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poorly parked car and motorcycle on an Italian street

Parking in Italy For Visitors – Complete Guide & Parking Sign Translations

Parking in Italy may seem more difficult than in your home country because the spaces are tight and the cars here seem to be getting bigger and bigger.   It can also be stressful looking for a spot while you’re driving on a narrow one-way street with a line of cars behind you while you try to translate the fine print on the parking signs.

But, with a little bit of preparation and parking sign translation, you can park confidently in Italy and avoid getting a multa (fine).

Why listen to me?  I’ve been driving (and parking) here since 2004 – for work, daily life, and travel.  I also have extensive driving experience in many other countries around the world (in North America, South America, Europe, and Oceania), so I can pinpoint and clarify confusing aspects of parking in Italy.

This article will include everything you need to know about parking in Italy, including:

  • Where you can and can’t park in Italy
  • Parking signs and what they mean
  • What the different colored lines for parking spaces signify
  • Different types of parking in Italy (disco, pay and display, etc)
  • How to use an Italian parking machine
  • What to do if you get a parking ticket / fine
  • Helpful Italian parking vocabulary
  • Important tips for parking in Italy that I’ve learned in my time here

Good To Know: I will not go over every detail of parking in Italy – just things you need to know while driving and parking here as a visitor. 

Where To Park in Italy

Good To Know:  In Italy ‘to park’ is parcheggiare.  You can also make a quick stop (fermata) or take a break (sosta).  When I talk about parking, I’m refering to parcheggiare, when you leave your vehicle for a period of time (to visit a city, spend the night at your hotel, spend the day at the beach, etc).

In Italy, you can park:

  • In designated spaces (lines marked on the road, or signs indicating parking is allowed)
  • In parking garages or lots
  • On the side of the road, even if it is not marked (by lines on the road or a sign), as long as it is not an area you’re not allowed to park in

You can find parking in Italy by searching in Google Maps (or other navigation software) for parcheggio.  Or, just look for signs with a ‘P.’  They are blue and white signs – sometimes blue with a white ‘P’ and sometimes white with a blue ‘P.’  These signs will lead you to areas you can park – on the street, in a designated parking lot, or a parking garage.

Where NOT to Park in Italy

  • In front of a ‘no parking’ sign
  • In front of a passo carrabile sign – typically in front of garage doors, driveways, or other areas where cars need to enter and exit
  • In front of signs for solo autorizzati (authorized parking only) or solo residenti (resident parking only)
  • On the side of the Autostrada.  There are pullouts for emergencies, but you cannot park in them.  If you need to park on the Autostrada, either make your way to an exit or pull over and park at a rest area or service area.
  • On the superstrada.  Like the Autostrada, it has pullouts for emergencies only.  If you need to park on the superstrada, either make your way to an exit or pull over and park at a rest area or service area.
  • In a bus lane or at a bus stop
  • At a taxi stand
  • On the crosswalk
  • On the sidewalk
  • In a cycling path
  • In the middle of the street
  • In front of garbage bins
  • In a way that obstructs parking signs or traffic signals
  • In electric vehicle charging stations (unless you have an electric vehicle to charge)

Important:  Sometimes you need to stop for something, but you don’t need to park.  In Italian, this is a fermata.  You are allowed to do this as long as there isn’t a no stopping sign (red circle with red ‘x’ in it, with a blue background.  For example, you need to drop passengers in front of the restaurant, or you need to leave your luggage at the entrance of your hotel.

Colors of Parking Spaces in Italy

You’ve found your spot on the side of the road – but did you notice what color the parking space lines are?

In general, in Italy there are five main colors of parking spaces – blue, white, yellow, pink, and green:

BLUE Parking Spaces

Blue lines indicating pay parking in Italy.

Parking spaces delineated by blue lines are almost always paid parking.  You park, go to the nearby parking machine, pay for parking, and display your ticket on your dashboard.

Occasionally, the blue spaces are free but require you to display the parking disco (see below) on your dash – no payment necessary. 

Or, you are required to pay, but only for a certain time period (for example, weekdays between 8:00 and 20:00).

WHITE Parking Spaces

Parking lot with free white spaces in Italy.
Park for free in the white spaces, but not like the blue car on the right that’s parked in the motorcycle spaces.

White lines around a parking space in Italy mean one of two things – free parking or resident parking. 

Important:  The most common fine I see is for parking in an Italian city in a white parking space that is not free but is in fact for residents with a permit.  One of the most important things you can take from this article is – White parking spaces may be free or may be for residents with a permit.  Always check the signs!

If it’s free parking, park and go!  But check the signs because sometimes the free parking time is limited so you need to leave the parking disco with your arrival time. 

YELLOW Parking Spaces

Handicap parking space marked with yellow signs and a wheelchair icon on the street in Italy.
Handicap parking space (leave your card on your dashboard).

A parking space with yellow lines indicates you need permission to use it.  Examples include loading and unloading goods, taxis, handicapped drivers or passengers, and residents. 

Look at the signs and/or the symbol on the ground.

PINK Parking Spaces

Pink parking space in Italy.
Pregnant women and parents with infants can park here, except on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month (because of street sweeping).

Pink parking spaces are typically close to the entrances of stores and parking lots and garages.  The pink spaces are for pregnant women or for parents traveling with infants. 

This is often abused because you do not need to display anything on your dashboard. 

Please do not park in the pink spaces – although you will see Italians without babies using them, it’s not polite or respectful.

GREEN Parking Spaces

Electric vehicle charging station (and parking space while charging) in Italy.
No parking unless you are actively charging an electric vehicle.

Green spaces delineate either parking for electric vehicles, or charging stations for electric vehicles.

Good To Know:  Electric vehicle charging spaces aren’t always green – they can be blue or another color.  If so, you’ll see a charging symbol painted on the ground or a sign nearby.

Good To Know:  If you’re in a charging space, you must park elsewhere when you’re done charging.  So, you can’t park your EV in a charging space and leave it all day while you eat cheese and prosciutto in Parma.

GREEN / BLUE Parking Spaces

Rarely, you’ll see green and blue lines, which indicate pay parking unless you’re parking an electric or hybrid vehicle.  In that case, the parking is free, but usually for a specified time.

NO LINES Parking Spaces

If you’re driving outside of major cities (for example, in the Tuscan countryside or between Dolomites villages), you’ll sometimes find yourself in a situation with no colored lines.

Even if the lines are worn or not visible, if there’s a sign displayed, you must obey what it says.

If there are no signs, as long as you’re not parking somewhere not allowed (see above), you can park safely and leave your car.

How To Use an Italian Parking Meter

One of the most common ways to pay for parking in Italy is to use the street parking meters to buy a ticket that you put on your car’s dash – ‘pay and display.’ 

  1. Park your car.  Note your license plate (Helpful Tip: Keep a photo or note on your phone if you’re driving a rental car).
  2. Double-check the parking sign rules.  Of course, if you can, do this before you park your car.  But it’s usually tough to read the fine print while you’re driving in Italian traffic!  You’ll want to make sure you can park in the spot – that you’re allowed to park there on the day and at the time you’re there.
  3. Enter your license plate number and use coins, banknotes or a credit card to pay. 
  4. Press ‘enter’ or the green button to get your ticket.
  5. Display your ticket on your dashboard.

Helpful Tip:  Keep coins handy.  You can rarely pay with bills and sometimes the credit card function doesn’t work.  You won’t get change, so have some coins (spiccioli) handy.

Good To Know:  Some credit cards ask for a PIN number.  Before you leave, ask your bank if you need one.  Even if you don’t use a PIN number for your credit card in your home country, you may need it while abroad.

Helpful Tip:  Remember to read the parking sign carefully.  For example, many blue-line parking spaces are free in the evening and on Sundays. 

How to Use an Italian Parking Disco (Disc)

Sometimes, you don’t need to pay for parking, but you have a limited time you’re allowed to park there.  You’ll see a sign that looks like this:

Parking sign in Italy.
You can park for free on this side of the one-way street for one hour between 8:00 and 19:00. You must display the disco orario.

This means you need a disco orario or disco.  If you didn’t get a parking disco with your rental car, you can purchase one at a tabaccheria (the shops with the ‘T’ on the sign), a newsstand, or a gas station. 

To use the lot or parking area, simply turn the disc to your arrival time, place it in a visible place on your dashboard, and be on your way.  You’ll need to return within the allowed time (usually in the range of 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending on where you are).

No need to pay!

Using an Italian Parking Garage

Parking garages are another parking option in Italy.  They are often marked with the blue and white ‘P’ sign (with either a white or blue ‘P’).  The advantages of using parking garages are less parking stress and they’re often inside or very close to city centers, even in ZTLs (limited traffic zones).

The main disadvantage to using a parking garage in Italy is the price – usually much more than what you’d pay for street parking.

To use an Italian parking garage, you’ll usually either:

  1. Take a ticket from a machine, park, then pay for your parking at a machine as you leave.
  2. Enter a manned lot.  Sometimes you park your car, and other times the attendant will park for you.  They will usually ask how long you’ll be (so they can plan the jigsaw puzzle of cars in small garages.  When you return, you pay the attendant. 

Helpful Tip:  Make sure you ask what time the parking garage closes.  Not all garages are open 24/7.

Helpful Tip: Many Italian parking garages have toilets.

Good To Know:  Many Italian pay parking lots operate in a similar way.

Good To Know: In larger cities, digital signs show nearby parking garages and how many spaces remain.

Italian Parking Apps

Parking apps are becoming more and more common in Italy.  You usually pay a small commission to the app company, but it can be worth it for convenience. 

Some of the most used parking apps in Italy are:

  • EasyPark – this app is used throughout Europe
  • PayByPhone – another large, established parking app
  • MyCicero – it’s been having some issues, so use use the above two apps for now

Decoding Italian Parking Signs

Let’s take a look at some real photos of parking signs in Italy.

Blue Parking Sign

The blue parking sign (either a white ‘P’ with a blue background or a blue ‘P’ with a white background) indicates you can park. You may also see the sign with an arrow, pointing in the direction of parking (lot, garage, or street parking).

Parking is allowed on the street, but do not park wheels on the sidewalk. If you are allowed to park on the sidewalk, the car on the sign will have one side up on the sidewalk.

No Parking Sign

A blue circle with a red outline and a red diagonal slash.

It may also have a small white rectangular sign below indicating when the no parking is valid.  For example, ’13-15’ means you can’t park there from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Another example, ‘1° venerdì’ means no parking on the 1st Friday of the month.

No parking sign on the side of the road in Italy.
No parking here (ever – from 0:00 to 24:00) or you will be towed.

No Stopping Sign

Blue circle with a red outline and red ‘X.’

You may not stop along the stretch of road.

No stopping road sign in Italy.
No stopping allowed on this stretch of road. The small white sign with the two black arrows indicates the rule applies to before and after the posted sign. (The top sign indicates no passing.)

Workdays

Two crossed hammers indicate feriali, or workdays (Monday through Saturday).

You must pay for parking on workdays between the hours of 8:00am and 1:00pm, and between 3:00pm and 8:00pm. (You can’t park here on Mondays from 4:00pm to 6:00pm because of street cleaning – if you do, you’ll be towed.)

Holidays

A cross indicates Sundays and holidays (not only religious holidays).

Parking Machine / Meter Zone

A black icon that looks like a parking meter indicates you must pay for parking at the nearby machine.

Parking sign at Lake Garda in Italy.
Cars can park here every day of the week and must pay the rate of €2/hr between 9:00 and midnight. RVs, large trucks, and buses are not allowed to park here.

Parking Disc Zone

A blue parking disc icon indicates you can park using the disco orario within the designated time limit. See section above for more info.

Street Cleaning

Black icon of side view of a street sweeping / cleaning vehicle.

No parking for street sweeping sign in Italy.
No parking on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 2:00pm to 4:00pm because the street sweeper will be passing by. The arrows indicate the rule applies to both sides of the sign.

Road Work

A yellow sign with the no parking symbol indicates you can’t park because of road work.

Road work no parking sign in Italy.
No parking after the sign because of road work. You can see which street (via Corsini), which section of the street (in this case, the house numbers 49 through 51), the dates (May 9 – August 19), and the times (24 hours).

You may want to look at Important Italian Road Signs!

Parking Tips for Italy

  • Know how to parallel park before you get to Italy.
  • Some Italian drivers use their bumpers when parallel parking.
  • Don’t leave any valuables in your car (even hidden).  If you want to explore, leave your luggage at a left luggage station (like at the train station) or ask your hotel if you can leave your bags until you’re ready to depart.
  • Some areas and towns are ticket friendly.  So, even if you ‘got away’ with something in one town, you may not in the next one!
  • Fold your mirrors in if you park on the street.
  • Include parking availability and costs when you’re looking at accommodation – it may be worth it to pay more for a hotel that has a parking garage than to have to deal with finding (expensive) parking in a busy city center.
  • If you accidentally enter a ZTL (limited traffic zone), to avoid having to pay a fine, find the nearest parking garage (use Google Maps or your GPS to find it) and park for a couple of hours.  That way you’ll avoid a pricey ZTL fine.  The parking garage in the ZTL will record your license plate and register it in the system so you avoid getting a fine!
  • If you’re visiting a city center, park outside of the center and walk in (or even take a taxi!).  Alternatively, park at a park-and-ride and train or bus in.  Sometimes park-and-rides are free, sometimes you must pay an inexpensive hourly rate. 
  • Don’t follow the lead of local Italian drivers.  You’ll see some very creative parking on Italian streets, and some of it will receive fines.
  • Sometimes people ask for coins to ‘watch’ your car, even if you’re parked in a pay lot or blue pay parking space on the side of the street.  You are not required to pay anything.  We usually leave a euro with the person.

What To Do if You Get a Parking Fine in Italy

As a visitor, you never want to see that little piece of paper on your windshield when you get back to your car.  If you’ve received a multa (fine), the best thing to do is pay it quickly and be done with it.

“But, I don’t deserve it!  I followed the rules!”  Hey, I believe you, but trust me, it’s not worth your precious vacation time (and time back home) trying to fight it, and if you fight it and lose, you’ll end up paying extra for your delayed payment. 

How Much is a Parking Fine in Italy?

Typical parking fines range from €40 to over €300, depending on the infraction.

How to Pay a Parking Ticket in Italy

In general:

Pay within 5 days and you get a discount.

Pay online – Usually enter your name, ID number (passport), birthdate.  Then, enter the fine number.  You can pay with a credit card, and sometimes other methods like PayPal.

Always keep a record (even a photo) of your multa and payment receipt in case the fine arrives via your rental car company when you get home.

Good To Know:  You can also pay at the post office or at a tabaccheria.

Parking in Italy Vocabulary

Solo autorizzati – authorized only

Solo residenti – residents only

Passo carrabile – leave passage free

Parcheggio – parking

Parcometro – parking payment machine

Gratuito – free

A pagamento – paid

Giorni feriali – workdays (Monday – Saturday)

Giorni festivi – holidays (Sundays & holidays)

Disco orario – parking disc

Biglietto – ticket

Multa – fine

Strisce (blu, bianchi, gialli, rosa, verdi) – Lines (blue, white, yellow, pink, green)

Dov’è il parcometro? – Where is the parking payment machine?

Corsia – lane

Destra – right

Sinistra – left

I hope this has helped you feel more confident about parking in Italy!

If you’re planning on driving in Italy, check out our posts on:
Renting a Car in Italy
Italian Gas Stations and Getting Gas in Italy
Important Italian Road Signs
Driving in Italy

International Driving Permit for Italy
Renting a Car in Italy with a US Driver’s License
Italian Toll Roads – Driving on the Autostrada
Paying Tolls in Italy
Parking in Italy + Parking Sign Translations

Italian Parking FAQ

Parking lot in Montalcino, Italy.

How much does parking cost in Italy?
Depending on where you are, parking fees in Italy usually range from €0.50/hour to €5/hour.  Of course, they can be lower (like in our small town, where parking is only €0.30/hour) or much higher (in larger cities or at special events like concerts or soccer games LINK).

What do I do if the parking meter is broken (fuori servizio)?
If the parking machine is not working, look for one nearby.  There is almost always another one close to you.  If not, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like to take the risk.  Either move your car to another place, or cross your fingers that the vigili (parking police) are in a good mood.

Can I park in a ZTL (limited traffic zone) in Italy?
You should not enter a ZTL unless you have permission.  As a visitor to Italy, you can get permission by staying at a hotel within the ZTL or using a parking garage within a ZTL.

It’s important that you enter the ZTL and head straight to your destination.  Cities have multiple ZTL areas, so you need to stay in the one where your hotel or parking garage is located. 

The hotel reception or parking garage staff will contact the authorities and remove your car from the register. 

If you do not have permission to enter the ZTL with your vehicle, you will receive a fine for entering (and therefore parking) in the limited traffic zone.

How can I drop my luggage at our hotel that’s located on a narrow street with no parking spaces available?
You can stop (fermare) quickly to drop off your luggage and passengers.  Just stop, put on your emergency flashers, and unload.  Yes, you may temporarily block traffic, but it’s a normal part of driving in Italy.

What should I do if the parking machine doesn’t give me a ticket?
First, verify that it’s supposed to give you a ticket.  Some of the newer machines only require the license plate and parking space number.  If you were supposed to get a ticket, you can look for a phone number on the machine (good luck, there usually isn’t one), see if there’s a help button (aiuto), move your car to another place, or shake your head and walk away and hope you don’t get a ticket. 

This happens – it’s not rare – and if I’ve paid with a credit card, I leave my car there.  At least I have proof that I’ve paid. 

Is parking free at Italian grocery stores?
Parking is almost always free at Italian grocery stores and shopping malls (centri commerciali).  Sometimes (especially in busy city centers) you need to get a free ticket when you pay for your groceries that you insert into the machine when you leave the parking lot. 

How is the parking in Positano, Italy?
If you’re looking for free Positano parking, you’ll need to park in nearby villages of Nocelle or Montepertuso and take a bus to Positano.  Otherwise, expect to pay hefty rates to park in the lots in town (and they may be full).  The best thing to do is contact one of the garages in Positano (like Parcheggio Anna in the center) and reserve your parking.  You can also organize parking with your hotel if you’re spending the night.