Surviving a parking fine in Italy

Last October we incurred a parking fine in Macerata, a dignified city and former regional capital.

Macerata Piazza

We left our car in a road just below the walls and bought a parking ticket from a machine.

Parking permit Macerata

I’m afraid it’s a bit worn after months in my archive. What would my former employers, Hampshire Archives and Local Studies, say?

You had to guess how long we’d stay and we underestimated it. Time passed and we realised that we’d overstayed. Then we made a big mistake. The Chelsea Fan didn’t want to go back, move the car and buy another ticket. He said they’d never check. He was wrong, and so was I for going along with him. First lesson: Never assume the Marchigiani, and probably the Italians, are casual and happy-go-lucky. They may often appear so, but at least in our part of Italy, when the parking warden is paid to issue parking fines, that’s what s/he does.

So when we got back to the car, this is what we found on our windscreen.

Parking fine Macerata

Deep gloom. We assumed we’d have to pay about 40 euros. We didn’t want just to let the car hire company pick up the fine; that would probably turn out very expensive. The parking office turned out to be closed and we thought we’d have to drive back to Macerata the next day to pay the fine.

Anyway, I rang the parking office on the number on the avviso and they were very helpful and explained I could pay at my local post office and told me exactly how to fill in the form. Lesson two: Don’t assume the worst when confronted with Italian bureaucracy.

Here are my notes of what they told me.

Parking fine reverse Macerata

The fine turned out to be a teeny amount, as you can see above: the parking fee plus a few euros. Hardly worth the bureaucracy of collecting it. But if we had omitted to pay and left it to the car hire company, it would have been a lot more, 25 euros.

So we went along to the post office in Corinaldo.

Corinaldo Post Office

I was feeling quite smug about my navigation of Italian bureaucracy, but somehow when we arrived at the window I just waved the fine document at the clerk and told her we wanted to pay it. Lesson three: Don’t assume you know it all, even if you’ve been coming back to the same place for over 20 years.

The clerk put on a “One born every minute, stupid foreigner” expression and kindly, if bossily, filled the form in for us. That’s her handwriting on the receipt.

Receipt for payment of parking fine Macerata

So we’d learned four useful lessons: Don’t make assumptions about Italian attitudes; don’t make assumptions about Italian bureaucracy; don’t assume you know it all; and, fourth, how to pay a parking fine.

About An Englishwoman in Italy

I have a holiday home in Corinaldo in the province of Ancona in the Marche region of Italy. I have been going there since 1993 and would like to share my love and experience of the area. I speak Italian. Ho una casa di villeggiatura a Corinaldo nella provincia di Ancona, Regione Marche. Frequento Corinaldo da 1993 e desidero condividere i miei affetto e esperienza della zona con gli altri. Gli italiani sono sinceramente invitati a correggere gli sbagli.
This entry was posted in Bureaucracy, Driving, Survival and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Surviving a parking fine in Italy

  1. Sophy Blakeway says:

    Four. useful lessons summarised in one of the late JDB’s favourite phrases, ‘never assume’.

    A most enjoyable read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. apollard says:

    Funny post! Love it that it was only 3.40…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad it amused you. I try to inject a bit of humour into my writing … though we weren’t laughing at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Italian bureaucracy will be a big mistery to me for ever – and I’m Italian. This is the real tragedy of Italy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it stems from a lack of respect by officials for ordinary people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it seem they don’t get a job for help people but at contrary just for them selves (the same happen in Italian politic). They make you feel that you are not a person with rights but like a thief, that’s what I hate most of Italy, as many Italian, tired about this wrong attitude that in long term it become unfortunately culture. Must change or Italy will be out.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Do you believe that the Italians will ever stand up to the bureaucrats, or will they just shrug and join the queue?


    • In my opinion unfortunately I doubt we will have any change. Should change in high places… But it won’t happen. For the bureaucracy you must change politically, but the same it would be a very long process. If you think that you can change the government (really? I’m not sure at the moment…), but most officials will be the same, you see it will be very long.

      How do you can change bureaucracy? You simply can’t. In certain way I can tell you: it’s the law, a complex of absurd laws. They do what they want – you know – and this means: nothing to get better.

      If you do wrong a little thing and you didn’t want to, you have to pay (ok, it’s right), but if the system (in high) do much wrong and wanted to do it for sure, it’s ok, it’s not a scandal. A very good italian judge, few time ago, and I already was thinking as well as him, said that the things in Italy went worst: 20 or 30 years ago the “highs thiefs” felt shame, not anymore nowadays. He also said: that politic corrupted kill much more people then a common criminal. That’s what I think.
      I would like to tell you that will change, but in this way I will tell you of a beautiful dream (that I still want do, anyway) not a real thing. Bureaucracy helps mafie and immobilism.

      Meanwhile, for the people: Italian are old, the younger are leaving the country for the economic crisis. I don’t think that somebody will do a revolution here. Maybe other from other countries… But unfortunately I doubt it could be a good revolution. (Sorry for my English).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s