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Driving in Italy - TOLLS

Simple question:
Are roadway tolls collected by people, or are we throwing coins into baskets, or will we scan a credit card?

What should we expect between Florence and Venice and up to the Dolomites?

I know there could be several versions - just trying to get a handle on Euros needed vs credit cards. Thanks!

Posted by
923 posts

You have 3 options: pay cash (bills or coins), pay with credit card, or rent a Telepass transponder device to zip through the Telepass lines. Most car rental agencies will rent you a transponder.

If you are not using a Telepass device, do NOT go through the lanes marked with a giant yellow Telepass sign. You cannot get an entry ticket or pay on exit by other means in those lanes, and will have to back up, snarling traffic and your brain.

If you want a staffed booth, look for a lane marked with a white sign and an outstretched hand. If you don’t need a human, pick a lane that shows either coins or cards without the hand. The lane signs are huge, so it shouldn’t cause you any trouble (at least after the first one 😜)

Posted by
923 posts

Great. Now, part 2 - Tolls, the advanced course:

You could do a web search for “images Italian toll plaza”. Here is one example that shows most of the lane options, but I suggest you search for other images as there are a few more variations.

Yellow sign is Telepass only. Blue sign is credit cards only. White signs are usually cash only, staffed or unstaffed.

The variations are that sometimes the blue lane will also allow Telepass users to zip through, only if marked with a yellow square “T” in a corner of the sign. Staffed (white) lanes with the hand will sometimes take credit cards. But really, it becomes obvious after just one or two tries.

If you plan to drive around Milan, there is one and only one bit of toll road that has no toll plaza. It’s called Pedemontana and is well signed. You either need a Telepass device or you are expected to go to the website afterwards and pay the posted toll online. Details here: Pedemontana If you don’t pay, your car rental agency will pay it and charge you back. I’ve been on the road a few times, it is well marked and easy to pay afterwards. If you are expecting it.

This is not to scare or dissuade you, just to provide a complete story. Doesn’t sound like you’re headed to Milan, and the rest is pretty normal: pull a ticket on entry, pay at exit, pick the right type of lane and off you go.

Posted by
12916 posts

Everything illustrated below in the official Italian Freeway company website:
I generally pay cash and I choose the lane with the white sign displaying a black hand holding cash (that means there is a human collecting the toll). That way I don’t have to deal with the machine. If the line there is long I choose the cash machine lane (white sign with cash but no black hand). The machine requires you to insert the bills in a slot, similar to an ATM when you insert checks. The machine gives change so you don’t have to worry about the exact change.
The tolls are not huge, for example from Florence (FIRENZE NORD entrance) to Venice (VENEZIA MESTRE exit) the toll is less than 20€ (19.70€ to be exact), so it’s not a big deal to pay cash for that amount. From Venice to the Dolomites, assuming you head to Cortina first, which I recommend, the toll between Venice and the Belluno exit is under 10€. Beyond that it’s free two lane highways through the mountains.

Posted by
27709 posts

I haven't been back since the pandemic so they may have changed the machines (fat chance but you never know) but if you are paying by card you stick it in the slot, the edge with the chip leading, face up, and the ticket goes in the same slot.. Actually ticket first, then credit card. There is a very hard to understand metal voice that tells you what to do, but there are also signs on the machine. If you want a receipt you need to press the black receipt button. When it all works the metal voice will say arrivederci and the barrier will lift.

As Nelly says, it sounds worse than it is, just pay attention. And stay out of the Telepass lane if you don't have one....

Posted by
14885 posts

When you enter the tollway, you must take a ticket. You pay when you exit the tollway, inserting the ticket first. AT least in Tuscany/Umbria there were no intermediate toll plazas, as there are in other countries. For that reason, it's not worth getting a transponder.

Posted by
331 posts

And of course the most important: be aware of the color of the traffic light! When you enter and exit often not all gates are opened. Maybe you are looking for the toll signs and you don't pay attention to the light and you enter in a closed gate.