Italy issues first ‘critical’ traffic warning this weekend amid summer holiday exodus

Italian authorities have issued the first 'black' critical travel warning this year for Saturday August 7th, with particularly heavy traffic at peak summer holiday season.

Italy issues first 'critical' traffic warning this weekend amid summer holiday exodus
Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

The highest-level critical warning covers the whole country on Saturday, and there’s a lower-level ‘red’ alert in place on Sunday.

With temperatures set to reach the mid to high 30s nationwide in the coming week – and up to the mid-40s in many parts of southern Italy – people across the country are flocking to coastal and mountain areas.

REVEALED: The parts of Italy where Italians are going on holiday this summer

Meanwhile international tourism is reaching its peak with “a large influx of tourists from northern Europe headed to Italian beaches”, reports the Ansa news agency on Saturday,

The ‘Viabilità Italia’ official summer traffic plan drawn up between the government, emergency services and state road agency ANAS, notes particularly busy roads and dates to avoid.

For the weekend of August 7-8th, the routes expected to see the heaviest traffic include the following:

A26 Voltri – Gravellona Toce, towards Genova

A8 / A9 Milan – Laghi, towards Sesto Calende and Valico Brogeda

A4 towards Venice

A4 Venice – Trieste in the direction of Trieste

A27 Venice – Belluno

A22 towards Brenner

A12 Rome-Civitavecchia in the southerly direction

A14 Bologna – Taranto particularly on the Forlì – Cattolica section

A16 in the Avellino east-Candela section

A30 Caserta – Salerno

Anas issued a reminder that there will be a ban on heavy vehicles in force from 8-4pm on Saturday August 7th and from 7-10 pm on Sunday August 8th. Meanwhile, roadworks have been “reduced to a minimum to facilitate vehicular traffic flows,” it said.

READ ALSO: Italy has the most speed cameras in Europe, study shows

Unsurprisingly, especially busy roads are also forecast across Italy in the days around the main summer holiday, Ferragosto, when the whole country more or less completely shuts down.

Ferragosto is on August 15th, a Sunday this year, though the whole week is often taken as a holiday and heavy traffic is expected everywhere over that weekend.

The Italian authorities are urging people to avoid travelling at peak periods this summer, as not only is travelling on certain dates guaranteed to be stressful and unpleasant, but the roads will become more dangerous.

At the presentation of the official ‘Viabilità Italia’ traffic forecast in July, police chief Franco Gabrielli stressed that the frequency of road deaths in August normally increases by seven percent.

For more information, see real-time traffic information on the ANAS website and app, or call the free information hotline on 1518 (in Italian only.)

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EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example.