For your next holiday, if you are thinking of traveling in Tuscany by car, you can do it by driving your automobile or renting one once you arrive in Italy. In any case, I have created this post to put together useful bits of advice for traveling in Tuscany by car safely.
Network of Tuscany Motorway and Main Road
Traveling in Tuscany by car: the motorways – Autostrada
The faster and most comfortable roads in Italy and Tuscany are the motorways, Autostrada. You recognize them by the green signal and by the toll booths. The main Italian A1 motorway crosses Tuscany between the province of Florence and Arezzo. The A1 connects Tuscany to the major Italian cities as Milan and Bologna to the north, and Rome and Naples to the south.
Florence is well connected with the Tuscan coast thanks to the A11 motorway, which also touches the cities of Prato, Pistoia, Montecatini Terme, and Lucca before ending at the Pisa Nord exit.
The Pisa Nord exit has a junction between the A11 and the A12 motorway that is the main route along the coast. The A12 goes from Genoa in Liguria to Rosignano Marittimo and Cecina in the Etruscan Coast. In expectation of the future completion of a unique motorway connecting Genoa to Rome, it passes through the northern territory in the province of Massa-Carrara, Viareggio in Versilia (here there is a junction with the motorway that goes to Lucca), Pisa, and Livorno.
The north-western extremity of Tuscany, corresponding to the Lunigiana is crossed by the A15 motorway, which connects Parma in Emilia Romagna and La Spezia in Liguria, passing through the Tuscan villages of Pontremoli and Aulla. All motorways charge a toll (in Italian pedaggio). You can pay it in cash, with a credit card, or with the Viacard, which is a prepaid card you can buy at the “Punto Blu” (assistance and information center), and some tobacco shops or petrol stations.
Motorways passing through Tuscany
Those are the five Autostrada that crosses the Tuscan region:
- Autostrada A1 Autostrada del Sole – (Milano/Napoli)
- Autostrada A11 – Firenze Mare (Firenze/Pisa)
- Bretella A11/12 (Lucca/Viareggio)
- Autostrada A 12 – Autostrada Azzurra (Livorno Rosignano Marittimo / Genova)
- Autostrada A15 – Autocamionale della Cisa (La Spezia/Parma)
Traveling in Tuscany by car: Dual Carriageways – Superstrada
In addition to the toll roads, traveling in Tuscany by car is possible using the Dual Carriageways (Strade di grande comunicazione S.G.C.). You recognize them by the blue signal, the dual carriageways, and two lanes for each direction (main suburban roads).
The most used are the Autopalio which connects Florence to Siena, and the FI-PI-LI which connects Florence to Pisa and Livorno passing through the Lower Valdarno (Empoli, Pontedera). Along the coast, there is the Variante Aurelia that connects Livorno to Grosseto. It takes its name from the ancient Roman road that connected the Capital to Vada Volterrana (the modern village of Vada). Finally, the Statal Road SS 3 bis / E45 connects Tuscany to the Romagna. It crosses the villages of Sansepolcro and Pieve Santo Stefano in the Valtiberina valley in the eastern part of the region, close to the border with Umbria and Emilia Romagna.
Another main road called “Due Mari” is currently under construction. The big project expects to connect the city of Grosseto on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the city of Fano on the Adriatic Sea passing from Siena, Arezzo, Valtiberina, and Metauro Valley. At the moment the itinerary has both routes with dual and single carriageways.
Among the state highways, the State Road of Abetone and Brenner begins in Pisa. It connects Tuscany to the Brenner Pass at the Austrian Border, passing through Lucca, the Abetone Pass, the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Veneto, and Trentino-Alto Adige.
Historical roads of Tuscany
Among the most famous roads of Tuscany, we must include some historical routes. For example the Via Aurelia, the Via Cassia, and the Via Clodia, which were built at the time of Romans. Today they represent only secondary rural roads but in the past, they were the most important ways of the empire. Today are still used to travel between the Tuscany villages.
Another historical road network is with no doubt the Vie Cava. These narrow paths similar to trenches, were excavated deeply in the tuff. At the time of the Etruscans, they connected the necropolis of Pitigliano, Sorano, and Sovana in southern Tuscany. It is not possible to use them with the car, but we highly recommend you to visit them.
Moreover, the Via Francigena, famous for trading and pilgrimage, crosses the Tuscan territory and today partly corresponds with the Via Cassia.
Main Roads passing through Tuscany
- RA3 “Autopalio” – Conjunction Florence – Siena
- Extra-Urban Road FI-PI-LI S.G.C. Firenze-Pisa-Livorno
- Variante Aurelia Livorno – Grosseto
- Statal Road 1 Via Aurelia
- Statal Road 2 Via Cassia
- Statal Road SS 3 / E45
- Via Clodia
- Via Francigena
- Strada Statale 12 dell’Abetone e del Brennero
- Strada Statale 62 della Cisa
- Strada Statale 65 della Futa
- Strada Statale 67 Tosco-Romagnola
- Strada Statale 223 Grosseto-Siena
Speed limits and other regulations to keep in mind
The Autostrada required dipped highlights even during daytime. In case of rain, the speed limit goes down from 80 mph (130 km/h) to a maximum of 68 mph (110 km/h). The speed limit in town is 30 mph (50 km/h), while outside the city the limit is 43 mph (70 km/h) or 55 mph (90 km/h). If you are driving on a main road with four-lane (i.e. the Autopalio of FI-PI-LI), you can reach 55 mph (90km/h) or 68 mph (110 km/h). In case of rain, you always must reduce your speed. Breaking the speed limits, you can receive heavy fines, so pay attention.
You can pay tolls in cash or with the following cards: Eurocard, Mastercard, and Visa. Debit cards Maestro and Electron are not accepted.
There are many service stations along Tuscany motorways. You can have a wide range of facilities such as fuel, restaurants, motels, and shops.
Availability of fuel
Petrol stations on motorways never close, and provide a self-service when there is not a service offered by the management of the petrol stations.
Every two kilometers on the motorway you can find special emergency telephones You can find two types of telephone: one with which you can speak to the emergency center and one where you must press either a button bearing a spanner to call for mechanical assistance or a button bearing a red cross to call for medical aid. A red light confirms that the message has been received at the central motorway alarm system.
In case of a breakdown along the roads, it is required to wear a safety vest. So, if you use a rental company for traveling in Tuscany by car, ask for the yellow or orange fluorescent vest on board. Also, consider that in case of a car crash on the motorway, private towing is not permitted. Moreover, to receive assistance you should call the following emergency service companies:
Keep updated about the traffic information directly via radio listening Isoradio, where the service Ondaverde is active, with updates regarding the traffic along the motorways (in Italian only). Stay tuned on FM 103.3.