Roma (CNN) — The Ponte Vecchio, a magnificent centuries-old bridge spanning the Arno River in the Italian city of Florence, is best seen on foot, with throngs of tourists regularly thronging the pedestrian structure to view its ancient stonework.
Especially when, as one California tourist discovered this week, attempting to drive across could cost you upwards of $540.
The unnamed 34-year-old man was fined 500 euros after crossing the bridge in a rented white Fiat Panda, and for driving without an international driving license on Thursday morning, according to a statement from the city of Florence. Press office.
He told police he was looking for parking and didn’t realize he was on the famous medieval bridge, the statement said.
The Ponte Vecchio is closed, lined with shops and normally very busy with pedestrians.
The 98-foot (30-meter) long landmark, which crosses the narrowest part of the Arno River, connects Pitti Palace to Piazza Repubblica. The original bridge was started in 996 and finished in 1345, and has been washed away by floods and rebuilt several times.
It is the only bridge in Florence that was not bombed by Germany during World War II. It also houses the Vasari Corridor, a passage originally used by Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici between Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Vecchio.
The city of Florence has allocated 2 million euros for a large renovation project, according to the budget of the city of Florence.
The Fiat Panda driver isn’t alone when it comes to tourists getting in trouble by apparently taking a wrong turn at a famous Italian landmark.
Last May, a Saudi man was apprehended trying to leave Italy after driving a rental Maserati sports car into Rome’s Spanish Steps and fled after the vehicle got stuck half-way. He was charged with aggravated damage to cultural heritage and monuments.
Top image: Ponte Vecchio from Florence (Marta Carenzi/Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images)