Guide to Northern Italy’s toll roads
What you must know before you drive in Italy:
- Their highways (Autostrada) are all toll roads and there are multiple toll points per highway
- Toll fees are irregularly applied – you can drive 50 km and see no toll points and after that pass three consecutive toll points for the last 20 km
- You get a ticket when you enter the highway and pay on the toll point exit pushing your ticket in the machines
- There are two types of payment: Telepass lane and cash (biglietto) lane – always go in the cash lane
- Be prepared: check your toll fee here
There are three types of Italian driving experiences – driving in the city, driving on country roads and on the highway (Autostradas). We managed to fit them all in our recent trip to Northern Italy with our rental car.
If you have opted for a rental car and will visit different cities, the highway is the fastest way to go, but also the most expensive. The toll rates can go up to 50 EUR or more for one trip. Gas on the highways is also more expensive than the country roads. On the other hand, if you decide to use the country roads, be prepared for a long and slow trip.
The country roads in Northern Italy go through many small towns and villages and have a near constant speed limit of about 60 km/h so it can take you a long time to get from city to city. In our experience, we traveled from Milan to Turin using the Autostrada for about 1 h 45 min. In comparison, the trip back from Turin to Milan on country roads was about 3 hours.
When driving from Milan to Turin, always remember:
- You will pay around 20 EUR in toll fees
- The last fee closest to Turin is the most expensive
- Be prepared with a full tank – not many gas stations en route
- Bring cash and avoid the Telepass booths
If you pass through the Telepass booth on the entrance of the highway, you will be able to proceed, but you won’t have a ticket to note where you’ve entered. Afterwards, when you reach the exit toll point and you don’t have a ticket, you won’t be able to pay to pass. We made this mistake and we had to wait for someone from the employees to come and explain to them why we don’t have a ticket. Vice versa, if you try to exit on a Telepass booth, you may be issued a fine along with the toll rate from your rental car company.
Driving on Italian highways takes some getting used to. It’s not very intuitive for foreigners or first-time visitors. We were surprised by the high toll rates and by the uncooperation we saw from the employees there. I hope that this article spares some of you the trouble we went through.
Alternative means of transport
There are regular trains between Turin – Torino Porta Nuova Railway Station and Milan – Milano Centrale Railway Station. The trains run every 60 minutes and are comfortable and fast. The train ride between Milan and Turin will take you less than 2 hours and costs 12,54 EUR. You can check the trains timetable here.
Do you have experience with Italian Autostradas? Share and comment below!