Okay, now I'm panicked. We are leaving for Italy in three weeks and will be picking up a rental car in Florence to spend 6 days in Tuscany and then dropping it back off again in Florence. I've tried to follow the posts, but I'm still unclear on what ZTL's are. A simple explanation would be greatly appreciated (think ZTL's for Dummies).



Posted by Bob
Gettysburg, PA
1439 posts

Take the bus, take the bus, take the bus!

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12566 posts

They are zoning restricted to local residents with permits. Drive into them, even to turn around, and you will get an automatic and expensive ticket. IF your hotel is in one of those zones, then the hotel should report your car to the local police station. Double and triple check with the hotel to make sure that has happened!!!

Posted by Debra
Los Angeles, CA, USA
1001 posts

It sounds like you may have already made your rental reservation but you might consider picking it up and dropping it off at the airport, since it sounds like you won't actually even want to drive within Florence itself (smart, btw!). This way there's no possible way you will come against the Florence ZTLs (but remember there are ZTLs in many of the Tuscan smaller towns too)

Posted by Roy
Fredericksburg, VA, USA
406 posts

Mark - Just scroll down a bit and read my blog "UH-OH - TICKETED IN AREZZO." Hopefully you'll learn from my painful (and expensive) experience. And do whatever you can to avoid driving in Florence. (I assume you're flying into that airport, picking up your car, and heading out for Tuscany - if so, you shouldn't have any problems. Same with the return.) If you want to see Florence, park your car at an outlying train station and take the train on in.

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
8850 posts

Mark: For you and others I've brought back one of our big discussions of Florence ZTL's, here it is Why you don't want to drive in Florence.

Posted by Mark
New Richmond, WI, USA
10 posts

Thank you all very much. You've all helped alot!


Posted by Neil
Lake Forest Park, WA, USA
365 posts

At the risk attracting the enmity of those who want others to simply hyperventilate at the mention of ZTLs, in the spirit of "fair and balanced" information I wish to offer a slightly different viewpoint. Kent includes a fine map, and I believe that though the ZTLs are quite comprehensive, one can avoid a fine by staying on the roads highlit in yellow. Behold the yellow roads, they lead to parking areas. Stick to the yellow roads and you will not fall into iniquity.

Now, there are lots of folks who would say, don't take the risk! That's fine. But information is power, and I would feel confident about the ability to stay on a route and park at the train station parking garage. If the prospect of confusion frightens you into a state of partial paralysis, busing or training in would be best. If international driving is not new to you and you are fairly confident behind the wheel, I would take the "never drive in Florence" comments with a grain of salt. Lots of tourists successfully negotiate the cities with ZTLs...they like maps, know how to read them, and bring the requisite sangfroid to bear. There's no sense in inciting panic in those who are already committed to driving in Florence because they've reserved a hotel and rental car there.

I received ZTL tickets before I knew what ZTLs were. But I certainly didn't get them going to or coming from the train station. Which is a fine parking location, close to everything. I say study the map...enlist the help of a navigator if a volunteer steps forward....and just do it.

Posted by Doug
3312 posts

Just to add, for the benefit of Mark or anyone else who is picking up a car inside Florence: If you look at Kent's map, you'll see one of the yellow lines just below the letter "D". That's the Borgo Ognissanti, where most of the in-city rental offices are. As long as you drive away on it and don't turn until you're outside the city walls, you should leave Florence safely.

Posted by Karen
Raleigh, NC, USA
17 posts

Hi Mark. Also watch out for Pisa! We got one of the ZTL tickets there. We drove straight in and parked at the soccer stadium near the leaning tower. Not sure where we incurred the penalty as the ticket arrived 10 months after the vacation. We followed Rick's suggestions about where to park in Pisa but I'm not 100% sure if we were warned about the ZTLs or if we mistakenly dismissed the risks.

The other posters are right about picking up the car in Florence and being OK there. When you go out on the Autostrada, make sure you pay close attention to the signs. The exits are far apart (approx 20 kilometers) so you don't want to miss your exit. My inlaws also had some difficulty understanding the toll roads in Italy so just be aware there too.

My message to all travelers to Italy remains the same: have fun! You are right to seek out advice before you go, and we hope you use this information to have a great vacation. I won't be going anywhere this year, so have fun for all of us! Ciao!

Posted by Karen
Raleigh, NC, USA
17 posts

To clarify my earlier post, I meant the Florence airport

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1719 posts

A question for Neil-Are there ZTL's in Wales?

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6888 posts

In addition to Kent's fine map and explanations, CLICK HERE for a document from the City of Florence about the ZTLs. Scroll down for English. Good scoop.

ZTLs are all marked with signs. Once you enter the zone, a camera will take pictures of your license plate and you smiling. You must learn to recognize these signs. There's even a separate sign warning that the lane is for public transportation only.

CLICK HERE for a different ZTL map that shows you where some of the cameras are located.

Finally, CLICK HERE to see a pictures of the signs and cameras and instructions on how to read the signs.

Posted by Neil
Lake Forest Park, WA, USA
365 posts

Kent, I know I'm in the minority perhaps. However, I wouldn't want someone to get the wrong impression...I would not advocate not worrying about fines because you don't intend to pay them. I don't like fines of any kind, and with the exception of these sketchy fines from Florence I've paid every fine I've ever received. I think it's possible without much angst to drive around in Florence by paying attention to detail and planning ahead. This is something I like to do. Same goes for Paris and other large unfamiliar cities. Timid drivers should heed the advice of other timid drivers and stay away.

I suppose another way of looking at it is, if you have to ask the question, you already know the answer.

And Karen...Wales, the best tourist destination in the world, does not have any ZTLs but I have my hands full there without them what with everybody honking at me for driving on the wrong side of the road. Gimme a break, I'm looking at my map and steering with my knees!

Posted by Chris
27 posts

Kent - that map is an excellent resource! Could you tell me where you obtained it (if off the web)? I'm NOT driving in Florence, but I am driving in Siena (actually just OUT of Siena) and into Montalcino/Montapulciano and surrounding areas, and returning the car in Orvieto. I'd like to try and get preliminary info about those cities before I leave if I could.


Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
8850 posts

Chris: I'm glad our info is helping you. Here's the website where I got the Florence ZTL map:all about ZTL's in ItalyThe link for the Florence map is about 3/4 of the way down the website, under the caption that says "how to avoid being fined in the first place". There's also a Pisa map. We haven't found maps showing the ZTL's in other towns; if you find any, please post the links here.

Posted by Anthony
362 posts

There is a good page about the ZTL with a map here also:

ZTL map of Florence
If you are renting the car from one of the places on Borgo Ognissanti and then leaving Florence with you should be fine. The only issue you may have is returning it - but they (the car rental place) should have that covered. Just don't go driving around the Duomo or Piazza Santa Croce and you should be okay :)