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The worst dates to drive on Italy’s roads in the second half of August

The Local Italy
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The worst dates to drive on Italy’s roads in the second half of August
Italian motorways are no stranger to heavy traffic in August. Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP

As millions of people prepare to leave their holiday destinations to return to their residences, here are the dates to avoid on Italy’s motorways in the next two weeks.


With the long summer holidays coming to a close and many making their way back home, Italy’s motorways are forecast to see intense or at times even very heavy traffic over the second half of August in what’s generally known as controesodo (literally, ‘counter-exodus’).

The increased number of vehicles on the road isn't just inconvenient; it can also be dangerous as June, July and August are usually the months with the most recorded car accidents.

That's why the Italian government issues warnings each year advising motorists to avoid peak travel times, and even publishes its own calendar showing when traffic is predicted to be at its worst.

The official forecast is colour-coded, with a yellow marker indicating intense traffic, red indicating heavy traffic with 'possible critical conditions', and black indicating 'critical' traffic.

Though the remainder of August has no black markers, the calendar features plenty of yellow and red ‘spots’.

August traffic calendar in Italy

Italy’s official traffic calendar for the month of August. Source: Polizia di Stato

Unsurprisingly, weekends will generally be the worst time to hit the road in the next two weeks, with roads forecast to start clogging up from as early as Friday morning and possibly critical conditions expected all day long on Saturdays and Sundays.  

But even Mondays may not be safe from congestion at this time of the year as drivers are forecast to encounter intense traffic in the mornings of August 21st and 28th.

Overall then, the best time for motorists to hit the road next month would be from Tuesday to Thursday as, barring one single exception (Wednesday, August 30th), traffic is expected to remain at normal levels on those days.


How can I keep up to date with the latest developments?

There are a number of resources that motorists can use to check the live status of the road network.

This online map from Italy’s motorway construction and maintenance company ANAS features live updates on road closures, maintenance work, traffic levels and even weather conditions. The service is also available through their mobile app, ‘VAI’.

Motorway company Autostrade per l’Italia offers a similar live map, showing road closures and traffic jams as well as the locations of the nearest petrol stations and service areas. 

The Italian Transport and Infrastructure Ministry’s X (formerly Twitter) account gives live updates on the status of the country’s major roads. 

Finally, if you want to speak directly to an operator while you’re on the road, you can do so by either contacting ANAS’s customer service at 800 841 148 or using their live chat.


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