Autostrada A8 (Italy)

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Autostrada A8 shield}}
Autostrada A8
Autostrada dei Laghi
Route information
Part of E35 and E62
Maintained by ANAS
Length43.6 km (27.1 mi)
Major junctions
Major intersections A4 in Milan
A50 in Milan
A52 in Milan
A9 in Lainate
A26 in Gallarate
A60 in Varese
Highway system

The Autostrada A8 or Autostrada dei Laghi ("Lakes Motorway") is an autostrada (Italian for "motorway") connecting Milan to Varese (on the Lake of Varese) and connecting Milan to Gallarate and Sesto Calende on Lake Maggiore and on Lake Monate (now part of the Gallarate - Gattico connection, also part of the Autostrada dei Laghi).

Autostrada A8 is commonly defined, together with the Autostrada A9, as the "Autostrada dei Laghi". The Autostrada A9 connects to the Autostrada A8 at Lainate, near Milan, and it reaches Como, on the Lake Como, and Chiasso, on the Italy–Switzerland border, where it connects to the Swiss road network. Built in 1924, Autostrada dei Laghi is the first motorway built in the world.[1][2]


The King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy inaugurated the Autostrada dei Laghi ("Lakes Motorway"; now parts of the Autostrada A8 and Autostrada A9), the first motorway built in the world,[1][2] on 21 September 1924, aboard the royal Lancia Trikappa.
Historical map of 1926 of the Autostrada dei Laghi ("Lakes Motorway")

The term "autostrada" was used for the first time in an official document in 1922 in which the engineer Piero Puricelli presented the project for the Autostrada dei Laghi ("Lakes Motorway"); with that term, it indicated those roads characterized by a straight path (as far as possible), without obstacles, characterized by a high achievable speed, passable only by motor vehicles (Italian: autoveicoli, hence the name) aimed at the rapid transport of goods and people.[3]

Italy was the first country in the world to build motorways reserved for fast traffic and for motor vehicles only.[1][2] The Autostrada dei Laghi ("Lakes Motorway"), the first built in the world, connecting Milan to Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, and now parts of the Autostrada A8 and Autostrada A9, was devised by Piero Puricelli and was inaugurated in 1924.[2] Piero Puricelli, a civil engineer and entrepreneur, received the first authorization to build a public-utility fast road in 1921, and completed the construction (one lane in each direction) between 1924 and 1926. Piero Puricelli decided to cover the expenses by introducing a toll.[4]

Autostrada A8

It was a futuristic project because there were few cars in circulation in Italy at that time. In 1923 there were a total of 53,000 cars circulating on Italian roads (between 1928 and 1929 there was a significant increase, as they went from 142,000 cars in circulation to 173,000 respectively).[5] In 1927 there were 135,900 cars circulating in Italy, corresponding to one vehicle for every 230 inhabitants, while today the ratio is 1 car for every 1.6 inhabitants.[5] The most motorized Italian regions were those of northern Italy and central Italy, with Lombardy at the top of the list with over 38,700 cars in 1923, while at the bottom of the list was Basilicata with 502 cars.[5] Milan was the Italian city in which the most car licences were issued annually (12,000 in 1928), while the Italian region where the fewest licences were issued was Sardinia, with only 632 new licences.[5]


Interchange between Autostrada A8 and Raccordo per A4 Torino e A50
Rest area "Villoresi Ovest"
Autostrada dei Laghi
Exit ↓km↓ ↑km↑ Province European route
Milan Viale Certosa
Cavalcavia del Ghisallo - San Siro
-1.0 43.6 MI
E64 Torino - Venezia -0.9 43.5
Cascina Merlata
Raccordo per A4 Torino e A50
- 42.1
Tangenziale Nord di Milano
2.0 40.6
Toll gate Milano Nord 5.6 38.0
Tangenziale Ovest di Milano - 36.8 E35
Lainate-Arese 7.2 -
Rest area "Villoresi Ovest" 7.6 35.0
Lainate 8.1 34.5
Como - Chiasso 10.3 32.3
Origgio ovest 14.0 VA E62
16.3 26.3 MI
Castellanza 18.0 24.6 VA
Busto Arsizio
Strada statale 336 dell'Aeroporto della Malpensa
Milan Malpensa Airport
24.5 18.2
A36 Lentate sul Seveso 26.0 15.0
Gallarate 29.9 12.7
Gallarate - Gattico connection 30.9 11.7
Toll gate Gallarate Nord 31.9 11.7
Cavaria 33.9 8.7
Solbiate Arno 35.7 6.9
Castronno 40.1 2.5
Rest area "Brughiera" 40.7 1.9
Tangenziale di Varese
Gazzada Schianno
Varese est
41.7 0.9
Azzate - Buguggiate

Varese ovest
del Chiostro di Voltorre: Lake Varese

42.0 0.6
Raccordo Gazzada-Varese 42.6 0.0

A8/A26 Gallarate-Gattico connection[edit]

A8/A26 Gallarate-Gattico connection
Gallarate - Gattico connection
Exit ↓km↓ ↑km↑ Province European route
Milano - Varese 0.0 24.0 VA E62
Toll gate Gallarate Ovest 2.5 21.5
Besnate 4.0 20.0
Rest area "Verbano" 6.1 17.9
Sesto Calende - Vergiate
del Sempione: Lake Maggiore
del Lago di Monate: Lake Monate
11.9 12.1
Castelletto Ticino
del Sempione: Lake Maggiore
17.9 6.1 NO
Gravellona Toce - Genova 24.0 0.0


  1. ^ a b c Lenarduzzi, Thea (30 January 2016). "The motorway that built Italy: Piero Puricelli's masterpiece". The Independent. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d "The "Milano-Laghi" by Piero Puricelli, the first motorway in the world". Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  3. ^ "Le prime autostrade su Strade ANAS" (in Italian). Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  4. ^ "1924 Mile Posts". Archived from the original on 12 March 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2006.
  5. ^ a b c d "Storia dell'automobile: quando c'era un'auto ogni 230 abitanti" (in Italian). Retrieved 1 March 2024.

See also[edit]

Other Italian roads[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Autostrada A8 (Italy) at Wikimedia Commons