Like those in the 18th century who appreciated archaeological discoveries of classical antiquity, I try to make art using authentic materials and methods from the same time. Oh yeah, and sometimes I use humor.
So on Friday I was checking through a particularly large pile of mailbox leavings. Throwing out the small book's worth of ads and credit card offers, I noticed the rare gem of a real piece of correspondence. Well, not actually, it was from Hertz. For those of you in a different country, oh wait, I guess you have Hertz there too.
Opening the letter, my eyes fell on some charges and official looking documents from the municipal police of Como and Venice. The pages had their logo anyhow. I started daydreaming about how incredibly scenic both of those places are, but then quickly snapped out of it. It had been around seven months since I was over in Italy. My first thought was that this was some sort of scam and I quickly doublechecked the postmark for 'Nigeria' or some such place.
Unfortunately though, these infractions were real and the kind of thing those of us from the US are not familiar with. More specifically, I had driven into some limited traffic zones (ZTL) while touring around with my hired car. The ZTL areas are accessible to local drivers only, and only during certain times and moon phases.
The signs themselves are quite small and sometimes difficult to spot. Luckily, they used the red circle on a white background so it's a bit like 'Where's Waldo' (Wally for the UK types). Of course this finding game will cost you around 100 euro per infraction automatically enforced with computerized cameras. 'Where's Waldo' never kicked me in the nuts like this...
*Actual size of sign...
These limited traffic zones seem nefarious to visitors because as you are driving along trying not to be hit or get completely lost, the tendency is to follow other vehicles. You know, so you don't end up driving demolition derby on the floor of the Colosseum, or maybe floating behind a gondola in the Venice lagoon.
The actual purpose of the Zona Traffico Limitato is noble, it helps keep the old monuments in the town centers less exposed to pollution and not as many cars actually on the road so it looks nicer. But, it can't be ignored that this is a major money maker for the cities of Italy. I read a statistic that just the city of Firenze (Florence) rakes in 53 million euro per year in ZTL tickets.
Trying to remember the specific times of my infractions, I thought of driving in Como and remembered cutting across town to avoid driving out in the wrong direction (I had to get to my rented villa before dark and it was late). I still can't remember what I did wrong in Venice. I have to presume it was on the land side (Mestre) because there aren't many roads on Venice itself and my rental car wasn't amphibious.
Since I remember being guilty on the first ticket at least, and it's impossible to fight the bureaucracy, I'll pay of course. I plan on paying my two tickets when the euro goes less than the dollar in a few weeks. Hah.
The weekend was great, the culmination of which was a wine tasting party which ended with time trial racing on a four wheeler ATV in an expensive neighborhood at 1:30 AM, but that is a post for another time.
Mi piace la natura permanente di arte, in particolare il arte di pietra. Come chiunque altro, felice di imparare cose nuove e incontrare nuovi amici.
Viaggi in luoghi con la storia interessante è molto importante.
I've been learning the Italian language for a year now, but I think I'm not very good yet.