NOTE that the system for collecting fines within the EC does not seem to be operative as at the date of writing – 11th April 2010.
From 2007, apparently, the DVLA in the UK will receive any fines you have collected in the EC and send them to your home address. They will be in English, but you won’t get points on your UK licence as a result. This is part of a new reciprocal arrangement. It will simplify matters, but means you will not be able to get away with not paying by using the excuse that it was in another language and so I could not understand whether it was a fine or not.
Informally, I am not sure as to what lengths the Italian authorities would actually go in order to deal with non-payment. Current passport checks for those entering Italy from EU are quite cursory, although you could expect problems if you had not paid a fine and then went to stay in the same area of Italy once again, in view of the fact that hotels are required to supply local police with copies of passports. Of course if you receive a fine by way of your countries traffic authorities for an offence in Italy, then non-payment will probably be dealt with in that country.
ANOTHER UPDATE, January 2007 (which is the same as a follow-up to this post):
It’s official, the article in the Telegraph I read while I was in the UK would seem to indicate that Europe-wide traffic fines will shortly be with us. The same article is available on-line here. Although this change comes into effect in March 2007, as some who have read this blog will have noticed, the UK DVLA has already been giving out the addresses of offenders to the Italian authorities so they can send victims a nice little fine.
For some not exactly clear reason a number of people who have left comments on my blog have been ending up with fines for traffic offences whilst driving through Pisa. If you happen to find yourself there in the near future, watch out, because the area into which certain cars are not allowed does not seem to be well signposted.