From the department of “moral of the story”…
As many Americans have headed to Italy for a summer vacation, I’ve seen a significant up-tick in views of a post I published last fall, “How much does an Italian speeding ticket cost?”
At the time, I had received notification from a rental car agency that I would subsequently receive a ticket from Italian authorities.
It took more than 6 months and nearly year since my speeding infraction to receive the actual ticket, which arrived via certified mail in May from the Monteroni d’Arbia municipal police department (Monteroni is a small village on the Cassia, the old Roman road that leads from Siena to Montalcino and ultimately to Rome, the SS2 or state highway 2).
I had been clocked over the limit by an automated “Speed Limit Enforcement System” like the “Autovelox” (as it is known in Italian) in the photo above.
The fine was for €192.99 (about $214 at today’s exchange rate).
The letter from the Monteroni police also provided bank wire information for payment.
But here’s the thing: I had no way of determining the bank fees that the township’s bank (in this case, the BancoPosta or Italian postal service bank) would charge me for the receipt of the wire. All banks charge an “incoming” wire fee. I also had to pay $40 to my bank for the international wire.
I tacked on another €40 to make sure I would be covered. In the end, it cost me more than $300.
As soon as the wire had gone through (most banks today will let you send an international wire online), I emailed the Monteroni police department using the address in its letterhead.
I included a scan of the ticket and the receipt for the wire.
My “to whom it may concern” was answered by a nameless agent who wrote:
the documents have been received.
You must not do any other action.
I immediately wrote back requesting a receipt but never heard back.
Over the many years that I have lived, worked, studied, and traveled in Italy, I’ve been stopped and questioned by the police on a few occasions. In most cases, it was at a random check point. This is the first ticket and fine I’ve ever received (in nearly 30 years of driving in Italy).
Every time I’ve dealt with the police there, I’ve been reminded of Hemmingway’s 1927 novella “Che ti dice la patria” (which you will find today in an anthology entitled Men without Women, also published in 1927 by Scribner’s).
I won’t reveal the story line here but as per Ernest’s advice, always ask for a receipt…