Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 17, 2019

Siamo in Italia

A little break from Puglia posts to bring you a bit of ridiculous Italy…

We arrived home to find a letter from the Comune waiting for us. These letters rarely bring good news and sure enough the letter was letting me know that I had missed paying something.

I went to the Comune to sort out the problem. The letter waiting for me informed me that in 2011 I had driven in a restricted zone somewhere and had failed to pay the fine for €79.50. An interest fee of €14.80 and another fee of €7.54 brings the total to €162.06. Add another €5.88 to get to €167.94. I have 5 days to pay this.

I have never received a notice about this in 8 years! I am in Italy for 6 months each year. When I am not here a good and trusted friend checks my apartment and collects mail.

Neither of us has sighted anything about this in 8 years.

The fine will be paid because it is not worth trying to fight it. I would get nowhere, but a complaint will be made.

We have history with these things. A few years ago we went the wrong way in Bologna and a few months later, when we were back in Australia a registered letter arrived. My friend tried to collect it, but despite giving her authority the helpful person at the local post office would not give it to her.

When I arrived a month later I collected the letter which turned out to be 2 fines for driving in a restricted zone within 10 minutes of each other, 1 for €80 and the other for €90. I paid them.

A year later I was sent another notice asking me to pay the fines. I sent a letter saying that I had paid them. A return letter informed me that I had paid them late and had to pay again. €340 for a wrong turn!

Just as well I wake to this each day.


Siamo in Italia.


  1. As you know, Italy is renown for a variety of run-arounds – oh the price you pay for your time with absolute beauty.

    • Yes, it is just as well Italy is beautiful.

  2. Love to this post, because it is so typical of ITALY. I especially got a kick out of how you received a notification of something that occurred eight years ago… As usual I love the pictures. Your choice to pay this because fighting it isn’t worth it makes sense but I’m glad you will make a complaint good luck

    • My Italian friend is going to help with the complaint.

      • Good to know. Good luck

  3. Wow – incompetence, or what!

  4. I think that you should check on the validity of that notice, as I understand that in Italy there is a statutory time limit of 5 years…

  5. Vero, siamo in Italia

    • Sometimes it can be trying.

  6. Dear Debra,
    My husband and I are planning a driving trip from Rome all the way to Sicily and I keep hearing about the headaches when driving in Italy, namely their penchant for handing out tickets for misunderstood driving maneuvers. Do you have any tips on understanding the Italian “rules of the road”. Thanks so much, Derin

    • Hi Derin, I would try to do a bit of research and learn some road signs. Speed limits are obviously important…130 kilometres per hour on Autostradas, 110 on superstradas, 90 or 70 on smaller roads, 50 on others and towns and cites can choose their own speeds for inner cities. Keep an eye out for signs.
      Zona Limitato is a sign to look for. It means only resident’s cars can enter unless you are staying at a hotel that can organise a permit.
      Senso unico means one way.
      There are occasionally speed cameras in use.
      Just be alert. Italian drivers are generally very good. They drive too fast and they take risks, but they handle cars well.
      Good luck.

      • Re Italian Drivers: in September 2014 we visited Italy (had a wonderful month) and spent a little time on the Amalfi Coast where we were STUNNED by the skill of the drivers along the coast road. Scary! Incredible though how they handled driving that road. Still dreaming of living in Italy BUT….unfortunately it is all or nothing for us (68 and 71) as we cannot afford to live in both Australia and Italy and would have to make the commitment to move permanently. That too is scary at our age and without the language. Enjoy reading your posts.

  7. I love your attitude.

    • You get used to things like this.

  8. Yes, I have had similar and the systems are just crazy (not rational at all).

    • It is just the way it is.

  9. Oh dear…..but the benefits are so good!

  10. Take trains…

    • We do when we can, but it is too restrictive.

  11. Nothing like an idyllic village tucked in the mountains to calm the nerves. However, I still think those fines are very unfair. Bureaucracy is a rough grind. Despite this, how can anyone resist the charms of beautiful Italy?!

    • Sometimes Italy’s charms wear thin.

  12. Thank you for the consistently wonderful stories and beautiful pictures of my beloved Italy. Your posts always brighten my day!

    • Thank you for following and thank you for commenting.

  13. We have also had our share of woes- of the parking ticket kinds – four times!
    Twice, we haven’t seen the signs way down the other end of the parking area stating that it was market day. One involved a visit to the Questura, then a taxi trip to retrieve the car, after a €100 fine.
    But, the serendipity of discovering new places, borgos, views etc, when driving certainly make up for a lot!

    • I would like to know what we did 8 years ago, but I don’t have it in me to go to the police station to find out.

  14. Frustrating to say the least….

    • This is life in Italy.

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