Parking in Italy: The Ultimate Guide To Learn How It Works

Street parking in Italy with pedestrian crossing and a blue parking sign in the middle

Something as simple as parking can become a challenge in Italy. It is hard to follow all the rules, especially if you are not local. But don’t worry, I will help you with all your doubts and worries about this topic.

If you are using a car for the first time in Italy, it is natural to feel lost. There are so many traffic laws that anyone could feel overwhelmed. So, I encourage you to keep reading if you want a trouble-free trip.

How Do You Use Parking in Italy?

Finding a spot to leave your car isn’t a simple task in Italy. Often you will need to spend a lot of time to get the right one. Also, it is common to see a cop giving a fine and checking if someone is on the rule. They arrive out of nowhere, so you must always be prepared.  

Many people think that parking is only putting a car in a spot, but it is not. Remember that everyone has the same right to transit. We can’t put other people’s lives at risk just for our negligence. This is why most Italian cops are very strict when it comes to parking rules.

However, there is nothing to worry about using parking in Italy. You are unlikely to face problems other than finding the lot itself. Most of the time, you will be fine using your common sense and your intuition. 

Where Are You Allowed to Park in Italy?

There are many places that you can use to park your car in Italy. However, it often depends on the city and its customs. Some town halls have private parking laws, but they are about the same. All general rules apply to every Italian municipality, no matter how large it is. 

In the Arts. 157, 158, and 159, the Italian Road Traffic Rules distinguish between sosta (break), fermata (stop), and parcheggio (parking). They seem to be the same, but there are some details that you must understand. This information will help you to know what to do in each situation.

Sosta (break) 

The laws define sosta as the halt of the vehicle’s movement over time. You can put your car as long as you want if there aren’t specified schedules. Also, you are not required to stay with it as soon as it doesn’t block anyone. 

When you are leaving your car, make sure to verify that it is not an obstacle. It must respect all road users, especially pedestrians. Your vehicle should be as close as possible to the sidewalk. If there isn’t any, you must leave at least 1 meter to allow people to transit. Plus, remember to turn off the engine and close all doors if you stay or go away. 

You are never allowed to leave your car if there is a sign which prohibits it. But in some places, it is always restricted to do so even if there are no warnings. Also, check if there are any working hours and time limits near the zone. You may have to display the time of your entry. Some examples of banned areas and conditions are:

  • In front of the garbage
  • Tow Away Zone
  • Dedicated spots for public transport (buses, taxis, etc.)
  • Limited traffic area for unauthorized vehicles (ZTL)
  • In front of ramps or passages for disabled people
  • Urban pedestrian areas
  • In places where you could cover traffic signs (traffic lights, posters, etc.)
  • Spots for recharge electric vehicles
  • Above the sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and cycle paths
  • Bumps and curves
  • Double parking
  • Parking lots for disabled drivers
  • Places for goods transport vehicles
  • Under the arcades, overpasses, etc.
  • Any other place where you could obstruct the flow of transit

Don’t get confused with emergencies; they are totally different things. This can happen if you or a passenger feel bad, or the car has a breakdown. Here you will have to drive as close as possible to the right edge of the road unless there is a ban. 

Fermata (stop)

The Italian Road Traffic Rules define fermata as the temporary stop of your car. You can do it for any personal reason such as leaving or taking a person, load stuff, etc. You are allowed to stop even if there is a ban on parking, but you can’t be an obstacle for other users. Only if there is a warning which explicitly says that it isn’t allowed you can’t make a stop.

In this case, the driver is always required to stay near the vehicle. You can’t leave your car alone even if it is for a few seconds. Also, you must always be ready to start driving again without slowing the traffic. Your vehicle must be as close as possible to the right edge of the road.

Another thing to consider is the duration of your stop. Unlike soste, you need to be very quick since you have a limited time to stop. Basically, you can only stay the time that passengers take to get out of the vehicle. Don’t forget to turn off the engine of your car and close all doors.

Stopping rules are more flexible than sosta ones, so some places that you can’t stop are:

  • Spots for recharge electric vehicles
  • Above the sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and cycle paths
  • Under the arcades, overpasses, etc.
  • Bumps and curves
  • In places where you could cover traffic signs (traffic lights, posters, etc.)
  • Near the railway tracks and level crossings 

Parcheggio (parking)

Parking or parcheggiare means to leave your car in spaces assigned to vehicles. You will see a “P” sign for authorized parking spaces. Your vehicle must allow all users to transit.

There are also paid parking lots with rates based on the time you stay. Their goal is to ensure the rotation of vehicles on the road. But according to Art. 7 of the Highway Code, all districts must have free parking spaces close to the paid ones. 

Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL)

Finally, there are restricted areas known as ZTLThey limit the traffic in the cultural centers of the city in some hours. You will need a permit to enter these areas, so it best to go on foot. In some places of the ZTL, you require a subscription to use the parking lots. Usually, you will notice a sign in the street gates with timetables.

Parking Regulations in Italy

The parking laws in Italy are very clear about what is right and whatnot. But a lot of people always end up breaking a rule. This is why you must be aware every time you leave your vehicle. Often people get a fine without even knowing the reason.

However, if you learn the basic stuff, you will probably be okay. Just memorize what to do in each situation before you get there.  

If you are going to sleep in your car, make sure to check out this post. Here you will find valuable information that will help you to do so.

Traffic signs with meaning infographic

Parking signs in Italy work with a combination in most cases. For example, you could see a parking ban with a “Workday” symbol and the time. So, it means that you can’t park in those hours from Monday to Saturday on that side of the street. If you see the meter symbol with the workday one, you will have to pay in those hours.

Also, you could see a silhouette of a vehicle like a truck or a car. If you see them with another warning, that rule only applies to that kind of transport. But if you see it under the “P,” that means it isn’t restricted for those vehicles.

What Does Parking Signs Mean?

Most parking spots have different lines that show who can use it. There are exactly three types of stripes: blue, yellow, and white. Each one of these signals has a different purpose for every need.

Blue Lines (Strisce blu)

Blue lines mean that you must pay a fee in order to use the lot. Most districts use parking meters that work with coins. Generally, you will only find these in the central areas with a lot of people density.

You will always see a sign that explains all the rules with the blue stripes. It will tell you if it is a disc zone or from or when to when you will have to pay. After those hours, you can use the parking lot for free. But don’t forget to put out your car before it is too late. Usually, 

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport says that there must be free parking near the paid ones. And if there isn’t any, you can dispute the fine if you get one. Just be careful to avoid any problem. 

Yellow Lines

Yellow lines mean that parking is reserved for select users or vehicles. You will have to display a permit inside the widescreen of your car. Also, the laws say that there must be a vertical sign telling who can leave the car in that spot. The vehicle can stay for an unlimited time if there are no restrictions.

As for disabled parking, you will see a symbol on the ground with the yellow stripes. It must be next to a free parking lot to allow the car to exit. If you are using yellow lines, you can’t block the transit in any situation. You can use your European Blue Badge if you have one.

Some examples of yellow lines that you could find:

  • Spaces for residents
  • Disabled people
  • Road workers
  • Service cars (police vehicles, taxis, buses, etc.)
  • Pharmacy customers (you will see a symbol of a medical cross)
  • Owners of special licenses
White Lines

White lines mean that everyone can use that specific lot for free. You won’t have to worry about a fine or pay for a trailer. Most of them are pretty safe, but never leave valuables. Usually, you will find many white lines near the neighborhoods.

However, your car still needs to be inside of the lines without blocking the traffic. You are allowed to park any kind of vehicle like cars, bikes, scooters, campers, etc. The only rule is to respect the direction of the road. Don’t park if you see the sign “Solo Autorizzati” or “Solo Residenti.”

Most of the time, you are free to leave your car the time you want. But some spaces have a sign under the “P” with a detailed schedule. In this case, you will have to display a parking disc with your arrival time. Plus, make sure to remember the maximum time allowed by the sign.

Can You Park in Places Without Lines?

You are very unlikely to find a parking lot without lines in Italy. But if you do, you still need to take some precautions ahead. You could have legal problems even if the place looks safe for you.

Essentially, you can park your vehicle as long as it doesn’t invade the roadway. You must check if there is any parking ban before you use it. Also, you must park it in a lengthwise position and the direction of travel. Your car should be less than 5 meters from an intersection in urban areas.

Some examples of when you can’t park if there aren’t lines:

  • Above the sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and cycle paths
  • Near traffic lights
  • If there is a parking ban
  • Tunnels
  • Double parking
  • On the outlet of driveways
  • Bumps and curves
  • On urban roads
  • Near public buildings (hospitals, schools, banks, etc.)
What If The Stripes Are Not Visible?

According to the Supreme Court of Cassation, it is necessary to pay even if the lines are not visible. If there is a vertical sign, it doesn’t matter if the stripes faded over time. The lines only exist to enforce what the warnings say.

Can You Double Park in Italy?

The laws say that double parking is illegal in Italy. However, it is possible to do it in critical situations. According to Art. 54 of the Italian Penalty Code, you can break the Highway Code in case of any danger. For example, if you have to save one person’s life from an injury or disease.

You can double park if you are using a double-wheeled vehicle. But it is only allowed if both have two wheels. You can’t put your motorcycle alongside vehicles with four wheels. Also, remember that your car can’t delay the transit.

How To Use Paid Parking in Italy

Pay for parking is probably one of the common upsets that tourists have in Italy. For someone who never used them before, it can be a trial. It exactly happened to my family and me in Alberobello.

The first time that I used paid parking, I didn’t even know where to start! My father and I started pressing buttons randomly, but nothing worked. Then, we called someone to help us using the parking meter, and guess what? No one knew how to use it! After many attempts, we finally got the ticket and enjoyed our tour.

In most Italian districts, you will find a new version of parking meters. After you pay the price for the parking time, it will give you a ticket. Then, you will have to leave it in the car in a visible spot. After that, the police will check if you are on the rule. It is obligatory to enter the license plate of the vehicle.

Black parking meter with a blue "P" on the side and a display

How Do You Pay For Parking in Italy?

There are many ways to pay for parking in Italy. You can choose the one that is most convenient for you. But make sure to have an idea for how long you will use the lot. It is not fun to get a fine for a 5 minutes delay or run away to renew the ticket.

Parking Meters

After you insert all your information, the machine will ask you to add a payment method. You can pay with cash using coins or banknotes. Usually, you will see all the currency sizes that it accepts. Also, the device will notify you if it gives the rest or not. Before you enter the parking lot, make sure you have enough money.

All parking meters should let you use your debit or credit card. But make sure your bank allows payments abroad. Also, you have the option to use a device called “Telepass” or disposable cards. 

Gratta e Sosta

In some Tabacchini and kiosks, you will find a “scratch and park” paper. Basically, you scratch the date that you will use it. Then, you put the paper inside the widescreen of your car like it was a ticket. Some cities are replacing them with SMS services.

Apps to Pay for Parking

There are many apps that you can use if you don’t want to spend your cash. They are pretty handy and simple to use. It is not required to print the sticker, but I recommend you do it. These apps are available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone:

  1. EasyPark: This is the most popular parking app in Italy. You can use it in more than 250 Italian cities and 12 European countries. You can save a lot of money and time with it. Also, you can renew your parking time if you need to stay longer.
  2. myCicero: Similarly to EasyPark, you will save money and time with myCiCero app. You can also plan your trip if you use the bus or train.
  3. Phonzie: This app doesn’t apply any additional costs for using it. It has the option to buy buses and parking tickets.

How Much is Parking in Italy?

Every town has different rates when it comes to paid parking. But expect to pay from €1,00 to even €4,50. The most popular cities often have more expensive rates than smaller ones. If you are not sure where to leave your car, it is best to pay for parking. A lot of people get fines only for not paying a few euros.

Parking Fines in Italy

There are some consequences if you don’t respect all traffic rules. You are very unlikely to get a fine. Just don’t be afraid and take some precautions before you leave your car. The cost of the fines heavily depends on the weight of the crime.

Fines For Parking in Blue Lines 

It is a crime to use a paid parking lot without actually buying the ticket. In fact, You must be sure that you will use it before entering. 

If you don’t pay for the parking lot, you will get a fine of €41,00, according to Art. 157 of the Highway Code. But if you don’t renew the ticket after it expires, the penalty is €28,70 for every extra hour. You must put the ticket in a clear and visible spot inside your car.

You will get a 30% discount if you pay within five days after you get the fine. This applies in both cases. 

Fines For Parking in Yellow Lines

Parking in yellow lines without permission is a huge crime in Italy. You can’t park anywhere, it’s just a matter of respecting others. But if someone catches you, the fines start from €84,00 to €335,00. Also, the authorities will remove your vehicle from the parking lot.  

Other Possible Fines

If you use a free parking lot with a fixed time, you must display a parking disc. But if you don’t do so, the fines start from €42,00 to €173,00. Also, if you park more than allowed by the sign, you will get a penalty between €26,00 to €102,00.

As for parking above the sidewalks, the law provides for a fine starting from €84,00 to €335,00. For mopeds or motorcycles, the fines begin from €40,00 to €163,00. If you park on a parking ban, expect to get a penalty from €41,00 to €168,00. 

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