You would think that living here for almost two years would have helped me get in tune with bureaucracy and the rules of the polizia municipale (municipal police). I rarely drive my car and keep it parked for days on end within legal parking spaces designated for residents of Lucca. If it is a yellow-striped space, it is for “A” resident parking.
Lo and behold, I came to my car during a rather hot day recently only to find a parking ticket on my windshield. As it was in Italian and illegible due to the ink fading from roasting in the hot sun all day, it was impossible for me to determine why I had received it. I took it to work to see if a colleague could help decipher it, but she couldn’t read the faded copy. She suggested we go to the polizia to see if we could see the original, but we weren’t able to get there that day. I thought that maybe there was a restriction on the number of days a car could be parked in any one spot so I moved my car.
The next day, there was another one! Both were for € 23,00 (about $30/each). The second ticket was legible and my colleague said she thought it said that my insurance had expired and something about my windshield. My insurance doesn’t expire until December so I was totally confused. I rode my bike over to take a look to see what they were referring to and noticed an insurance paper in my windshield that had belonged to the previous owner. It expired on May 28. I had no idea that you have to post your insurance information inside the windshield. I found the paper that I had received from my insurance company, made a photocopy and took the original to the polizia to see if they would give me a break – nope! I had to pay for both tickets and found out the hard way about the insurance posting rule. The original is now proudly displayed in my windshield.
I came home late Sunday evening and drove around for about 20 minutes trying to find a parking place. I ended up halfway across the city center before I found a lovely yellow-striped place on the end of a row of filled ones. I parked, locked my car and walked home.
The next day when I arrived home from work, my friend was waiting at my apartment because he had been in the hospital all day and needed a ride home. He had tried calling me and something was wrong with my SIM card so I didn’t receive the messages. We walked to where my car had been parked and there was no car!
I looked around and noticed a sign directly above the spot where there was a sign with a disabled emblem on it. There are no different color parking spaces here and no little disability emblem on the ground to tell you not to park there. Only a very small sign against the wall in the vicinity of the space. Of course at midnight, I was only looking at the space itself and not noticing signs. Another learning experience…sigh…my poor friend had to find another ride home after we had tramped through the crowds of people in the heat to get to where my car should have been. He was in no condition to walk, much less have to return by foot since I didn’t have my car.
I went again to the polizia the next morning to find out where my car was as, of course, there was no notice or phone number on the sign with the disabled emblem. They directed me to the tow yard and after paying € 60,00 to get it out, they also handed me my ticket for € 78,00 for parking in a disabled spot. What a mess – it makes me wonder why I think I need a car. Bikes are so much easier and you can park them anywhere!