In recent years, road transport in Italy has been developing along the same trends as in the rest of the European Union, that is, very dynamically. One of the main reasons for this is the decline in the share of rail transport, as a result of its low flexibility and insufficient rail networks.
It should be noted that Polish carriers are highly valued in Europe and are making great use of this situation, becoming more and more resilient in the Italian market for transport services. For this reason, it is worth finding out what kind of road network Italy has and what Polish transport companies and their drivers should pay attention to.
Road network in Italy
First of all, it is worth getting acquainted with the road network of sunny Italy. Currently, Italy has more than 0.5 million km of all types of roads, of which nearly 7 thousand km are highways. It should also be noted that the so-called superstrade (Strade extraurbane Principale) plays an important role in Italy. In a way, they can be compared to Polish expressways. However, these are lower standard roads that handle quite a lot of long-distance traffic and are sometimes very congested. So for road transport, it is better to use the toll highway option.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that the road network in Italy is very extensive, and the major urban agglomerations are well connected with each other. Italy divides its roads into the following types:
- Autostrade: these are highways, usually managed by a private concessionaire. As in Poland, they are subject to tolls.
- Raccordi autostradali: these are older highways that currently do not meet all standards. They remain under government control.
- Strade statali: these are non-highway roads managed by the state.
- Strade provincial: these are non-highway roads managed by a province.
- Strade Municipale: these are roads managed by municipalities.
- Trafori: these are routes in tunnels, usually managed by a private concessionaire. They are usually subject to tolls.
Tolls for highways in Italy
Traveling on highways is convenient, safe and saves a great deal of time, which is extremely important for road transport in particular. Nevertheless, the use of highways in Italy involves the payment of tolls. So how should you pay for a highway trip in Italy?
When transporting goods to Italy from Poland or in the opposite direction, we will probably choose a route through the Czech Republic or Slovakia and Austria. In these countries, we can purchase e-vignettes and no longer worry about anything when traveling on their highway network. However, in Italy, we won’t purchase vignettes like in the Czech Republic or Slovakia. If we want to pay for the highway in Italy, we can:
- Pay for the highway at the gate – so when entering the highway, we take a so-called ticket, and when exiting the highway, we pay in cash or with a debit card for the passage on a given section. This is a time-consuming solution, as traffic jams often form at the gates. So it is used most often for tourist traffic, and it is quite inconvenient for time-sensitive carriers.
- Use Telepass – you can compare this payment system to the Polish e-TOLL. In this case, payment is made using a special device that must be in the vehicle. This solution significantly reduces waiting in queues at highway gates. It should be noted that this is the best option for carriers. Using the Telepass system, we use the gates marked with a yellow sign, through which we pass at a speed of up to 30 km/h.
Averaging, the cost of driving on a highway in Italy for trucks is about EUR 9, for every 100 km driven.
The most important traffic regulations in Italy
When driving on the roads in Italy, it is important to remember to follow traffic regulations. For a driver who drives a car in Italy, the basic information is the speed limits. In built-up areas, the limit is 50 km/h (in residential zones – 30 km/h). Outside the city, we can go up to 90 km/h, and on the expressway your maximum speed can be 110 km/h. When driving a passenger car on the highway, you can drive at a maximum speed of 130 km/h.
Italy – speed limits for trucks
And what restrictions apply to road transport? In built-up areas, the speed limit is 50 km/h. On the other hand, in an undeveloped area, a truck can travel up to 80 km/h, and for vehicles weighing more than 12 t, the limit is 70 km/h. If you are traveling on a highway or expressway, the speed limit is 100 km/h, and 80 km/h for vehicles over 12 t.
Mandatory car equipment
In Italy, being a driver, you are obliged to have a reflective vest, which must be worn when leaving the vehicle on highways and expressways. In addition, it is mandatory to have a warning triangle. It is also a good idea to equip yourself with a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher.
When driving on Italian roads, you must also carry a set of documents. An ID card or passport is a must when moving outside Poland, and a driver’s license, vehicle registration and third-party liability insurance are also essential. As a carrier, you can’t forget about the requirement for additional documents, the most important of which is the international consignment note – CMR, and the car must be equipped with a working tachograph.
Remember that failure to equip the car as required, or lack of required documents, is severely punished in Italy.