Major cities worldwide are limiting transportation in their city centers as measures to reduce urban smog and air pollution. Rome is no exception to this. Information on the city’s official website and other resources can be unclear so we’ve devised this comprehensive guide to understanding Rome’s ZTL rules and how they apply to you.
The city of Rome has applied driving restrictions to the historic city center and outside rings surrounding it, including the neighborhoods of Trastevere, San Lorenzo and Testaccio. Each zone has special rules that apply. Certain zones restrict all vehicles from entering during designated hours, while other zones only apply to vehicles with higher emissions.
When you are traveling down a road that will lead you into a ZTL, you may see a sign just before entering.
The days of the week and time restrictions are indicated on the sign. On some signs, a vehicle symbol is included, indicating which vehicle type is restricted.
In some cases you will find electronic signs that conveniently notify you of permissibilities. They will indicate one of two possible messages: “Varco Attivo” or “Varco Non Attivo”.
Varco attivo – zone is CLOSED.
Varco non attivo – is accessible.
The historic center is closed to all non-permitted drivers from 6:30-18:00 Monday through Friday and 23:00-3:00 Fridays and Saturdays. In addition, on Saturdays it is closed from 14:00-18:00. Two exclusions apply to weekday holidays and the month of August, when streets remain open to all during the nighttime ban between the hours of 23:00-3:00.
From Monday through Friday, vehicles with the following emissions are prohibited from driving through this zone, anytime of day. Euro 0 (pre Euro 1), Euro 1, and Euro 2 (diesel and petrol). From November 1, 2019 Euro 3 diesel vehicles are now permitted to enter during restricted days.
There are no exceptions for non- permit holders; this zone is closed between the hours of 6:30-19:00 Monday through Friday and from 10:00- 19:00 on Saturdays, excluding public holidays. The prohibition applies to mopeds and motorcycles.
Automobiles categorized with the following emission levels are not permitted anytime on weekdays, excluding weekday holidays: Euro 0 (Pre Euro 1), Euro 1, Euro 2 (diesel). Special restrictions apply to this zone and can be quite tricky to follow. Pollution levels are consistently monitored by the city and if levels rise above a certain threshold, there will be an advisory issued, restricting the access of other category vehicles. In many cases, the restriction is only applied to odd or even numbered license plates (in these other categories). Here is the explanation of how it works, per the city website:
Third day of advisory: The ban will extend to Euro 2 (petrol) cars and mopeds and motorcycles classified as Euro 0 or Euro 1 with 2, 3, or 4 wheels or with a 2 or 4 stroke engine from 7:30-20:30.
Fifth day of advisory: The prohibition will extend to Euro 3 (diesel) vehicles from 7:30-10:30 and 16:30- 20:30.
Eighth day of advisory: The limitation will then apply to all diesel vehicles classified with Euro 4, 5 and 6 emissions 7:30- 10:30 and 16:30- 20:30.
The regular rules will be reapplied only once the advisory has been lifted.
Understanding when the advisory is in effect is the tricky part. If you’re not regularly subscribing to Italian news, whatsapp group chats, or Facebook community circles, such as Expats Living in Rome, you may miss the advisory. It is always posted on the official website. Alternatively, some rely on GPS applications such as Waze and Google maps, that offer insight on ZTL traffic restrictions when they are specifically programmed to, however they are not always considered reliable. It’s best to be vigilant and pay attention to the illuminated traffic signs to avoid penalty.
Trastevere – Driving is limited between the hours of 6:30- 10:00 everyday for unauthorized autos, excluding holidays. A nighttime ban is also observed between the hours of 21:30-3:00 on Fridays and Saturdays only, including holidays. The nighttime restrictions do not apply for the month of August.
San Lorenzo – Only a nighttime restriction applies in this neighborhood on Fridays and Saturdays between the hours of 21:30-3:00, including holidays. From May to October, it is also active on Wednesday and Thursdays, including holidays.
Testaccio – Restrictions apply to all vehicles nocturnally between 23:00- 3:00 on Fridays and Saturdays, holidays excluded. Please note this restriction does not apply for the month of August.
Who do the restrictions apply to? All vehicles, including foreign cars and rentals, with the exception of electric automobiles. Electric vehicles are permitted to circulate through all ZTL zones at anytime. Permission must be requested in writing to the email in this link.
Motorcycles and mopeds can be freely driven and parked within the ZTL zones at all hours. An exception is made for this exclusively in the zone marked Tridente.
What should I do if my hotel is located in a ZTL area? If you are staying in a hotel that is inside of the ZTL areas, it is advisable to contact the hotel first to advise that you are driving there. They may request temporary access on your behalf. Arrange for them to copy you on their request, in case of future dispute.
When do the restrictions not apply? Outside of the designated hours each zone is restricted and on Sundays and any weekday national holiday, although an exception applies to “Ecological Sundays” between the hours of 7:30-12:30 and 16:30- 20:30. These special Sundays are occasional, so it is best to observe the electronic traffic signs and the advisement from Romamobilita.it.
Who is eligible for a permit? Residents in the ZTL zones of Centro Storico, Trastevere, San Lorenzo, and Testaccio, including residents who live on the perimeter roads: Piazza Dell’Emporio, Via B. Franklin, Via A. Manuzio, Via B. Franklin, and Lungotevere Testaccio- specifically from Via A. Manuzio to Piazza Dell’Emporio. Please note for residents in the neighborhoods of Trastevere, San Lorenzo, and Testaccio that are within the Annello Ferroviario area, certain restrictions may still apply during the weekdays and it is advised to gain a clear understanding of these as your permit application is approved.
How can I apply for a permit? You may apply for an annual permit on the RomaMobilita website, via mail, fax, or in person at their offices. The cost will vary depending on your zone and vehicle type.
What happens if I drive into a ZTL during restricted hours without a permit? Your license plate number will be captured on camera, cross-checked with the database of permit holders, then issued a fine to the address of the registered vehicle. Fines start off at around € 100. Rental car companies will pass along these fines to the customer.
What happens if I don’t pay my fine? If you’re an EU citizen then an Italian traffic penalty will be treated as if it were issued in your country of residency. If you’re a non EU citizen, you may expect to receive debt collection correspondence, as it is common for the Italian government to sell the debt to an international debt collection agency. It is unclear if these international outfits have the authority to report it to your country’s credit reporting agencies, additional research on your part is advised. If you were operating a rental vehicle at the time of the infraction, you might expect a deduction from your credit card on file with the rental company, in addition to their handling fee.
How do I know what my car’s euro standard is? All vehicles registered in Europe include this information on the vehicle’s registration.
For accurate and up-to-date information on how to apply for your permit, zone maps, and days and restrictions, please visit the official website Here you can also take a closer look at a defined map of each zone.
Editor’s Note: last updated on 14 October 2020
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