This site uses technical, analytics and third-party cookies.
By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies.

Preferences cookies

Fines and tickets due to traffic violations in Italy

People who spend vacation periods in Italy increasingly decide to rent a car from one of the many “car rental” services.
Upon returning to Canada, some tourists are served with a ticket related to a traffic violation in Italy.

Fines relate in particular to parking in a no-parking zone, transit in lanes reserved for public transport, exceeding speed limits or, more frequently, for entering so-called ZTLs.

Many municipalities and cities of art, in fact, have created “limited traffic zones” (ZTLs) in their historic centers, delimited by electronic gates equipped with cameras. Many tourists do not know, however, that access to such zones is allowed only to holders of the appropriate permit, and that entry without a permit constitutes a violation of the Highway Code resulting in a fine that is also notified to foreign residents.

In the case of an infraction committed by cars with foreign license plates or, in any case, by a foreign citizen driving a vehicle with Italian license plates (such as a tourist driving a car rented in Italy), the infraction should be notified immediately to the driver: he/she may then choose either to pay the fine immediately (losing, however, in this case the right to dispute the fine), or to pay a sum as a deposit, thus reserving the right to appeal against the fine before the “Prefetto” or the “Giudice di Pace”.

In the case of offenses detected by automatic systems, as is the case with electronic gates in LTZs, immediate notification of the offense is not possible.

Therefore, alternative notification procedures are provided in these cases, allowing for the retrieval of the data of foreign vehicle owners in order to notify the ticket abroad.
These procedures may vary from state to state, depending on international agreements or conventions concluded between the States involved.
Notification to foreign national, on the other hand, will be facilitated in the case of a rented car, as the rental company can communicate the details of the driver of the vehicle to the assessing entity, upon request.
In the case of failure to pay, it will be possible to proceed with coercive collection abroad, depending on the agreements made between the driver’s state of residence and the state where the violation was committed.

Italian citizens, vacationing in another state, may also be served with a fine for violations of the traffic laws of the visited State.
As is the case in Italy, in fact, even abroad the foreign citizen is generally required to pay the fine immediately or pay a bond, subject to appeal; when, however, immediate contestation is not possible, notification will be made in the offender’s state of residence.

Infringement notices indicate very clearly both the method of payment of the fine and the options provided in the event that a decision is made to dispute the infringement that is the subject of the notice.

Notifications always contain contact details of the offices responsible for the ticket, the timing and method of payment of the fine, and the time limits for appealing against the penalty -for example, because it is deemed unfair.

It should be noted that Italian municipalities often make use of the cooperation of companies that are officially entrusted with serving traffic violation notices to residents abroad, using multilingual templates.

The matter is the sole responsibility of Italian municipalities and the relevant police authorities, and the Consulate General in Toronto has no ability to intervene in traffic violations either as a representative of the persons being served or in the capacity of collecting agent for the penalty.

It seems necessary, however, to suggest to anyone who receives a fine notification to verify with the issuing authority, through the contact information provided (email or telephone), the authenticity of what is being notified. For example, we recommend to verify the dates of the notified violations, as well as the license plate and model of the offending vehicle, in order to ascertain that it is not a scam.