U.S. Traveler Hit With Hefty Fine for Driving Rental Car Over Famous Florence Bridge

The man told local police he had been looking for a parking space and didn’t realize where he was driving.

People in small boats in front of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy

Westend61/Getty Images

An American tourist was fined for driving a rental car over a famous pedestrian-only bridge in Florence.

The 34-year-old California man crossed the famous Ponte Vecchio in a rented white Fiat Panda car last week — and was hit with a €500 (about $543) fine for his trouble, CNN reported. To make matters worse, the man was driving without an international driver's license. 

The man told local police he had been looking for a parking space and didn’t realize where he was driving, the network reported.

The bridge sits in the middle of Florence, connecting two sides of the city over the Arno River. On one side tourists can visit sites like the Duomo and the Mercato Centrale, and on the other they can take in the views from the Piazzale Michelangelo and tour the Pitti Palace.

The Ponte Vecchio itself was completed in 1345 and was the first segmental arch bridge built in the West, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The bridge has survived throughout the years, including during World War II when it became the only one to be spared by the retreating German army.

Today, the bridge features several shops, many of which sell high-end jewelry. The bridge also has a lookout point in the middle where giant arches frame the view of the river and the surrounding city.

This isn’t the first time a tourist has been fined for doing the wrong thing in Italy. In September, an American visitor to Rome was fined €450 after he was caught eating and drinking while sitting on one of the city’s fountains.

In May, a 37-year-old Saudi man was apprehended by border police after a Maserati was driven down the Spanish Steps. And in June, a pair of American tourists were fined — and even briefly banned — after they damaged the steps with electric scooters.

And in Venice, a pair of tourists were fined for riding motorized surfboards down the city’s Grand Canal with the city’s mayor calling them "overbearing imbeciles who make a mockery of the City.”

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles