It helps to be prepared for entering and exiting the Autostrada and paying the toll for using it. If you know what to expect, you’ll feel more confident using Italy’s toll roads, and hopefully, your experience will be anxiety-free!
If you want to learn more about Italian Autostrade in general, check out our post on Autostrade – Italian Toll Roads. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the Autostrada, including how to identify it, speed limits, how to get gas, where to eat, how to avoid traffic and road construction, and more.
Entering the Autostrada – Take Your Ticket
1. Follow the green signs to the Autostrada.
2. Before you’re officially on the Autostrada, you’ll need to pass through an entrance toll booth to take a ticket (biglietto). Pay attention to where you enter. As a visitor, you will need to enter a lane with a BIGLIETTO sign and take a ticket. If the ticket isn’t sticking out of the machine when you drive up, push the red button, and take the ticket that comes out. The barrier will rise once you’ve taken a ticket and you can drive through. IMPORTANT: Do NOT drive into a yellow TELEPASS ONLY lane.
Good To Know: If you have a problem getting a ticket, you can push the red ‘SERVE AIUTO?’ (do you need help?) or ‘AIUTO’ (help) button on the machine and a live operator will answer. Often they speak some English, especially English about basic problems that visitors have while using the Autostrada.
Helpful Tip: When you take your ticket, put it somewhere accessible in your vehicle (you’ll need it when you exit the Autostrada), but don’t just leave it on the dash or somewhere it could get lost or fly out the window. If you lose your ticket, you’ll be charged from the furthest entrance, which could be very expensive.
3. Choose the appropriate direction. You’ll be given a choice of two major cities in either direction. For example, if you’re entering the A1 Autostrada in Florence, you can go in the direction of Bologna or Roma. This takes some getting used to if you’re used to looking for direction (North/South) indicators on toll roads or freeways in your home country.
Exiting the Autostrada – Pay Your Toll
When you are ready to leave the Autostrada, slow down and exit in the right lane.
Good To Know: You may need to slow down quickly as you exit – possibly from 130 km/hr to around 40 km/hr in a short stretch of road.
As you exit, you’ll drive up to a row of toll booths in front of you. Some exits have one or two lanes, while larger exits could have 15 or more booths.
1. Choose the appropriate lane, and if you’re a visitor to Italy, that’s a WHITE (cash) lane or BLUE (credit / debit card) lane.
If you want to pay your toll with cash, follow the white paint on the ground to the lanes with white signs overhead with an icon of a hand and cash.
If you want to pay your toll with a credit card or debit card, follow the blue paint on the ground to the lanes with blue signs overhead and icons of credit cards or ‘VIA CARD.’ are for paying with a credit (Visa, Mastercard, America Express) or debit card (Fast Pay, Maestro, V Pay).
2. Put your ticket into the appropriate slot (marked on the machine), and make sure you put it in the correct side up and correct direction (see the arrows on the ticket).
The screen will then show you the amount due.
3. Pay the toll (amount due), using cash or a card, depending on which toll lane you entered:
White Signs – CASH
Insert the amount due, using coins or banknotes. A little dish will open up (it kind of looks like an ashtray) and you can dump all of your coins into it. Banknotes enter vertically into the machine. You do not need to pay with exact change.
Blue Signs – CARTE
Insert your credit or debit card. Sometimes you put it in the same slot you just put your ticket in.
When the light flashes green, you can take your card out.
Good To Know: It doesn’t always work the first time, so don’t stress. If it didn’t go through (the credit card slot will often flash red or the barrier won’t go up), just take your card out, make sure you’ve inserted it correctly (facing up, stripe to the right), and try again.
4. The barrier will go up and you can drive through. Don’t forget to take your receipt if you requested one – to do so you need to push the ‘RICHIESTA RICEVUTA’ button before you begin payment.
How to Calculate Tolls on the Autostrada
There are numerous online calculators that help you figure out the tolls you’ll pay for your route, but the best resource is the official Autostrada Italia Toll Calculator.
Just enter your beginning and ending stations and you’ll see the price according to your car class.
Good To Know: Don’t know the names of the exit and entry points? You can find your Autostrada entry and exit points by plugging your route into route finder on the Autostrada Italia route calculator on the same page.
Helpful Vocabulary for Paying Your Autostrada Toll in Italy
|carta di credito||credit card|
|ho perso il biglietto||I lost the ticket|
|sono entrata a…||I entered at … Autostrada entrance|
What happens if I accidentally enter the Telepass lane when I’m entering the Autostrada?
The barrier in the Telepass lane is usually up, but sometimes comes down if it doesn’t detect a Telepass. If it stays up and you’ve gone through, continue driving to your exit and at the exit tollbooth, enter the cash lane. Push the ‘AIUTO’ (help) button and tell the operator what happened (including where you entered the Autostrada). The operator will send a printout to the machine and you’ll need to pay your toll online using the instructions on the printout.
What happens if I accidentally enter the Telepass lane when I’m exiting the Autostrada?
You’ll need to push the red ‘AIUTO’ button and tell the operator you made a mistake and don’t have a Telepass (Ho sbagliato – non ho Telepass. oh sbah-YAH-toh – nohn oh TEH-leh-pahs.). The operator will send a printout to the machine and you’ll need to pay your toll online using the instructions on the printout.
What happens if I lose my Autostrada toll ticket?
Unfortunately, you’ll be charged from the first entrance you could have made to the exit you’re at.
How can I find out how much the toll will be for my route on an Italian toll road?
The best way to calculate your tolls in Italy is to use the official Autostrada Italia Toll Calculator.
Can I rent a Telepass while I’m visiting Italy?
Unfortunately, you can no longer rent a Telepass with your rental car.
How can I get a receipt for the toll I pay on the Italian Autostrada?
When you drive up to the toll booth, before you make your payment, press the ‘RICEVUTA’ or ‘RICHIESTA RICEVUTA’ button.
What is the Punto Blu?
The Punto Blu is an Autostrada Telepass brick-and-mortar help office. Telepass is transitioning away from Punto Blu (slowly closing them). If you’re just visiting, you shouldn’t need to use a Punto Blu or get Telepass help.
Is the Autostrada in Italy a motorway?
You’ll hear the Italian Autostrada called the Italian motorway, a toll motorway, and a toll highway, or the Italian highway. It’s a system of multi-lane toll roads that run throughout the country. The speed limit is usually 130 km/hr. If you’re coming from the US, it’s more like a paid version of a freeway, with limited entrance and exit points, not like a US highway, with frequent and ‘uncontrolled’ places to enter and exit.
Do I pay the Autostrada toll before I use a gas station?
No, you can use gas stations that are on the Autostrada. You ‘exit’ to the Autostrada service station (which usually includes a gas station, toilets, and a restaurant or café). Then, you re-enter the Autostrada. You only pay the toll when you exit the Autostrada and pass through a toll booth.
Why do some Italian drivers pass right through the toll booth without stopping?
They are using an electronic payment method that uses a device called a Telepass. The Telepass lanes are yellow (the painted lines on the pavement that lead to them) and the signs above Telepass booths are yellow with a ‘T.’
When I entered the Autostrada, the barrier in front of the ticket booth was up, so I drove through without getting a ticket. What should I do?
When you exit the Autostrada, you’ll need to press the red ‘SERVE AIUTO?’ or ‘AIUTO’ (help) button to speak to an operator. You’ll need to tell the operator which Autostrada entrance you used (for example, Firenze Sud).
The operator will print out what looks like a receipt and on it will be instructions on how to pay your toll electronically. You typically have 15 days to pay it, and it’s easy to pay with a credit card. Don’t forget to pay it. If you forget and are driving a rental car, you’ll receive the fine, possibly with a late fee and an administrative fee from the car rental agency.
Good To Know: Often, you need to do the online payment on a computer (it won’t work on a mobile phone or tablet).
I entered the Autostrada but now realize I forgot my wallet and don’t have cash or a credit card. What should I do?
If you find yourself on the Autostrada without cash or a credit card, don’t panic. When you drive up to the exit toll booth, push the ‘AIUTO’ (help) button and let the operator know you don’t have money to pay. You’ll get a printout and you’ll need to pay within 15 days. The easiest way to pay is online and the directions are on the printout.