It’s no secret that driving in Italy is not for the faint-hearted. It is fast, crazy and a lot of fun. Parking in Italy is something else, an art form that takes years to perfect. The rules are quite simple and the zones are colour coded to assist the unwitting tourist. Blue zones are for paid parking, you can buy your ticket from the machine, display it on your dashboard and be sure to return to your vehicle in the allotted time frame. Alternatively, you can purchase a disco orario, a blue disc that represents a clock, from a bank, tourist office, post office or tobacconist (except for the bank we went into, although the lovely ladies wrote a note in Italian for us to use in place of a disc). You set the hands to show the time you arrived and you can park for free, usually for 2 hours. Parking is free in blue zones during lunch time and on Sundays. Having said all that, it seems parking within the lines is optional.
White lines mean parking is free but there may be time limits. If this is the case, it is a good idea to display the time you arrived on your blue disc. Travel advice warns that it is essential to park within the lines to avoid a fine, however, free spaces are often limited and so, creativity prevails.
It seems to be universal that parking areas marked with a yellow line are reserved for handicapped drivers and delivery zones.
Some towns have pink spaces especially for expectant mothers and those with infants. Parking is not permitted in green zones on working days between 8 – 9.30am and 2.30 – 4pm. Often, there are no parking squares marked and it seems to be a free-for-all.
It only takes one to start a trend. Don’t let a roundabout on the main thoroughfare deter you, just follow where others have led.
If there is no parking spot available, just leave the car in close proximity to your destination in the knowledge that passing motorists will avoid your vehicle.
If all else fails, don’t even pretend to look for a parking spot, just leave the Mercedes in the middle of the road while you go about your business.
If your neighbour encroaches on your space, you are entitled to squeeze him out.
Sometimes there are zones that are just too confusing, the colours are random and there is no indication of time limits. This is what you do.