Well, I do not drive but this is my experience as a sidecar passenger when we drove to Italy from Switzerland this year.
What to expect number 1: Telepass.
Telepass is the toll fee payment system that the road users pay to use a specific highways. It seems like every highway has a different toll fee. This depends on the road and the kilometer though. The cheapest we paid was .80 cents while the most expensive to date was 18.30 euro.
As a tourist, you can pay using a card. You can also pay using cash because there is a line where a staff is manning a station. We prefered to use cash though, but this is our personal preference whenever there is an option to pay in cash.
There is also Telepass toll where you will get a billett and then when you have your exit, you insert the billett and then the machine will calculate how many kilometers that you have used.
Telepass can be annoying though because it seems like every corner where you exit, there is this telepass that you need to go through and cough some money up, again and again.
In comparison to Switzerland, drivers buy a sticker for 40 chf in the border before they enter Swiss road. This sticker is valid for a whole calendar year. (If you travel to Switzerland whether in January or November, this sticker is only valid on the 31st of December on the same year that you bought it.)
However, if you are a frequent traveller to Switzerland, 40 chf for a whole year is a good price. In contrast to whenever you travel to Italy, you need to pay for every Telepass that you encounter. If you frequently travel then this can really add up.
In our recent trip, we paid 39.30 alfready from the Swiss border back to the Swiss border. So their roads are really expensive.
What to expect number 2: Gas is considerably more expensive.
Of course, this is all in reference to the prices in Switzerland. But considering that Switzerland is a rich country with high cost of living, to realize that Italy has more expensive gas prices was quite a surprise.
To speak our experience. My husband loaded up 2 times when we were there (a 7 day holiday trip). In every tank, it was a little bit more than half full and he paid for this two times 65 euros. He noticed it right away how gas is more expensive there.
A day after our trip, he tanked up in a Swiss tank station for a full tank and he just paid about 53 chf. So for a full tank in a Swiss gas station and he paid for just 48 euro. What a difference.
What to expect number 3: Pay before you pee.
Let me qualify this though. You can still find gas stations or roadway service station where you can pee for free. If you want to not pay to pee, avoid Märche Restaurants like a contaminable disease. Lol.
We stopped at a Märche Restaurant and I went to their bathroom.
In this bathroom, not only you can do your things but you can also shower so I guess it was fair.
Also, the 1 euro that you pay will be given back to you in the form of a coupon that you can use in their restaurant. Caveat though, their goods are super expensive so if it is not really needed, better just walk away with your unused coupon. Anyway, you were able to use a clean bathroom. 😛
There were a lot of Autogrill gas stations along the highways in Italy but unfortunately, we were not able to stop in one of them so I have no information about it.
That is my experience in our recent drive to Italy. Hope you learned something.
Grazzie millie. Ciao. :))