TRAFFIC: The worst dates to travel on Italy’s roads this August
Italy’s autostrade, or motorways, usually see little in the way of heavy traffic, at least outside of the major cities.
But in summer that all changes, as everyone escapes the baking hot cities for the cooler air of the mountains or the coast.
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Not only do motorways become much busier, but many smaller roads, particularly in coastal areas and around holiday hotspots, become completely clogged with traffic.
The increased number of vehicles on the road isn’t just inconvenient: it can also be dangerous, with traffic deaths rising by an estimated seven percent in August.
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, produced as part of the ‘Viabilità Italia’ summer travel plan drawn up by the government, emergency services, and and state road agency ANAS, notes particularly busy dates to avoid.
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The calendar is colour coded, with a ‘yellow’ spot indicating heavy traffic, ‘red’ indicating heavy traffic with ‘possible critical conditions’, and ‘black’ indicating ‘critical’ (i.e., dire) traffic.
The roads in August are (predictably) set to be most crowded on weekends, the government’s forecast shows, with at least a ‘red’ level warning issued for Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month.
Traffic is anticipated to reach its worst levels on the mornings of Saturday, August 6th and Saturday, August 13th, which have been marked as critical ‘black’ periods.
Unlike in July, Fridays are also consistently a bad time to travel on Italy’s roads in August: ‘red’ warnings are attached to every Friday bar August 19th, which has a slightly lower-level ‘yellow’ warning in the morning (but a ‘red’ warning for the afternoon/evening).
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Traffic is expected to remain at broadly normal levels during the working week throughout the month bar the August 15th Ferragosto national holiday, which this year falls on a Monday; and August 31st, which will see a large number of Italians return from holiday (both ‘yellow’ days).
Yellow heavy traffic warnings have also been issued for the mornings of Monday, August 22nd and Monday, August 29th.
To cover the tail end of the holiday period, ANAS has also put out alerts for the first couple of weeks of September.
Motorists can expect to experience heavy traffic from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening on the weekends of September 2nd-4th and 9th-11th, with especially clogged roads (‘red’ warnings) on the morning of Saturday September 3rd and the afternoon of Sunday September 4th.