ZTL's in Italy

Travel Forums Europe ZTL's in Italy

1. Posted by Bill Hall (Respected Member 21 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

We are less than a week back from our latest Europe vacation and are already planning our next. We're looking at Italy, and have been to Venice and a day trip to Ventimiglia. We like train travel for its convenience but sometimes a car is a better answer. Sometimes things aren't easily accessible unless you drive.

I've been reading on ZTL's and that sounds like a real pain. What are everyone's experiences with these? I'm especially interested in Sicily. The rest of Italy seems fairly accessible by train.

2. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1584 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

We've just spent eleven days in Italy (Venice, Florence, Pisa & Rome) and managed all that on public transport (train between cities and then buses, trams and metro in cities) and you are correct, it's perfectly doable without a car.

As for ZTLs, it seems that they are only in the historical centre of cities; any car rental company should be able to give you a map of the local ZTLs although that might be more difficult if you hire from one office and travel around the whole country.

As for Sicily, Palermo does have a ZTL and it is a problem for locals as well as tourists. You should be able to download a map of the ZTL from somewhere, possibly: http://www.madonienotizie.it/cronaca/ztl-le-proposte-della-prima-circoscrizione/361319/

3. Posted by Bill Hall (Respected Member 21 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Boris. I have to say that I do like not having to worry with a car, parking, where to drive and where not to drive......if we can pull it off without renting a car I think we'll try that. I'm doing my investigations now to see what will work and what won't work.

I've driven quite a bit in Europe, including the German autobahn at 130 mph plus, Austria, France, Germany, Scotland, Iceland, etc. The driving part doesn't bother me....the "pain in the ass" factor does. If it is easier to do it via train we would definitely prefer that. Sometimes, however, there are things you can't get to via public transport. The Rhine valley comes to mind, and almost all of Scotland and Iceland. Normandy is another. You need a car to see these places properly. What little I've read about Sicily made me ask the question.

4. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 2319 posts) 3y 1 Star this if you like it!

ZTLs are very common indeed in Italy, in cities, towns and villages. Many are monitored by CCTV cameras, with automatic fines taken (via the hire company) directly from your credit card and including an admin fee. Even outside the ZTL (which is often, though not always exclusively, the historical centre) parking in city and town centres is often difficult and expensive.

I can and do drive but have always used trains when exploring Italy. It has an excellent rail network and the trains are safe and comfortable enough. You should have no problem sorting out your trip. Use the official Italian railway website in English to investigate times, details and fares:


Trenitalia run their high-speed trains (Frecciarossa and Frecciargento) on some routes, as does Italo (a private company). There is very little difference between the two in terms of comfort, fares or routes.


Stations are easy to negotiate, with large electronic departure boards in their entrances as well as electronic signage on platforms and, usually, at platform entrances too. Ticket machines have English language options and are easy to use: there's always a machine which accepts cash & cards as well as card-only machines.

If you want to take advantage of the cheaper advance fares offered for the high-speed trains you'll need to book your tickets in advance online. Use the Trenitalia (or Italo) site because otherwise you'll pay admin fees. You'll get an eticket to print out: dead easy!

There is no need to book Regionale train tickets in advance. Seats are not reservable and there are no cheaper advance tickets.

5. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1722 posts) 3y 1 Star this if you like it!

We usually rent an agriturismo and like to explore way off the beaten path so we drive. When we're going into a larger city, like Florence, we park the car for free at a nearby town and take the local bus into the city, use local public transport inside the city, and then return to pick up our car at the end of the day. The smaller towns and little villages all have convenient parking lots at the edge of the Old Town areas so you simply park the car and walk. Quite simple . . .

If you are only visiting cities, don't bother renting a car. They are a nuisance in a city. However, if you want to get out into the countryside and explore on your own, a car makes it very easy.

6. Posted by Bill Hall (Respected Member 21 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

We are not totally without experience on Italian rail. We took a train from Germany to Venice and then a sleeper train from Venice to Munich. We learned two things on this trip. Get reservations on Italian trains. One was exceptionally crowded and I wound up standing most of the trip. Granted it was a holiday period. We probably wouldn't need reservations regularly. We also know they are required on high speed trains.

Lesson #2. Monaco.......isn't Monaco. We were waiting on our sleeper train from Venice to Munich. They posted a bizarre route taking the train 8 hours out of the way to Monaco and they didn't even mention Munich, our destination. We now know that Monaco, in Italy, is Munich. Unless it's Monaco.

We're leaning towards an all train trip. We like them and it cuts way down on hassles.

7. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 1538 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I think Beausoleil sums it up nicely, it comes down to what you want to see. I've done a lot of road trips around Europe mostly because half my trip is filled with off the beaten track places that you would never get to by public transport, not to mention I love driving scenic roads and many are on routes or roads buses don't take. If your plan is just to hit the big cities then the need for a car is diminished. The only exception from what I've heard (you will need to do reearch on this) might be Sicily. Trains are apparently alright but buses might be problem. Again it probably comes down to what you want to see.

8. Posted by puppa17 (Budding Member 66 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

If you travel in the main cities train is not a problem at all...maybe not punctual to the dot....Venice is super easy to reach by train, so it's Ventimiglia, but of course a car would be better. You can stop when u want to , tke the route u prefer, and definitely see more things.
Apart from that Italy is quite well connected by trains