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The Autogrill In Italy Is A Treat On Your Next Vacation

The Autogrill in Italy needs to be a part of your planning for your next trip because and Italian road trip isn’t complete without a visit to an Autogrill.

Autogrill in Italy - Fuel Up With Coffee

Fuel Up With Coffee

If you have the opportunity to drive around Italy during your next vacation, you should definitely make time to experience a surprisingly enjoyable time at an Autogrill. It sounds a little strange because on one level, an Autogrill is basically a highway rest stop, not too dissimilar to the rest stops you will find on every American highway. However, this is Italy and as you might expect, it is done SO much better here.

What Is An Autogrill In Italy?

Autogrill is the generic name for a restaurant found on an Italian highway, even though it is actually a specific company, the Autogrill Group, which runs restaurants all over the highways in Italy. The Autogrill Group also runs franchises of some US companies, like Burger King, Pizza Hut and Starbucks in airports and train stations all around the world.

Italians rely not only on the high quality of the food you can enjoy when stopping for gas, they also expect a level of consistency in their restaurants all across Italy. I have also heard stories about how going to an Autogrill even today brings back fond memories from their childhood, which is certainly different from my experiences at a rest stop in the US.

What Is The History Of Autogrill In Italy?

Following the war, the first Autogrill was invented even though at that time, most Italians still lived in rural areas, and there was approximately 1 car for every 100 people in Italy. What started very modestly grew to become a business worth billions of euros due to the post war growth in Italy and the growth in the number of cars and trucks on the Italian highways (Autostrade).

After a long period of growth in Italy and across Europe, In 1999, the Autogrill Group acquired HMSHost, the leader of highway and airport catering in the United States. With this expansion, it established a presence in 4 continents as a market leader, with a wide range of products and services across travel segments like: motorways, airports and railway stations.

Autogrill in Italy - Fresh Pastry

Fresh Pastry

How Big Is Autogrill Today?

Autogrill is in airports and service areas all over the world. To put the scale of this business in perspective, here are a couple key performance indicators (KPIs):

  • Autogrill is in 30 countries worldwide

  • They Manage around 3,300 Points of Sale (POS)

  • These POS are in 774 locations

  • They have 46,000 employees

  • Their 2022 revenue was more than €4.1bn

Who Owns The Autogrill In Italy?

The name Autogrill is generically a restaurant found on an Italian highway, even though it is actually a specific company, the Autogrill Group, which runs restaurants all over the highways in Italy. Even though their origins are Italian, their main office is registered in Basel, Switzerland.

In addition to the Autogrill brand, the group runs some familiar American franchises that include:

  • Burger King

  • Chick-fil-A

  • Dunkin’

  • Panera Bread

  • Shake Shack

  • Starbucks

Autogrill in Italy - Love Kimbo Coffee

Love My Kimbo!

Does An Autogrill Have Good Coffee?

One of the joys of stopping at an Autogrill is a quick espresso. There are other options, like sodas and water, but their coffee is fantastic. I might be a bit biased here because my favorite coffee is Kimbo, but on a recent stop at an Autogrill in Rome, Kimbo was offered and very much appreciated.

If you need a bite to eat, to go along with your coffee, don’t worry. Even the small Autogrill I stopped at had some delicious looking pastries to have with your espresso. In addition, there are candy options that are similar to what you would find in a US truckstop.

Autogrill in Italy - Refuel Your Car

Refuel Your Car

How Are Autogrills Designed?

The Autogrills are usually combined with a regular gas station (diesel fuel as well, of course) so you can make it your only stop on your long road trips across Italy. The one I recently stopped in was quite small, so I wasn’t able to enjoy all the exciting offerings available in a larger rest stop. Even still, there are design elements you will find in every location, like:

  • A convenient store, like rest stops in the US, where you can get packaged snacks, regional specialties like olive oil, dried pasta, wine and cheese. You can get OTC medication, newspapers, magazines and various charging cables and adapters for your cell phone.

  • You will definitely find a bar selling espresso drinks, pastries, and panini. Go to the cash register (cassa) first, and order/pay for your coffee and enjoy a quick minute at the bar, before returning to the highway.

  • In larger Autogrills, you will find a cafeteria-style restaurant where you can get a fuller meal while sitting at a table. These restaurants offer surprisingly high quality food, as compared to most US truck stops, so don’t hesitate stopping for a delicious meal while you travel between cities.

Autogrill in Italy - Wine and Beer

Wine and Beer For Sale

Getting Around Rome During Your Vacation In Italy

In addition to driving around and stopping at an Autogrill in Italy, there are many other ways to travel around Rome and beyond. Check out some of these other posts that will help you plan your vacation in Italy:

The Autogrill In Pop Culture

One of my favorite TV shows was a travel series done by Conan O’Brien when he and Jordan Schlansky traveled to Italy. One short clip on YouTube was when they stopped at an Autogrill.

Jordan’s description of an Autogrill in the video is:

“We are at an Autogrill. It is a highway rest stop over the autostrada. In this case it’s A1. An Autogrill is this fantastic Italian creation which has some of the best meat and coffee in all of Italy. The way it works, and a lot of people don’t understand this if they haven’t visited before, is you pay first.”

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