In our first post from Italy, I said “We are proud to say that we have NOT received any parking tickets yet!”
Well, Italy responded.
It said “You two Americans think you’re pretty smart, no? Ha ha ha! Well, here’s that parking ticket! AND, just for giggles, I’ll throw in a surprise street cleaning — which because you don’t know about it, and because there may or may not be a notice about the cleaning posted in the parking lot (but probably not) — your cute little Fiat rental will be towed!”
And so, our cute Fiat was towed.
It turns out that between 12:30AM-6AM on the fourth Wednesday of the month (except summer months, December, and January) is street cleaning time in the particular lot where we had parked. How were we supposed to know that? Well, we know now that you can find the street cleaning schedule on the city of Bologna website here. There should also be a notice posted in the parking area 48 hours before the cleaning. Luke and I didn’t see one. But we’re not interested in exploring the Italian ticket appeals process quite yet…
This story might sound like a lowlight for the week. It is. In the end, we are down three hours and about 200 Euro in fines and towing expenses. But, in our twisted almost-expat life, it is also a highlight. While our parking pride is damaged, we have a new sense of pride. We were able to find our car when it went missing. We were able to get help when help was needed.
In our twisted way, the whole experience was rather quite pleasant. Although I joked above that Italy gets a kick out of being cruel to newcomers, this was NOT the case. Each of the Italians who helped us along the way — the lovely ladies in the Visitor’s Center, the three different police officers we spoke to, and the woman on the bus who helped us pay our bus fare — was extremely helpful, empathetic, and surprisingly not offended by our butchering of the Italian language.
In a nutshell: “Grazie!” to the nice Italians who helped us! And, if you’re ever parking in Bologna overnight, we recommend you check the street cleaning schedule on the web (except if it’s summer, December, or January, of course).