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August highway traffic problems in Italy???

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Jul 12th, 2010, 02:48 PM
  #1
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August highway traffic problems in Italy???

I'm coming up with a great plan for my July/August visit to the Bernese Oberland, Tuscany and Rome, adding one day to drive to Pompeii between Tuscany and Rome. Now I'm thinking of the Europeans taking off for vacation in August, probably the same day we'll be driving south - looking like the weekend of July 29 or 30. I know French roads turn into a huge parking lot for miles around then. What about Italy? Do we need to factor in extra driving time that time of year?
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Jul 12th, 2010, 04:58 PM
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Yes, definitely. Like in France, Ferie Agosto in Italy cuts down sharply on services, and increases traffic. Additionally, the whole time your are speaking of is also vacation time in Germany, different German states at different times. And the Germans do like Italy. Based on my experience, the weekends are the worst, usually in both the North - South and South - North directions.
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Jul 12th, 2010, 05:42 PM
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I had a feeling someone was going to say that. I think we'll have to plan on the whole day to go from Tuscany to Pompeii in that case. Ugh! Hopefully the Germans won't be going there!
Maybe we'll take some smaller side roads. Better to be mentally prepared.
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Jul 13th, 2010, 01:29 AM
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What do you mean by weekend of July 29/30? Traffic will be extremely bad July 31/August 1 as well as July 30 and possibly already from the afternoon of July 29. It will be heavy at night too!

If you give more precise info as to dates and locations I can provide routes which are likely to be easier and tips as to how to avoid the queues at the Swiss/Italian border and certain autostrada pay toll barriers.
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Jul 13th, 2010, 05:37 AM
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noch - We'll be driving from Tuscany to Pompeii on July 29 (Friday, but leaving Tuscany in the morning) and going from Pompeii to Rome mid to late afternoon July 30. There seems to be only 1 main route, but if you have suggestions on alternatives I'd gladly take them! Thanks
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Jul 13th, 2010, 10:02 AM
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Quite frankly I would advise against this trip as proposed.

Even in good conditions you are proposing quite a drive but on Friday 29 it will be hellish. You must avoid the Autostrada del Sole (A1) like the plague. The only worthwhile route would be Florence-Siena-Grossetto and then southwards avoiding Rome and again the A1. From Pompei to Rome you should have no problems.

In normal conditions along the A1 Florence to Pompei would take about 4 1/2 hours but I think, even taking the alternative route you will be talking of about 7 hours if not more.
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Jul 13th, 2010, 01:27 PM
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What nochblad said... I would certainly replan so to do the big north-south transfer any day between Monday and Thursday.
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Jul 13th, 2010, 01:36 PM
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I agree with the A1 being a nightmare - the Grossetto road is worse - slightly less busy but single lane for some parts.

The locals call it the Il Brutto. Too much senseless overtaking avoid like the plague.
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Jul 13th, 2010, 03:32 PM
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Hi,

Why don't you ask for some local intelligence when you are in Tuscany? My experience of italy is that when Italians are on holiday, they don't get up early in the morning. Maybe if you all bite the bullet and roll out of bed and hit the road early, you'll be more or less okay.

I wouldn't shorten your time in one place by a day to beat traffic.

I'll just add this: Last year, I mistakenly -- no, make that *stupidly* -- headed out for the Adriatic from Bologna on one of Italy's biggest holidays, thinking I'd like to have lunch by the sea. About 2 hours later on the "tangenziale" that rings Bologna -- meaning, I'd advanced nowhere -- I gave up on the idea of a seaside lunch and just left the autostrade. I ended up following a typical Italian sign with a knife and fork on it to a sweet farmhouse restaurant, where of course the food was tasty and the owners were very kind --

So you get the picture. If you are bringing a stopwatch to Italy so you can execute a tourist plan with military precision in August -- I think it's not going to work.

If you are packing a sense of humor and have some target sights -- one a day should be the max -- you will love Italy on holiday.
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Jul 13th, 2010, 03:33 PM
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PS: I better add:

I actually DID get to the sea, like I hoped. Just 4 hours later. That was good enough!
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Jul 13th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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well, I have nothing planned for that day except pizza at Zi Catarina in Pompeii so we could see how long it takes. I hate to take a day off Tuscany to leave on a Thursday. We'll have a family discussion just to be sure Pompeii is still really at the top of the list.
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Jul 27th, 2014, 06:47 AM
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I would like to tap into the expertise on display in this forum! Wow. Here is my scenario:

We live in Vienna, Austria and will spend two weeks in Italy (last 2 weeks of August). We are staying in a villa in Positano and need to be back on 9/1. If we were to drive, we would leave on Saturday, 23 August and would want to be back in Vienna by Sunday afternoon/evening if possible (as school starts 9/1).

A leisurely drive back would be nice, but it's just not feasible if we want to A) maximize the time in the villa with our friends and B) be back for school start at 9/1.

Is what I am proposing insane? Google maps say it's about 13/14 hours without traffic, but I'm having flashbacks to driving back from Croatia and having a 5 1/2 hour drive turn into a 10 1/2 hour due to traffic nightmares of every sort. Am I in for a similar problem on the last weekend of August?
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Jul 27th, 2014, 09:31 AM
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scotty - You probably need to start your own thread since it's about different routes. For Italy, I always think Google maps underestimates the driving times.
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Jul 27th, 2014, 11:25 AM
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I think assuming you can do this in one day is close to madness.

How would you get through the mountains? Do you have any idea how long the back-ups can be getting through the various tunnels? Or mountain passes?

I think you should leave the morning of 8/30 at the latest.

One note: it once took us more than 7 hours to get from Stresa to Lucerne (showing at less than 3.5 hours on via michelin) due to a tractor trailer that had jacknifed near the entrance to the tunnel under the mountains - and the resulting huge back up.
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Jul 28th, 2014, 02:24 AM
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Frankly, I'd avoid that weekend (assuming that you meant to write "August 30th", not 23rd) in each and any case, no matter how early you'd start. Just think how many inhabitants of Eastern Austria will make the same drive as you those days (the closer you'd be coming to Austria, the more). Traffic is likely to be like hell.
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Jul 28th, 2014, 01:33 PM
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Thanks for the advice! I think it probably is too far to do -- even if we left on Sat 8/30... That's A LOT of driving in traffic. I might not survive it ;-)
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Jul 29th, 2014, 02:32 AM
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Here is an Italian website that estimates traffic problems on the autostrade,broken down by date and also by morning, afternoon, and night (mattino, pomeriggio, notte). A black ball means very congested conditions, whereas a red ball means intense traffic. The three left-hand columns for each date indicate traffic in the direction of tourist locations, while the right-hand columns indicate re-entry traffic towards the large cities.

According to this site, both the 29th and 30th of July are green (normal traffic).

http://www.alvolante.it/news/traffic...evitare-336713

I was a little dubious that the 29th and 30th (both midweek dates) would be particularly problematic, because the problems are almost always on Saturdays and Sundays, (or to a lesser extent on the first and last days of busy months), when the week-long (or month-long) vacation rentals change over. Very few people travel a day ahead or a day later, because their holidays usually begin on a Monday and end on a Friday, and because many places will not rent for weekly periods that don't begin and end on a weekend.

The article mentions that there are many fewer intense traffic days this year. I imagine they make a survey of rentals to get their estimates. The improvement in traffic conditions could be because of the continuing economic crisis (although it was much the same last year), but it could be due mostly to the unusually cold and wet summer we're having. There is also a long-term trend to shorter vacations, often because husband and wife have trouble co-ordinating their holiday schedules. Very few factories now close down altogether for weeks at a time in August, and large and medium-sized offices generally stay open all month. Even small shops, especially in tourist areas, often close for holidays in the off season now.

If you can avoid the autostrade and take the smaller state highways, you may find no traffic at all. My husband and I once crossed Italy, from the Tyrrhenian coast in Tuscany to the Adriatic coast in Le Marche (both big beach resort areas)on the weekend before Ferragosto, using mostly state highways, without encountering a single backup of traffic. The same day, the TV news was showing film of cars backed up for kilometers on the autostrade.
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