Italy Road Network

By | October 31, 2022

Already 2000 years ago the Romans started building roads in Italy. Some of the axes used by the Romans still have a prominent role in the Italian road network, albeit on new and modern roads, of course. In modern times, Italy was one of the first countries to start building motorways, Autostrada in Italian. Italy has more than 650,000 kilometers of roads, of which about 7,000 kilometers are motorways. In addition, especially in the less populated areas, the so-called superstrade play an important role: toll-free sub-standard motorways that nevertheless handle a lot of long-distance traffic.

Almost the entire road network is paved.

According to wholevehicles, Italian roads are divided according to their administrator:

  • Autostrade: motorways, usually managed by a private concessionaire and subject to toll in those cases
  • Raccordi autostradali: substandard highways under government control
  • Strade statali: non-motorways managed by the state
  • Strade provincial: non-motorways managed by the province
  • Strade municipale: non-motorways managed by the municipality
  • Trafori: tunnel routes, usually managed by a private concessionaire and subject to tolls

There is also another classification according to importance for the Italian traffic rules and signage, namely that according to extension. The breakdown in this area is as follows:

  • Highway
  • Strade extraurbane principale (known in everyday parlance as superstrada)
  • Strade extraurbane secondarie (“regular” non-motorways)
  • Strade urbane (roads within built-up areas)

Apart from the numbering, many Italians also know their roads under a specific name. This can be a traditional name (for example “Via Aurelia” for the SS1), but sometimes also a combination of the connected cities (FiPiLi for the Firenze – Pisa – Livorno route). This last route doesn’t even have a formal number; the ss number originally used for this connection runs parallel to this superstrada over country roads. Rome’s ring road is known only as the Grande Raccordo Anulare (GRA). The actual number A90 is not mentioned on the signage. Because of these “clumsiness” in road numbering, it is difficult to drive on road numbers in Italy.

Most Italian motorways are subject to tolls. The toll is usually charged because the road user draws a ticket at a toll station when entering the motorway and returns it when leaving the toll road. Payment is made per kilometer.

The quality of the road network in the south of Italy is significantly worse than in the north and center. In Sicily in particular, the road network has been neglected, common problems are tunnels whose lighting does not work, road markings that have worn away, verge vegetation that extends over the road and the poor state of maintenance of the asphalt and bridge joints. Moreover, many bridges are in poor condition, roads and bridges also regularly sag, and bridges have collapsed several times. New construction projects also have to deal with inferior quality, on some roads the road surface is already in poor condition within a few years. The corruption and influence of the mafia seems to play a role.

Road category

In Italy, the roads are categorized according to category A to F.

Bridges

Italy has a lot of bridges because of the mountainous landscape. The state of maintenance varies from excellent to no maintenance at all. In 2018, the Ponte Morandi of the A10 near Genova collapsed. However, this was no exception, since 2010 numerous bridges in Italy have collapsed. A bridge census was held in 2017, which showed that it was not clear who the manager is of 2,994 bridges. In many cases, ANAS thought the bridge was in the control of the province or municipality, while they thought the bridge was in the control of ANAS. These bridges have had no maintenance or inspections at all.

Road management

The national road authority of Italy is ANAS (Ente nazionale per le strade). As of February 7, 2019, ANAS managed 29,228 kilometers of road, of which 939 kilometers autostrada, 355 kilometers raccordi autostradali, 22,015 kilometers strade statali, 1,015 kilometers declassified road and 4,904 kilometers connecting roads and connections. ANAS only manages a limited part of the motorways, most of the motorways are toll roads under concession and are managed by the concessionaires, the largest of which is Autostrade per l’Italia. ANAS mainly manages highways in the south of Italy.

In Italy there are strade regionali, these are roads of regional importance, but in practice they are mainly managed by the provinces, even if they have a regional road number. The first strada regional was introduced to the Valle d’Aosta region in 1950. They have the prefix ‘SR’. Most roads are managed by the provinces, these have the prefix ‘SP’. The signage often does not correspond to the road numbering established by law.

List of Italian motorways

The highway of Italy.

A1 Autostrada del Sole (Milano-Napoli)
A2 Autostrada del Mediterraneo (Salerno-Reggio Calabria)
A3 Autostrada Meridionali (Napoli – Salerno)
A4 La Serenissima (Torino – Trieste)
A5 Autostrada della Valle d’Aosta (Torino – Aosta – Mont Blanc tunnel)
A6 La Verdemare (Torino – Savona)
A7 Autostrada dei Giovic (Milano – Genoa)
A8 Autostrada dei Laghi (Milano – Varese)
A9 Autostrada dei Laghi (Lainate – Como – Chiasso)
A10 Autostrada dei Fiori (Genoa – Ventimiglia)
A11 Autostrada Firenze-Mare (Firenze – Pisa)
A12 Autostrada Azzurra (Genoa – Rosignano / Tarquinia – Roma)
A13 (Padova – Bologna)
A14 Autostrada Adriatic (Bologna – Taranto)
A15 Autostrada della Cisa (Parma – La Spezia)
A16 Autostrada dei Due Mari (Napoli – Canosa)
A18 (Messina – Catania / Siracusa – Cassibile)
A19 (Palermo – Catania)
A20 (Messina – Palermo)
A21 Autostrada dei Vinic (Torino – Piacenza – Brescia)
A22 Autostrada del Brennero (Brenner – Modena)
A23 Autostrada Alpe-Adria (Palmanova – Tarvisio)
A24 Strada dei Parchi (Roma – L’Aquila – Teramo)
A25 Strada dei Parchi (Torano – Pescara)
A26 Autostrada dei Traforic (Voltri – Gravellona Toce)
A27 Autostrada di Alemagna (Mestre – Belluno)
A28 (Conegliano – Portogruaro)
A29 Autostrada del Sale (Palermo-Mazara del Vallo)
A30 (Caserta – Salerno)
A31 Autostrada della Val d’Astico (Piovene Rocchette – Vicenza)
A32 Autostrada del Frejus (Torino – Bardonecchia)
A33 (Asti – Cuneo)
A34 (Villesse – Gorizia)
A35 BreBeMi (Melzo-Brescia)
A36 Autostrada Pedemontana (Busto Arzisio – Brembate)
A50 Tangenziale Ovest di Milano (Viboldone – Trezzano sul Naviglio – Rho – Arese)
A51 Tangenziale Est di Milano (San Donato Milanese – Usmate)
A52 Tangenziale Nord di Milano (Sesto San Giovanni – Paderno Dugnano)
A53 Raccordo Autostradala RA7 (Bereguardo – Pavia)
A54 Tangenziale di Pavia (Pavia – San Martino Siccomario)
A55 Tangenziale di Torino (Falchera – Rivoli – Trofarello)
A56 Tangenziale di Napoli (Napoli – Pozzuoli)
A57 (Quarto d’Altino – Venice – Dolo)
A58 Tangenziale Est Esterne di Milano (Melegnano – Omate)
A59 Tangenziale di Como (Como – Albese Con Cassano)
A60 Tangenziale Est di Varese (Varese – Cantello)
A90 Grande Raccordo Anulare (Ring Rome)
A91 (Roma – Aeropuerto Fiumicino)
auto. CT-SR Autostrada Catania-Siracusa (Catania – Augusta)
auto. Roma-LT Autostrada Roma – Latina (Roma – Latina)

Finally, Italy has some zubringers, locally known as Raccordi and Diramazioni. Raccordi are routes that connect two motorways close to each other. They officially bear one number that combines both connected routes, for example A8/A26. Diramazioni are rather zubringers in the classical sense of the word. Their number is derived from the road number to which they lead, supplemented by the suffix “dir”.

European roads

European roads in Italy
E25 • E27 • E33 • E35 • E45 • E55 • E61 • E62 • E64 • E66 • E70 • E74 • E76 • E78 • E80 • E90 • E612 • E717 • E821 • E840 • E841 • E842 • E843 • E844 • E846 • E847 • E848• E931 • E932 • E933

Speed ​​limits

The limit sign with the speed limits.

Road type Vmax
(super street)
(motorway)

Superstrade are indicated with a white on blue highway symbol, autostrade with a white on green highway symbol.

Article 142 of the Highway Code (Codice della Strada) allows a maximum speed of 150 km/h on a highway with at least 2×3 lanes and tutor. As far as is known, the maximum speed has never been increased to 150 km/h.

Road numbering

In Italy there is a complex road numbering system. There are actually 4 primary numbering systems;

1) the highway (A)

2) the strada statale (SS)

3) the strada regional (SR)

4) the strada provincial (SP)

The numbering system becomes complex because there are numerous branches with a suffix, such as ‘dir’ or ‘bis’ or ‘var’ or ‘ter’ or ‘qtr’. In addition, there are raccordi autostradale, which are branches of motorways with an ‘RA’ number, which are not always signposted in practice. Ring roads are called a tangenziale, but these do not have a separate road numbering, although many tangenziali are numbered within the general system.

The actual road number that has been established by law tends to deviate from the signposted number. When roads are transferred to a local authority, the road numbering is also changed, although in many cases the number remains the same, but the prefix changes. This is done in different ways per region and province. In Lombardy the designation ‘SP ex SS’ is used.

There are temporary road numbers, which are called a ‘Nuova strada ANAS’ (NSA). Quite a few of these numbers are no longer in use. A number of important tunnels in the Alps are numbered with a T. Strade comunali (SC) are occasionally also signposted with a number.

Some superstrade or even autostrade do not have a number but only a name or abbreviation, such as the FiPiLi (Firenze – Pisa – Livorno) or the aut.CT-SR (Autostrada Catania-Siracusa). Rome’s ring road (A90) is also locally known as the Grande Raccordo Anulare (GRA).

Signage

Motorways in Italy are signposted with white letters on a green background. References to the motorway from a non-motorway are also carried out in that color scheme. All other roads are signposted with white letters on a blue background. Objects and districts are signposted in black letters on a white background, while targets of a geological nature (natural beauty, etc.) are signposted in white letters against a brown background. In Italy it also happens that companies can also be signposted from the main road. This is done with black letters on a yellow background.

The font used in Italy is a variant of the British Transport font. The main difference compared to the United Kingdom, however, is that targets are basically written in all capital letters on the signs. Only non-place names (objects, city districts, etc.) are put on the signs in regular script. Road names appear completely in lowercase, so not even a capital letter at the beginning.

Road numbers only appear on the signs in Italy to a limited extent. Intersecting road numbers are usually indicated, even the number of a road that intersects at a later stage. However, the number of the road itself regularly does not appear on the signs. On many motorways, only the E number of the route is indicated, but not the national number, which is more widely used in Italy. There is also no unambiguous line in the implementation of the number plates. ss routes and sp routes are indicated one time with blue letters on a white background, and the other time with white letters on a blue background. The shield for motorwaysis executed uniformly, as an octagon with a green background and white letters.

Mileage posts often also serve as route confirmation signs in Italy. On non-motorways they often give the road number and name of the road, as well as the distance to the first village and/or the next major town. On motorways, the distance to the next exit, the distance to the next service point and the distance to the control city are given alternately. However, regular distance signs or route confirmation signs are rare in Italy; one has to rely on the fairly small signs in the verge or central reservation.

To understand the signage in Italy, one has to distinguish between the regular directional signs (usually designed as a branch sign with only one or two targets per direction) and the additional service signs (usually designed as a control sign with many targets per direction). The targets that appear on a service sign are no longer held continuously after the intersection or exit in question. They are listed once to give a more detailed picture of the further routes from that point. However, it is not possible to drive on these targets, because it is always unclear whether these targets will return at the next intersection.

Road safety

Year Road fatalities
2010 4.114
2011 3,860
2012 3.753
2013 3.401
2014 3,381
2015 3.428
2016 3.270
2017 3.340
2018 3.334
2019 3.130

In 2010 there were 70 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants in Italy, a decrease of 44 percent compared to 2001. Italy therefore belongs to the middle bracket of the European Union. Particularly on the motorways, the number of road deaths has been reduced considerably, partly by means of the section control tutor. In 2015, there were 56 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants, bringing Italy around the EU average.

Italy is somewhat known for chaotic traffic in cities where traffic rules are widely ignored and scooters race through the traffic. However, this subjective perception of road safety is not reflected in the figures for the number of road deaths.

Italy Road Network