Tuscany/Umbria: ZTL Concerns other than Florence

Hey everyone. We all know that driving in Florence is not recommended due to ZTL concerns.

What about ZTL potential problems in other towns: Any problems in Siena and Assisi? I have heard that Arezzo has a ZTL zone. Is that right?

What about other towns in Tuscany and Umbria? As I begin to plan my itinerary for my week based in Cortona, it would help to know where NOT to drive.

I'm guessing that Kent, Paul, or someone has a link to a website that will tell you the location of the "dreaded" ZTL cameras!
Thank you, oh wise sages of the helpline!

Posted by Roy
Fredericksburg, VA, USA
405 posts

Hi, Steven:

Arezzo most definitely has ZTLs...see my post "UH-OH! TICKETED IN AREZZO." I spent 45 minutes in Arezzo and managed to bust a ZTL to the tune of 108 euros. Take a look at the post and you'll see that some of the "sages" have posted a picture of what to look out for.

Posted by Steven
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
46 posts

Thanks Roy for the heads up on Arrezzo. Ken, you are the ZTL King of the "Boot Board" I knew you would come through for us. Thanks for the link!

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
6808 posts

Darryl: Go here to see what the ZTL cameras look like on the ground, scroll down, and note the 2 red arrows, one camera photos your face, the other photos rear license plate, note ZTL sign on right side of photo. Unfortunately, you probably don't see this in time to make a course deviation that will avoid the ZTL (what are you going to do, make a 180 or what?). The only safe strategy for Florence is not to drive anywhere near the ZTL area.

Posted by Darryl
Wheaton, IL
52 posts

I'm not sure what to do when I'm confronted with a ZTL.

The "overreactor" side of my brain envisions these ZTL signs just appearing on the road as you're driving with very little warning. Is there adequate warning so that you can alter your route to avoid these costly zones?

The last time I was in Italy, these were not an issue, so this will be my first encounter with them, and quite frankly, I'm envisioning a return to the states and a stack of fines from all over Italy.

The website that was provided to show what the signs and camera boxes look like is great...but I'd really like a list or map or SOMETHING that tells me what towns have them.

I'm already on red alert for pick pockets and short-changing cabbies...but those just require a modest amount of alertness and common sense to avoid.

The ZTL's, on the other hand, have a certain "big-brother" feel to them that I hope to be able to place on the back-burner.

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6699 posts

CLICK HERE to see a map of the cities in Italy that have ZTLs of some type (I can't read the Italian but I think this is what the map shows). Curiously, Arezzo is not on the map and we know that they do have ZTLs.

Posted by Melissa
Chicagoland, WordsWithMelisssa.com
63 posts

Larry and all: since I also cannot read Italian, I often take advantage of Google Translate. You can choose the language from which to translate, and can either type in text or a website URL as the source. It has been a godsend for all of the sites where there is only an Italian version.

Happy travels!

Posted by Liz
Seattle, WA
1311 posts

I recall seeing the ZTL signs in parts of Orvieto (particularly towards the Duomo) but if I recall correctly, the ZTL was only enforced at specific hours of the day, such as 4pm - 8pm.

Posted by Frank
Wilmington, DE
1476 posts

The map in Larry's link shows "principal" cities that have ZTLs for tourist buses. It may be limited to cities that are comune, although that doesn't explain why Arezzo is missing.

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
6808 posts

The map shows about 20 Italian towns & cities with ZTL's.Our list of known Italian towns & cities with ZTL's now includes:FlorenceArrezoSienaSan GimignanoPisaLuccaAssisiBolognaVeronaMilanTorinoRomefor the others, see this map Map of Italy towns with ZTL's(technically, the map shows towns/cities that offer ZTL buses and we've made the assumption that places offering ZTL buses have ZTL's)

Posted by Darryl
Wheaton, IL
52 posts

Thank you for the picture of the camera Kent. What worries me in the photo is the size of the writing on the ZTL signs. By the time I see them, and read them, and convert the 24 hour time, I'll be at the bottom of a pile of honking Fiats.

Seriously, I love Chicago, but if the visiting American and foreign drivers maintain the driving styles I see everyday on my way to work, there will be people attempting 180 degree turns. Also people stopping dead, looking for a way to avoid the fine.

I spent the better part of last night seaching out bus routes, rail lines and alternate routes to avoid all cities on the ZTL list. For purely romantic reasons, all of the hotels I booked months ago were outside of the cities...mainly in the Tuscan hills. As it turns out, this great move was purely accidental. The only accomodations situated in a main cities are in Venice, and in Rome at the end of our trip, after we return our rental car.

I lucked out I guess.

Posted by Beatrix
Calgary
1974 posts

"What worries me in the photo is the size of the writing on the ZTL signs. By the time I see them, and read them, and convert the 24 hour time, I'll be at the bottom of a pile of honking Fiats."

Actually, there is no need to read the entire sign. Any time you see a sign with a red circle that's empty inside you can be 99% sure that you're not allowed to enter. The text describes the exceptions and you can be 99% sure that you're not one of those exceptions.

Those red circle signs are fairly easy to spot.

Posted by Melissa
Chicagoland, WordsWithMelisssa.com
63 posts

There are a few cities that advertise ZTL Buses that get visitors into the ZTLs without having to drive. Venice is one of the cities I saw with this. There might be other cities with similar offerings.

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
6808 posts

Melissa: The map link (my post, 3 above and also Larry's post) is to a map that shows the cities/towns that offer ZTL buses.

Posted by Melissa
Chicagoland, WordsWithMelisssa.com
63 posts

Ahh, I misunderstood the map. I thought it was to cities with ZTLs, not cities with ZTL Buses. Thanks Kent (and Larry).

Posted by Paul
Cedar, IA, USA
2371 posts

Rather than worry about which towns have ZTL's (just about any popular down does now), approach it in the manner that authorities are trying to get you to do in the first place. If you must have a car, when approaching any town, go around or on the thru route designated, or if you are stopping, park in the lots provided outside nearly every town and walk or use public transportation...yes, even if you are staying in a hotel (many do not offer off street parking anyway) or you think that you are stopping for a "quick" look. The intent of the laws are to try to preserve somewhat of an historical center in these over run towns, we as travellers should help out as much as possible.

Posted by Bill
Richardson, Texas, USA
1 posts

In the case of Amalfi (the only link on the map I have followed so far), the "BusPass" is actually a system by which tour buses can reserve parking spots in the town; it's not a system by which buses take you from a location on the edge of the center into the ZTL in the center. In this case - at least as far as this website shows - the "ZTL" refers only to buses...but I'll poke around the actual town website to see if I find anything else...certainly, many towns have municipal lots on the edge of the city center precisely so that people can "park and ride" without violating the ZTL, and indeed, Assisi is one of those (I've used a lot there myself)...

Bill

Posted by Frank
Wilmington, DE
1476 posts

Assisi has multiple parking lots outside the ZTL that provide easy access into the town. Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano and Volterra are other Tuscan towns with ZTL, but convenient (walkable) parking outside the ZTL. Cortona has ZTL in the town center. If your Cortona lodging is in the ZTL, they should be able to either register your car for the stay or direct you to parking outside the ZTL.

Posted by Debra
Los Angeles, CA, USA
1001 posts

I think a good rule of thumb is - do not drive in town centers!!! Teeny towns have ZTLs too, some of them didn't have cameras (at least not ones I could see) but I still didn't want to drive in one (drove through one in Certaldo near the train station dropping my traveling companion off...) just out of respect for the laws. So yeah, I think a safe assumption is that you just want to park outside the cities and walk in. Siena absolutely has cameras and some of the parking lots are right outside the zones, so if you miss the entrance, you are a little out of luck. The good news is, as others have said, these towns are well-adjusted for tourists and have excellently-signposted parking. Every single one (including smaller towns like Certaldo, Colle di Val d'elsa, etc.) had some kind of pay or free parking outside the ZTLs. For me personally, I didn't care that much about finding free parking (which I think is where a lot of people run afoul). It never added up to more than 5-6 euros and I just figured it in to the cost of the trip and in 8 days it didn't add up to all that much. If you're careful and just follow the BIG P signs, you should really be OK. I was paranoid too and I am pretty sure I avoided the ones with cameras just by following the signs.

Posted by Jim
Northbridge
1 posts

I have a friend who rented a villa last year for 10 days near San G. A couple of months after she arrived home she eventually received 4 fines. Though she knew about ZTL problems she remembers seeing only one notification sign and she said it was too late (difficult) to change directions to avoid the inevitable. She said she'll never go back to Italy which is too bad. I plan a trip to Umbria next September landing in Florence first. Been to Italy before but first time driver. I know we are responsible for our own actions but I have one question to the more experienced. Is there sufficient warning of a ZTL area approaching BUT more important are there sufficient safe opportunies to divert before getting fined?

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
6808 posts

Jim, click here for our primary discussion thread of Florence ZTL's.

That thread, and the links in that thread, capture most of what we, here, know about Florence ZTL's. For that reason I think browsing that thread, and clicking on the links found there, will answer most of your questions.

If it doesn't, come on back and we'll try to help.

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
6808 posts

Further answer to Jim's question:

Because you're a first time driver in Italy, I'll add this: A number of first time drivers to Italy have been blindsided by the degree to which driving in Italian cities is, for many, significantly more challenging than driving in cities here or in other European countries where driving is easier than Italy (Germany, northern France). This is difficult to put into words, but you'll know what is meant after the first day driving in Italian cities.

The advice usually given here is: avoid driving into the Florence historic center. It's not necessary and can cost you in both stress and fines (if you choose to pay them).

People have reported back to us that things they thought they were going to be able to do, such as have sufficient time to make turns and void the Florence ZTL's--well, it just hasn't worked out that way for some/many.

For these reasons, most people reporting in on this site have decided to arrange their trips so that they did not drive into the historic center of Florence, renting cars either before or after Florence, but not having a car overnight in Florence and not trying to drive into the historic center on a day trip.

Posted by Paul
Cedar, IA, USA
2371 posts

The best guidance is to use the car for travel in rural areas, when approaching any town, find the public parking often found on the outskirts and walk or catch the bus to the city center. These towns are better seen on foot anyway, and limiting traffic is the purpose of the ZTL. For larger cities,(Florence, Rome, Venice) I would try to plan my trip such that I am rid of the car for those segments. To be honest, except for some time in Tuscany/Umbria, I see no need for a car in Italy. I suspect that any towns not currently having ZTLs will soon put them in, as a source of revenue if nothing else, though in the end, I support the concept of ZTLs.