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Parking in Italy is much easier than you would think. The more tourist-oriented towns and cities have large, pay parking lots just outside the historic centers. Street parking is organized and designated with signs and by the color of the lines for the parking spots.

The color of the lines on the parking space indicates the type of parking.

Blue Lines: Pay Parking

In most regions, blue lines mark paid street parking. There will be a payment machine or a place to buy tickets close by. You get some type of receipt telling you how long you can stay (the time your parking expires is usually printed on the receipt). Put this receipt in the car window.

Beware of Fake Parking Lot Attendants

White Lines: Free Parking

In many towns, white lines mark free parking spots on the street but they may be limited by time. The closest parking sign will tell you if you must set your parking disc to show when you arrived.

Free Parking with a Parking Disc

If the parking sign indicates that the parking is time-limited, you need to use a parking disc to indicate the time you parked. When you rent a car in Italy, they may already have a parking disc. If they do not, you can purchase one at a Tobacco store or gas station. Ask for a disco orario. They are not expensive.

To use the parking disc, set it to indicate the time you parked and place it inside your car in the windshield so it can be seen by the parking police. You must return within the time allowed as indicated on the sign.

Note: When parking in larger cities, like Florence, white lines can be for residents only. Check for signs when you park.

No Lines: Free Parking

Some parking lots outside of towns are just fields designated for parking. No lines - the cars just park however they can.

Pay Parking: Purchase Ticket at Store

Some parking lots with blue lines have a nearby store where you purchase the ticket instead of at a machine. Look on the parking sign - it usually has a hint about what you need to do.

The Parking Scratch Card

You buy one card for each hour you want to park. Then you scratch off the date and the time. If you are staying for longer than one hour, you have to prepare cards for each hour and make each card good for consecutive time periods. Instructions on the back are in Italian, English, French and German.

Pay Parking: Lots

The larger towns have large pay parking lots. Siena has one near the Fortezza. Arezzo has one just outside the town walls. Assisi has several surrounding the town. They are all different. Usually you get a ticket from a machine or a person as you enter. Then, when you are ready to leave, you take the ticket to a booth (on foot) and pay. You either pay a person or a machine. You get your ticket back and, when you drive out, you insert it into a machine which then opens the gate.