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Getting behind the wheel of a bright red Ferrari sports car doesn’t mean you can drive anywhere – not even in Italy.
That’s what one American tourist found to his cost when he drove a gleaming Ferrari Spider into the Piazza della Signoria, a famous pedestrianized square in the historic center of the city of Florence.
The tourist was apprehended on Monday after he parked the Swiss-registered Ferrari Spider, having been seen motoring along the adjacent Via dei Gondi street in what local officials described as a “nonsensical” way.
The square he drove across is normally teeming with tourists, many on their way to visit the adjacent Uffizi Gallery, home to some of Italy’s most famous artworks.
He was fined 470 euros ($506) by police on the spot after checks revealed that he didn’t have the appropriate paperwork for driving in Italy on the roads, let alone in the piazza.
“Checks revealed that the 43-year-old driver had an American driving license that did not comply with international conventions and did not have an international driving permit or official translation,” a statement from the Municipality of Florence said.
“A report was taken for parking in the pedestrian area, driving against the direction and having non-compliant foreign license, the fine was a total of 470 euros, which he paid directly to the agents.”
It’s not the first time in recent months that tourists have been driving themselves into trouble in Italy’s historic hotspots.
In January, a Californian tourist was fined 500 euros (about $540) when he drove a rented Fiat Panda car across the Ponte Vecchio, an ancient, pedestrianized bridge spanning the River Arno in Florence.
And in May last year, a Saudi man was arrested trying to leave Italy after he drove a rented Maserati sports car down the Spanish Steps in Rome and fled the scene after the vehicle became stuck halfway. He was charged with damaging a cultural monument.