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paying tolls in northern Italy


New Member
We will be flying into Milan later this month. We will be spending two weeks visiting Orta San Giulio, Mantova, Ferrara and other places in the area. We are renting a car at the airport. On toll roads with electronic toll payment is there always a toll booth so we can pay cash? There is an old post on Tripadvisor where a tourist, in the Milan area, was not able to pay and was billed months later with horrible fees attached. I would appreciate any info. Thanking you in advance.

Giulia da Urbino

100+ Posts
Yes, of course you can pay cash! Or with cc.
When you enter a toll road you take the ticket. When you exit there will be different kinds of signs:

Cash with physical cashier - white sign with a hand and notes and coins
Cash with automatic booth - white sign with notes and coins
Credit cards with automatic booth - blue sign with cards and CARTE written on it
Telepass (automatic payment through a small appliance that you need to have in your car) - Yellow sign with TELEPASS written on it

You can find mixed lanes for Automatic with both cards and cash or Cards and Telepass.

Just avoid the yellow lanes (and if you only want to pay cash also the blue only), look for the white lanes or blue/white.

The only way you can go through and not pay (and thus get a fine) is tailgating a car that goes through the Telepass lane. In case that you can't find a cash lane or that you miss it, press the red button for assistance and tell them that your card is not working "LA CARTA NON FUNZIONA", they will print a ticket that you can pay at the nearest "Punto blu", usually near the biggest Autostrada exits where you show your ticket and pay with no extra charge.

I hope that the information is useful. Have a great trip!


New Member
Thank you very much Giulia. This information is very helpful. I was concerned because here, in the New York area, some highways do not give the option of paying onsite. There are no toll booths, the cameras just film the car. For those who do not have a TelePass the camera films the license plate and the registered owner gets a bill in the mail. I have no idea how that affects our tourists. Thanks again


100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
I've found this story in Italian about one exit, Sasso Marconi Nord, that only has Telepass lanes, with barriers that won't go up if one doesn't have the pass, but it's marked at the exit.

In the U.S., rental car companies offer the transponders, but they may charge a high fee for it for every day of the rental, even those when you don't go on a toll road. Sometimes it's better to decline it for the rental, then the toll authorities bill the rental company, which passes it along to the renter with a surcharge.


500+ Posts
There are two sort of "panic" moments when exiting the autostrada, if you aren't experienced with it :

1) the first is when you have to choose the proper lane, according to what type of payment you intend to use. The best way to do this the first time, is not to drive through during the rush hour - just approach slowly, choosing the right lane calmly, while being aware of traffic coming from behind if you have to cross lanes. Stop for a few seconds where you are if you have to.
2) the second is the paying itself : now all of a sudden you're opposite an automatic paying machine, and it's not immediately clear what you have to do (where to insert the ticket, the coins/paper bills, where the change comes out, etc.). Here again, best not to try this when there's a lot of traffic, so as not to be pressured if you don't immediately understand.
Lots of videos on this, here's a rather helpful one :
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWD6dTpR2u8

The actual driving on the autostrada (if you keep mostly to the right), OTOH, is quite calm and stress-less... ;)

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
Cool - I'll add a 3rd one Joe

There are often road junctions immediately after a toll booth, so try to work out where you are going well before the barrier raises, as you may need to cut left or right (as others do the same) to get to the correct lane/road.


10+ Posts
As a veteran of autostrada toll booths I can tell you the advice of Giulia, Andrew, Joe and Ian is spot on.

The nice thing that I might add is Italian drivers are much less likely to stand on their horn than Boston drivers! :D


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