For first time visitors to Italy, it’s just as well that you know not to park where you ought not to, or if you do, know that you risk a 100 euro fine. I don’t know what I did really to deserve this massive fine. I have decided to regard it just as a tourist tax and get on with life. All I know is that 18 months after visiting this blissfully beautiful little Ligurian town(it ought to be Tuscan, but the squiggly lines on the map confused the issue) I got a demand to pay 100 euro for illegal parking, with the threat of double trouble if I didn’t settle up pdq.  My antennae should have quivered 3 months earlier when I got a bill for £30 from a car hire company, but I just couldn’t be arsed to find out what it was all about. It turned out to have been the charge my car hire company had applied to my account 12 months after conclusion of the car hire contract as a fee for responding to the flics’ request for info as to who had hired their car at the relevant time.

So a few months later I received this bill for a hundred quid. As it happened I was just about to go back to Italy and I thought I would call in at the local Questura or whatever and pay up. It is never a sacrifice to call in to Sarzana; it’s so beautiful; perhaps this is why it galls so much that the bastardi have taken so much money off me for a little cheeky parking. (Down boy). Anyway, I collared a wandering poliziotto, explained my plight and got directions to the Caribinieri Caserma. just as I was setting off he had second thoughts and explained that I couldn’t pay at a police station, but had to go to a bank. He gave me the name of the bank and directions to the nearest branch. I explained the situation all over again to a very pleasant, patient bank clerk, happy to supplement my(by then) wilting Italian with his tv English; only to discover that I only had two thirds of the relevant paper work and that without the missing essential final piece, he, sadly, couldn’t take my money. Does this ring any bells with any one else’s contacts with Italian bureaucracy ? Eventually, I discovered that the easiest way to settle the whole situation was to come back home and make a bank transfer; Bingo ! Sorted !! But I still love Italy. See the photo for a little glimpse of why Sarzana might appeal to you.