Hi: We're continuing to make plans for our March/April trip. We'll fly into Rome, spend some nights there, take the train to Florence, spend some nights there, and then rent a car to tour Tuscany and Umbria for 8/9 nights. We're very concerned about avoiding ZTLs. Can you tell me if these no-traffic areas are indicated on maps, and are they included in GPS (Garmin) databases? Thank you.
Sandy, I don't believe the ZTL areas are included in GPS databases. Some ZTL zones are relatively new, and there's always quite a "lag" in updating GPS data. Some GPS users never update their databases, and others (like myself) only update every few years (due to the cost). As I recall, my GPS unit was updated in 2009, but the "new" database that I downloaded may have already been several months old.
Found this very helpful when driving in Italy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_signs_in_Italy. I printed it out for my navigator-husband. Be sure to take it with you.
I was terrified of entering a ZTL when we drove in Tuscany last month, but all for naught! It is very easy to see where they are and avoid them by turning before the ZTL signs. Also the proprietors of our lodgings were very helpful in providing directons that avoided the ZTLs. I made sure my husband who was navigating and knows no Italian, knew what to look for, too. We drove in Siena, Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano, Orvieto, and many other small towns. Laurel
I agree with Laurel. If I saw the GPS heading me into a ZTL, I just drove around it and had the GPS recalculate for me. i think the only time by accident I did end up in one was in Certaldo when i was dropping off my travel-mate at the station early on a Sunday morning when ZTLs are mostly not in place anyway. You'll really be fine if you commit to avoiding the city centers. Plus not all ZTLs have cameras, I think the ones that are easier to accidentally drive into (like certaldo) are the ones that I didn't see any cameras on. For example, san Gimignano has ZTL but it'd be nearly impossible to drive into it anyway. You want to be careful in Florence, Pisa, Siena, etc. All towns no matter how small had really well-signed parking outside the walls. Use the GPS to get you TO the town, then follow the parking signs to get you from there.
Hi: Thanks to all of you for this information. I'm very concerned about avoiding these restricted areas and will follow your advice. Thanks again.
Sandy, you have been given some excellent advice by some very savy travelers. For our It. trip this past June I went to the Slow Tavel web site and made myself familiar with the ZTL signs, and then I had my navigator (the Boss) watch for them. We spotted them and stayed away. I called up my GPS provider and asked why they did not cover them. Even though I had just d my GPS, they are not covered. The TomTom support team called me back, and said that they had not received enough requests to add them to their data base. If we all contact out GPS providers and ask them to include ZTL's we may get somewhere, but until they see it as a marketing tool, they will not put the time or expense into adding this feature. And since ZTL's are only in a few countries (my understanding?)they just don't see the demand or need to locate/map them.
Rent from the AIRPORT in Florence. You won't need a car while staying in Florence, and when you are ready to leave, take a taxi to the airport, and the Autostrada entrance is just outside of the airport. The ZTLs are not included in GPS maps, but if you Google the town or cities that you are visiting (Bologna ZTL, Siena ZTL, etc.), you will find that most of the historic and heavily touristed ones have a ZTL of their own, and you should be able to come up with a map. This is a link for the Florence ZTL: http://www.florence-on-line.com/maps-of-florence/florence-driving-map-ztl.html If you encounter a sign with a red circle and the words, "Zona Traffico Limitato", you will see the cameras and so you will need to turn away and go no further.
One additional note regarding road signs in Italy (and elsewhere in Europe). Those who obtain the compulsory International Driver's Permit for driving in Italy will also be provided with a small brochure that covers the road signs and parking information. That's been the case every time I've renewed an IDP, and I assume that's the case with issue of all IDP's.
In response to the note about once you see the ZTL sign, turn away, the problem is that sometimes you approach them from a one-way street and occasionally I found that by the time I saw the sign, it was too late. that's why I recommend using the GPS to get you to the town's outskirts, then once you start seeing the parking signs, follow those to the letter. for example, I parked in a lot in siena that was literally right before the ZTL camera. If I had missed the turn into the parking lot I would have had no choice but to drive through the camera.
Some of the ZTL entrances have lights now: http://www.florence-on-line.com/travel-tips/new-ztl-traffic-light.html You can also check out this map, which I think is fairly up to date: http://www.florence-journal.com/florence/2009/12/ztl-autovelox-map-for-florence.html Keep your eyes open and your head up!
I found this website that apparently has Italy ZTL information that is downloadable to GPS devices. I've never used it myself and I have no idea if it works, but the upside is it's free. http://www.gps-data-team.com/
Hi Sandy, We drove from Venice to Assisi then traveled to many towns in Tuscany. I would not worry about the ZTLs. All signs are marked and you will find you are going slower than the regular traffic. The GPS is the best tool ever.
They are not indicated on GPS or maps as far as I have been able to ascertain. You can Google ZTL for each of the cities you are to visit and you should be able to get a general idea of their boundaries. The ZTL maps are not terribly detailed though. Rule of thumb, stay out of (away from) the historic city centers of the most touristed cities (Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Orvieto, Cortona, Montepulciano, etc...). There will be signage to indicate the beginning of a ZTL "Zona Traffico Limitato" with a red circle. You will also probably see the cameras. Look ahead and turn away before you cross over.
Viamichelin.com indicated some speed camera boxes and I think some ZTLs, but I'm not sure how current those are. Most of the smaller town ones are pretty obvious and easier to avoid. Since many of the main parking lots are pretty well known, you can set your directions to go to the parking areas or at least near them instead, for example, go to the train station in Orvieto, not the town.