  67. says

    Hi Katie,

    Glad you found this post useful. The number of people affected by these ztl things never ceases to amaze me.

    Anyway, I’ll track down a couple of names and addresses and get back to you. I’m thinking about the head of Florence’s tourist board, local council officer in charge of tourism, and, possibly, the Italian government minister in charge of tourism.

    All the best,

    Alex

  68. Becky says

    It is good to know that I am not alone. My husband, parents, and I were traveling in Italy in April 2007. We received a total of……………………. 7 tickets! (Oh, and of course 25 Euro fines for each one from Europcar in addition to the 80-92 Euro fines from the polizia. Here is the breakdown:

    5 from Florence: 1 for driving along lanes for public transportation only, 1 for circulating on roads reserved to other vehicles, and 3 for circulating in limited traffic areas (those 3 within a 10-minute period)

    1 from Verona: driving through a Zone of Traffic Limited where car transit is allowed “only at certain hours of the day”

    1 from Pisa: driving in limited traffic zone

    The ones from Florence came in English. I called the police, and a woman told me that three of my fines could be removed if my hotel sent proof of my stay. After three rather difficult conversations with limited-English-speaking (but very friendly) ladies at the hotel, I faxed a letter and the copies of the tickets (add $25 + international phone calls…I haven’t received the bill yet!). My hotel tried to get the fines waived, but apparently was 100 meters outside of the restricted traffic zone! The hotel did send me forms about how to appeal the tickets, but, after careful reading, I realized that I would have to pay DOUBLE the fine if my appeals were rejected. I logged onto EMO website, paid the five tickets, have receipts, and feel relieved that at least those are done (although VERY poor!).

    The ones from Verona and Pisa are trickier, as they are in Italian. I sent e-mails to both municipalities requesting more information. Verona sent me instructions in English, but I feel unsure as to how they will know that it is our ticket that has been paid…any answers?

    Pisa has not responded to my e-mail. Their notification letter is very hard to understand. I gave it to a woman who speaks some Italian, and she could not figure out the instructions for payment. I also took it to the bank with no success.

    Anyway, I do think that Italy should be aware that this is NOT good for tourism. I’m not the gambling type, so I am trying to pay the fines…however, I now have NO desire to visit Italy again. I certainly will never drive there again. It’s too bad, really…I loved it when I was there.

    That being said, Italian drivers are AWFUL(in my opinion). Most of the time on the roads I was afraid for my life, and I considered it a miracle that we didn’t have an accident while in Italy. We were probably some of the safest drivers on the road, even if we did drive in limited traffic zones! Not to mention how confusing it was to get around Italy or find anything! Whose eyes can be peeled for ZTL signs when you are fearing for your life while trying to find a hotel at night?

    I am trying my luck in Ireland this spring. Does anyone know of any similar problems in Ireland?

    Sorry for the long post…it feels SOOOOO good to get this off of my chest (even if my wallet is empty).

  69. says

    Hi Becky,

    Thanks for the long post! I’m very sorry to hear that you got 7 fines, unbelievable.

    And I’m sorry to hear that you will not be coming back to Italy, although I quite understand why.

    I’ll try to post a longer reply tomorrow or Monday and how you can make sure that the Verona and Pisa municipalities know that it was you who paid the fines.

    All the best,

    Alex

  70. says

    Becky,

    Re the Verona and Pisa fines.

    On the fine notification there should be the word ‘Casuale’, which is a sort of traffic offence reference number, and this reference is usually written on the fine, and it provides information with regard to the date that you were caught, the registration of the car you were in. If you quote this reference code whenever you contact the authorities then they will know what you are referring to. In addition, when you do pay the fines, ensure that the ‘Casuale’ information is included. You may, for example, be able to transfer money from your bank account, in which case there should be a section allowing you to specify why the transfer is being made. In this case write ‘Pagamento di multa Casuale: (Write the reference numnber and the car registration number)’ and you should be OK.

    Hope that helps,

    Alex

  71. Becky says

    Hi Alex,
    Thanks for your help. My husband went to the bank this week to pay the Verona fine (we can’t translate the Pisa one…), and they wanted to charge him $48 just to wire the money. Do you know if they accept bank checks or credit card payments? This is all starting to get ridiculous!

  72. Paul says

    Just received four fines from EMO for driving in a ZTL in Florence last August, all on the same day. We were staying in the heart of the City – how can we check whether our apartment was in the ZTL?

    And having read almost the whole of this blog (mind-boggling) I’m still unclear whether anyone has suffered any serious consequences from not paying?

    As it is, we don’t plan to go back to Italy. They asked us not to anyway! We were travelling with my wife’s sister and Mum, who carry Indian passports, and when they applied for vias in London we were given 24 hours to produce 1200 Euros in travellers cheques, a copy of my brother-in-law’s passport (he was in India at the time) and a letter from my niece’s school confirming she was a pupil (in August!). Whe we expressed consternation, they told us to visit another country if we weren’t happy. If only we’d taken their advice!

  73. Liza says

    Thank you Alex for your quick reply. I agree with you in that I have done all I can do. Maybe you can put this one worry I have to rest. Can the rental car company or the Italian authorities still charge my credit card? That is what the rental car company did, they just charged my credit card and didn’t even notify me. I had to go through all this just to find this out! I have considered canceling my credit card for that reason. Please advise. Thanks for your help!!

  74. Liza says

    Forgot to mention – the rental car company charged my credit card for the admin fee for both tickets. Sorry about leaving that out…

  75. says

    Hi Liza,

    In reply to your question: I don’t really know the answer, but I suspect that if you read the small print on the car rental agreement you will find that they can charge your credit card for offences that occurred while the car was in your possession.

    However, they should only be able to do this if the fines are still valid – if they are not valid, then you have not, technically IMHO, committed any offence, in which case there is nothing they should be charging you for.

    In the above case the fine does not exist, so making you pay would be a bit like asking you to pay for one extra day of car rental when you did not rent the car for an extra day.

    However, having stated the above, we are now moving into the realms of contract law, and to be sure you need to know the terms of the contract – and it’s effects under Italian law. I don’t know how, but you would need to take legal advice on this.

    Please remember that all of my comments, and ‘advice’ are informal, and need to be confirmed with someone who is a qualified expert. I don’t want you to get yourself in trouble for taking my ‘advice’, and I don’t want to get myself in hot water for offering advice when I am not qualified to do so.

    Anyway, after the caveat, I hope you manage to sort this out. I guess you could start by writing to the hire company and asking them to refund the credit card charges, and see how they respond.

    Kind regards,

    Alex

  76. Rusty says

    Thanks Alex.

    After a final check with the CA Automobile Assoc., I think I’ll send them a dispute with a double defense. Both the time limit, and a handicapped plaque.

    If we go back to Italy, we plan only to visit the Riviera, Milan, and the Amalfi Coast (of course the wife will insist on Venice again). Pisa was nice, but there is so much more to Italy (and from everything I have found on the web, it appears that the authorities in Pisa are abusing this situation).

    I’ll try to get back to you with any updates. Your Blog has been the best information on this subject anywhere on the web. MOLTE GRAZIE!

    Rusty

  77. Rusty says

    Update:

    I called CA AAA and they said they don’t know anything. They referred me to the local Italian Consulate.

    That was a big waste of time. I specifically asked “What is the Italian law regarding the time frame for a municipality to send notice on a photo traffic violation.” The first guy I talked to said only, “If you do not pay it, maybe next time you go to Italy they will lock you up.” (not an answer to my question) I asked if they had anyone there who knew “the law.” He transfered me to a woman who would only say, “If they sent you the notice, then you have to pay.” (again, not an answer to my question) It was clear from the conversation that she did not know the law because she just kept parroting the same line.

    I then went online and emailed the US Consulate in Milan (and some others localities). They sent me back this link.
    http://www.patente.it/codice/201.htm

    It appears that they needed to reach me in 360 days. It was 375.

    I’m still going to use the double defense. I’ll let you know if anything more comes of it.

    Rusty

  78. says

    Hi Rusty,

    Thanks for the update.

    But sorry to hear about the fairly standard reactions, which do not really make anyone’s life easier.

    By all means have a go at using the defence and do please let me know if anything comes of it.

    Many thanks once again for having taken the time to have posted about your investigations back here.

    And, yet again, thanks for the molte grazie – good to hear that this post is helping some people in some small way.

    All the very best,

    Alex

  79. Dave says

    I got one of the Pisa fines back in June 2006, and got a second notice recently.

    Anyways, I contacted the Gardaí (im in Ireland), and they told me that in these type of cases, the rental company should be paying the fine to the Municipal Police directly.

    It is then upto the rental company to claim the charge back of the renter, as it is in the lease contract signed in order to rent the car in the first place.

    The Gardai have told me to bin the notices, and that they suspect it is some elaborate scam invloving some municipal police administrators.

    If Italians were to commit a driving offence in a rented car over here (Ireland), the Gardai would fine the rental company, as they own the car. Its upto the rental company to chase the renter for the reimbursement apparently.

    Also the fact that these “fines” can only be paid via Bank transfer stinks of a scam. The money is probably being pocketed by these scammers.

    Feck em I say

    • JOHN GALWAY says

      Hi there
      I was in pisa and drove on a wrong road in 24/7/ 2010 and got a fine today 1/7/2011 of 119 euro,
      I will NOT pay this bill,and i will nevery step foot in pisa agin,what a crap law.
      john galway

  80. says

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the comment.

    “Anyways, I contacted the Gardaí (im in Ireland), and they told me that in these type of cases, the rental company should be paying the fine to the Municipal Police directly.”

    In answer to the above, I dug out my Eurpocar rental agreement from August 2007 to check this out, and in the General Conditions number 3, it says: The client undertakes:
    c) to directly arrange to pay any fines raised against the hired vehicle during the period of the rental and to refund the Lessor any costs incurred in this respect, in addition to any payments made by the Lessor and the administrative charges quantified in the information sheets available at rental offices.

    OK, this is only Europcar, but I suspect that other companies have similar conditions – note the ‘directly arrange to pay any fines’ wording.

    The Gardai may be right, but how well do they know Italian law?

    As for the fact that these fines can only be paid by bank transfer, I’m not sure that this indicates a scam, although it would be interesting to see an auditors report on this ‘income’ and see whereabouts it ends up.

    If you do believe this is a scam, then why don’t you bring charges against them for fraud? As long as, of course, you can prove that you did not commit the offence they accused you of. Or you could take this up with the rental company and see how they react. I believe that many rental companies can and do track cars and so they may be able to confirm or deny that you were in the location when the alleged offence was committed.

    While I can sympathise with your frustration, and that of everyone else here, until someone manages to prove that these fines are a scam, then they should, technically, be paid.

    As I have mentioned before, a Euro MP needs to look into this and at the very least request audited accounts from the local authorities concerned.

    And remember, I’m not an expert on this, and although I have quoted directly from a car rental agreement, its conditions may have changed.

    If you do decide to bin the fines, then let us know what, if anything, happens next.

    Kind regards,

    Alex

  81. John says

    Hi Alex – just discovered this blog and find it very helpful. I received a fine of 111,00 Euro for “Circulating in restricted traffic Zone” in Pisa. My offense date was June 4, 2007 and the notice arrived at my house on Feb. 16th, 2008 which my wife signed for.

    I am within the 365 days so feel I should go ahead and pay the fine, what I am not seeming to find, is helpful information as to how to pay this fine.

    I tried to e-mail the contact listed on my offense which is lucia.bigongiali@sepi-pisa.it however my e-mail keeps getting returned as undeliverable so that is no help. (Also makes me feel a bit suspicious).

    I see that you found a way to pay fines from Florence on a Web-Site, has anyone found a web site for Pisa where fines can be paid? If not I am concerned about transferring money to the IBAN number listed, how would I ever know that they have received payment and that I am off the hook?

    Thanks so much for your help!

  82. says

    Hi John,

    Glad you find my little site helpful. Sorry to hear that you have joined the ‘I’ve been fined in Pisa club’.

    As for paying the thing, aside from the bank transfer, I can’t seem to find any other method.

    What I suggest you do is ring this number: 050 220561 – which is from the SEPi fine collection agency which works on behalf of Pisa, and see if you can confirm the bank details from them.

    If I remember well, some way above in the other comments, someone mentions how to check out an IBAN code, so at least you should be able to ensure that it ends up in an official account. And, if you do go down the bank transfer route, remember to write the ‘causale’ reference number somewhere on the bank transfer, along with the date of the offence and the registration number of the car you were in.

    Sorry I can’t be of much more help.

    All the best,

    Alex

  83. says

    Hi Carol,

    I don’t know much about this, but I’ve had a dig around on the internet and come up with some information.

    If you are Italian and your handicap is registered, then you can apply to the local commune (council) or Polizia Municipale (Municipal Police – not the Carabinieri or Poliza) for an pass which will allow you to park in the assigned spaces, pedestrianised areas and the zone di traffico limitato (restricted traffic areas).

    The badge is valid for 5 years throughout Italy, but to obtain it you would need a certification from the Italian ASL health authority and to have made an application to the mayor. If you are not Italian, nor officially resident in Italy or only here for a short time (on holiday, business etc), then going through the application procedure is probably too time consuming.

    What you don’t say is where you are from. If you are from within the European Community, then the blue tag may be recognised, but I’m not sure.

    Are you planning on bringing your own car? Or would you hire a car here?

    Generally, it appears as though hotels within the restricted traffic zones, if asked, will inform the local police about hire cars. In this case, a fine will not be issued apparently. However, if you drive into a restricted traffic zone you may well get fine, and the only thing you can do is appeal on the grounds that you have a registered handicap, but making the appeal will not be easy and you may well have to pay a car rental company admin charge, so it’s best to avoid the situation.

    Let me know where you are from so I can have another hunt around to see if I can find anything useful.

    All the best,

    Alex

  84. Mariann Szucs says

    Hi, I am Hungarian, and I got three letters today from an Italian car rental company, with three times 70 EUR fine+3×50 EUR (!!) handling file expenses+VAT+postal taxes. I rented the car in Milan last year, September, and from the attached police letter I see, that all the tree incidents happened on 30th September, 9:10, 9:12 and 9:14 in the Zona a traffico limitato en Milan! The car rental company already tried to debit my banc account with 3 times 141 EUR, at that time I did not know what a hell it is, so I told my bank to cancel my card, and asked a new card. They told me they would investigate if these amount should be accepted or not, so it is a pending, restricted sum on my bank account. From the received letters I can see, that the car rental company already payed the fines. I don’t know what should I do, because I cannot imagine it is justified to fine somebody three times within 6 minutes!!!!
    Furthermore it is very bad that the car rental company sent me three separate letter, and 3 times 50 EUR handling expenses!!!
    What can I do? Will my bank let the debited sum to be payed to the car rental company? I amvery angry, because we rented the car with three colleagues, and it was a Saturday or Sunday morning, and we could not find our way out of Milan, and we happened to go through this damned zone, but this was not on purpose. (The whole car rental was 120 USD!!)
    Imagine when I tell my colleagues that they each has to pay more than 100 EUR half year after the rental!!!
    Any suggestion?!!!

  85. Mike says

    I posted some comments back in Sept 07 after receiving a fine from Pisa (almost a year after the supposed speeding incident) – I have heard nothing since from the authorities (having not paid).

    A colleague at work has just received notification of a fine from Naples (for not paying a Toll), again after some considerable delay. Quite how you bypass a toll without noticing, seems difficult. Unfortunately for him, the amount was charged to his credit card via the hire car company.

    My best guess of what is going on, is a scam involving collusion between the police & hire companies. By ensuring that they only target foreign hirers, they avoid the inevitable flack that would ensue if they nicked locals in the scam.

  86. Mike says

    Many posting on this blogg have stated that the experience (of being scammed) has put them off ever visiting Italy again.

    I would offer the following advice to anyone (except Italian nationals) hiring a car in Italy:- ensure that the credit card used to pay/guarantee the hire car, expires or is cancelled within one month from the date of hire. That way, the car hire company cannot take any money (without your permission).

    If I ever return to Italy (which I would not rule out), I will certainly take this step to protect my money.

  87. says

    Mike,

    Do please write to your Euro MP about this. We need some investigative journalist to look into this.

    As to your idea re credit cards, not bad. Let’s see if someone gives it a go.

    All the best,

    Alex

  88. Federico Esteban Sanchez Rodriguez says

    I received a fine ticket. I would like to pay but the username VO28AC1921 and Password are not valid in your system. Please let me know how to pay and proceed. My wife and me arrived late in Siracusa, we were starving and looking for a place to eat in Ortiga. I do not recall to break the law at any moment. Anyway I am willing to stop this fine.
    Yours sincerely,
    Federico Sanchez

  89. chris says

    I recently too received notice of a violation in Florence. The letter from the EMO stated: THE DRIVER WAS DRIVING ALONG LANES FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT ONLY

    Firstly, I’m not exactly sure what that means…but after reading through these posts, I’m somewhat at ease that I’m one of many to get something like this.

    My problem is that I can’t find any evidence on the EMO website – http://www.emo.nivi.it or the other website suggested in other posts for Florence – https://ztl.comune.fi.it/tzv/Login.jsp of my violation. I would never agree to pay a fine unless they have some photographic evidence from a camera or a police report that I violated a law.

    I can log into the EMO website just fine, but there are no attached documents showing an official violation. The other site does not recognize the “Numero verbale” which I was assuming were the numbers in the EMO protocol code – Pxxx/ALxxxx (7 in total).

    In the Trip Advisor thread – http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187895-i68-k1475356-o100-Traffic_ticket_scams-Florence_Tuscany.html
    Someone suggests to mail the Prefetto. This thread suggests that I should contact the Polizia Municipale via registered mail…should I try to contact both? (not really sure what the Prefetto is).

    I wasn’t going to pay the fine until I get more of an official notice so if anyone has any suggestions, I’m open to hearing them. Else, I’m going to mail off the letters and see what happens.

  90. says

    “I received a fine ticket. I would like to pay but the username VO28AC1921 and Password are not valid in your system.”

    I hope you have not tried to pay the fine on this site!

    If you are having password problems, I suppose you could try writing and asking for another one.

    Are you sure you have the right fine payment website?

    All the best,

    Alex

  91. Steve says

    Woo hoo! I, too, have joined the “Vehicle circulated in limited traffic area without authorization” club. Only this one is in Florence (Firenze), I think – PZA Vittorio Veneto-LNO Amerigo Vespucci. Anyway, this is enough to make one’s blood boil. Notification six months after the supposed infraction!

    I think what should happen is we refuse to pay and put the pressure on the car rental agencies to come up with the money for any fines. And deny any charges to credit cards if they (the rental agency) tries to assess against us. It might send a signal to them loud and clear to inform their customers of problem areas/thinks to look out for and for them to put pressure on the local authorities to ease up on tourists. I swear.

    Of course, this is my civil disobedience coming out. I, too, don’t condone non-payment of fines when they are “just”.

    As to my fine, I’m not certain what I’m going to do, yet. I’m wondering if I’m going to see some more of these for driving in areas I didn’t know I was supposed to avoid. And I’m sure I’ll be seeing something from my credit card company for some bogus admin charge.

    Thanks, Alex and others, for all the good information and discussions.

  92. roscoe says

    april 25 I recieved a ticket in the mail from a trip in oct 07 .circulated in limited traffic area I went to emo there was a picture of rentel cr lic. two days later i recieved another ticket 1 hr after the first this happend in florence should i pay what happen if i do not? roscoe

  93. Leigh McAlpine says

    Hi,
    Just received 2 fines one at 15:33 and another at 15:37 both for 118 Euros!
    We were in Pisa at the time and drove from the city center out to the coastal motorway and did get slightly lost on the way but never went very far from the main road.
    We were in Rome last July so this fine has taken 13 months to get to my partner’s Mum’s house, where he used to live years ago.
    What should we do?

  94. Lawrence says

    Just joined the happy Worldwide band of Pisa lovers! Two fines totalling 226 Euros for offences in Via Roam Pisa over 12 months ago. Not sure if anyone has got anywhere with complaining to their MEPs but might give it a go. Certainly my plans to go back to Italy in 2009 are now over so they can wave goodbye to the 1000’s of Euros that that would have cost me and benefitted them. Hope someone from the Italian authorities reads some of this stuff but probably not.

  95. says

    @ Phil and Leigh,

    I think, and this is only a suggestion, that the best strategy, if you were not transporting registered invalids or do not have a written record of a firm booking with a city centre hotel, would be to write to the authorities in English, simply asking for confirmation that these fines are not scams. Explain that you saw no road signs and that you were passing through, and then wait for a reply. My suggestion would be to not pay up until you have received a satisfactory reply – in perfect English.

    If you were carrying registered invalids or had a firm city centre hotel booking, then send evidence of this, stating that you wish to contest the fine. Always in English, or your own language. If the Italian authorities have the capability of sending out fines in languages in other than Italian, then they must also have the capability of managing all aspects of fines sent out in languages other than Italian. At least this is my opinion.

    Indeed, keep sending requests in English. I suspect that replying will cost more time and money than these fines are raising. You could even mention that you have reported this matter to your Euro MP, and until he or she confirms that these fines are legitimate – poor spelling and any other errors could well be a sign that a scam operation is active – you will not pay. And when writing, demand, yes, demand, some valid form of identification from the authorities concerned, it’s up to them to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the fines are legitimate and not scams – in Italy for most things you need to do here you must produce a passport or other valid identity document – so you should be within your rights to demand the same from them, after all, it’s only fair, and what is done here.

    If the authorities are not capable of proving that these fines are legitimate, then there is no reason why they should be paid.

    The Pisa, and other Italian, authorities are relying on the ignorance of foreigners. If enough people bombard them with letters requesting info in English, then they may find their strategy backfiring.

    Remember,I am not a lawyer, so my opinions are suggestions, and no more – everything I state here needs to be checked out and confirmed. What you do is your decision – but I do recommend contacting motoring authorities for advice. I do not want to get you or myself into trouble.

    @Lawrence – welcome to the club! And these fines seem to be on the increase, and for increasing amounts too.

    Are the Italian authorities reading this? No. They just don’t know English well enough – but I’d love to be proved wrong on this!

    Spread the word about these fines, as this blog post has been doing. If enough people here make a fuss, tell others to avoid Italy, and decide not to head for Italy on holiday themselves, then Italy will do something. Don’t hold your breath though – things move really slowly in the Living Museum.

    Good luck to you all, and let me know how you get on,

    Alex

  96. chris says

    I wrote the authorities (Polizia Municipale) in Florence a letter in English pleading my case. In my situation, there was no photographic proof that I violated a restricted zone, however they told me that an officer wrote an actual ticket. I told them that I wouldn’t pay the fine unless they could provide evidence (a copy of the ticket issued by an officer) that I violated the law.

    The response I got was that the sent me another infraction in their reply! They never produced any evidence from the first infraction which they stated they had.

    I have no intention of paying the first fine as they still have sent no evidence of a violation. The second fine I find even more ludicrous being that it was issued only after I tried to dispute the first charge.

    Its been about 2 months and I haven’t heard anything, but that doesn’t surprise me with Italian government. My bet is that they cast very wide nets on foreigners and assume some will pay and some won’t. Also from what I understand, these notices from the EMO are not actually tickets, just notifications of a traffic violation. The theory is that if you pay off the EMO the charges would be less if you were issued an actual ticket…at least thats my personal understanding. If the EMO fine notifications were legally binding notices, they would be sent over registered mail.

    That being said I’m also not a lawyer.

  97. says

    Hi Chris,

    Did you receive the ticket? Actually being stopped by a real person probably indicates that the offence did take place.

    But, if nothing was sent via registered mail, then it would be difficult for them to prove that you actually got the fine, or rather, notification of fine.

    The ‘extra’ fine is what is issued in the event that a contention is considered invalid.

    You are right, EMO is a collection agency. This fact in itself may make all the fines or fine notifications unlawful.

    What we need here is a lawyer. Sooner or later a lawyer who has been caught out will happen upon this post and the comments, and, hopefully, let everyone know what, if anything, can be done.

    It would be interesting to hear from someone, anonymously, who has not paid up, and has had nothing happen to them – especially if said person has returned to, and stayed in, the same area of Italy in which the alleged offence was committed.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I have no idea as to the lengths Italian authorities will go in seeking settlement of fines.

    I’m still waiting to hear of UK drivers who have been fined via the DVLA for offences taking place in Italy. There was supposed to have been some kind of link up, but I’m not sure what has come of it.

    Calling all lawyers!! We need you!

    Cheers,

    Alex

  98. chris says

    What I meant in my earlier post was that for my first ‘offense’, I received a notification in the mail last November. I was never stopped by an officer in Florence, nor had reason to believe I committed any traffic violation. They merely told me over mail that the reason why there was no photograph of my vehicle was because an officer issued a ticket, sometime after the fact when I wasn’t present. They failed however to provide a copy of that ticket as evidence.

    The additional fine was a notice of a new traffic violation (in addition to my Florence fine), in Imprunetta. They actually had an illegible photograph on the EMO website for that one. What was strange is that they included that directly in their mail response to me – doesn’t sound to me like proper protocol for issuing a new fine. I would think that one fine would be completely independent of another fine and should be dealt with separately.

    Either way, at this current time I will not pay either violation. They certainly haven’t done much on their way for providing “burden of proof”.

  99. Rafi says

    Hello :)

    i was just wondering, if i was on vecation in Italy and rented a car with GPS, (without any knowleg on where i can and cannot drive exept waht is the GPS showing me, the can i sue the renting company or the gps company for showing me the way throu the restricted area???

    p.s. sorry for my spelling

  100. says

    @Chris – not sure if they can issue a ticket without giving it to you, although that’s what the speed cameras do. Push them – insist on seeing a copy of the actual ticket. Claim that you believe they are scammers, which is possible, and you will report them to Interpol or the FBI.

    The reaction should be fun!

    Insist on everything from them being via registered post – no email. I believe you are in the US, so this will be more expensive. Or insist on emails having real authorisation. Ask for documentary proof validated by the Italian embassy in your country that they are who they say they are.

    I don’t think these things are scams – but there is a slim chance that this is the case.

    @Rafi – I don’t think your idea would function. GPS devices are not officially certified, as far as I know. Read the small print. Nope, suing the rental firm would not work – they cannot decide where you drive their cars, within limits.

    Rental cars do sometimes have GPS tracking systems. These can, theoretically, be used to establish where you were on a particular date and at a specific time. This could get you off.

    Best of luck – but I do think reporting these things on the basis that they are scams may have so effect. I’d also like to see some evidence of just where all this fine income is ending up.

    Alex

  101. Peter says

    Hi Alex,

    Do I detect a change of attitude over the months since you started the thread concerning Traffic Violations in Italy?

    Are you becoming a tad rebellious/frustrated/outraged/bored?

    Recently, my wife got her first ticket 13 months after stopping her car in a restricted area in Pisa following a call from my daughter in the car behind informing her that I had just been hit from behind by an Italian driver.

    I will be taking your advice and writing to the local MEP (heaven knows who will pay attention to an MEP from N Ireland) and I will write to the local authority (in Irish maybe?) and see what happens.

    I will keep you informed. Thanks for all the postings.

    Peter

  102. says

    Hi Peter,

    Yes, I think you have detected a slight change in attitude. I guess I just want to see something done.

    This issue is smouldering along, and seems to be getting worse. If it is a scam, then someone is doing well out of it.

    And yes, write to them in Irish, stating that if you do not hear anything back from them within 30 days, then you will consider the fine a scam and not pay it.

    Try your MEP, but he or she is probably too busy attending functions and eating to bother looking into this.

    Let me know what happens, and thanks for the thanks!

    Cheers,

    Alex

  103. Helen says

    I (here in California) just received three notices of “Circulating in restricted traffic zone without authorisation” with a fine of 113 Euros each. They took place within a twenty minute time frame while I was trying to find a parking place near the Duomo. I don’t remember any signs restricting entrance and I was always with other vehicles, so assumed I was OK.
    I am going to take Alex’s suggestion and write to the Provincial Governor (listed on the paper) asking for verification, etc. If anyone else has ideas of how to fight this please let me know.

  104. Braden says

    “The English translation they sent does not make clear what the Numbero Verbale is. I have Nr. of form: 01116215 / 2007 Pr. 201089/2007, but I have entered every combination I can think of and no record comes up.”

    Mine looked something like that too. I finally figured out it was the numbers on the left, but without the leading zero (1116215) in your case. Hope that helps.

  105. Virginia says

    Jacob, I too tried many combinations of numbers for the numero verbale and I finally figured it out. It requires seven digits of the Nr. of form and you drop the first 0. In your case, try 1116215. The photo shows only the license plate of the car. It does not show you going through a restricted area. I’m debating whether to pay the fine as mine was from June of 2007 and I just got the infamous notice yesterday by regular mail.

  106. Jacob says

    Thanks for the help. Yes, the photograph is not exactly helpful, is it? I suppose I was the driver of record for that date, so there’s not much too argue. I will warn you that from other websites (and as noted by others earlier in this blog), they do raise the fine if you challenge it and lose.

    So, be careful regarding writing the provincial governor.

  107. Ian says

    Virginia,

    I think that looking at Alex’s earlier descriptions the one year clock starts ticking when the authorities receive your details. So that would be when presumably the hire company passed them on.

    What I see a distinctly fishy is the way all these notices appear just within the legal one year limit. Why not tell you soon after they receive the info from the hire companies?

  108. Bob Pattwell says

    Hey Alex,

    Nice website. Thank you for your information. I too, am a victim of Pisa’s surveillance camera, alledgedly driving in a “restricted traffic zone without authorization” The fine is 113 Euros! WOW!I have no clue what I did? I tried to bring up “the photo” and have NOT been succesful with that operation. Can you advise how I do that? Anyway, I am querying two of my Police friends in Italy on how to handle this summons. I will let you know their response. Anyway, I would appreciate any information on the validity of this summons and how I could best resolve the situation. Thank you, Bob Pattwell ( Ironically a retired Sergeant with NYCPD)

  109. Ethan says

    Wow, this is a very common problem, it seems like. I just received my 113 euro fine, again for driving in a “restricted traffic zone without authorisation.” Bob, if you find any kind of resolution, it would be much appreciated. Ethan

  110. says

    @Jacob,

    “they do raise the fine if you challenge it and lose.” – Yes, this is not nice – done to encourage people to pay up and shut up. Sounds like human rights infringement to me.

    @Ian,
    “What I see as distinctly fishy is the way all these notices appear just within the legal one year limit. Why not tell you soon after they receive the info from the hire companies?”
    – Yes, I agree, could be typical Italian sloth, or something else…

    @Bob,

    Gald you like the site!:-)

    Seeing as you are a retired NYCPD policeman with police friends in Italy, you should be able to provide us all with some concrete advice. We all look forward to this, and thank you in advance.

    As for not being able to bring up the photo – if you have managed to register and login, then I don’t know. If there is no photo, there is no proof – enter attempted scam.

    Regarding the validity of the summons, I’m telling everyone to demand some form of identity declaration linking these authorities to Italy. If they cannot prove that they are legitimate, then why should you pay?

    Again, though, I aint no lawyer. We need an international lawyer prepared to do a bit of pro bono work!

    Here’s to hoping.

    @Ethan,
    Please read my replies for September 2008 for a few suggestions as to how you may handle this fine.

    Kind regards to one and all,

    Alex

  111. Maureen Powell Davies says

    I have emailed, as suggested above, to ask for proof of identity of the company collecting the fines ‘for my lawyer’ and also for photographic evidence of where the restriction notice was displayed in relation to where the photo was taken, as I, too, was travelling with other vehicles towards the Duomo having just picked up our car – maybe others could try the same? Re the time limits, their email reply states “Time and Way to send a infringement:
    if you have rented a car by a rental company, we have 360 days from the date of that rental to use your personal details.( the rental company give s us a copy of your rental contract). If we respect these times the fine is legal.” My letter from them states two dates – 19/8/2008 and 29/8/2008 and we returned from Italy on 2nd Sept, so they may not actually have used my details within the 360 day period.

  112. says

    Hi Maureen,

    It will be interesting to hear the response to your email. Beware though, that emails can become ‘lost’ – ensure you receive a receipt – indeed insist on it.

    “Time and Way to send infringement” , does not good English sound. And “If you have rented a car BY a rental company” is not correct ‘by’ should be ‘from’.

    One other thing, do check your rental agreement -as should everyone – if there is not a clause stating that you waive your rights under Italian privacy laws, then the rental company cannot share your personal information. Even if they do, then the document transfer system should be secure. Otherwise, this kind of information could fall into the wrong hands, or be tampered with.

    Re time limits, as I understand Italian law on this subject. The time limit starts from when the fining authority receives your details – as being the person who committed the offence. However, if they state themselves that this is not the case, then then they may be wrong.

    If you read information in the main post, and the comments from Rusty, you will discover that the lovely Italian authorities may have up to 2 years to collect fines.

    Do remember that I am not a lawyer, and any information is merely personal opinion backed by some research.

    All the best,

    Alex

  113. Mike says

    I too have been received a fine from Pisa(Two offences 8 minutes apart total 226 euro – I have been interested to note how often an 8 minute gap has been reported between offences in this blog). Anyway in my case its all doubly annoying as I was not in Italy at the time of the offence, nor have I ever hired a car from the hire company mentioned.

    I have contacted the phone number on the letter and they were no help at all, they just kept asking ” well when were you in Pisa”. I have also sent e-mails to explain my position and ask for advice , all they do is reply with more advice on how to pay the fine and view the photo on the website.

    The whole situation is outrageous, I too will be writing to the Italian tourist office and Pisa commune to demand an explanation.

  114. Paul says

    Got my first 113 Euro surprise yesterday. Am expecting two more as Europcar took 96 Euro from my Amex in February. Car hire mob said they were for 3 parking fines in Pisa last November (3 in 20 minutes).
    Being from Australia, there is no way I will be paying the fines, I am going to frame the infringement notices as a souvenir of our trip, and send a two word email to infostranier@sepi-pisa.it.

  115. Mike says

    I am another ‘victim’ of Hertz and the Municipality of Pisa. My wife and I were in Italy in June 2007. We hired a car in Rome and headed North. We made a brief stop in Pisa, just to get some lunch and have a quick look around. Later in the week we stayed in Verona. In October, after our return to New Zealand, we received two invoices from Hertz for what I assumed were parking fines in Verona. They had already debited our credit card. Then in December we had another for a fine from Pisa. A couple of days ago we received an infringement notice from the Municipality of Pisa. When I tried to access the photograph I discovered your site. It was only then that I realised the invoices from Hertz were for ‘administration fees’ and not actual fines. After reading the posts on your site I have managed to see the photograph – just about all it shows is the car number plate – hardly proof of an offence. We certainly werent aware of any restricted zones.
    I am hoping we wont receive further infringement notices from Verona. The times and dates given relate to us stopping outside the hotel we stayed at to unload our bags so maybe that will get us off any ‘infringement’
    Reading all the comments on your site was very helpful. My inclination is not to make too much effort to pay the fine.

  116. Andy says

    I have just received a 113 euro fine for the circulating in a restricted traffic zone while lost in Pisa.

    My only fear is that there are more on the way. One or 2 i can handle more than that i think is just extracting the urine.

  117. Tim McPhail says

    I too received a 113 euro fine last week (for circulating in a restricted zone in Pisa) from May 2007 but I have no idea when the cops got the info from Europcar – I can’t even remember which credit card I used but no doubt I have an additional charge on there which I missed. I would ignore it but I’m not sure how hot they are on nabbing you if you re-enter the country. Apparently, the UK does not pursue this type of offence with foreigners as it is not a criminal offence here whereas it is in Italy/Spain etc.
    Like most others I did not see the sign either and I usually look out for these things. Anyone written to their MEP yet?

  118. Jon says

    At the risk or being repetetive, I too have just received 2 requests for €113 for entering the fabled restricted zone in Pisa in August 2007. These are a day apart and are dated a year and a day after the offences. Suspecting a scam, I googled and that brought me here. I shall read what has gone before carefully but feel very aggrieved and will do whatever I can to get the fines dropped or forgotten. I’ll be reading everyone elses progress with great interest.

  119. says

    @Sam Hobbs – I love the Watchdog idea! Go for it! Feel free to mention my name, and Blog from Italy.

    Cheers,

    Alex

    PS If enough noise is made, something will happen.

    For the moment though: Don’t stop in Pisa for pizza!

  120. says

    To Paul and others.

    The biggest mistake I made on this was accepting the Registered letters from the municipality of Pisa. Once you do so, you have been officially served, and have the responsibility of dealing with the issue. If you do not accept the letters, then the “court” has no proof that you have been properly notified, and can not continue to hold the claim against you.

    NEVER ACCEPT REGISTERED LETTERS FROM UNKNOWN SOURCES.

  121. Christine Brown says

    I too, have emailed Watchdog.

    Categories look a bit blase………..but ahve done it all the same.

    Hopefully something will be done.

    I also phoned them in Pisa to ask if I could pay by debit card Maestro……….they didnt like that and kept insisting it was a credit card.We’ve ended up paying the fine through a World Pay system at the bank , it will cost us £9 as well as the 113 euros fine.
    Daylight robbery!!!

  122. Liliane says

    I too received 3 fines, at a 8 minutes difference one from the other, from the Pisa police department for the same reason travelling in their restricted zones…last September.I did not received the fines by registrered mail, and did not get any additional charge from Hertz…yet! I agree to pay 1 fine but not 3..I found a site under (Prefettura di Pisa)containing documentation on how you can contest a fine, there is a template to fill out and then it is presented to either the Prefect or the Justice of the peace, but the catch is, that if they reject your request you will have to pay at least minimum double the amount of the fine i.e 226 euros each yack! and if I dont pay the fines I am afraid the rental company comes back further down the road with 3 charges of 185 euros each + their charges on my credit card, can they do this?

  123. Dave Tedder says

    I’m with Paul (from Australia) on this one. The completely inadequate signage and multiple fines issued minutes apart means that any moral obligation I had to pay is out the window. A small sacrifice is that I will not be able to go back to Pisa – but then the world’s a big place.

    Dave

  124. says

    Hi All,

    I don’t know if this will lead to anything, but the European parliament is showing up in my site visitors records, and whoever it was looked at this page.

    Fingers crossed!

    Please take a look at the photos in this post:
    http://italychronicles.com/how-to-pay-pisa-traffic-violations/

    I would be interested to hear if anyone else had the hired the same car. Always assuming that it was a hire car. Pretty sure it was.

    I don’t think there has been any collusion – more like poor road signs, drivers not familiar with the areas and the unrelenting pace of Italian drivers – who don’t give anyone enough time to absorb the sea of road signs – all rigidly in Italian, of course. Bigger, clearer road signs are needed IMHO

    All the best,

    Alex

  125. says

    Same thing has happened to me. Has anyone acutally been successful in getting these ridiculous fines dropped or reduced? Does anyone know if you can pay them up bit by bit (no way can we afford it as a one off payment). Also who is the best person to write to to complain about this? Thank you.

  126. says

    Just to say that I too have contacted “Watchdog”. However, as they are off air until October I hope this doesn’t leave it too late for us. Does anyone have the email address for the Provincial Governor of Italy?

  127. Jacob says

    @Christine: How does this World Pay thing work to pay this fine? I have decided I would just like to pay the fine and be done with this (and never return to Pisa again), but the truth is I am in the US, and I haven’t the slightest idea how to go about paying this fine without spending a small fortune and guaranteeing it arrives on time and in sufficient quantity.

  128. Andy says

    I have contacted My MEP’s that serve the county that i live in, with a reference to this site. So it could be something to do with that.

    I have over 30 days to pay my first fine so hopefully we can get a resolution within that time. Everyone needs to contact there MEP and Watchdog about this. One fine i guess is acceptable if the rules were broken but multiple fines is just milking a cash cow

  129. Christine Brown says

    John phoned our bank and told them the quandary. The girl was quite helpful and gave us 2 options the cheapest way was wolrd pay…….£9 plus the euors amount takes a week to arrive……and the swift payment which they advocate is £25!!!!!!!! but quicker………….

  130. says

    Come on folks – we must not pay up but challenge it. We have no way of appealling successfully. This is because my husband was the driver and he has autism. To appeal you must write in perfect Italian. He has severe difficulties communicating in English due to his disability so how on earth could he possibly communicate in a foreign language that he cannot speak one word of anyway?

  131. says

    Hi everyone,

    Diane’s comment has got me thinking. I had a look at the Italian constitution, and more perticularly,

    Article 24 [Right to be Heard in Court]

    (1) Everyone may bring cases before a court of law in order to protect their rights under civil and administrative law.

    The key word is ‘everyone’ in that in the Italian version, the word ‘tutti’ is used. This implies anyone and everyone regardless of nationality.

    By sending out notices in English and then stating, in a contradictory fashion, that appeals may only be submitted in Italian, the Pisa, or whatever Italian authorities appear to be acting outside the rules of the Italian constitution – under which all are considered equal in the eyes of the law.

    This means you may appeal in whatever language you like – it is up to the Italian authorities to translate and respond appropriately – in my opinion.

    It is unjust that they send out fines in – poor – English, and then state that you must appeal in Italian – and they say this in English. I believe this alone may serve to invalidate just about all of the notifications/fines send out to date.

    What we need is a friendly lawyer to present this case in Italy. The Pisa authorities may well be acting beyond the provisions of their own countries constitution.

    I’d be interested to hear the opinion of others on this hypothesis.

    And Diane, seeing as your husband has a disability and he was driving, then the car was being used for the transportation of persons with a disability – therefore you should not have to pay a bean theoretically.

    Alex

  132. Christine Brown says

    Guys,
    In Saturday’s Guardian, money section there was a front page article on the scam that it fines in Italy. a la our experiences. It’s interesting to note that they give percentages of fines given to germans, italians and french folk while they are in Britain. it’s obvious that Germans don’t pay our fines !!!!!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money
    The article is the 1st one highlighted

  133. Ian Game says

    Alex,

    Well spotted regarding the Italian legal wording. May I assume that you are fluent in the language? If so may I suggest that to get some local legal comment (not advice as such but opinion from people who claim to know the local laws) that you get onto the newsgroup called:

    it-alt.lavoro.professioni.avvocati.domiciliazioni-legali

    which AFAIK is something to do with jobs for lawyers but in there there should be some knowledge perhaps? I was tempted to try (in English of course) but suspect that I would be ignored at best.

    Thanks again for keeping us informed as well as hosting a very useful community.

    Ian

  134. says

    Thanks. Have a look at the bottom of the letter at the paragraph beginning “This formal notice, its serving and everything connected with it are governed by the international conventions in existence between Italy and Grait Britain…”

    “Grait Britain” – where on earth is that?? Technically, no such place exists so we are surely all exempt!

  135. says

    Hi Christine,

    Sorry your comments did not get published immediately – they got spammed. I’ve just de-spammed them. The article:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/sep/13/motoring.consumeraffairs

    is interesting and reflects my own point of view, aside from whether these fines are fair or not, if you don’t cough up, then there is a risk that non-payment may lead to ‘consequences’ when returning to Italy. Please read the article.

    Ian – I do speak and read Italian well enough, but my written Italian is not up to much alas. I shall speak to some Italian lawyer friends of mine about this too.

    I had thought about doing this before, but their advice would have required sending letters to the Pisa authorities and contesting things in court. Such a course of action will inevitably cost money – as well as considerable time and effort to set up. I’m a little reluctant to go down such a path as I’m not too sure where it will end up.

    Reading the Guardian article it does look as though the fines are legitimate, so arguing a case in an Italian court would not be too straight forward and you can bet your bottom Euro that the Pisa authorities, and others, will fight tooth and nail to hold on to this little income stream.

    Personally, I reckon adverse media attention will be more effective – and cheaper, so it would be good to get the Watchdog people on board, if we can.

    Should Watchdog not work out, then getting lawyers involved may be an option, even if the time-scale involved will be long – as will be the cost. Court cases take an age to be resolved in Italy – and 10 years is an oft quoted length of court cases here – possibly more if you appeal things to the highest court here or take the thing to Europe.

    Let me know your thoughts on the above. Anyway, I’ll have a go at Watchdog when I’ve got a moment.

    All the best to one and all,

    Alex

  136. Andy says

    I am currently in talks with my MEP, they are currently looking into the issues and will keep you updated with any information i can!

    Cheers

    Andy

  137. says

    Good stuff Andy!

    Keep up the great work! I’m hoping to hear back from the Guardian.

    If we keep up the pressure, then something will come out of this. Might kick me out of Italy though!

    By the way, the Pisa fine photo checking server appears to be down – well one person has not been able to get in.

    Can others confirm that the server is up or down? Here is the link:

    https://secure.comune.pisa.it/tzv/Login.jsp

    Try looking at those photos once more, if you don’t mind.

    All the best to one and all,

    Alex

  138. Ray says

    Hi Alex,
    Thanks for blog info, add me to the Pisa list for restricted traffic zone without authorisation ‘violators’ Ridiculous isn’t it and clearly a money raising venture for them given how poor their sign posting and street lighting at night is.
    Interestingly, when I phoned 0039 050 220561 the girl I spoke to said to send a bank cheque and £ sterling would be acceptable. I got her to confirm this twice. I’m tempted to pay but continue the arguments?

  139. Steve says

    Alex and All,

    I have today got home to find a pink recorded delivery slip (all in Italian) on my doormat with the sender ‘Corpo Della Polizia Locale’. I holidayed in Venice a few months ago and suspect it is a fine for some sort of traffic offence whilst out there.

    My question is ‘Do people think i should bother to organise the collection of the letter from the post office?’

    I fear a hefty fine that I can ill afford and if ‘they’ have no record of receipt, could anything be followed up without any such evidence of receipt?

    I look forward to reading anyones views?

    Steve

  140. says

    Hi Steve,

    Hope you weren’t driving in Venice;-)!

    If you are sure that this is a fine, really sure, then you could probably forget to retrieve it from the post office I suppose.

    They might try again, or might catch up with you if you enter Italy in the future.

    Your decision. Fines should be paid of course.

    Regards,

    Alex

  141. Fraser says

    Hi

    I just received a surchage from car hire company Hertz for a “verbale fine on line” committed in April. So I suspect the actual police fine to arrive later. No idea what for though we were driving in centre of Bologna so probably some kind of restriction on traffic was in force. We were actually lost and trying to find a car park.

    I have Italian friends so if the real fine arrives I will ask them to help out with investigating … and maybe paying.

    My initial reaction is to probably ignore it though might want to go back to Italy one day!

    Has anyone actually ignore these fine and got away with it ?

    Cheers Fraser

  142. Mike says

    After doing a bit of investigating, the authorities in the UK have 14 days in which to issue notification of intention to prosecute for a motoring offence. I know that does not help much, but if you think the Italian authorities have 180 days in which to notify locals and 360 days in the case of a foreigner, you must be falling for every scam in he book.

    What I don’t understand is why the Nigerians are not operating this scam – there appears to be a lot of money to be made from you mugs.

  143. says

    Mike,

    What is done in the UK is not that relevant alas. Italy has its own laws, and a totally different legal system to the UK too.

    That a longer period is specified under Italian law is a reflection of the fact that things take longer here.

    As for this being a scam. It may or may not be. This is being looked into by MEPs and, hopefully, the Guardian newspaper.

    Watch this space.

    Cheers,

    Alex

  144. Andy says

    Hi again!

    I have just had a letter from my MEP who is very aware of this issue and has noticed its recent media attention.

    She is going to take this up with the Italian embassy in London to see if an amicable agreement can be reached

  145. dickbob says

    Hi Alex,

    Chalk me up as another victim of the Pisa “honey trap” :-)

    Like others I had probs getting my plate photo up on the website but I can confirm the comments of “Braden” that you must remove the leading zero from the “Numbero Verbale” (how user friendly is that! I develop web app by the way :)). I only got this important info after emailing the contact address twice. It came in a long explanation email which I could post here if anyone thinks it would be useful.

    So how do I feel about the situation?

    Well yes, we were there at the date/time stated and I guess we did drive down that street. Mind you we drove down so many streets trying to find a parking place/meter that I couldn’t say for sure!

    Did we see the restricted entrance sign? Well no, but even if we did would we have known what it meant? I guess not. So who’s fault is that? Okay, it’s our fault for not learning the road signs of the country we were visiting. As a driver you have the responsibility to know the rules of the roads you are driving on.

    Okay, so yes, we were there at the date/time stated and ignorance of a country’s road traffic signs is no defence.

    So what’s the gripe? Well it’s the time it’s taken for them to come after us! I’ve read all the words here and understand the 60 day/360 day rule but come on, how many tickets do they issue? How long does it take! I could have moved home in that time, hell I could have died! Are they going to come after my family if they every visit Italy again?

    Am I going to pay? Well as we were in the wrong, I guess so but they don’t make it easy. I’m going to try a sterling cheque with the exchange rate in my favour and send it recorded delivery and see what happens.

    Ciao,

    dickbob

    P.S. Thanks for the blog posting, most helpful and I think one of the longest running I’ve ever read!

  146. says

    Andy – thanks for that Sunny link. It shows you just how good Italians are at setting up scams – and that is the tip of an iceberg.

    At times it is difficult to know just whether something is legitimate or a fiddle here. Which does make the Pisa situation suspect, that I’ll grant you. One famous Italian fiddle was actually advertised on mainstream TV.

    Still hoping to hear more on the Pisa front.

    Cheers.

    Alex

  147. Persecuted Florence & Pisa Tourists says

    Hi Alex, I have a notification from each city, 6 and 11 months later. I paid the first as I was returning just after receiving the notification and wanted to avoid a potential problem with the police. I am arguing over the second as we were displaying two disabled passes, one of which belonged to my co-driver and the other to one of our friends who was a passenger. I wrote to my MEP on the 1st occassion & she couldn’t get anywhere. “Shafted Tourist”s entry 21/09 was very helpful and overcame what I believe are deliberate obstacles to gainign entry to the secure.comune.pisa web site. Based onthe information in “Shafted”s posting, I have emailed sepi-pisa-it advising them they have made a mistake. I have complained to my MP and will also complain to my MEP. Photo is on its way to you!

  148. John Brewer says

    We just joined the club. After getting a few weird charges on our card last spring, we cancelled the card and paid a $36 fine and haven’t thought about it since. Until today; exactly 366 days since we were in Siracusa. My wife signed for a registered letter that contained two notices for 110.10 Euros. I don’t really have any intention of paying at this point, but would be willing to pay the local fine(I assume the huge cause is due to EMO’s mark-up). I haven’t seen any posts that discuss this. Since this is the initial notification, is there a mechanism for paying the fine, not the ridiculous amount the collection agency is charging. I’m in the US—any chance I could pay the fine at the exchange rate when I was there??

  149. says

    @Persecuted Florence & Pisa Tourists
    The disabled passes should get you off. And please do send those photos – there is a very, very slight possibility that they are not sufficient proof.

    @John,

    Maybe we should produce a T-shirt for all the ‘members’ here! Polite, suggestions for a slogan welcome.

    How about:

    I was f***d in Italy. – f***d = fined, of course!

    As for paying the fine at the exchange rate when you were here – technically this is perfectly correct. Realistically though, I doubt whether you would have any luck. Still, it might be fun trying. The more everybody snarls up the admin bods with post, the better – I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT BETTER SIGNS!

    As for the collection agency’s ‘mark-up’, not sure what could be done about that – lawyer territory.

    All the best to both of you,

    Alex

  150. Ian says

    Hi all,

    Can someone please clarify exactly where we should send an appeal to these fines? Is it the address on the letter?

    Municipality of Pisa
    Municipal Police station
    Piazza Facchini 16 – 56125 Pisa

    or

    Prefetto di Pisa (whoever/where ever that is!)

    Thanks

    Ian

  151. Persecuted Florence & Pisa Tourists says

    Hi Alex,
    I have been informed that our fine (multa) has been cancelled, I don’t have any details yet but all I can say is that it is due to providing a copy of the notification letter and disabled badge holders to the police. However, it will take 30 days before I receive confirmation. Regarding the previous posting about where should an appeal be sent to, for Pisa, the letter from the police says that the appeal has to go to the Prefetto at the Municipal Police Station, the address is on the top of the letter. However the appeal has to be in Italian, try http://www.bablefish.com for translation services. Although the letter doesn’t say so, an article quoting a member of sepi-pisa states you can fax a document to the Prefect of Pisa, 0039-050549666.
    See http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187895-i68-k2226761-o20-Pisa_Restricted_Zone_Traffic_Fine-Florence_Tuscany.html
    Search for a posting by Dpoid Posted on: 6:25 pm, September 17, 2008
    Based upon my experience, there is no point emailing, faxing or telephoning sepi-pisa for clarification. They did not reply to my email or fax. When I eventually got through onthe telephone, the lady I spoke to didn’t really understand English. I have read that sepi-pisa advise it isn’t their role to deal with appeals. So, my advice is don’t waste your time or theirs by trying to contact them.

    I’m waiting on feedback from an Italian lawyer to clarify Italian motoring law. I’ll let you know the outcome and my next steps.

  152. says

    Great news about having the fine annulled Mr P!

    Well done! Your persistence has obviously paid off.

    There is hope.

    And thanks for all the info. Should be very useful for other persecuted ex-Pisa tourists.

    Thanks for letting us all know.

    Cheers,

    Alex

  153. The Stig says

    No I’m not “the” Stig but I’m also a Top Gear fan and thought that the name sort of sarcasticly fits for this blog!!!!!

  154. Phil says

    Nice one “stig”

    But then of course, the real Stig would never reveal his, or her true identity…….

    (sorry to hijack the blog Alex, back to fines and scams…….)
    Phil

  155. Thescouselander says

    Hi, unfortunatly I seem to have fallen victim to the Pisa ZTL scam. Great site here btw.

    Anyway, I have written to my MEP about it although I havent actually recieved anything from the Italian authorities yet.

    I though I might just “return to Sender” anything that arrives through the post and obviuosly I wont sign for anything sent recorded delivery. any ideas if this might work?

  156. Tracie R says

    Just though I would mention that the link to the Pisa vehicle photos appears to be unusually case sensitive. The word “Login” needs to be capitalised for it to work. Hope that helps.

    And Yes – you can add us to the Pisa victims too. Just received our fine from June 2007 for circulating in a restricted zone. It’s a photocopy and who knows if the bank account is for real? The hire company have not answered my questions either. The photo is black and white and is simply the back end of the hire car and a piece of tarmac!

    I’ve already had to pay a speeding fine and hire company admin charges from the beginning of the same holiday, 7 days earlier. The fine arrived in the same manner, although a little more official and easier to check out.

    Nothing new here then!

  157. says

    @Phil – I was a bit sorry to hear that the real ‘Stig’ had not dropped in here! Would be good if he or she did though, or even that Clarkson bloke!

    @Thescouselander – Gald you like the site! On the fine front, you could try avoiding the registered letter, I suppose. Just be sure it’s not that registered letter telling you that you’ve won 15 million on the lottery!

    @Tracie R – Someone has already told me about this Login thing – can’t remember if it was a mail or a comment – I’m getting plenty of both about this Pisa thing! But you are right.

    Oh, the bank account is real, that’s a cetainly – whether it is legitimate – that’s another question. Traffic fine scams are an issue here in Italy at them moment – have a gander at my recent post:
    http://italychronicles.com/italian-traffic-light-scams/
    As for the photo – look at this one here:
    http://italychronicles.com/how-to-pay-pisa-traffic-violations/

    The photos I’ve seen are b/w, and don’t show a fat lot. Question is, are the cameras officially certified? Some in Milan were not, and an Italian has his and many other fines declared null and void.

    Hold onto those payment receipts people!

    Cheers,

    Alex

  158. says

    Thescouselander – which MEP did you write to?

    Let me know please – another MEP is digging too – if they are not one and the same.

    TTFN,

    Alex

  159. Andy says

    Hi again!

    I had to stump up on Friday as my deadline was drawing to a close, and due to me going skiing in March in Italy i needed to pay it (well i wasn’t but the wife insisted).

    I will continue looking for an answer as if i could get a refund it would be great! (I’m not holding my breath).

    All in all my fine came to roughly £111. Thats with exchange rate, £16 bank charge and 5 a euro “handling” fee by the Italian banks.

    Nice little earner for everyone involved!

    I still think its a gross tax on tourists and personally i will never return to Pisa.

    My biggest fear now is that the Italians now know that i paid the fine. If this is a real scam they will open the flood gates and send more fines.

  160. Thescouselander says

    Well, I just used the writetothem site to contact all of my MEPs, they are: Glyn Ford, Roger Knapman, Neil Parish, Graham Watson and Caroline Jackson

  161. says

    Hi Thescouselander – thanks for the reply. MEP Glyn Ford is aware of the Pisa problem – so another letter will do no harm at all.

    @Andy,

    Welcome back! Moving money between countries has never been cheap – and Italian banks love their charges.

    As for getting money back – don’t hold your breath – but hold on to any payment receipt for a few years. You never know…

    With a little luck someone will have a go at checking whether the Pisa cameras have been officially certified, although I imagine the Pisa authorities will be working to cover any such problems after the recent case in Milan.

    http://italychronicles.com/italian-traffic-light-scams/

    “My biggest fear now is that the Italians now know that i paid the fine. If this is a real scam they will open the flood gates and send more fines.”

    Judging from the continual flow of comments here, which often seem to be about Pisa – if this is a scam – the floodgates are already open.

    At least what is happening here might, I repeat, might, get the Pisa lot and others to check this out. Fewer comments here mean fewer fines. At least I hope so.

    All the best to one and all,

    Alex

  162. Thescouselander says

    Hi again,

    Surprisingly my MEP has emailed me back already (very efficient!). Unfortunately the news is not good, here is the reply:

    Roger Knapman MEP has asked me to thank you for your email and to reply. He has in fact investigated this issue in the past as we have had previous complaints – both about Italian cities and some French equivalents.

    To be frank there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Traffic regulations and their enforcement are entirely matters for the national governments or local authorities concerned and they are not amenable to external pressure. The only way you can challenge this is to engage a good lawyer in Italy and try to argue your case through the Italian courts. However it is probably cheaper and certainly easier just to pay whatever fines they impose.

    The only way in which your position has been weakened by the EU is that it is now easier for foreign authorities to enforce their judgments elsewhere in the EU. Luckily, however, we have not reached the stage, and hopefully will not, when the EU extends the Italian system to British cities.

    Best wishes

    Piers Merchant
    Assistant to Roger Knapman MEP

    So it looks like we are on our own and the EU is powerless to do anythinig about this scam.

    To be honest, I feel at the moment that I just might create a website highlighting everything bad about visiting Italy. Childish maybe but it will probably make me feel better and if I could deter just a few visitors maybe I could get one back on the system.

  163. Juliette Cousin says

    Well, on the letter I have received it’s not the same IBAN number it’s:

    IBAN IT 28 0760114000000059900076
    BIC (swift code) BPPIITRRXXX

    But maybe the issue comes from my bank because I thought the IBAN numer was enough…

    Merci, however

  164. says

    De rien Juliette!

    Now:

    The BIC code BPPIITRRXXX is for:

    POSTE ITALIANE Rome S.P.A. BPPIITRRXXX ROMA

    From this site:

    http://www.swift.com/biconline/

    It’s for the Italian post office which is based in Rome. The Italian post office is also a bank.

    Can you check the IBAN please? It does not appear to be correct. Maybe a zero is missing. These codes are confusing!

    You could have a go at checking it yourself – try ‘IBAN checker’ on Google or the same in French on Google.fr

    Some IBAN checking services will give you the name and address of the bank concerned.

    à bientôt,

    Alex

  165. Juliette Cousin says

    Yes you are right,
    I have forgotten the “Z” on the IBAN code, which is :

    IT 28 Z 0760114000000059900076
    Now I can pay :-)

    A bientôt (but not in Pisa)

    Juliette

  166. says

    Hi, I am going to Itlay early next year to Milan with the my company I work woodFX for to carry out a Carpentry & Joinery contract for 6 weeks.
    As I will be driving the works van around I am just checking out the rules for driving abroad in Italy.

    Just been reading the info up here and I am a bit worried about the fines they seem to hand out.

    Any tips would be appreciated.

    Some useful info here, Thanks

  167. Thomas says

    Hi, I just received a fine for driving in a restricted zone in Pisa from October 2007. For some reason the letter was sent non-registered to the wrong address (33 instead of 23) to my address in Canada. It is quite a coincidence that I actually received it because I moved from that address in the almost 1 year it took for them to send it. As with many tourists I was not aware of the restricted zones during my vacation. Is it safe to assume that I cannot be expected to pay for a fine that was sent to the wrong address? Thanks for your help.

  168. says

    Hi Joiner,

    Actually I’ve written a couple of other posts which you might find useful:

    Driving in Northern Italy
    http://italychronicles.com/driving-in-northern-italy/

    And Speed Cameras in Italy
    http://italychronicles.com/speed-cameras-in-italy/

    – if you scroll down you’ll find details of Italian speed limits in both Kmh and mph too – which could be useful.

    In general you do need to keep your wits about you. And watch out for drivers not anticipating actions, and not bothering with direction indicators.

    Accelerate briskly away from traffic lights, or you will be beeped. Italians are impatient when at the wheel, although they have slightly more patience up here in the north. Do not use your mobile when driving, even if many Italians do.

    Wear a seat belt, although again not all Italians bother – but you will be fined if stopped.

    Other things to watch out for are police ‘check points’ which occur from time to time and are manned by sub-machine gun toting cops.

    Always keep all documents: driving licence, passport, insurance certificate and log book with you while driving – but never leave them in your van. And do not leave anything of value – gps system for example in your van. These are nicked quite frequently even when vans are left parked for short periods.

    As for parking – it is not always easy to find spots here, and when you do, watch out for residents only parking – yellow lines on the road – sorry I said blue – I was wrong (Thanks to fellow Milan resident Andy for correcting me). The areas with blue lines are where you need to pay to park.

    Within the Cerchia dei Bastioni (see my post on the Ecopass zone) area of Milan residents with a pass can park for free in areas with blue lines after 7 in the evening.

    White lines indicate free parking.

    You can park in the blue lined areas with a ‘gratta e sosta’ card, which you can buy from bar/tobacconists. I think the instructions are in English, or you don’t have to buy a card and can pay via a text from your mobile. You need to register for this service here: http://sostamilanosms.atm-mi.it/SostaMilanoSMS/IWeb/Home.aspx

    Info is all in Italian alas. Probably simpler to just by the gratta e sosta – rub and park cards.

    You may have to watch out for the Ecopass area of central Milan. You can buy Ecopasses from bar/tobacconists or pay by credit card via an online system.

    If you do not pay you will be fined.

    I’ll write a little more when it comes to mind.

    Hope that helps, and feel free to ask questions.

    Oh and you might like the 442 pub, which shows football matches and other sport and is run by some great people who speak English!

    http://italychronicles.com/four-four-two/

    Cheers,

    Alex

  169. says

    Hi Thomas,

    So you moved house did you? Clever, if potentially expensive way of avoiding paying Pisa fines :-)

    Seeing as they do not know where you live, so to speak, and even though you should always be a good citizen and pay fines, if they get fine notification letters returned with ‘no longer at this address’ on them, then I imagine the matter will end there. I doubt whether they will be sending out someone to Canada, to the wrong address, to hunt you down!

    And as it was a non-registered letter sent to the wrong address, then that also means you really had no way of knowing you got a fine.

    In the circumstances, I would probably, I stress ‘probably’, just throw the letter in the bin.

    Up to you whether you pay or not. Of course I would pay, but I am not you…

    All the best,

    Alex

  170. says

    Hey Alex,

    What part of Milan do you live in? LOL. In our area the YELLOW lines are for resident parking and the blue lines are where you need the ‘gratta e sosta’ card – and the times of operation (i.e. when you should pay) will be on a sign in that particular ‘block’. So, for instance, many blue lined areas may be fine for parking free overnight (as they are in my area) and you only have to start paying from, say, 8 a.m. Don’t ever park in the yellow lined areas – you can be towed away to the pound and, from what I understand, that can be very expensive.

  171. says

    Big thanks Andy – you are right – I was getting my yellows and blues mixed up!

    I’ve corrected the comment above and credited you for pointing out the error of my ways.

    We’ve got lots of blue lines near us and they always seem to be occupied by residents throughout the day! But no excuse.

    Well done for the sharp eyes and for reading.

    Cheers,

    Alex

  172. Persecuted Florence & Pisa Tourists says

    Some final information from me on fines… I wrote to my MP in early September about the issue of UK motorists being fined by Italian police. The new Minister for Europe, Caroline Flint replied with what I thought was a helpful letter and I have quoted from her reply.
    “The Home Office has advised that the EU Mutual Recognition of Financial Penalties Framework Decision, part of the Criminal Justice Act 2008, will, once implemented, allow financial penalties imposed in one EU Member State to be transferred and enforced in another.”

    “As we have received so many enquiries about this matter, we have added some information to our travel advice for Italy on our website http://www.fco.gov.uk) to warn travellers of the restricted traffic zones and the possibility of receiving a fine if the restricted zone is entered without an exemption pass. This will hopefully forewarn tourists to Italy and prevent further fines.”

    We’ve not long returned from a holiday in Italy and as well as driving, we also used the train to visit Florence. There were frequent services, ran on time, were clean and cost very little. I therefore recommend using the train to visit Florence.

    A slight sting in the tail is that yesterday I received an invoice from Sixt car hire for “airport surcharges and administration fee”. Not sure that that’s about so it’s back to dealing with another bill from our Italian holiday!

    Arrivederci!

  173. says

    @ Paul – I would like to see the dispute form!

    @ Joe – Glad you like the blog! :-)

    Sorry to hear about yet more fines – it never seems to end.

    If you would like to send me the documents, then please do – send it to :
    contact@blogfromitaly.com

    (email address has been munged!)

    Thanks,

    Alex

  174. Rich says

    Hi,

    It seems that I´m another victim of the Italian traffic mafia. In summer 2007 me (Austrian) and my girlfriend spent two weeks in the North of Italy driving around in a rented car. Some months later we got informed by our car rental company that violations of “circulating in a traffic zone without authorisationt” in Florence and Milano, so they took €50 respetively €60 from my credit card. Now I received another letter from the Municipality Of Pisa accusing also accusing me of a traffic zone issue in Pisa. I´ve to pay 115 euros which will go up to 187.50 euros after 60 days.
    However, I read in this and other blogs before that the official delay for the fine to be legal is 360 days after the authority gets your contact details from the car company. I have written evidence (i.e. a letter from my car rental company saying they charge me 12 euros admin fees) that the car company informed the authotities on October 5 2007. My letter from the Municipality Of Pisa dates from November 10 2008 (i.e. more than 360 days).
    Do I have to pay now or would this make the fine really illegal? (Guess this could also be interesting for Joe)

    Any kind of help would be appreciated.

    Regards,
    Rich

  175. diane says

    Alex – I have never received the registered post letter. Surely I should have done to make it legal?

    I really, really feel that no-one should pay. If we do they will continue with this very unfair “scam”. If people refuse to pay then they might realise that it is going to more bother than it is worth.

    Can all those of us who have been caught (and infuriated, not to mention the stress caused) unite and fight these brutes through the courts?
    The stress is just hell.

  176. Pissed off says

    I’ve just read some of the entries and I agree with Ross 19 April 07, I’m seriously beginning to believe this may be a scam between the hire car companies and the local municipality. Our hire car was also from Hertz and we have so far received 3 fines – now over 18 months since we were in Italy.

  177. says

    By the way, my fines comes from Florence, not Pisa.

    I’m not sure how to get you the form…I’ll look at the website in greater depth to find an email address. The dispute form I downloaded was from the website indicated on the fine/sanction form. After inputing the proper codes and password I could access my fine information, view the picture of my rental car in the restricted zone, and also download the dispute form.

    I have good news (for me). After trying to translate the dispute form I finally relented and called the English phone number on my fine(s) and spoke with a nice lady named Sylvia Martini. I explained that I had been in Florence and had driven to the hotel in order to check in. I didn’t intend to drive around Florence because it’s frankly difficult. After checking in I returned the vehicle to the airport rental office. I have in my possession a letter from the hotel indicating my date of check in and dates of stay. The letter also indicates that I drove in the restricted zone in order to access the hotel. The letter goes on to request on my behalf that the fine be dropped because they should have sent my automotive/rental information to the authorities on the date of check-in in order to have any potential fine waived. Long story short, I emailed this letter to Ms. Martini and a few days later received an email indicating my fines had been waived.

    I suspect unless you have a legitimate reason to drive a vehicle in the restricted area (e.g. driving to your hotel) you will pay the fine. I came upon this when I lived in Mexico City many years ago. On certain days you could drive in the city with the proper sticker on the windshield and if you didn’t have the sticker, you could receive a fine. I’m pleased to know I no longer have to worry about what would happen if I chose not to pay this fine from Italy. I simply do not know those ramifications, especially if you live on the European continent.

    – Paul Stone
    USA

  178. Melanie says

    I thought I was alone here, till I found this blog. My mom and I traveled to Italy in March 2007. We rented a car from Thrifty in Florence, but upon arriving at the car rental co. they didnt have our car and sent us across the street to a small car rental dealer. We drove to Pisa and through Tuscany, and back to Florence.
    Earlier this year I receieved a speeding ticket from Italy with the same “the road conditions were such that the offender could not be stopped without causing danger to other vehicles” as Trond wrote on this blog back in January ’07. The ticket was a certified letter – which I’ve never received before!…was kinda excited/nervous till I found out what it was, then I was pissed. The ticket was for 173 Euros which I paid by bank transfer, which the bank tellers had a heck of a time figuring out how to do, since the ticket was in Italian. And the ticket said it was from Comune di Riomaggiore – Polizia Municipale.
    I paid it as I knew I’d like to return to Italy one day. (The whole time my mom saying that it was the maffia.)
    I thought it was all over and done with till I received another violation in the mail yesterday – this one was not a registered letter. But they did throw .85 euros into my fine for postage.
    My fine is for 108.04 euros + postage and it says that the “locality of verification” was PZA DELL ‘UNITA” ITLAIANA-VIA PANZANI — does anyone know where this is???
    The violation date is 2007-03-22 …. now I know that things move slowly in Italy, as I’ve read in the above blogs, but this was a crazy long time ago!!
    The info listed for if I wanted to do a bank transfer is:
    Bank: Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze
    Beneficiary: Corpo di Polizia Municipale di Firenze N.O. Verbali e Notifiche
    Account #: 77/00
    Bank Codes: IT60P0616002832000000077C00 SWIFT CRFIIT3F
    I will be paying this through their website http://www.emo.nivi.it – which I’ve already logged into, as they give you a user name and password, and there is also a photo of the rear of the car I was driving..with the date. Which really could have been placed on there digitally, if this were a scam. It’s not like they show my face in the car driving with the violation sign in view as well! But I’m paying it cause I will be returning to Italy in March and I’d like to not be contacted by the police. I also wanted to rent a car again, but after all this, I’m not too sure.

    Just wanted to post my sucky experience….

  179. Melanie says

    Okay, so I discovered where this was …PZA DELL ‘UNITA” ITLAIANA-VIA PANZANI.
    It’s in Florence, and apparently I drove through it while trying to return the rental car, with the agency being on a one way street. I remember having to drive around in a huge cirlce in order to get down the street the car rental place was on. So I can now see how I didnt see a sign about a “road reserved for other vehicles”, when i was worried about not driving down one of the numerous one ways in the area!
    I’m still pissed…

  180. says

    More stories, more fines. It’s difficult to know what to do about this, aside from saying don’t drive in Italy.

    Some form of park and ride scheme would be useful – maybe an Italian entrepreneur reading this could come up with something.

    Thing is, as far as I can understand, these cameras are designed to catch naughty Italians more than tourists. I’d love to know just how many tourists drive around Italy every year.

    Perhaps some form of pass could be paid upon renting a car which would automatically inform the municipal authorities solely for those on vacation in Italy. Need more info before proposing this as a realistic solution though.

    Sorry to hear about yet more people being caught out.

    Kind regards to one and all,

    Alex

  181. Diane says

    Alex – re my previous email, as I have never received a registered letter (and the 60 days have now passed) are we still liable to pay? We have heard nothing more.

  182. says

    Hi Diane,

    Have another look at the Time Limits section in the main post on the surface of this ocean of comments, and see if you are out of the woods.

    I tend to think you are not, in view of the fact that they know you were the driver, in which case there is the 360 days which the authorities have to send out the official fine.

    If you do not pay and they try to up the fine, then you could argue that seeing as you had received no official notification – ie registered letter you did not think you should pay on the grounds that the initial fine notification could have been from anyone.

    Hope that helps.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Regards,

    Alex

  183. says

    Thanks for jumping in Ian.
    For what it’s worth, I think your advice to Marie is sound.
    If the notification is not in order, then there is little the Pisa authorities can do – although to be fair to them, and as I’ve only recently discovered, Pisa is one of the few places in Italy that has put in systems allowing it to send out fines internationally – in other ZTLs foreign drivers are just ignored – simply because the local authorities/police forces involved do not have the systems in place to send notifications out of Italy.
    There is a remote chance that your passport may be flagged, but knowing how disconnected Italy is, I doubt this will happen. Italy has three major police forces: the carabinieri – which do not bother too much with traffic offences, the polizia – which do bother with driving offences, and the very local municipal police – which deal with minor offences such as parking and these ZTLs. For a passport to be flagged, the municipal police would need to inform the Polizia – who also check passports when you enter Italy. However, I very much doubt whether this is happening, and it will not happen for a good time yet. Italy does not even have an e-gov system yet, and the good old boys in power simply do not understand technology.
    Put very simply, if you receive a registered notification – then you should really pay – if you do not – then it could potentially be a scam – and I believe you are within your rights to treat it as such and ignore the things. Indeed, the credit card companies should not really be deducting sums until a formal registered notification has been received by those who committed any alleged offence. Even if you do receive a fine, you can try to dispute it – and slowly but surely, and again to their credit, the Pisa people seem to be gearing up for dealing with appeals received in languages other than Italian. At the end of the day though, the admin costs must be exceeding fine generated income – especially when people appeal.
    Again – these are my opinions, and I am not a lawyer, nor do I claim to be an expert on the subject of the payment of fines received while in a car in Italy. My aim is to inform, and assist, if I can.
    As Ian stated – do what you think is best – although reading the post above and the comments may help you make a more informed decision.
    Kind regards to both of you,
    Alex

  184. Alan Clear says

    Hello to all you fellow bad reckless drivers who like me received a fine for driving in a restricted area in Florence.

    I was in Florence in May 2007 and rented a car. In March 2008 the rental company took €50 from my credit card. At the time I believed it was for a speeding fine or parking fine. I didn’t argue with it and happily paid it.

    However, I have only now, 23rd February 2009, received a letter in the post from the italian authorities telling me I must pay €118 for driving in a restricted area.

    The letter arrived by ordinary post. I intend to ignore this letter and wait and see what happens.

    I will not be paying this fine. It is now 19 months later. There is a legal saying in Ireland ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’. I dont need a legal expert to explain that to me. Surely there must be some common legislation throughout the EU.

    I have also instructed my credit card company not to authorise any payments to this company without contacting me.

    I am also returning to Italy in April 09 but I dont intend on renting a car this time.
    I will write again if I hear anymore about this. I dont believe I will.

    I know that if a foreign tourist in Ireland incurred a motoring fine like this the Irish authorities would not persue them across Europe. The Irish authorities dont even persue motorists across the borded to Northern Ireland so I douubt very much that the lazy Italians will.

    Your fellow bad reckless driver,
 Alan

  185. Randall Souviney says

    I would like to pay the Pisa, Italy “circulating in restricted traffic zone on via Roma” traffic fine of Euro115 by mail from the US, but I do not see an clear address on the notification letter to mail the check. Does anyone know the correct address in Pisa to mail payment? I do not want to use a bank transfer since there is no good way to track it, and I have already cut a check in Euros (at considerable cost here in the US). This kind of traffic violation is indeed frustrating for visitors and will impact future visits to Italy for many people I expect. Thanx for your help….randy

  186. Earl says

    Have a parking fine in a restricted area and circulating in restricted area in Pisa. I initially sent the tickets back with a letter stating that I did not understand what I did wrong. This probably avoided the dreaded high administrative fee from the rental car company because they already had my name and address. My question is this. Has anybody been charged on the rental car credit card for the actual fines incurred? Honestly, how are they going to get the money from anyone in the US or Canada or any country outside of Europe unless they are able to charge back to the rental car credit card? I feel sorry for Europeans as they may have some leverage, but I don’t see what leverage they have outside of Europe? I have read many posts about administrative charges incurred by the rental car companies, but have not read one case of fines actually being paid by the rental car credit card. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated. I would probably pay if It was easy to pay with credit card, but not with exorbitant wire transfer fees. I don’t even know where to go to get a check in Euros.

    • Alex says

      Hi Earl,
      “but have not read one case of fines actually being paid by the rental car credit card. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated.” If I get you, then the rental car company will not try to charge the actual fine(s) against the credit card used for renting the car, but will often charge an administration fee for the time they spend telling the police who the driver of the car at the time of the offences was.

      If the rental company did pay the fine directly, then that would give you no time to defend yourself, and you would not be happy! And as sometimes happens here, fines are sent out regarding cars which may have been many miles away from where they were caught on camera. For example, if the rental car company used your credit card info to pay for an offence in Rome, when you where in Naples all the time – you would be pretty cross.

      Anyway, as I understand it, rent car agencies are not authorised to do to charge everything and anything to your credit card. Look at the rental contract for details of what they feel they can charge you.

      If that does not help, let me know.

      Alex

      • Earl says

        Alex, thank you for the reply. As stated, they already have my name and address, so no administrative fees have been charged to the CC. I have contacted the rental car company and requested info on their rental car contract and the contract fine print. As this was 10 months ago, I have the credit card charge receipt but threw the contract out. So, I don’t have a copy of the rental car agreement. I really don’t see what leverage they have on anyone outside of Europe and that is what I am trying to determine.

        • Alex says

          Earl, the short answer is that they have no leverage with regard to people outside of Europe. They have to rely on honesty and moral duty.

          As I have stated before a few times, there is a remote possibility that the names of those who have not paid fines will be flagged and they may stopped when trying to enter Italy. This does not happen as yet, but one day this may become the norm. Another scenario is that if you stay in the same Italian region in the future then your name may be recognised and you may be visited by the local police. The key word is ‘may’ – again, I am not aware of this actually happening. And, from what I have ascertained, Pisa is one of the few Italian authorities which has systems in place for collecting fines at an international level. This is why Pisa is the Italian city which is mentioned most often in the comments here. I wrote a post on this: http://italychronicles.com/pisas-misunderstood-leanings/

          There are, as far as I know, no international agreements or treaties that concern motoring offences committed by residents while driving abroad.

          Within Europe there is talk of making motoring offences enforceable at European level, in that if for example someone from Britain commits an offence in Italy, then the fine for such offence may be collected by motoring authorities in Britain. I do not know if this system has been implemented.

          Please note that I am not a lawyer, nor to I make any claim to being an expert on this matter. Any and all advice I may offer is informal and subject to confirmation via proper authorities and/or lawyers.

          Best regards,

          Alex

          • Earl says

            I want to take this opportunity on behalf of ALL the readers of this valuable information to THANK YOU wholeheartedly for your many efforts and articles. It has truly been helpful. I know it has helped me a great deal. Thanks again!

  187. Richard says

    This subject has been discussed at length on numerous forums, notably Trip Advisor, and there is a very informative summary here: http://www.bella-toscana.com/traffic_violations_italy.htm Read it and form your own conclusions. That page is updated quite frequently and I look forward to seeing there updates regarding just how far the Italian municipalities will go to collect their money. It’s big money we’re talking about – a milion here, a million there – pretty soon it adds up to be a significant part of their income. Personally, I foresee the use of collection agencies unless a drop-off in tourism can be attributed to fines that total more than the cost of a trans-Atlantic plane ticket.

  188. says

    The Florence authorities are really exploiting foreign tourists my fine was 102 euro for the offence of “Moved around a restricted traffic area without authorization” I have no idea when or what this was but it seems execessive to me. If you want to avoid bogus driving fines I suggest you avoid the Florence area!

  189. Jason says

    Alan, I have, after 9 months, received one of these letters, regarding moving in a restricted zone. It was not by registered post and more concerning is the date on the photo / infringement does not match the date I was there ! Did you hear anything after not paying ? I am in some what baffled as to what to do. Also, I have emaled them to contest the date, we were with another family the whole holiday and I assume they can be valid witnesses (and more over, they did not receive a fine and followed us the entire time).

    Interested in your views, I have 20 days apparently to pay up

  190. Dennis Gordon says

    My wife yesterday (29 June 2009) received a fine for 101 Euros for the same thing reported by another correspondent, i.e. “Moved around a restricted traffic area without authorization”. How would one even know?! We were visiting Florence last September and we live in New zealand. The fine is very expensive in New Zealand dollars and definitely over the top. It appears official, so is probably not a scam, but rude on the part of the authorities.

    • says

      Yesterday I was telling a Chinese student friend of how the Comune Di Firenze (Florence metropolitam authorities) had fined me 103 euro for “MOVED AROUND A RESTRICTED TRAFFIC AREA” He told me that he and a party of 10 Chinese Malasian students from Glasgow University were also fined 70 euro each in Florence because they all bought travel tickets and they were not told and unaware that the tickes needed to be verified.

      This is appaling it must be stopped! I’m a coward and paid the fine but I hope someone does take a legal stand against them like Interpol or the FBI !

  191. says

    After a long battle, I have settled the fine and have contacted my local legal and foreign affairs MEP. They did respond and wrote to a number of key people in Italy on this subject. I suggest you all do the same. In the mean time I wrote to nivi credit the following as this really is very unnaceptable.

    bla bla…

    Anyway I have now made the payment, and will not appeal as no one succeeds, however I have contacted a number of MEP’s in the legal and foreign affairs area and have stated you are hiding behind EU membership to penalise innocent tourists and enforce payment (if you were not an EU member, I would NOT have paid). If a legal case ever arises, and this is deemed excessive, or illegal, under EU case law you will be obliged to refund all fees, charges, and costs.

    I will pursue this beyond all comprehension, and as I stated I have cancelled our 2010 holiday to Italy which will cost the country more in lost tourism revenue than this fine will gain them, the fine amount is totally excessive and outrageous.

    • Alex says

      Hi Jason – keep plugging away.

      Although the Italian authorities are within their rights, lots of people are not happy.

      Is there anywhere else in Europe where fines are a real problem? I have not heard of anywhere, but perhaps someone else has.

      As for the comments being in some odd order, I’m not too sure why this is the case. I’ve had a look around and found that I am not alone in this odd order of comments thing. One remedy seems to be to dig into my database, but that scares me. Last time I did that, my site fell over!

      What I might do is to close comments on this post, and add a new post with new comments – which should be in the right order!

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

      Best,

      Alex

      • Alex says

        Note to everyone – the comment order appears to be a bug in the system I use to publish this site.

        As far as I know there is no solution as of yet.

        Once something comes along, hopefully the comment order will become more logical, as it once was.

        Sorry, and thanks for reading, and commenting.

        Alex

  192. Liz says

    Hi,

    Just to say that my son paid the fines yesterday and by the time he paid the cost of the bank draft it was about £317. Just for parking in the wrong spot. It is just ridiculous! He has friends in Italy who said they would not pay it but to get a lawyer onto it would have cost even more and he might have ended up having to pay double the amount. If he never wanted to go back to Italy well I suppose he wouldn’t have paid it but he does.
    It really would put you off going to the country and I think it is time something was done about it. Had it been one fine for the offence, well that would have been acceptable but four for the same thing is beyond belief! They have some nerve that’s all I can say and makes you wonder if they really want tourists. Does the government know what the polizia are up to – I wonder.

    • says

      Hi Richard,

      You are probably right with regard to the comments on this page – but people do tend to get a little het up when they receive unexpected fines.

      But, as you almost say, they can catch you, and they will – they make quite a bit of money out of it. In Italy though, they have been several reports of municipalities tampering with their cameras to increase their income.

      Still, I would recommend that others go visit the link you mention – lots of useful information there.

      Best,

      Alex

  193. Sheryl says

    Hi, I have received, in Canada, a notification of violation for driving in a restricted area in Rome. It’s been 18 months since I was there. This did come by registered mail and does threaten to send the ticket to the DEMO for collection.
    My question, has anyone had experience in not paying these fines? What happens after a year or two? I might never want to go back to Italy but I would like to travel to France and the UK and I wonder if there are any travel ramifications from not paying. Also, if you haven’t paid have you heard from this collection group?

    Thanks
    Sheryl

    • says

      Sheryl,

      While not paying is an option, there is evidence that it is not a good idea. Please follow this link and read the section ‘What to do about it if you are ticketed and fined?’ and then the sub-section ‘Non-EU residents’.

      http://www.bella-toscana.com/traffic_violations_italy.htm

      From what you will read, it looks as though non-payment could turn out to be more expensive than you would imagine – but do also look at the main post way above – there are 7 pages, alas. Look for the section on Time Limits – your fine might be outside them.

      Do also check the circumstances of your fine too – you might have grounds for it to be annulled, for example driving to and from a hotel you booked in a restricted traffic area.

      As far as I am aware, not paying a fine in Italy is unlikely to have consequences in other European countries, but this could change, and may have already. The best option is to simply pay up and forget about it.

      Hopefully someone else will chip in too.

      Best,

      Alex

      • Lynne says

        Hi

        We have had a total of 5 fines for driving in restricted areas in Florence in August 08. When the first two arrived I emailed and objected, explaining that there were four people in the car, all of whom were qualified and experienced drivers. None had seen any signs. I didn’t take the same action with the subsequent 3 fines but wrote to one of Florence’s MEP’s and our MEP to complain.

        I have had no response from the Italian MEP but our MEP raised a question with the relevant committee in the European Parliament and sent me the response. There is now to be a requirement within all European countries for clarity in signage and that common signs should be displayed in different languages. It will take time, as these things do, but at least if the Italians are made to clean up their act it will be something. If signs are then not apparent people will have grounds to Appeal.

        We recently received 3 Registered Letters demanding payment within 60 days. No idea what has happened to the other two.

        We love Italy but our view has now been soured by the tourist rip-off tactics imposed by the Italian authorities. Wont be going again, so voting ‘with our feet’ so to speak.

  194. Humphrey says

    Has anybody got advice re paying fines by credit card? That would be so much simpler.

    My notification arrived 13 months after the offence, Is this a record?

    I can read Italian and saw no restriction sign on the Via Roma. How can I challenge? In the UK you can go to court if you know you are innocent but that doesn’t seem to be an option provided by the Comune di Pisa.

    Isnt the whole thing a terrible bore, spoiling the Pisa experience in retrospect?

  195. carl says

    i have just recieved a parking ticket from sardina from retal car i hired not hertz., the fine is for 76.25 euros to be 112.25 in 60 days the alleged offence was for parking on grass and th roadside to go to a beach. With many italian cars doing the same, no signs but only the my hire car with the ticket .>?>? how strange, the offence was on 20/07/08 and this arrived 434 days later , as you said 150 days is maxium time to inform me! nivi emo.nivi .it can this be for real ?? PS The hire company swiped my card manuel and i made sure the slip was returned to me when i returned the car. Also i got scammed by avis car rental at menorca airport where i hired a car paid cash for hire then got hit £300 on my credit card when back home hence never let them have your details when cars returned

  196. Richard says

    Hi,

    I got a note through the letter box yesteday, telling me that there was an international letter to pick up: it had to be signed for. Intrigued, I hurried along to my local post office today to pick it up. I signed for it. Doh.
    It was a Violation of the Highway Code notice. Apparently, when I was in Alghero, Sardinia on 29 May 2008I “entered illegally a resticted traffic area”. I was in Alghero on 29 May 2009, and I did hire a car on one day while I was there, though I can’t recall which day it was. The notice tells me I was caught on an approved video system, though there is nothing on the “emo” site to confirm this. What there is,though, are copies of what look like letters to and from the hire car company. The latest date stamp on them is 8 October 2008. By my calculation, that is some 364 days ago. I think the ******* are too late. And I’m going to tell them so. I’ll let you know what they say.
    I’m with your earlier commenters: I like italy and generally, the italians. I’ve holidayed there four times, and spent lots of my hard earned income there.But this is not right. This system clearly targets tourists. I saw no sign, and probably wouldn’t have understood one if I had. This system suggestst an aggressive and insulting attitude to foreigners. It is most unsympathetic. Even assuming my objection is accepted, I’m not going back. I’ll spend my money somewhere else.

    Regards

    Richard

  197. Richard says

    (Re my previous email: you will have spotted the deliberate error. The “offence” was committed on 29 May 2008, not 2009. That is, over 16 months ago. And whilst I appreciate Alex’s comment about the naturally dilatory italians, the delay in all these cases is suspicious. They miscalculated in my case, but it seems to me they are deliberately “taking it to the wire” so that no-one can really recall who, what, where, when, how or why. Putting to one side the actual time limit they give themselves, this delay is contary to what the lawyers would call “natural justice”. And I think I might make that point too….)

    Richard

  198. Dave Mold says

    Excellent site Alex. I have just received a 110euro fine from Alghero in Sardinia – seems as though they are all at. I am an experienced european traveller and drive in Europe at least 4-5 times a year. I am also a frequent visitor to Italy and have a good knpwledge of their road traffic signs, yet I did not notice the sign in Alghero which I understand is very discreetly hidden and as such is proving a very valuable money earer for a City who is desperate for cash (The Italians are not noted for their willingness to pay taxes). I do understand that the Italian Government was fined heavily by the EU in 2002 for precisely the offence of deliberately targetting foreign motorists. They have probably fine tuned their procedures but are still in effect generating cash from this Council sponsored “Scam” My European MEP is taking this up in Brussels. I suggest if you have been affected, you should write to your MEP, – that is of course what they are there for.
    As to the question of recovery of the fine, what can they do in the |UK to recover this money

  199. Adi says

    Dear all you fellow bad reckless drivers, I joined this group recently and I learned from reading your blog that I am not the only one to recieve these traffic fines after one year or more…
    I would like to summerize what I learned:
    1 – in the issue of transfering this data to credit bureau or to the national/international police- I dont know enough.
    2 – in the issue of the “forced paying” by the credit card that you gave to the car agency, I checked with Visa EU regualtions, and they are not entitled to debit you after more 3 monthes !!! If you are debited (for the fine or for the handling) , you can ask the Visa issuer of your card to cancel this transaction.

    I hope you found this results helpful,
    As far as I see, I will not pay…
    Good luck to all of you,
    Adi

  200. Charla says

    I’m so glad to find this blog. My husband and I visited Italy in 10/08 and rented a car and drove all over Italy. Our daughter was studying for one semester in Montepulicano so we thought it would be perfect to visit her and see all of Italy by car. I even communicated with her Professor that arranges the studying abroad program for hotel information, etc., in various cities. He gave us his advice on a hotel in Florence. Our hotel was in the old historic section of the city. We were not advised by ANYONE, the Professor, car rental agency, hotel, etc., to be aware of the limited traffic area. We did watch for any signage with a line running through or X or in red and did NOT see any during our drive around Florence. One late afternoon we needed to do 1 load of laundry and found one not far from our hotel but too far to walk with a load so we drove, as we could not find a parking place, we circled 3 times before stopping and parking. We did not see a sign and we definately were not the only car parked along the street. Like many others here, we received the additional charges by our rental car agency and we contested because we were not aware of any violation and they couldn’t advise us of the violation so I was successful in having them reversed. Then several months later (not sure how long at this time) we received a letter/notification from the police so my husband did some research and learned he could appeal but not until we received the registered traffice violation. Therefore, when we received the THREE separate registered letters he signed for them (apparently our mistake?) We are being charged 107.45 EU for each one and they are all within 10 mins or less. After reading that we can appeal however if we do not win our appeal we will have to pay double we are now too afraid to appeal. In reading above I found where someone indicated that if you receive more than one violation for the same incident within one hour you only have to pay for one? Does anyone know if you must appeal the other two and if so on what grounds? Or do we just pay for one and not address the other two? Thank you so much for all of this great information. We live in the US and now I’m scared to death that out of no where we could receive something similar from Pisa or Rome or Sorrento or Naples or Sienna or Montepucliano or ???? We loved Italy and are so disappointed with this deceptive way of entrapment. We may not visit Italy again, however, some of the cruises we would like to take originate in Rome or Venice so we are too fearful of what might happen to us in landing at the airports and don’t want to take any chances.

  201. jim mulligan says

    Hi Alex; I received a violation dated May24,2009 for “circulating on roads reserved for other vehicles without authorization” The violation allegedly occurred on May 24, 2008, at 204pm. After having my attorney check it out I decided to pay the fine. One week after paying the fine, I receieved another notice, this time dated October 2, 2009, for a similar violation, this one ” circulating in limited traffic area without authorization”. This allegedly occurred also on May 24, 2008, at 157pm. Any comments?

    • says

      Hi Jim,

      Sorry to hear about the second fine, as I’m sure are you.

      The situation regarding the receiving of two fines one after the other is a little complex. I was speaking to some Italian lawyers about this the other day.

      It is possible to escape these second fines, but, you need to show that there was no way you could have avoided the second photo. In other words, and this is where it is fiddly, if you could have exited from the ZTL, but did not, then a second, third etc. etc. fine produced by a ZTL camera is perfectly valid. I think leaving and then re-entering a ZTL is counted as being good reason to fine you too – but you would need to have a lawyer confirm this.

      I’ve no idea whether there is a limit to how many fines one can accrue or in what time period.

      With a little luck one of the lawyers I know will chip in and help us all understand just how many fines one can receive as a result of entering one of these zones.

      Best,

      Alex

      PS If you need the name of an Italian lawyer (one based in Milan, not Pisa – let me know)

  202. roos says

    We also got such a letter from “Corpo di Polizia Municipale di Firenze” and we have to pay €98,10 because we were driving in a restricted zone. We don’t remember this as it took place in May 2008. They made a picture of our bus. I searched at the internet for more information and found info at the website of our dutch road/traffic organisation. They also show a photo of the restricted area sign, so you can see it here:
    http://www.anwb.nl/rechtshulp,/voor-wie/vakantieganger/Boetes-in-Itali-.html
    It seems to be legal so we probably will have to pay the money. I will first call the ANWB legal aid to know more about it, for example what will happen if I don’t pay.
    Roos (Netherlands).

  203. Cedric says

    Hi Alex,

    I am a UK resident. I received a fine today dated 01/08/10 for driving in Rome on 10/09/08. The rental company was contacted by the Italian authorities in December 12/08, which means the date of the infaction is > 365 days after the authorities got my detais.

    Is 365 days the time limit they have to issue the fine or is it 2 years?
    if it is the former, do I contact them to let them know that they have been too slow so I won’t pay, or do I just ignore it.
    If it is the later, I drove on that day to a car park near to our hotel in the historical centre to drop off our bags. Would it be too late for the hotel to contact the authorities to wave the fine?

    Thanks for your help

    Cedric

  204. Geoff says

    Much as I would like to, I don’t see the relevance of the 60 day limit for the owner to respond with the identity of the driver. Particularly in the case of my son from the UK who hired a car in Germany and has, supposedly, committed a violation in Rome. I would presume that the Rome authority is bound by the 360 day limit to proceed, but that only starts when the driver data is received, regardless of how long it took to arrive; why should Rome be penalised for the inefficiency of the Germans?

    The offence in question was committed on 30 July 2008. According to the papers lodged, the enquiry of the rental company is dated 14 November 2008 and the response is stamped as received on 7 September 2009; the demand is dated 29 December 2009. Without the co-operation of the rental company (Budget) and going to court, I have no basis to challenge the timing of events, even though I suspect that the efficient Germans replied in good time and that the response (the hire agreement) was not date stamped until someone got round to processing it.

  205. says

    Hi, I have just had 3 fines at €115 each after 17 months since the offence, it has been over 360 days since the rental company told the police my identity. What should I do?

  206. Graeme Andrews says

    Hi I have just had 3 zone fines at €115 each, but it has been over 360 days since the police knew of my identity (can prove it). Do I have to pay the fines

  207. says

    I received 3 registered letters from Alghero in Sardinia. Containing…you guessed it 3no fines for entering an illegally restricted traffic area. The offences were committed 467 days ago! All 3 offences were committed at the same time 3 days in a row. I’m sure I made errors while driving in Sardinia however after the large amount of time that has passed how could I honestly remember or more importantly how could I defend myself (i.e. maybe the sign that I was supposed to have seen could have been vandalized or had a tree growing in front of it). As I said, I’m sure I made mistakes, and the fines may have been genuine however to receive 3no fines (totalling €330) after nearly a year and a half after the offence with the note “the owner of the vehicle, as indicated by the competent authorities, must be considered guilty of the infraction until proven otherwise”…….i.e. guilty until proven innocent.

    I have been to Italy twice since and will not return to Sardinia and probably not Italy again, these idiots are taking money from you and me and the good people of Italy who make a living from tourism.

    All the best,

    Mark

  208. Ross says

    I think I am in much better position than everyone else – I’m Russian… but still – the same story : we rented a car in Rimini and were seen crossing into ZTL area in Rome . It might be amusing but the limited traffic area sign we apparantly violated can be found on google map – http://maps.google.ru/maps?hl=ru&rlz=1T4GGLR_ruRU329RU329&newwindow=1&q=italy+map&lr=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=%D0%98%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%8F&gl=ru&ei=q0hnS6KGOo7z-QaHmuWdBw&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CAwQ8gEwAA

    There is one thing that I do not understand – there is no internationally (under Vienna convention of 1968) recognised traffic sign which prohibits access to the area, only a note about limited traffic area written in italian. Do they think that everyone should speak italian ? One should be at least notified about ZTL areas (of course I only learned about this later after “commiting” the offence). It all looks like a tourist trap to me.
    I contested 39 EUR charged to me by the rental company, and got it back. Though I had to cancel my CC.
    To make the story even more fun – the rental company initially billed me twice the same amount. It took me 6 months to get money back (it was returned not on my card but by Western Unoin) and only after I called German head office of the rental company.

    So next time I would not rent a car in Italy.

    Anyway they are not going to get anything out of me, not even the postage (the italian taxpayers should cover the postage, I reckon)……I cannot imagine them collecting anything in Russia.

  209. Rob says

    I too received the dubious restricted traffic zone violation just today. It’s terribly infuriating and certainly does not make me want to travel back to Italy especially since thee assumed violations occurred in 9/08. My question is this? I contacted my rental company they provided the italian authorities my info on 1/26/09 (date stamped 2/3/09 at the Florence Police). They then sent me the letter advising me of the fine in letter dated 1/21/10 which I received on 3/3/10. The time from the date on the letter to the police to the date of the fine letter is exactly 360 days. However my argument is that notification has to take place within 360 days. Even if we are to give them the extra time for them to be notified by the rental agency, they are still outside the 360 day limit by the time I received the letter. Not that I expect this argument to get me far, but I am going to give it a try. In the end I have no plans to pay this fine as I am not a citizen of the EU, nor am I going to give out my credit card or banking information to any foreign web site/ govt. In fact the only time I used my credit card in italy was when I rented this car, then 4 months later I start getting random charges in Italy for everything from electronics to gas ($1300 total). Luckily my credit card co shut things down before it got worse, and credited me back the charges but that is going to be the last time any personal information gets shared overseas. In fact I actually thought this certified letter I received from the Italian police was going to say they jailed the douche who stole my credit card and there was going to be restitution paid to my credit card co. so I was happy to sign for it.

  210. John says

    We visited Sardina in Aug 2009 and I today received letter and copies in italian only of offences in driving into the centre of Alghero 5 separate fines of 40 euros each plus adfmin fee of 40 euros and it looks like the hire car company intend to debit my credit card used when I booked the car

    All these oversights by me were totally unintentional – not easy driving in a busy town! and some of the timings are within minutes of one and another ! II have never had any such problems whislt driving anywhere else abroad

    I am really not happy and wonder what if anything i can do

  211. Melinda says

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR CREATING THIS BLOG YEARS AGO. ALEX. I just found it and have gotten a headache from reading so many complaints, ridiculous stories, helpful advice and information. But the main thing this morning has done has made me realize I am not alone! For that I am so grateful. I feel much better and less stressed and worried. I received 2 notices of ‘infractions’ from Florence from a visit in June 2009 in the mail in Jan. 2010. After reading a while, I am going to contact AAA, who rented the car for me, and let them know they should inform all their clients NOT to drive in Italy until they become informed of this corrupt con game. I also plan on writing a letter to be published in the local newspaper. I may even try to contact a congressman/senator and see if they are aware of this shameful scam. Our area thrives on tourism and we would never treat our visitors who were lost or trying to get to their hotels and/or rental agencies like this. Mercy and compassion and empathy must not ‘translate’ with these authorities. All the other Italians I met and spent time with were wonderful!!! Real kind, thoughtful, helpful human beings. I am so sad that now I’ve been turned off to going back to what was my favorite country in Europe.

    • says

      Hi Melinda,

      Glad you found the information here moderately comforting and that it helped you feel less victimised.

      Despite being first written way back in 2006, it continues to be one of the most ‘popular’ posts on Blog from Italy.

      Through the years people have tried to do something about what does, at first sight, seem to be profiteering, but nothing has been done -I think Italian local authorities find the income too handy.

      By all means write to a congressman. I hope he or she can stir up some mud -but I doubt it. It’d have to be someone capable of rattling Italy to the core.

      Good luck. If you do move the odd mountain or two, please let us all know – and you might save another 15,000 people or so from some heartache. I hate to think how many people have now decided never to visit Italy or never to return.

      I wonder if anyone has tried doing a cost benefit analysis re this pesky tourist tax?

      All the best,

      Alex

      • says

        Hi, I will never visit Italy again.
        I think the Italians have become too greedy, I received a notice from car rental company and money taken from my credit card. I stopped payment by phoning my credit card.
        I now have fines from florence municipiality x2. I am not going to pay. September 09 offences commited now july 10. Will let you all know if they persist in chasing me for payment.They said circulating in limited traffic area twice in just over one hour.
        I live in the UK so member of eu. I will sign for nothing if it comes from Italy or if I think it is anything to do with above.

        Cheers Gordon.

  212. says

    I am from Australia and like a lot of people here, I have just received a traffic infringement from Pisa for “circulating in restricted traffic zone” from 21 Sept 2008. Am I going to pay – NO. Anyone paying a fine like this that is not from Europe is crazy. As far as I have researched there is no International reciprocal agreement with foreign countries. I emailed the fine to a friend in Italy. He said not to pay, not even bothering to appeal. They are full of hot air. They are just hoping to collect revenue from gullable tourists.

    • Loudo says

      For the purpose of providing info to US (or perhaps non-EU) residents who received EMO letters, I have the following:

      Two VTL violations July 07

      Received first letter February 08 (regular mail, not certified)….ignored it.

      Received second letter September 08 (also regular mail), ignored this one too.

      Have heard nothing since, and it’s over 31 months since the violation.

      You can draw your own conclusions about the consequences of nonpayment, I’ve certainly drawn my own.

  213. Peter says

    This is very interesting from a legal point of view. Most jurisdictions have a time limit on prosecutions for motoring offences. In the UK it is 6 months. This is obvious really. We are all subject in the EC to the European Convention and you have to be able to have a fair trial. If you only get notified 18 months after the event that you are alleged to have committed a moving traffic offence, you can hardly be expected to remember whether, eg you were the driver or your partner was.
    Where Italian law differs is that it distinguishes between Italians (who have to be notified within 150 days) and everyone else (360 days). I can say with some confidence, that at least in relation to EC citizens, such a distinction is illegal. Why do I say that? well the European court has already decided that it is. The case is called EC -v- Italian Republic, case no C-224/00.
    In the 21st century no such distinction could be justified. After all, the hire company have your details on computer. A letter takes the same time to get from Roma to London as it does from Roma to Milan.
    My guess is that the Italian government would not wish for their legislation to be challenged in the European Court, so for those of you facing fines imposed more than 210 days after the alleged offence (60 + 150), I would try sending a notice of appeal threatening to write to your MP, MEP, European Commission etc., and citing the above case.
    For those of you who are notified within 150 days, then you will have to take your chances. What chance are you taking? Well the reciprocal enforcement legislation does provide for European Arrest Warrants! But hey! who wants to go on holiday in Italy anyway?

    • says

      Hi Peter,

      Very interesting what you say about this sticky situation –

      “I can say with some confidence, that at least in relation to EC citizens, such a distinction is illegal. Why do I say that? well the European court has already decided that it is. The case is called EC -v- Italian Republic, case no C-224/00.”

      Just the kind of information I had hoped this post may have unearthed. The text of the case you mention is here: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/Notice.do?val=264059:cs&lang=en&list=264059:cs,250793:cs,246392:cs,&pos=1&page=2&nbl=13&pgs=10&hwords=C-224/00~&checktexte=checkbox&visu=#texte

      There is also a bi-lingual version from which sections in Italian could be quoted at the Italian authorities.

      Here is the case summary:
      Member State which maintains in force a disproportionate difference in treatment between offenders based on the place of registration of their vehicles, by providing that where there is a breach of the highway code committed with a vehicle registered in that Member State, the offender has 60 days from the recording or notification of the offence in which to pay the minimum amount prescribed or to bring an appeal if he has not already paid the minimum amount, whereas where an infringement is committed with a vehicle registered in another State the offender must either immediately pay the minimum amount prescribed, or, if he wishes to contest the alleged infringement, he must provide security equal to twice the minimum amount, on pain of having his driving licence confiscated or his vehicle impounded, has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 6 of the Treaty (now, after amendment, Article 12 EC).

      In simple terms, if the Italian authorities cannot notify people from outside of Italy in the same time as it takes to notify Italian nationals, then the fine is invalid.

      This would count for EC citizens, though not necessarily for those from outside of Europe.

      Big thanks to you, Peter, for mentioning this.

      Kind regards,

      Alex

  214. PabloUK says

    Hi Alex,

    Brilliant blog – I stumbled on it while looking for info about an alleged traffic violation in Brescia. I really admire your tenacity & commitment to revealing the hidden mysteries of Italian motoring fines.

    In January I received an €18 “administrative expenses” bill from Avis – charged to my credit card in December – for giving my name & address to Comune di Brescia. Avis enclosed a poor 2nd- or 3rd-generation photocopy of an undated “verbale” – in Italian – apparently from Brescia Municipal Police, not addressed to anyone. My tourist Italian is good enough to “get around”, but not enough to understand what the notice says, although it seems to relate to entering a ZTL last July (we were there at that time). Also, the text is partly obliterated by some of the official rubber stamps Italians love to plaster over everything, so is illegible even to a native. I have not had anything at all directly from Comune di Brescia.

    I gather that a penalty notice must be sent by registered post. I assume the notice must also state the amount payable, when and by what means, and be addressed to a particular person by name (else why would they ask Avis for it?). So at present all I have is an unaddressed notice forwarded by a third party (Avis) by ordinary mail with an inkling of a potential unspecified fine that might in future be issued to someone for something. I do not regard that as official notification, or an obligation to pay anyone anything. The 360-day period expires on 27 June, so I’m not holding my breath. Also, from previous posts, the EMO procedure looks like an invitation to accept a reduced fine – like the UK fixed penalty system – without the hassle & potential extra cost of challenging the allegation. I’ll wait until I get my EMO notice to decide if it’s valid.

    Anyhow, my credit card issuer subsequently reversed Avis’s charge when i rejected it as unsubstantiated because:
    * Avis had not:
    o identified the rental term/s and/or condition/s (all in Italian) under which it claimed payment
    o supplied any evidence of the “administrative expenses” claimed, how they were calculated or where, when and/or how they were incurred.
    * Neither Avis nor Comune di Brescia had supplied any evidence:
    o of the nature of the supposed traffic violation
    o that the alleged violation is legally valid
    o that the alleged violation actually occurred
    o of the penalty applicable for the alleged violation
    o that any such penalty had been imposed
    o that I am liable for any such penalty.

    So, it seems worth reclaiming car hire admin charges if you have sufficient reason – if the “fine” is suspect or not proved, any associated fees & charges must therefore be equally invalid (someone mentioned that in an earlier post).

    Your Important Update of 17-18 Feb mentioning an EC decision prompted me to peek at EU Human Rights issues, which has raised some very interesting questions about topics discussed in many previous posts. I’ll post about that later.

    • says

      Hi Pablo,

      Glad you’ve found the info useful.

      As you say, waiting until an official recorded delivery notification is the best way to go.

      Your way of dealing with the Avis admin charges sounds interesting, but from what I remember of a Eurpocar hire contract, there is a condition which seems to allow hire companies to pop these little extra charges on without asking – I think this is a no-no, but am not sure -not being a lawyer. It does, however, seem reasonable to expect Avis to justify the extra charges -otherwise one might be able to sue them for credit card fraud!

      Hopefully others will read this; I’ll add it to the main post, and others on related subjects; and try the same tactic – it might cause Avis et al to moan to the Italian authorities which, in turn, might get something moving. I would not hold my breath though – this post has been on the www since 2006, after all, and not a fat lot has changed – except for case C-224/00 being brought to our attention by one kind person here. As I say, I’m not a legal eagle, but I did hope that someone night chip in with some useful info – call it the power of the web.

      Let us all know how you get on if you have a spare moment or three.

      Cheers,

      Alex

      • PabloUK says

        Thanks Alex. For all I know the Avis contract might be similar to Europcar, but I’m not inclined to translate masses of small print to find out. I doubt the Fraud Squad would be interested in pursuing an €18 scam, and my card issuer refunded it anyway.

        I’m not sure if the C-224/00 case applies to me as the car was registered in Italy, so I think they only have 210 days. If so, it expired on 28 Jan, so their time’s up already. What do you think?

        My post my Human Rights thoughts tomorrow if I get the chance.

        • says

          Hi Pablo,

          It’s good that your card issuer smelled a rat – not many seem to.

          As far as I am concerned, and from what I have understood, the nationality of the car does not count. What counts is the nationality of the driver and the period. The C-224/00 case appears to restrict Italy to maximum of 210 days to hunt down European Union resident offenders whether they are Italian or not. The longer period

          If I were you, I’d still throw C-224/00 at them. Worth a try – then you can decide whether to pay up or not – but have a go before the fine increases, if possible.

          Best,

          Alex

          • PabloUK says

            Hi again Alex, and many thanks for your prompt response.

            I really don’t want to be picky about this, but I looked carefully at EC case C-224/00 before posting, and I’ve looked again to make sure. The determining factor is not the nationality of the car nor its driver, but which country it’s registered in. The title of the case (from the 17 Feb Important Update at the top of this blog, from the link to the official case record and from Peter’s and your own posts) is:

            “Difference in treatment of persons contravening the highway code according to the place of registration of their vehicle”

            So an Australian driving a Swedish brand of car made from Korean & Indian parts, assembled in Mexico and registered in Hungary would be treated differently for violations of the Italian Highway Code from exactly the same car & driver but registered in Italy. The driver’s nationality or domicile makes no difference at all.

            Sorry to be so pedantic, but I believe it’s an important distinction that anyone affected needs to understand before assembling their argument.

            Best regards,

            PabloUK (another non-lawyer!)

            PS What HTML coding do you use for enhancing text in your blog?

          • PabloUK says

            Oops! Re-reading my own post just now, I realise it could look like I’d tripped myself up.

            What I meant was that before case C-224/00 drivers of cars registered in Italy were treated differently from those registered elsewhere. Now of course – as you rightly point out – all drivers must be treated exactly the same, no matter where they or their car is from.

            Sorry!

  215. Pedro Munitis says

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the helpful blog!

    Just received a “Circulating on roads reserved for other vehicles and indicated by traffic signs” penalty notice from EMO, for an alleged indiscretion in Florence (Via Senese) in a French registered Hertz hire car.

    First notice was received 549 days after the ‘crime’ was committed.

    I don’t remember driving in any restricted area on Via Senese and have subsequently ‘travelled’ on the entire length of the road on ‘Google maps’ and cannot find any places where such an offence could have been committed.

    Does anyone have any idea what or where I could have done anything wrong on Via Senese (a bus lane perhaps?!)

    If I log into the EMO website, with the password supplied on the notice, is it sophisticated enough to realise that I have logged in? At this stage, I don’t want to admit to receiving the first notice (it was sent as unregistered post).

    EMO have contacted me directly and Hertz have no knowledge of the fine and have not provided my details to EMO (hence no admin fee). Hertz have confirmed that they will not pay the fine on my behalf.

    The notice from EMO states that they got my details from RAC Finance. Does anyone know who they are? I have never had anything to do with any such company and am concerned why they have provided my details to EMO.

    Also, without knowing who provided the details, I have no way of proving whether the Italians have satisfied the ‘360-day’ regulation.

    The notice from EMO also states I have 20-days to appeal. Shouldn’t I get 60 days? Particularly as it took them 549 days to contact me!

    I sent an email to FCO and the British Consulate in Florence but they just confirmed that there wasn’t much they could do to help (which, admittedly is fair enough) but they have recently added a warning to future tourists on the FCO website.

    I accept that ignorance is not a valid defence and non-Italian nationals should educate themselves on Italian highway regulations but surely common sense should prevail for alleged minor indiscretions such as this. Although, if it subsidises those long Italian lunches in the Comune di Firenze, then why would they stop this lucrative ‘scam’!?

    I agree that if a non-domicile is caught speeding or driving erratically then they should be chased and fined (although 549 days is still an excessively long time to issue a fine!).

    Surely common sense dictates that a foreign driver might stray into a bus lane or similar reserved section of road in their attempts to stay as far ‘right’ and ‘out of trouble’ as possible.

    I do admit that one of our party drove through the ZTL on the morning of arrival in Florence. However, this penalty notice does not appear to relate to the ZTL as it occurred on Via Senese, outside of the city centre.

    We had to drive through the ZTL because we were attempting to reach a hotel in the ZTL area. The reason we wanted to stay at this hotel is that it had parking facilities and we did not want to leave the car in an unsecured parking facility. After spending 30 mins trying to locate the hotel, we gave up, left the central area and ended up staying at a hotel just outside of the ZTL.

    I don’t want to pay the fine because I believe it to be invalid (C-224/00). I don’t want to appeal because the appeal process is so long-winded and they’ll probably throw it out and fine me more than double!

    Let’s hope C-224/00 works! I’m going to Venice in September and am hiring a car to drive around Northern Italy for a week.

    Thanks

    Pedro

    • Kemiker says

      Hi Pedro

      It is some time since you posted – how did things work out for you? I also fell into the same trap in June this year. At the fork of Via Senese and Via del Gelsomino as you head north there is a bus lane (the left hand part of the fork). You cannot see the sign until you pass through the traffic lights (beyond the point of no return) and the word “BUS” painted on the road will be completely obscured by the car in front of you. Assuming you manage to spot the sign amidst all the other extraeneous rubbish advertising everything from local festivals to shoe shops, it’s too late. If like me you were in a line of traffic you can’t just stop, and even if you did you couldn’t turn around and go back. I was merely following the road towards a car park indicated in my guide book with several cars in front of me and a builder’s van up my chuff- It’s about a 25 minute walk from the town centre so I hadn’t imagined that I would encounter a ZTL (I even checked before driving to the city so that I would stay clear of the ZTL).
      Did you end up paying this one or get out of it somehow?

      All the best
      Kemiker

  216. PabloUK says

    Hello again Alex. I hope these few suggestions will be useful to readers who want to contest their motoring fines. Just pick out the bits that apply to you.

    Many posts above complain about the Italian authorities’ delay in notifying traffic penalties and their insistence on communicating in Italian. Fear not – the law is on your side, as I think both issues contravene the European Convention on Human Rights, specifically Part I Article 6:

    “1 – In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.
    2 – Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.
    3 – Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
    (a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;
    (b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
    (c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;
    (d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
    (e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.”

    NOTE: This should not be confused with Article 6 of the EC Treaty referred to in Alex’s 17 Feb “Important Update” at the top of this blog.

    Key words/phrases italicised above are “within a reasonable time”, “presumed innocent”, “promptly”, “in a language which he understands”, “in detail” and “free … interpreter”.

    You must be told promptly of an accusation – presumably so you can recall the circumstances of the incident and collect any evidence you need while memories are still fresh. It follows that if you were not told promptly, then you have obviously been denied the opportunity of “a fair & public hearing within a reasonable time”. Thus it seems the Italian law allowing up to a year to tell you about an accusation is incompatible with the ECHR and is therefore invalid & unenforceable. As Mike, James & Peter have mentioned, a UK prosecuting authority must serve a Notice of Intended Prosecution within 2 weeks of an alleged traffic offence, and a penalty notice or court summons within 6 months. If the UK can do it, so could Italy – if it wanted to. You can form your own opinion of why Italian authorities delay sending a penalty notice for a year or more. My guess is it’s to reduce the likelihood of drivers remembering what happened or having kept car hire paperwork & hotel/restaurant/fuel/shopping receipts (to prove when & where you were) after such a long time. Depending on its timing and the extent of detail given, notification of a violation (such as an “amicable” EMO invitation to accept a fine) might satisfy the requirement to inform you promptly of an accusation. But the penalty notice sent by registered post is the important one, so if it arrives after 210 days you can reject it as denying you the option of a hearing “within a reasonable time”.

    Regarding time limits, if you receive a penalty notice ask the car rental Co for a copy of documents showing when the police asked for the renter’s data and when they were given, so you can check whether the prescribed timescales were complied with and reject the penalty as out of time if they over-ran. If they claim they’re allowed 360 days remind them of European Court case C-224/00 (see Alex’s 17 Feb “Important Update”). Although that case concerned disparity in the treatment of drivers depending on where their cars were registered, it reinforced the principle in ECHR Pt.1 Art.14 that laws must not discriminate between nationalities. Thus you can reject any liability on the basis that the 360-day rule discriminates against non-Italians, so is incompatible with the ECHR and is therefore invalid & unenforceable.

    You can insist on being told of the accusation in your own language, despite what Italian authorities might prefer. Again, an Italian law allowing authorities to demand communication in Italian is incompatible with the ECHR and is therefore invalid & unenforceable. It seems you are allowed 60 days from receiving a fine to pay up or appeal, so you could email or fax – in your own language – on the 59th day from receiving a penalty notice in Italian (or an incorrect own-language translation containing bad grammar or wrong spelling such as “Grait” Britain), saying you don’t understand it and ask for an accurate translation. Meanwhile the 210-day clock is still ticking, as the notice doesn’t count as served unless it’s “in a language which [you] understand”, and of course sent by registered post. If it contains any factual errors (name, time, date, location, car Reg.No, make, model etc) you can safely ignore it as it does not accurately describe the accusation and is thus unprovable – but don’t tell ’em as they could re-issue a correct one within the 210-day period. The longer you spin out the arguments the more they would be likely to abandon the fine or run out of time. As Alex suggested, you could impose your own time-limit, such as “If I do not receive the information requested within 14 days I will assume you have (a) withdrawn all accusation/s, (b) cancelled all associated penalties & charges and (c) ceased all action/s”. With luck they won’t bother to provide a proper translation in time, or just give up. If they complain send them a copy of Article 6 – in English – with the relevant text highlighted (to be ultra-helpful you could also send the Italian version if you can find it).

    Another thing: in earlier posts Alex (and the Bella-Toscana link) suggested that Italian law assumes you are guilty until proved innocent. That too is incompatible with the ECHR, under which – as in most western-style democracies – the accused is presumed innocent until proved guilty. Thus an authority has no right to collect a penalty unless the accusation has been proved. Just saying you were seen in such a place at such a time does not prove you were. A photo of your car – or its number plate, or the driver, or the road – proves nothing without context such as time, date, place, nature of infringement and applicable law – including evidence that adequate signage was in place and operative (the international symbol of a red ring on a white background with a pictogram and/or text specifying the restriction). A close-up snap of a number plate without any verifiable context might lead a suspiciously-minded person to wonder if there could be an element of fakery involved, but of course I can’t imagine who could possibly be so uncharitable… Find the road in Google maps – there might be a “street view” showing if there were proper signs, properly positioned and visible. You could make their life more difficult by asking for proof – in your own language – that the recording equipment has been properly maintained, calibrated and tested, as we can in the UK for camera-related allegations. If the authority can’t prove the camera was working properly, who’s to say it recorded the correct time & date when the photo was taken or if a restriction actually applied when it was taken? Ask for the make & model of equipment and copies of certificates etc (translated to your language) showing this particular device has been certified & approved for this particular use; does it have a good or bad reliability history? You can probably think of a string of other things to slow up the process which you can keep trotting out, one after the other, until they get bored. If they don’t like it or won’t co-operate, tough – the greedy, profiteering scumbags shouldn’t try to rip off foreign tourists with unverified accusations. I certainly wouldn’t even think of using the appeals procedure, for which you have to deposit twice the initial fine! If they try to pursue you for non-payment, you’ll probably have a whole bunch of unanswered technical questions as your defence. The bottom line is, they must prove their case if asked.

    EU member nations are legally bound to ensure their laws comply with the ECHR. Therefore I believe the above applies to all nationalities driving in Italy, not only EU citizens. National laws that don’t comply with EU legislation can be challenged in the European Court, as Alex pointed out in his 17 Feb “Important Update”. Italian cities probably issue several million of these fines every year (the Bella-Toscana article said 859,959 in Florence alone in 2008). If even only 10% were challenged it would clog the fines system to the extent it would be unworkable – and might even persuade city authorities to review their policy of killing off the tourist trade.

    For those concerned at the legality of the above strategies, I must stress that none of them contravene any valid regulations or laws. On the contrary, they rely on applying the appropriate laws, though not necessarily those the Italian authorities would like. These arguments are equally valid if your own national traffic authority tries to collect under some sort of reciprocity agreement.

    Like you Alex, I’m not a lawyer, just an ordinary bloke who can read & think, and I’ve no idea if any of this has been tested in court. If not, who’s first …?

    ——————————————————————————–

    After considering all the above you might conclude – as I have – that the best course of action is to save a lot of time & effort by regarding these extortionate & unproven demands as nothing more than speculative “fishing trips”, and merely ignore them. Really – without reciprocal legislation between national traffic authorities, how’re they gonna get you? I guess the time to worry is when you wake up next to a horse’s head…

  217. Jan says

    I was in Italy in May 2008. Like others, I received two Euro 55 charges on my credit card at least six months after leaving the country. I contested the credit card charge and was told by the rental company it was for traffic tickets. I allowed the charge, and then later received unregistered mail at my USA address from the police asking for euro 125 payment for each fine. One in Florance and one in Arezzo. Same Italian agency writing about both tickets. I contacted the rental company and questioned why I was being charged for fines I had already paid. They told me the Euro 55 was the service charge for “ratting me out” to the Italian police and was not payment of the fine. It irritates the heck out of me that I could have to pay 2 x Euro 170 for a parking ticket. I did not pay the fine and figured I would never return to Italy. Silly me. It’s 2010 and I am planning on returning next month. I will not be renting a car. Any chance I get “caught” at the Italian border when entering the country?

  218. MM says

    I’m italian and if I get a fine here in Italy, I pay. If I go abroad and get a fine there, I pay. Why don’t you want to pay your fines in Italy if you were driving in a wrong way? You have to pay, like every person. You’re not special because you are tourist, everyone should act in a correct way

    • says

      I’m glad you respect the rules, MM. I think many who have left comments here would be happy to respect them too – it’s just that a) fines arrive after an age b) people feel ‘hoodwinked’ because they have no idea they are entering the restricted traffic zones.

      And tourists are an easy target – because they do not know Italian. Better street markings would help.

      As for the fines, the time limit for sending out fine notifications should be 6 weeks, and the time for paying them, 6 months. We live in the 21st century now – this should be possible.

      Best,

      Alex

    • Jeff says

      Well the reason that everyone non Italian is up in arms is that a) the fines are very high by European standards – speeding fine in UK £60, France €45 if you pay promptly. Also the Italian authorities take a ridiculous amount of time to sent the notices and treat foreigners differently to Italians. They insist that we communicate in Italian and say the fine will be doubled if the form isn’t exactly right and/or you lose your appeal which is just a way of trying to pressurise people in to paying up and not making a fuss even if they have a legitimate defence.

  219. Dick Bensman says

    3-18-10 ALEX: I just read your IMPORTANT UPDATE OF 17 FEBRUARY 2010 about Case No. C-224/00 and the <210 day notification requirement, etc. In as much as a month has gone by since your VERY HELPFUL post, has this position been challenged or otherwise contradicted? I don't see any new posts. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR HELPFUL INFORMATION. signed "Tuscany Two".

    • says

      Hi Dick,

      As far as I am aware, this position not been challenged or otherwise contradicted. I believe one or two of the readers of this post will be attempting to use this challenge, and I am hoping that someone will let us know how they get on.

      I think someone will, seeing as many have kindly supplied some very useful information on this sticky issue – for which I thank them.

      Glad you have found the information useful.

      To keep yourself up to date on things, I suggest you subscribe to the comment feed for this post: http://italychronicles.com/speeding-fines-in-italy/feed/ using something like Google Reader or a suitable email program.

      Best regards,

      Alex

  220. PabloUK says

    Well, whaddayaknow – this very topic (and other car hire issues) is on the agenda of an EU consumer issues conference in Brussels today. There’s a brief discussion about it, focussing on Tuscan ZTLs, on BBC Radio 4’s “You & Yours” programme here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours/ram/2010_11_fri_02.ram. If that link doesn’t work, click the “Listen” button next to “Car hire complaints” at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours/listenagain/friday.shtml.

    Let me know if you can’t listen and I’ll post a précis.

    • says

      Thanks, PabloUK,

      I have tried to listen, but cannot open either of the files. Could be because I’m in Italy.

      If you could post a précis – that would be useful. Thanks.

      I’m curious to know what was said, and I imagine others might be too.

      Best,

      Alex

      • PabloUK says

        Alex,

        Those BBC links are working now. I guess when I posted them the relevant files hadn’t yet been loaded.

        I’ll post a précis soon in case anyone still can’t open them, though the piece didn’t add a lot to what’s here already.

        • says

          Hi Pablo,

          I just clicked on the links again, and guess what? I can hear the radio programme excerpts now!

          No need for a précis, but thanks for the offer!

          I’ll have a listen tomorrow.

          Thanks again.

          Best,

          Alex

          • says

            Pablo – I listened, and have emailed the You and Yours team – pointing them towards this post.

            If they get back to me, I’ll post something.

            Fingers crossed!

            Best,

            Alex

  221. Faraway says

    If i might make a suggestion cancel your credit card after hiring your cars abroad. That way you wouldnt have any charges applied that you need to claim back. Whenever I’ve entered Italy the immigration official checks only that you are who the passport says you are. there is no electronic check done on the passport like in the UK. In all cases no words are exchanged and you are waved on so he can check the rest of the plane.
    hope that helps

  222. Diederik Fontaine says

    Hello there,

    start of July 2009 me and my wife took my in-laws to a weekend in Florence. As in trying to make it as much relaxing as possible I rented a car to drive us around and to visit places. Arriving in Florence the problems started. I was dark already, and the car didn’t have any gps-system, so we were driving around for some time trying to find the hotel. In the end we actually did find it and the people of the hotel we kind enough to let us know they had a spot in front of the hotel, which was reserved for them only and that we could use to leave the car during the night. They also told us that on Sundays parking wasn’t paid. As we were leaving on a Tuesday and they said they needed the parking spot for deliveries and possible other tourists we dropped the car off in a paid parking lot during the last night of our stay. A few months after having turned in the car with the car rental company, I noticed they had charged me an extra 192€ for speeding, which I honestly couldn’t remember whether it was right or not, so I didn’t complain. It WAS possible, though I have the impression I was just following the flow of traffic. Now March 22nd and 23rd of 2010 I received FOUR letters with each a different case number stating I violated Italian road laws and have to pay 105.85€ each! It comes from this emo.nivi.it thing, is nicely written in Dutch, though with some small errors, it states that if I call this and that number I will be answered in English, Dutch, French and German, that I have two ways of paying and that I have to do this within 20 days! Not even once did I find a notice under the windshield cleaners to let me know I was violating while parking. My father in law does around 50000km on the road per year, I average around 60000km per year and I really don’t remember having ignored any road signs, nor did my father in law. That nice little weekend last year is going to cost me this year’s holliday, like this. Any suggestions on what I should do?

    Kind regards,
    Diederik Fontaine

    ps: I’m a Belgian, my wife’s Portuguese and we live in Holland. Do those suggestions I read briefly also apply to our situation? I mean the 150 days, the 210 days…

  223. Laura says

    Wow, 2 year long blog, and I read it all! My daughter and I spent 4 weeks in Europe in July 2009….only two days in Florence, Italy….we rented a car and took a day trip to Florence from Chianti . I remember, vaguely, that I saw signs limiting something and tried very hard to avoid them, although the signs weren’t at all clear about which vehicles or persons they were restricting and from what……our GPS sent us in circles….any way, I received, 8 months later, 4 tickets for driving in a restricted zone….three on our ill-fated day trip (two of those only 10 minutes apart) and one en route to the rental car agency to return our car! More may be on the way! Yes, the EOM is legit. Each fine is 106 Euros, or $150 x 4! I plan to not be home to sign the registered mail and will not pay the fines. I’ll let you know if I suffer any consequences more serious than I would suffer by paying the fines! I plan to return to Italy, but not Florence – it was our least favorite place in Italy any way (loved Rome, Verona, Venice and Siena!) and with this feudal ticketing system, is now our least favorite place in Europe!

    • says

      I agree, Laura – it is a useful site.

      Sorry to hear about your fines. You can try disputing them, as you’ll have understood from ploughing through the comments here, but it does look as though people are simply caught out because they do not know the area, or Italian road signs.

      Eyes need to be kept open.

      If you have friends who are thinking about coming to Italy – warn them!

      Best,

      Alex

  224. Jimmy says

    Everyone,

    My girlfriend and I recently received 3 tickets total for various violations from our last day in Rome dated 3/1/2008. Ironically enough, we were driving around trying to find a way to get the rental car back to return it on our last day of vacation! Two of the fines were for “Driving in a limited traffic area w/o authorization (3 mins apart) and the last was for “Circulating on a bus lane registration” – received 7 minutes later.

    The 3 registered mail items were received a few months ago, with a creation date of 9/25/2009 at the top of each letter. Almost 1 1/2 years later!! Each fine is about 106 Euro (~320 total).

    Anyway, after reading through the details above, as a US resident the Italian government had 567 days to contact us about the fine. But after adding up all of the days between the actual incident (3/1/08 to 9/25/09) – the total elapsed time is 573 days.

    If I read the info above correctly….the Italian government did not notify us in the time allowed by law. They’ve continued to send us notices, and last week we received a “Final Reminder” for all three fines via Registered mail.

    If the comments above are correct – and these fines are not valid by law (as applies to a non-Italian resident)…..how should we proceed? Is there someone we can contact to have this issue resolved?

    If the fines can no longer be enforced because the government did not start drafting the communication to us until after the max deadline of 567 days….is there someone we can contact to have this taken care of? I don’t even know where to start, and I want to make sure to stay on their good side if possible as we’d like to visit again someday!

    Thanks in advance for any advice you (or anyone on the site) could offer!

  225. Al says

    Hi Alex,

    I’d like to submit a comment in your “Speeding, and other traffic fines in Italy” post.

    It’s quite a lengthy comment and if you decide to add it to the post you might want to edit it seeing that you’re an English teacher and …. English is not my mother tongue.

    I too have received a Payment Notice, so-called “courtesy letter” from EMO.

    So I had a long look at what I could find on the Net and I know wish I had never done it!

    I was astonished at how much information I could find, so many people all over the world writing about those dreaded Italian fines.

    Anyway I stumbled on your blog and decided I’d like to contribute considering this “Speeding, and other traffic fines in Italy” post is so …………..short!

    Could you give me an e-mail address I could write you ?

    Best regards,

    Al

  226. sam says

    just recieved a fine for 115 euros for driving in Florance it is 224 days since the ‘offence’
    I am most shocked as there were 3 cars & i was the only one with a fine & one of the couples have been 5 times to Florence & twice to Pisa and never recieved a fine & also had no idea of the permit scam. It is such a long time that i have no idea which hire company i even used. I am so angry,. What would happen if i refuse any registerd post and ignore letters? I am also tempted to appeal but then dont want to accept liability!
    Please help me
    I will never return to Florence again i feel like telling them that all the time we were there we were hasseled by street traders & beggers who frightened the children.
    It appears that the scam is not fair as only certain cars are picked.
    I thank you in advance for your reply

  227. Susan says

    What a great blog! Thanks Alex. I am relieve and disturbed at the same time to know we were not alone in our Pisa fiasco!

    The same old song as very many on this forum – received notice from Hertz that we were being charged for them supplying our details to the police – 18 euro. Which we refused to pay. Then we got our letter from the Italians, a full year and 2 months after the violation of moving in a restricted zone took place.

    We plan to go back to Italy in a couple of months and hope to use Hertz again as they are the cheapest rental company.

    Since all this took place a few years back (2008 was the violation) I am thinking of just ignoring it further and seeing what happens. What I don’t want to happen is for us to go and collect our car from Hertz, only to be told that we owe them the 187.50 euro!

    Any thoughts?

  228. Susan says

    Alex,

    Sorry, I just re-read the info and realised our fine is null and void as we received notification a year and 2 months after the violation took place. (I was confused as well as I thought it might be be measured from the time the details were received from Hertz).

    You mentioned in your blog that you were drafting a form letter that one could send to the relevant authorities in such an instance, saying that the fine in void because notification came after 360 days. Do you have the letter on a link somewhere?

    BTW – I think you are great and I am sending loads of good karma your way for all your helpful info.

    Susan

    • says

      Susan – someone has written to me and has given me the impression that the fines may still be valid. I’m checking on this and will reply when I have an answer.

      Do note that I am not a lawyer.

      Best,

      Alex

  229. Al says

    To F V Serra

    EMO (Division of NIVI Credit) is “using” the Italian car rental companies (Italian entities) to obtain the personal data of the car renter who committed the traffic violation during the rental period.
    In Italy car rental companies are unable to collect fines on behalf of the police force.
    EMO (located in Florence) is officially mandated by an ever increasing number of Italian Municipalities to collect fines from foreign drivers.
    There’s nothing illegal up to this point.

    But EMO doesn’t have a “ business license” in the US or any other country.
    EMO identifies the offender, translates the fine received from the Police and then notifies the offender.
    These procedural costs (27-30 € of the total amount of the fine) are not reimbursed to EMO if you don’t pay the fine.
    EMO works on a commission basis, around 35% + VAT of the amount of the fine paid (not included the procedural costs).
    Even collection agencies (debt collectors) duly established in your country of residence can not collect fines on behalf of Italian municipalities. Milan tried (and failed) to do that in Switzerland last year.
    There has to be an agreement in force between Italy and your State of residence.

    To GF & Martin

    The Italian authorities have five years (Art. 209-Italian Highway Code) to collect fines from the date of the infraction.
    This time limit can be interrupted by any official act relevant to the fine!
    (But first (for something to happen) the police must send you the fine (Official notification via registered mail) within 360 days from the date of the infraction!)
    If you get an official notification, the 5 year time limit starts running from the date you received the registered mail……………….

    The multiple ZTL (restricted areas) fines (3 within 3 minutes!!!) are unfair to say the least.
    In theory you have the same rights as an Italian resident to dispute the fine.
    But an appeal by a foreigner (in such a case) is practically impossible for procedural reasons!
    Italian residents have had (partial) success in diminishing their ZTL fines.
    So……………….

  230. Nick G says

    Yet another. I live in Japan but am from the UK. I just got an email from my parents saying they have received a notice from EMO. I have a 190Euro fine from 13 months ago.

    It says if I fail to pay within 20 days then it will go to court and that they could instruct UK bailiffs to coma and possess goods from my UK address (my parents place, I am not a UK resident) I have read EMO cannot do this.

    Any ideas how I should play this? Is the 360 day law from the offence or when the police gets the details, this seems to be very unclear. I don’t have a problem paying the fine if I made a mistake but don’t want to get scammed and overpay and certainly don’t want to if I am within my rights not to.

    Any advice gratefully received!

    • says

      Hi Nick G,

      If you receive official notification via registered letter, and that is beyond the 360 days, then you can write to the Italian authorities, explain this, and ask then to declare the fine invalid.

      I would suggest writing in English – unless you know an Italian who can do it for you.

      I do not think that the UK bailiffs will arrive – as of yet, the reciprocal agreement is not operative – once it is, then it is possible that measures may be taken in the UK directly against those who do not pay a fine. The same thing should also be possible in Italy in the case of Italians fined while travelling in the UK.

      You might be able to appeal the fine, but it depends what it is for and the circumstances. Speeding fines would be very difficult to contest, as would fines for jumping red lights and driving down bus lanes.

      It may be possible to contest some ZTL fines – if several have been issued in the space of a short time on one day, for example – but this too is complex and may not work – in which case, there is the risk that the fine may double.

      The simplest thing to do is to pay – as long as you are convinced that the fine is legitimate – and EMO fines generally are – you can check out the bank account via the IBAN number. Not paying is an option some try – but non-payment could lead to problems in the future if you return to Italy.

      Hope that helps a little.

      Kind regards,

      Alex

  231. KMR says

    Hi everyone,
    We received a notice of a restricted zone offense in Florence in May of 2009. It was 6 months before we received this notice, and it was not by registered mail. As a matter of fact , we just received another letter from Italy today, again not registered. So we have signed for nothing since returning May of 2009. This last letter offers us a “reduced sum” if we pay it within 60 days of this notice. Seriously! Is this not a scam. Pay quickly and we’ll give you a discount, wait 60 days and now it will be this much. Fortunately we have signed for nothing, so there is no proof of receipt, let alone proof of driving offense. I have no problem paying a traffic violation when I know I’m guilty. In this case, I have no idea what
    traffic area had limited circulation, so I’ll take my chances.

  232. says

    U.S. citizens driving in Italy should also note that, according to Italian regulation, if a resident of a non-European Union country (e.g. the United States) violates a traffic law, the violator must pay the fine at the time the violation occurs to the police officer issuing the ticket. If the citizen does not or cannot pay the fine at the time, Italian regulation allows the police officer to confiscate the offender’s vehicle (even if the vehicle is a rental vehicle).

  233. RichardN says

    Alex,

    Thanks for providing so much information.

    Yesterday, I received a final reminder for a traffic violation in Rome for an offence on 5/08/2008 – the first registered notice was posted on 14/01/2010 ((517 days later). Today, I received another notice for a traffic violation, this time in Pisa, for an offence on 26/07/2008 (622 days later).

    Do you (or any of your readers) have a template that could be used to dispute the legality of these notices?

    I was just about to pay the first, but now my fines are over €200 I’m not so keen!

    Thanks,
    Richard

    • RichardN says

      BTW, I was in a hire car (registered in Italy) for both violations. Case C-224/00 seems to be about the place of vehicle registration, as opposed to my nationality (British); does this help my case?

    • RichardN says

      Oh, and the first violation was apparently for using a bus lane (struggling to find a road that leads OUT OF Rome); the second for entering a restricted traffic zone in Pisa. I’d feel differently, if I’d been caught speeding, but in both cases I feel a little hard done by. I’m sure the sign-posting was there, but it certainly wasn’t clear … to me, at least!

  234. Nick G says

    Thanks for the reply.

    I just received a scan of the original letter. I emailed the police in Florence and they forwarded it to EMO as the infraction was in Impruneta.

    EMO emailed me and explained about the fine (in perfect English) and then went on to say how the first letter was just a notice and that I would receive a registered letter from the police themselves (I live in Japan so my parents can’t really sign it for me anyway!) They say then I have 60 days to pay the police. It said I had 20 days in the first letter !!

    I have replied stating that it is already well over 360 days from the offence and quoted some of the laws above. I am sure EMO can’t cancel it themselves but have asked for details of the Impruneta Police so I can consult them. I looked online but couldn’t find anything so if anyone has any contact details that would be great! At least I have bought some time.

    It looks real so if I have to pay then it can’t be helped (18 years driving and my first ticket for anything…funny how these all happen in Italy isn’t it!) But if the law truly is 360 days from the offence then of course I don’t want to pay.

    Is this 360 day law from the infraction something recognised by the
    police or do they argue that it is 360 days from getting the details of the offenders?

    Also there is very little feedback from people who have refused to pay and what follow up was taken. Would be very interested to here some results!

    Thanks!

    • Patrick says

      Having spent a few days in Pisa, and having hired a car from Europcar, I too received a couple of these “fines” almost a year after the event.

      I researched as much as I could at the time (2006 or 2007), and found people’s opinion divided: as many folk suggested that these are a scam as those who suggest they are genuine.

      2 things didn’t ring true, IMHO:

      1. The English in the letter was pretty good – but then the address included the spelling GRATE BRITAIN (as if they were trying to make it sound more Italian).

      2. The only way to pay was buy international bank transfer. I paid everything else in Italy by credit card: wouldn’t you think this “organisation”, if it is real, would set up such a facility?

      I chose NOT to pay, and have heard no more since.

      Thanks for all the advice on this blog!

  235. Al says

    To Nick G

    As I’ve already said I’m not a lawyer but “just an ordinary bloke who can read & think”.

    Read “Important April 6th 2010 UPDATE” near the top of the page.

    The 360 day law (Notification time limit) is from the Offence!

    On my first reading of Art. 201,1 (Violations Notification) of the Italian Highway Code (a second one to make sure) it was clear to me what it meant.
    Since then I found out that the Aduc (Association for the Rights of Users and Consumers) and the Italian Constitutional Court and others agreed with me (or I agreed with them).

    The first “courtesy letter” is Unofficial. They could have given you 20, 30, …60 days to pay.
    (You can receive more than one “courtesy letter” before receiving the Official registered letter)
    Of course resolving the matter (without the need to send an appeal to the Prefect of Florence) directly with EMO would be the best way.

    Yes, EMO should be able to cancel your fine because the 360 day time limit has run out. Get it in writing!
    And YES, they have the “faccia tosta” (nerve) to argue that it is 360 days from getting the details of the offenders.
    Maybe in your dealings with them you’ll have better luck than I had! I had a heated argument with someone at EMO about this.

    If EMO won’t listen to reason then your only option (if you decide to follow the procedure) is to wait for the Official notification and appeal within 60 days.

    I could give you contact details for the Impruneta Police but they have outsourced (like Florence & many other municipalities) the collection of fines to EMO.
    I doubt that they speak English or that they would answer any email sent to them in English.
    Don’t you have a “file number” & an “infraction number” on your notice of payment before notification? With these you can have a look at your “file” on the EMO website.

    The Official Notification is sent via registered mail.

    Art. 202 al.1 & art. 203 al.3 state that for a number of infractions the offender can pay a “reduced amount” within 60 days or the amount of the fine will more or less double.
    On this Official fine you should also find the contact details for the Prefect & Judge of the Peace in case of appeal.

  236. Al says

    To RichardN & all

    EC -v- Italian Republic, case no C-224/00 not relevant because:
    – Refers only to offenders of the Italian highway code who are pulled up by the police on the spot.
    – Italy has complied to judgment of EC in February 2003

    Traffic violation in Rome
    The registered notice was posted on 14/01/2010 (517 days later).
    So you received it mid-January. More than 60 days have passed since then so it’s too late for an appeal. An appeal now would not be valid.

    Traffic violation in Pisa
    Notice for an offence on 26/07/2008 (622 days later).
    622 days later!?! This must be some kind of record! The cheek they have!

    Was it registered? If not you must wait for the Official registered notification to appeal.
    You could always try to contact S.E.Pi. S.p.A (SEPi, is it not?) and get your fine cancelled. Get it in writing!
    If it was registered remember the 60 day time limit to appeal!

    Just one fine for entering a restricted traffic zone in Pisa?
    How the hell did you get out without getting at least a second one? :) :)
    Maybe an other one (or more) are on their way? :) :)

    Here’s the template you requested:

    APPEAL

    This appeal is intended for traffic offenders who receive their:

    —> Official Notification via Registered Mail over 360 days after the date of the infraction

    Preamble:

    Appealing to the Prefect is recommended only in cases in which you can not be wrong.

    – You were notified more than 360 days after the date of the alleged offence,
    – You can establish beyond the shadow of a doubt that your car, at the time of the violation, was on a traghetto headed to Sicily,
    – Serious formal error(s) on the fine, ………….

    I can not guarantee 100% that a Prefect might not reject a legitimate (> 360 days, within 60 days, registered mail, in Italian) appeal!
    Because a Prefect might give a casual glance at an appeal request, grab a pre-printed letter and reject the appeal.
    Because rejecting is easier, the appeal can still be “forwarded” to the Judge of the Peace within 30 days.

    BUT this is a straightforward decision! Time limit has run out!
    Prefects do reject 99% of appeals but really should NOT in such a case. Italians do appeal to the Prefect when their notification time limit has run out.
    (In almost all other cases the standard procedure is to appeal to a Justice of the Peace)
    This letter to the Prefect is standard, compiled from 9 appeal letters found on the web.

    If a Prefect rejects such an appeal, I say: ……… Maybe I’d better not!

    1 – You have received a “Notice of payment before notification” !

    This so-called “courtesy letter” sent via priority mail has no legal value.
    You are unofficially informed of the traffic violation perpetrated.
    You can not lodge an appeal. At this stage it wouldn’t even be taken into consideration.

    In the event of payment not being made within 20, 60, …. days (whatever term of payment they give you) after receipt of this Notice, the police (or the collection agency) then sends you an official notification via registered letter with proof of receipt.

    2 – You have received an “Official Notification” via registered mail !

    The total amount of the fine will increase by a few Euros (cost of a registered letter) compared to the Payment Notice.
    You are now officially notified.
    Not accepting the registered letter does not interrupt possible future proceedings.

    Article 201,1 of the Italian Highway Code (Violations Notification) states that the offenders residing abroad must be notified within 360 days.
    This 360 day notification time limit runs from the date of the infraction.
    And gets interrupted the day the Italian Postal service sends the Official Notification.
    This date should appear on the Notification. (See also time stamp on the envelope)
    Thus a Notification sent on the 359th day and received by the offender on the 361st is valid.

    This time limit is in no way calculated from the date of the “identification” of the offender as some collection agencies would like you to believe.
    This identification date is the date of receipt by the Italian authorities/Collection agencies of your personal data sent by either the car rental company, Foreign Authorities (DVLA) or other Authority.
    (This “identification” notion applies only to Italian residents for whom a time limit of 150 days for the notification of the fine runs from the date of the infraction or their identification.)

    WARNING !

    Even if you are within your rights, the time limit has well and truly run out, you must dispute your fine and appeal to the PREFECT within 60 days from the day of receipt of the Official Notification.
    Appealing to the Justice of the Peace is impracticable for a foreigner:
    – Since the 1st of January 2010 you are required to pay 38 €,
    – You must attend the hearing (or get someone to attend), ………….

    Moreover it is not necessary in this case.

    You must appeal by writing (registered letter with proof of receipt) in ITALIAN to the Prefect of the Provincia where the infraction was perpetrated.
    You’ll find the address of the Prefect on the Notification.
    (No need to lodge an appeal if you have already paid the fine !)

    ———————————————————————————————————————
    Al Prefetto di …………….

    Raccomandata A.R.

    Oggetto: ricorso contro multa notificata oltre 360 giorni dal fatto.

    Il/la sottoscritto/a ……………………, residente in…………,titolare della vettura targa (OR titolare del contratto di noleggio della vettura targa)…………..,

    premesso che in data ………., ha ricevuto il verbale di accertamento di violazione al codice della strada n. …………, fa notare che la notifica dello stesso è avvenuta oltre 360 giorni dal fatto, estinguendo quindi l’obbligo di pagamento.

    Come stabilito dall’art. 201, comma 1 del Codice della strada, nel caso di residenti all’estero, il verbale deve essere notificato entro 360 giorni dall’accertamento, calcolati inequivocabilmente dalla data dell’infrazione.

    Per quanto sopra

    Chiede che il provvedimento venga annullato.

    Allega: fotocopia del verbale notificato.

    Date…………… Signature (readable)
    ———————————————————————————————————————

    To the Prefect of ……………

    Registered letter with proof of receipt

    Concerns : Appeal against fine notified over 360 days after the date of the infraction.

    The undersigned………………, resident in ….…(full address)……, owner of the vehicle with registration (license) number (OR holder of the rental agreement of the vehicle with registration (license) number)…………….,

    Whereas on date…………, has received the official notification of infraction of the Highway Code number………….., points out that said notofication was received over 360 days after the date of the infraction, thus extinguishing obligation to pay.

    As stated in article 201,1 of the Highway Code, for the offenders residing abroad the fine must be notified within 360 days of the ascertainment, calculated unambiguously from the date of the infraction.

    Given the above

    Asks that the measure be nullified.

    Enclosed: copy of notified fine

    Date…………… Signature (readable)

    On the envelope you can add : Ricorso contro multa al Codice della Strada
    Do not forget to enclose a readable copy of the fine .

    Keep for at least 5 years a copy of this letter, postal receipt, the fine and the enveloppe (in which the “Official notification” was sent ) –> Time Stamp

    An appeal lodged after 60 days is not valid.
    Paying the fine means admitting you’re guilty. So no sense in presenting an appeal after.

    The Prefect must come to a decision within 210 days, and then has an other 150 to send you his response.
    Don’t expect an answer from the Prefect! You might never get one!

  237. Clari says

    Hi Alex,
    I got 2 fines from the COmune di Milan Polizia Locale today from my holiday in Italy last August. Both fines sum up to about 200eurs which definitely burns a hole in my pocket.

    My both offences are driving on the bus lane. Before going to Italy I have read about the restricted zones and was careful not to enter them but still ended up with 2 fines. I didn’t know that cars were restricted on bus lanes. Don’t remember seeing any signs as well.

    From your post and all the comments, I also doubt the authenticity of the fines. I understand that the fines will usually come in registered post. My fines came in normal mail and were written in French (I stay in France). Does this mean I will get another official letter via registered mail? And I can only send in my appeal after I get the registered letter? The fine states that I should make payment within 20 days.

    Is there anyway to make an appeal or to waiver one of the fines?

    I am not an EU citizen and will be leaving France for good in about 2 months. Am really tempted to just ignore the fines.

    Thanks for taking the time and trouble to reply. Seems like these italian fines have really got ten alot of people.

  238. Damien says

    Just curious as to what the ramifications would be to ignoring the fines, either by informal notice from EMO NIVI (of which I have five!) or by registered mail (which of course, I still await), with respect to a non EU Citizen attempting to return to Italy. I am Canadian.

    I anticipate returning to Italy within two years. We loved it that much. However, as a tourist, I do not want to be stopped at the airport and turned away, or forced to pay outstanding fines. To be fined for trying to find my way around Milan at midnight, or thereabouts, where street signs directing you in the PROPER direction are apparently scarcer than those prohibiting certain actions, is highly unfair, and contrary to all things tourist. I understand all arguments and advice regarding paying or not (I too am not a lawyer, but suffice to say I work in an equally “obvious” aspect of law…hence my questioning…) but what concerns me most is what awaits one at the border, when we return. With the Italian custom of photocopying passports at all hotels, and submitting them to the local police on a daily basis, it seems entirely possible that one might receive a knock on one’s door one evening as well. How likely are either to happen…does anyone know?

    Thanks in advance, and thanks for all the other information…a lot of work, obviously!

  239. Su says

    We have also been subjected to an ‘Italian’ fine. Our fine was sent to us this week – 100 Euros. This was for a visit to Pisa in June 2008 !!!.
    Reading the blogg tonight, I haven’t seen anyones fine older than ours. We are unsure whether to pay it. We may return to Pisa and hire a car again and do not want hassle when this happens.
    We took the paperwork to the police station in the UK who advised us to contact the Italian embassy. We are not even sure which hire car company we used it was that long ago.

    • Al says

      Hi Su,

      Have you received the fine by regular mail?

      If so you can try and contact S.E.Pi. S.p.A. (Società Entrate Pisa S.p.A.) sepi-pisa@legalmail.it and get your fine cancelled (in writing).

      Explain to them kindly but forcefully that Article 201,1 of the Italian Highway Code (Violations Notification) states very clearly that offenders residing abroad must be notified within 360 days.
      AND that this 360 day notification time limit runs from the date of the infraction.
      AND absolutely NOT from the day they finally decided to inquire with the car hire company about the drivers’ contact details.
      If they do not reply I wouldn’t waste too much time.

      If it was registered (and if you want to follow the legal procedure) you have to appeal in Italian to the Prefect of Pisa within 60 days.
      Read above my two comments: April 29, 2010 at 12:56 am and April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am.

      Al

  240. JESSICA says

    Hi all
    How annoying is this all and as so many have said how many 1000s have Italians put off ever returning again thanks for so many now being scared to drive in the country.
    My boyfriend and I were in Tuscny September 2009. A month or so Europcar charged us 40Euros for adminstrative costs relating to a car fine. Now (9 months later!) we have receied a latter, in English, stating we were caught speeding 20k over the allowed limit outside Florence and asked to pay 190Euros. I doubt this was the case as we were enjoying crusing and taking in the scnery and would not have speeded.
    Anyway. The letter was sent standard, not signed for so they have no proof we have it.

    We are both tempted to ignore it. However we will be returning to Tuscany later this year but this time driving in our car from UK. So does anyone know not having to go through Italian airport/hire a car there- would these reduce our chances of getting stopped/caught at all?
    Many people in the last few years said they would take a gamle and not pay so Im amazed at the lack of response here from people who have not paid fines to see what, if anything happened to them, both in the UK and when going back to Italy?
    I was fined a train fare in Germany that I never paid, they took my passport and Ive since been able to enter there without any issues. It seems the Italian methods of chasing fines with such large time having passed since it was committed would they really be totally on the ball if we happened to have our details passed to the police etc?

    • says

      Hi Jessica,

      Sounds as though you’ve received one of the notification of a fine notification – which arrives before the actual fine.

      I know this situation is costing Italy tourists, but the number of people being fined is minimal compared to the 70 million people who visit Italy each year. Before Italy’s government does anything the situation has to become much worse. No consolation, I know.

      As for people not posting about not paying, this is not a surprise. I don’t think it would be a great idea to mention this – and the Italian cops might just confiscate this site and charge me which inciting people to break the law. This would not be good.

      I do not condone non-payment, but the decision is yours. Please read the other comments to get an idea as to what might happen if you do not pay and return to Italy.

      You could try appealing the fine, but this is not simple unless you write Italian very well, and could lead to the fine being doubled too.

      The best thing to do is to contact your local MP, MEP, as well as the AA, RAC, newspapers, etc and hope someone has a go at making signs clearer.

      Best,

      Alex

  241. JESSICA says

    Hi Alex
    I really appreciate your response…
    I have since dug around a bit and discovered that in terms of returning to Italy, by car, we are 90% likely to be OK.
    As Italy is in the Schengen Agreement it seems we might not even have to show our passport at all, unless random spot checks?
    Also someone above stated Italys rule about scanning in passports at hotels.
    I have since found out, while thisis the case it is sent to the State police tourism office and fines are dealt with by the city issuing the fines, town hall, not the Italian government., so they both are a seperate department. So the police arriving at your hotel to arrest you will not happen (relating to unpaid fines that is!).
    Also- they only need 1 passport per room, so I will give mine, not associated with the fine, and not my partners.
    I think the only thing is we could be chase by the agencies hired by Italy over HERE. However Ill wait till the recorded letter comes and also, we are moving in about 8 months anyway, cancelling the card we booked the hire car on etc- so I think given this it might be quite hard to chase ous, beyond 8 months.
    I just find it so appalling that they can treat people in this way that I want to make a stand!
    Heres hoping….

  242. Alan says

    I just got 2 fines in dated from 14 June 2008!

    Thanks for the appeal template, Sending it off today to them

    With apologies to Sean Connery “Fuori di qui si diego bastardi”

  243. Yousef says

    Hi Alex
    Can you advise please?
    On 4th April 2009 I went to Pisa with my family picked up the reserved car from Hertz at the airport, following day (it was Saturday) we went to Florence parked the car in an underground car park, and handed the key to the car park attendant and after walking around the city center all day, I picked the car up drove back to Pisa and next day back to London. Few months later Hertz charged my credit card account (about 30 Euro) for going through congestion area in Florence in the morning and afternoon. I notified my credit card company about and said I know nothing about this. Hertz refunded money soon after BUT then came a letter from Florence Municipal ….. about the same violation. I did say I did not have the car keys at the time etc. Now the case is going through the appeal. IF the worse happens and I lose the appeal, can I just forget about it and since they asked for 99 Euro for each violation and they said it would be doubled if I lose the appeal. I have no intention of going back Italy again.

    Thanks
    Yousef

    • says

      Hi Yousef,

      The time of the Florence ‘offence’ was while you were walking around the city – is what I think I’ve understood.

      In which case, you were not in the car, which, technically, should not have been moving. Now, I have no idea, but it sounds a little as though the car park attendant or someone else, took your hire car out and about while you were walking around Florence. It sounds strange, but it is possible. Do you have any receipt for the car park? If so, I’d write back to the Florence authorities and explain the situation. I would imagine that in the circumstances they would cancel the fine. Writing a letter, in English, which explains the situation should work – mention the name of the car park too (this will be on a receipt – if you have one).

      There is a risk that they will double the fine, but if you have a receipt with a time on it, you should be OK. Nothing is guaranteed though.

      If you have no receipt, then what you say about leaving your keys with someone cannot be easily proved, in which case the fine could double.

      With regard to two letters about the same violation, are you sure they refer to the same violation or to two different violations? This happens – check the reference numbers and see if they are different.

      Hope this helps – but note I am not a lawyer.

      Best of luck,

      Alex

      • Yousef says

        Thank you Alex,
        I did not keep the receipt and I guess I have to expect the worse (ie paying double) even though I explained everything in English.

        Thanks again
        Yousef

  244. Daniela says

    Hi there! I was wondering about bus fines in rome? Two of us got a fine of 50euro each which now is 100 euros each, as we didn’t have enough cash on us to pay the fine on the spot. we inadvertently got on a bus without a ticket. one of us is a eu citizen (germany) living permanently in the us, the other is a us citizen. The officer was rude, barely spoke english to explain anything. I had asked him for a english copy of what we were signing..he said “no important”…

    • says

      Hi Daniela,

      Sorry to hear you got caught. It’s not always clear how Italy’s buses work to foreigners, I know.

      Before paying up, you could try writing an apologetic letter, in English, to the bus company – they might let you off, but so many people try to work the system, I doubt whether they will listen to you. You never know.

      At the end of the day though, a quick trip around the internet would have helped you understand how Rome’s buses etc work – and this would have saved you €100 each.

      Good luck,

      Alex

  245. T Carpenter says

    Hi Alex,

    I have been reading your blog with interest since the 2 traffic infringements came through my letterbox this morning.

    I visited Florence on the 23rd Apr 09 in a hire car rented from Europecar, and due to a lost wallet issue had to drive into central Florence chasing after a taxi.

    Both traffic offences were committed within 10 minutes of each other on the 29th Apr 09.
    On the EMO website there is a letter which I believe was from the hire car dated the 16th Sep 09 saying I had hired the car, and a stamp saying that they received this on the 19th Sep 09 (146 days after the offence)

    The Notice of Payment Before the Notification was issued on the 28th May 2010, over a year after the original offences.

    From reading above can you clarify how the system works with regards to whether this is now too old for them to persue.

    Is it correct they have 150 days to find out who hired the car and and then a further 360 days to issue the notice?
    Or is the 360 day rule for foreign nationals for the whole process?

    I am a bit confused…
    Incidently the 2 fines are for 120 euors each

    Many thasnks, Tim

    • Al says

      Tim,

      “Is it correct they have 150 days to find out who hired the car and and then a further 360 days to issue the notice?

      No, it’s not correct!

      To be accurate what EMO says on their website (FAQ n°17 http://www.emo.nivi.it/Faq.aspx) is that they have 360 days “from the date of receipt of the personal data sent by the car rental company”.

      Absolutely no time limit to find out who hired the car!
      Which means that they can decide to identify the offender whenever it suits them!
      Why not after 4, 8, 17, ………….months?

      What is important is that Art. 201,1 of the Italian Highway Code (Violations Notification) states (unambiguously) that offenders residing abroad must be notified (officially) within 360 days, calculated from the DATE of the infraction.
      Whether you were driving your own car or a rented car is not relevant!

      The Notice of Payment Before the Notification you have received is Unofficial.
      You can try and contact EMO and get your fine cancelled (in writing).

      If and when you receive the Official Notification via registered mail you must dispute your fine and appeal in Italian to the PREFECT within 60 days.
      You’ll find a template in my April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am comment.

      Please read “Important April 6th 2010 UPDATE” near the top of the page and my comments on April 29, 2010 at 12:56 am, April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am and May 8, 2010 at 9:35 pm.

      Al

  246. Felix Middleton says

    I emailed the email address supplied with the fine earlier today, and have just received the response, which I thought you might be interested to see:

    Dear Sir,
    The centre of Pisa is a limited area, in order to access this area you
    must have a special authorization.
    All the cars that enter without this authorization are fined because many
    streets of the centre have got a camera that makes a photo of the plate of
    the car.
    These streets are marked by international road signs.
    Remember that sings are the same in all the country of EUROPE.
    In attachment a copy of the photo.

    According to the Italian Road Traffic Code it’s possible to notify the
    fine to the lessee of the car within 360 days from the date on which the
    Police Office receive your name and address from your Rental.

    We are sorry but we aren’t able to delete your fine.
    The document that you’ve received is a legal act produced by a police
    officer, sent according to the Italian Highwaycode and within the terms
    permitted.

    We’re sorry but it’s impossible to pay it by credit card or online.

    You can pay by bank transfer:
    • the name and the address of our bank are :
    CASSA DI RISPARMIO LUCCA PISA LIVORNO
    AGENZIA 1 – CORSO ITALIA 4 -56125 PISA
    • Account number is 77
    • the name and the address of the recipient are:
    SEPI SPA COMUNE DI PISA SANZIONI AMMINISTRATIVE
    PIAZZA DEI FACCHINI 16, 56125 PISA
    • INTERNATIONAL COORDINATES:
    – IBAN IT64G0620014021000000000077
    – BIC (swift code): BPALIT3LXXX
    Please write on the reason of the payment the number of the form of the
    fine, so we will be able to identify the payment.
    It’s the surest and quickest way.

    If you have problems you can send a cheque payable to SEPI SPA COMUNE DI
    PISA SANZIONI AMMINISTRATIVE and you must send it to Polizia Municipale –
    Piazza dei Facchini 16 56125 Pisa Italy(please send in attachment a copy
    of your fine).

    If you want try to cancel the fine you can submit an appeal, in Italian
    language, to one of the following authorities within 60 days from the date
    on which you received the fine:
    * Prefect of Pisa, writing to “Piazza G. Mazzini, 56125 Pisa (italy)
    * Justice of Peace of Pisa, writing to “via Palestro 39, 56125 Pisa (italy)
    Your appeal must be sent with registered mail.

    At your disposal for further information
    Best Regards

    On Mar, 1 Giugno 2010 11:43 am, felix middleton wrote:
    >

    > Hello
    >
    >
    > My name is Felix Middleton and I have received a letter from you
    > regarding offense Nr. of form: 1362520. This relates to a fine of 119
    > euros on April 21st 2009 in Pisa.
    >
    > Having spoken to you, you have told me that you have 360 days to inform
    > me of the fine, from the time that you receive notification from Hertz,
    > the hire company I used to hire the car reg DV829ML.
    >
    > From what I have read under European law if you are a European Union
    > resident and you have received a fine more than 210 days after an
    > offense, then a fine is not enforceable. I have been advised to quote
    > case no C-224/00:
    >
    > Failure by a Member State to fulfil its obligations – Article 6 of the EC
    > Treaty (now, after amendment, Article 12 EC) – Difference in treatment of
    > persons contravening the highway code according to the place of
    > registration of their vehicle – Proportionality.
    >
    > I have been advised to speak to my lawyer and if necessary contact my MEP
    > to discuss this further due to the time that has elapsed since the time
    > of the offence.
    >
    > Please do not hesitate to contact me at this email address.
    >
    >
    > I look forward to hearing from you,
    >
    >
    > Felix Middleton
    >

    • Al says

      Felix,

      EC -v- Italian Republic, case no C-224/00 not relevant because:
      – Refers only to offenders of the Italian highway code who are pulled up by the police on the spot.
      – Italy has complied to judgment of EC in February 2003

      BUT they’re misinforming you about the 360 day time limit!

      Art. 201,1 of the Italian Highway Code (Violations Notification) states (unambiguously) that offenders residing abroad must be notified (officially) within 360 days, calculated from the DATE of the infraction.

      Please read “Important April 6th 2010 UPDATE” near the top of the page and my comments on April 29, 2010 at 12:56 am, April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am, May 8, 2010 at 9:35 pm and June 2, 2010 at 2:58 am.

      Al

  247. Alastair says

    Alex,

    I too received two notices by post today (02/06/10) from Pisa regarding the restricted traffic zone which occurred on 17/05/2009. I had hired a car from Hertz. They arrived in separate envelopes with a yellow detachable card on the rear of the envelope with an addressee of SEPI Service SRL. The postmark on the envelopes is 22/05/2010. I did not sign for these letters as they were put through the letter box. The letter head is Municipality of Pisa. Working on the basis that the postmark is 22/05/2010, then that is more than a year from the offence when it was posted!

    Fair enough if I have violated traffic rules and I would expect to pay, just like the London Congestion Zone.

    However, just to clarify a few points:-

    1) Are the detachable yellow cards the system of Registered Mail which should be detached and returned by the Royal Mail back to SEPI? As stated, if they are, I have not signed anything so technically I have not been officially notified (as far as proof goes).

    2) Working on the dates, surely I am over the 360 day limit now?

    3) If the yellow cars are not the system of Registered Mail, will something else arrive?

    Like many others on here, I am slightly annoyed at the time delay and it has certainly tarnished my memories of what was a good holiday.

    • Al says

      Alastair,

      1) Yes, I believe you have received two “Official Notifications” via registered mail with proof of receipt!
      Is it written “A.R.” on the front of the card?
      A.R. means “Avviso di ricevimento” –> “Proof of receipt”.
      Do the detachable yellow cards look like this? http://www.poste.it/postali/stampati/avviso_ricevimento_bilingue.shtml

      Odd that your postman made such a blunder!
      In such a case, if you were an Italian resident, you’d receive an official note informing you that you can collect the registered mail at the post office.
      If, for any reason you don’t pick it up (you’re on a four month holiday improving your sun tan on Copacabana beach or you’re refusing to accept the registered mail), you then receive a second official note.
      After ten days you’re considered to be legally notified.

      I don’t know how things work with “international registered mail” but the fact of the matter is that your postman can’t even send the detachable yellow cards back to SEPI in Pisa whether you’ve signed for them or not!

      2) Yes, you’re over the 360 day time limit!
      You’re right. The relevant date is 22/05/2010, the day the two notifications were sent from Italy. Furthermore 360 days is not 365 days (a year) even if it’s of no consequence for you, the two infractions having occurred on 17/05/2009.

      3) Someday you’ll probably receive the two notifications (via registered mail) again.
      There are no definite rules about this!

      Also read my comment on April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am.

      Al

      • Alastair says

        Alex,

        The two detachable yellow cards that I have in my possesion are exactly like the ones on your link above. Furthermore, I checked with my local postie who confirmed I had not signed for anything official today.

        I am grateful that you confirm I am over the 360 day time limit and as far as I am now concerned, they can poke it. Their inefficiency is not my problem.

        I am a police officer in the UK. If I want to know a driver’s details, even of a hire car, it does not take me over a year to find out who was driving, even with the Data Protection Act. Simply fill out a form, get an inspector to sign it and send it to the relevant hire company. All details furnished pretty quickly.

        I shall now await the the next “summons” from Pisa and see what happens. In any case, I am not paying it now in principle – it may make the Italians clean up their act a little and be more efficient!

        • Alastair says

          Oh, and just an additional little snippet of info – my two letters are dated 14/05/2010 so that is still outside the 360 day limit. Took them eight days to post them!

          • Al says

            Alastair,

            My name is Al, not Alex.

            (Please READ “Important April 6th 2010 UPDATE” near the top of the page and my comment on April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am).

            I’m responsible for the reply I gave you, especially if for some reason or other, now or at a later date, you would be displeased with the response. :-)

            Eight days between the date on the notifications and the date on the envelopes!?!
            Should be the same dates. That’s why one must always keep the enveloppe for the postmark.
            But Italian bureaucracy is what it is! As you say, they could be more efficient.
            And yes, you’re quite right about the date 14/05/2010 on the notifications being outside the 360 day time limit.

            Al (not Alex Roe)

            P.S./ By the way I’m not a lawyer, just someone who speaks Italian and spent a “little” time on the web exploring this issue.
            A British postman can be unreliable too! :-)

          • Alastair says

            Al,

            Apologies for getting your names mixed up – especially as I am also called Al as well!

            If 360 days is the law, it’s the law – it’s as simple as that. 360 days is more than ample time to identify a driver (foreign or not) and send out paperwork in time. As you know, in the UK we have set times to send out NIP’s (Notices of Intended Prosecution), speeding tiickets and even summary offences. If we stray out of those times, then it’s our hard luck.

            Maybe I am just being cynical (you tend to be when you are a police officer), but is this a case of milking the tourist who does not quite understand Italian law and making them a soft target?! I wonder….hmmmmmm.

            Great blog by the way :-)

  248. Brandon Farraye says

    NEED IMMEDIATE HELP!!!!

    Wow, this blog is exactly what I was looking for…… I am in a situation and need someone, ANYONE’s help…….

    I was in Italy on a 2 week trip last March (March 2009). While in Rome for 4 days, a friend of mine and I decided to rent vespas. I did not have any issues with the polizia while riding. I obeyed all the traffic laws as best I could and was only stopped once for riding on a street near the Colosseum on Sunday (the officer let me go with no problem). This year, 2010, I returned from a vacation in April (the first week of April) to a heap of mail that had FOUR letters in there from the Polizia Municipale Roma. Apparently I had violated four traffic laws!!!!! I had no idea that I was doing anything wrong. On the papers there was a website with an access code and password. I logged in and there were pictures of my friend and I riding the vespas!!!!!

    Needless to say, the fines were outrageous. I believe each offense was 100 Euro. I am not a poor man, but that is almost $500!!! My friend and I both agreed that we were not going to pay and just let the issue fade away. Well, I have received TWO notices from the US Post Office as of today requesting that I sign for a certified letter from the Polizia Municipale Roma. I have no been able to make it over to the post office to pick it up, but I will tomorrow.

    Here is the situation…..I do NOT want to pay these fines as I am not a citizen of Italy and do not plan on visiting or moving there anytime soon. Of course I loved it, but I don’t see any travel plans being put together to return. Ideally I would like to resolve the issue without having to pay by any means necessary. If that means I have to contact them, so be it. I’ll call, write a letter, email, whatever I have to do. I just dont want to pay the stupid fine.

    I am beggining to get worried that this can be an international issue? Can the Italian government issue a warrant for my arrest and the US authorities follow through with arresting me??????

    SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ASAP!!!!!

    • says

      Hi Brandon,

      This is Alex, not, Al – who very kindly helps out here. Al speaks much better Italian than I, and has carried out lots of research into the fining of foreign motorists issue. Al is foreign too.

      Now, getting fined for scooting around Rome on a Vespa is not a great end to a great Roman holiday, alas.

      Technically, annoying though it is, you should pay up. The cameras merciless. You don’t say which traffic laws you have been accused of breaking. There is a small chance that an appeal may reduce the amount of the fines.

      I don’t imagine whoever rented you the scooter warned about Roman restricted traffic zones – and even if they did, you’d probably have seen many other scooters doing just the same as you, I’ll willing to bet.

      Coughing up is the best option probably – appeals against the electronic eyes are difficult. If you do not pay, it is unlikely that you will find an Italian cop or the FBI on your doorstep brandishing an international arrest warrant. Unless they wanted to make an example of you, which probably would damage Italy’s image as a tourist destination massively. And committing a few offences on a Vespa in Rome hardly puts you into the same league as an international drug dealer. Then there would be the huge costs involved – all just to collect several hundred Euros.

      As I have pointed out above many times in my replies, the only potential problem which could arise would be someone catching up with you if you come to Italy again in the next 5 years. I have not heard of this happening, but that does not mean it has not.

      Not paying is an option, but the decision is yours. I cannot and will not condone non-payment for reasons given at the start of this article some 550 comments above.

      What you can do is tell anyone you know, and even those you don’t, that they have to be careful when they come to Italy – and the romantic trip around Rome on a Vespa can and up leaving one with a bad after taste, as you have unfortunately discovered.

      For the record, this is the first case of Vespa fines I have heard since writing this way back in September 2006.

      Best regards,

      Alex (not Al!)
      PS ‘Alex’, me, is the guy who runs BlogfromItaly.com – ‘Al’ helps out on the fine front – Thank you Al!.

      • Al says

        Brandon,

        Those reckless tourists wandering aimlessly around Rome on their vespas!
        Rome will send two Carabinieri in full uniform to flush you out of your hiding place!
        And to think that the Italian taxpayer will have to suffer the consequences for your casualness! :-) :-)

        From what I understand:
        – The four traffic violations took place in March 2009,
        – In March-April 2010 you received the “unofficial” fines sent via “normal mail”,
        – The official notifications (you’re about to sign for) were probably sent from Rome at the end of May.

        March 2009 –> May 2010 ==> The 360 day notification time limit has run out.

        Article 201,1 of the Italian Highway Code (Violations Notification) states that the offenders residing abroad must be notified within 360 days.
        This 360 day notification time limit runs from the date of the infraction.

        If you’re really ready to write a letter (and if you want to follow the legal procedure) you have to appeal in Italian to the Prefect of Rome within 60 days from the date of receipt of the official notifications.
        You’ll find the address of the Prefect on the Notification.

        An appeal template is included in my April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am comment.

        Read carefully “Summary of How to Deal with Fines received while in Italy” & “Important April 6th 2010 UPDATE” near the top of the page and my comment on April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am.

        Al (not Alex)

  249. Paul H says

    Great work guys and praise for all your efforts.
    Point of clarification to Al’s 3 June 2010 ,12.53 pm posting regarding the 365 day ruling . Is this from the day of the offence to the date on the envelope of the second registered letter plus 10 days as on 4 months holiday and no one home?
    Reading this forum I am wondering why some Euro employed Lawyer/ MEP has not taken the initiative and clarified the cross border legality and correct enforcement procedures as most people seem to feel threatened and take the easy route and cough up rather than receive the dreaded kiss. How can a motoring infringement be classified as a “Criminal” offence in one EU member state and not in the other. Its nonsensical. and will the British officials arrest and shackle its citizens for extradition to Italy as a criminal for incarceration and punished with pasta and spaghetti.
    I have just got back here from NZ and was touring Italy last summer with my daughter who hired the vehicle. I was a named driver and we went separate ways where I took the car.
    Just learned she has had several credit card hits and fines are coming in but not the registered ones. Appears she has been judged guilty of a criminal offence without cause simply by signing the agreement which is totally unfair as I was the vehicle user. She feels threatened and just wants to pay up in fear of the consequences to her career
    It appears their coffers are lined by basic intimidation of foreigners and they are taking advantage of the fact that people are deterred from making an appeal due to an alien, complex and geographically distant judicial system which we should not be subjected to.
    I am a international Nomad without a credit card or care and am curious of how best to play this and suggest my daughter put me entirely in the blame loop if that can be done. Any ideas?

    • Al says

      Paul,

      I wouldn’t feel « threatened » (for my career) for a few traffic violations in Italy.
      You probably drove through a ZTL (limited traffic area) on more than one occasion..

      The 360 day (NOT 365) Violations Notification time limit is from the day of the offence to the date on the envelope of the Official fine sent via registered mail.
      Usually people sign for their registered mail. :-)
      The “+10 days from the second “postal notice” warning you that a registered letter is waiting for you at the post office” was just my explanation to Alastair (who was left with the detachable cards to be sent back to Italy) of how an Italian resident is considered to be officially notified even if he can’t be found (no one home) or refuses to sign the registered fine. For foreign residents……

      “Judged guilty of a Criminal Offence” ? For a traffic violation? Likely a ZTL infringement?
      Is there more to this than just a pecuniary sanction???

      Your daughter is receiving the fines because she was the holder of the rental agreement. As such (Art.196 Italian Highway Code), I think she’s also responsible for paying the fines. So, putting the blame on you would be of no use.
      Should you choose to pay it’s of no consequence whether the fines are in your name or your daughter’s name, unless the violation is so serious that it warrants, for instance, the loss of your driving license for six months in Italy. In such a case you shouldn’t drive a car in … Italy.
      If need be you can always inform the police that you were the one driving the car.

      You do not have to convince me about the practical impossibility of presenting an appeal!
      That’s also why, ………………. :-)
      I would wait for the registered fines. Read my April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am comment.

      Al (not Alex)

      • Bob says

        I to have had two recorded letters with the A.R cards on (I still have them) claiming that I was driving in an unauthorized area in Florence, both fines are for 109euro and are 13 mins apart in different roads.

        We where going back to Italy this year but this has put me off, so they loose 2000 odd euros that I would of spent, the fine which I would not pay anyway as the signs and road markings are not in English and the World Cup :)
        Bob..
        PS: are you saying that I should receive another recorded delivery and that has to be within the 360 days?

        • Al says

          If you still have the detachable yellow (A.R.) cards, you have not signed for the registered fines and EMO can’t prove that you’ve been officially informed.

          I would think that you’ll probably receive them again ( no guarantee :-) ) and they must come within the 360 days.
          Article 201,1 of the Italian Highway Code (Violations Notification) states that the offenders residing abroad must be (“officially”) notified within 360 days from the date of the infraction.

          Remember that even if they come after 360 days you still have to dispute them and appeal to the Prefect.

          Al (not Alex)

  250. Jeff says

    I have had a speeding ticket from 2009 in Tuscany. The time on the notice is different by 7 minutes to the time on the photograph – does this constitute enough for a successful appeal or should I just tell?? My 360 day limit will be up in a few days so in any event I have a little bit of time before either telling EMO or appealing.

    • Al says

      Jeff,

      In my view, I wouldn’t rely on the slight discrepancy between the time on the notice and the time on the photograph.
      It does not “constitute enough” to dispute the fine, the speeding violation has well and truly been committed.
      From what I understand you’ve just received the “unofficial” notice of payment.

      If the 360 day notification time limit will really be up shortly I would wait for the official registered fine and ………… try & convince EMO that their theory about having 360 days to notify from the date of your “identification” is …….. total rubbish!
      If you happen to be successful, please, do tell us!
      Otherwise appeal to the Prefect within 60 days from the day of receipt of the official Notification.

      Read “Important April 6th 2010 UPDATE” near the top of the page and my April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am (an appeal template is included) comment.
      But it seems to me you’ve already read Alex’s post on “Speeding, and ….” carefully.

      Al (not Alex)

      • Jeff says

        Thank you for your helpful comments. I am not sure if the piece of paper I got is the real thing or the informal notice that you refer to. I is headed “violation of the Highway Code” and “Report” and says that I have 60 days from receiving the violation report or notification to appeal etc. Do they need to have the “avviso di ricevimento” for service of the notice to be valid ?

        • Al says

          Jeff,

          It seems to me that you have received the Official Notification (violation of the Highway Code notice), the informal notice is headed “ Notice of payment before notification”.

          The official fine must mention that you can appeal to the Prefect of … or the Judge of the Peace of … within 60 days …
          It also usually states “in case of non-payment after 60 days, the liable amount will increase to …”

          To be valid it must have been sent as a registered letter with proof of receipt (“avviso di ricevimento”) and within 360 days (not 365) from the date of the infraction.
          Your postman should have asked you to sign for it or left a note asking you to pick it up at the post office.
          Read comment on June 3, 2010 at 12:53 am.

          Al (not Alex)

  251. Ian Punton says

    I have just this morning (28/6/2010) received a letter from Europcar with a traffic violation dated 19/10/2007. On checking my credit card statement the money has already been deducted. Are they allowed to do this so long after the alleged
    violation?

    Ian P

    • Al says

      Ian,

      The money deducted is almost certainly an “administration fee” (around 18 to 55€ per fine) following a request from the Italian authorities to Europcar to obtain the personal data of the car renter who committed the traffic violation.
      When you signed the rental contract in 2007 you agreed to pay for the admin charge.
      You’ll probably receive over the next few weeks (months) the actual fine.

      Furthermore a fine for a 28-month-old traffic violation is absolutely not valid.
      Art. 201,1 of the Italian Highway Code (Violations Notification) states that offenders residing abroad must be notified within 360 days, calculated from the date of the infraction.
      Read “Important April 6th 2010 UPDATE” near the top of the page and my comment on April 29, 2010 at 2:32 am.

      I would contest my credit card charge and get my money back because the fine (for an alleged violation) is not legally valid, thus the associated admin fee must therefore be equally invalid.
      Europcar should ask the Italian Authorities (or the collection agencies) to be refunded for wasting their time with invalid fines!
      These collection agencies (acting on behalf of the municipal police) keep on sending these invalid fines (over 360 days) because they expect the foreign offenders (“suckers”) to pay blindly.
      After all there’s a 35% commission at stake here!

      Al (not Alex)

      • bryan says

        Hey Al and Alex! This blog has been a big help in researching my numerous traffic fines from Florence. I was studying there (as a US resident) in the spring of 2009. While i was there my friends and I rented Vespas on numerous occasions. Anyway, long story short, i have received over 25 tickets for driving on the street where i lived, turns out it was a bus lane only and I never saw the sign. I understand the 360 day rule and ti turns out that only 5 of the 25+ tickets were sent within that 360 day period….the rest came over 400 days later. I have payed the ones that came in time….now, do i still need to appeal the additional tickets or do i just do nothing (since there were over 360 days)? Has anyone done this? Appealed a ticket over 360? Has it been successful? Will this appeal renew the fine and therefore negate the 360 day rule?