Nick's Travel Tips

Limited Traffic Zones in Italy



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Almost every settlement in Italy has in its centre a Zona Traffico Limitato (Limited Traffic Zone). Only authorised vehicles are allowed into this area, making it more pleasant and safer for pedestrians. These areas are clearly indicated with the standard European "No vehicles" sign of a red circle with white centre, like an Italian speed limit sign with no numbers. Do not drive past such a sign. Except perhaps in Rome, there is always a way to make a turn and avoid the ZTL.

Note that using a GPS device will not guarantee that you avoid ZTLs, nor will planning a route using Google Maps or ViaMichelin. As you drive into any settlement, be prepared to see a ZTL sign and make a turn.

This excellent collection of signs is at the entrance to the ZTL in Mantova, and illustrates a number of points. Let's look at each sign in turn.


This sign relates to a small off-street parking lot. The white P on blue background is the standard sign indicating that parking is permitted. On the next plate, the parking meter symbol indicates pay parking, the crossed hammers indicate that the rule applies on weekdays (i.e. not Sundays or public holidays), and the figures show the rule applies from 8 am to 1 pm and from 2.30 pm to 8 pm. The tiny print says cars must display a ticket obtained from the parking machine. "Nei limiti tracciati" means "In this area".

The parking lot provides the means of avoiding the ZTL. Turn left into the car park, circle around it, then out and back up the street.

  This marks the entry to a zone with a speed limit of 30 km/h.

This is the sign to pay attention to.

The top two plates say that this is entry 7 to the Mantova ZTL. Note the "No vehicles" sign on the second plate.

The third plate lists exceptions: authorised vehicles, bicycles, motorised bicycles, and deliveries at any time. Trucks between 06.00 and 10.00 and between 15.00 and 16.30.

The bottom plate warns that access is monitored by a camera, and that disabled people can go through the ZTL by making an advance booking by phone.

On the main photo, note that there is a camera mounted above this sign. This camera notes the number plate of every vehicle going past, and the local police issue tickets to any unauthorised vehicles.

  Finally, this sign on the right of the street says that no vehicles of any kind may enter between 06.00 and 14.00 on Thursdays, because of the weekly market.
For good measure, here are a few more signs relating to ZTLs.
  From Vicenza: an advance direction sign warning that the turn to the right leads to the ZTL.
  Here is one from Besenello with a lot of wording. You may not understand the words, but the "No vehicles" symbol is very clear.


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