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Our history

In order to provide a comprehensive overview of our company's history it is necessary to retrace the salient milestones of our past, starting from Italy's road networks' origins: some of the roads we manage today are named after and originated in the network of stone roads built by the Romans over 2,000 years ago.

But it is only starting in the late 19th century – during the Industrial Revolution and with the proclamation of the Unification of Italy  – that the foundations were laid for the construction and development of a "modern road and motorway network", and this provided an essential contribution to Italy's modernisation and economic and social growth.

At the end of the first decade of the '900 approximately 138,097 kms of roads existed, in comparison with the 89,765 kms of roads that existed in 1865 - immediately after Italy's Unification. Also, a few years after First World War, a highly innovative project was designed, developed and built: motorways, new roads that could only be used by motorized vehicles. Italy was the first country in the world to build a motorway: it connected Milan to Como, the "Autostrada dei Laghi".

Follow our timeline to find more information on our history:

From Aass to Anas

Anas' history begins in 1928 when the Azienda Autonoma Statale della Strada (A.A.S.S.) was founded. At the time the company managed 20,622 km of roads in Italy.

The expansion and development of roads under Fascism also determined the construction of new roads in the "annexed" African territories. With the founding of the "Italian Empire's" colonies in Africa the A.A.S.S. also built 7,000 kms of roads in these new territories.

Picture of a flowerbed with the acronym AASS

Double picture of roadworks in the Italian colonies during Fascism

The aftermath of Second World War 

After II World War and in the aftermath of the referendum that transformed Italy into a Republic, the A.A.S.S. was abolished and by law, in June 1946, a new company was founded: "ANAS" the Azienda Nazionale Autonoma delle Strade Statali [the Autonomous State Owned Company of National Roads].

These years in Italy were dedicated to post war reconstruction activities and ANAS played a crucial role in restoring the national road transport system, by managing 21,146 kilometres of roads, and rebuilding many damaged roads and bridges.

Two pictures of reconstruction works on viaducts after II World War

In the 1950’s mass motorization caused a rapid expansion of Italy’s motorway network which quickly passed from 500 kms to over 5500 kms in 1975.

The 60's

The “economic miracle” in the early 1960’s registered the "explosion" of private consumption: the number of cars and motorcycles purchased in this period of rapid economic growth was so significant that it required enacting a new Highway Code and opening new roads to facilitate communication with Switzerland and France. In fact two very important road infrastructure projects were built in these years: the Gran San Bernardo tunnel (opened in 1964) and the Monte Bianco tunnel (opened in 1965).

Also in 1961, a law redesigned our company's structural organisation, which also changed name into Anas, the “Azienda Nazionale Autonoma delle Strade”.

The following year the Cesano Road Network Research Experimental Centre (now called the Cesano Research Centre) was opened in order to perform field analyses, tests and develop research projects.

During these years Italy’s road network expanded and underwent remarkable changes, passing from 35,169 km in 1963 to 42,800 km’s in 1970.

Two pictures of roads that are part of our network in the 60's.

The 70's

During the1970s, despite the oil crisis and severe austerity measures, Anas continued with its mission to build and improve Italy's road network. 

The Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway - the largest infrastructure project ever built directly by the Italian Government - whose construction works began in 1962, was completed in 1974. Also the construction works of the Frejus Tunnel began in 1975 and ended 5 years later. 

Two pictures of viaducts along the Autostrada del Mediteraaneo (at the time it was called the Salerno-Reggio Calabria Motorway)

The 80's

The 1980’s saw a strong economic resurgence and a strong increase in investments. The "National Ten-Year Major Road Network Development Plan" (Piano Decennale per la Viabilità di Grande Comunicazione) was approved in 1982, the surveillance and maintenance system of road sections was reorganized, and increased lengths of roads were assigned to ANAS through the reclassification of existing roads (as requested by provincial local authorities).

These years also saw extraordinary road construction works in some cities due to the Football World Cup, which began on 8 June 1990.

Two pictures - one is of a road bridge and the other of roadworks

The 90's

With Legislative Decree n.143/94 and the Decree issued by the President of the Council of Ministers, dated 26 July 1995, ANAS was later transformed into a National Highways Authority, a public body.

In the 1990s, after a tragic event (the fire in the Monte Bianco Tunnel) and the opportunities sparked by the large-scale privatisation of state industries,  ANAS introduced innovations — such as a new tunnel safety program and a new territorial information system — and invested in technology, quality control and traffic forecasting. Also, in 1992, the new Highway Code was enacted.


Two pictures - one is of the external entrance of a road tunnel, the other is inside a road tunnel

Early 2000's

At the beginning of the 2000's, a road "regionalisation process" began, under which some roads and functions -  previously under ANAS -  were transferred to other territorial authorities (20,000 km of public roads continued to be managed by Anas while approximately 25,000 km of roads were transferred to regional authorities).

With Legislative Decree n.138/2002, which was converted into Law n. 178/2002, ANAS' transformation into a joint-stock company began. On December 19, 2002 the Shareholders’ Meeting approved the company's new by-laws and appointed a Board of Directors and a Board of Statutory Auditors. As of January 1, 2003 ANAS became fully operative as a joint stock company (S.p.A.).

In October 2007 Anas, which already had shares in SITAF, the Traforo del Monte Bianco and Quadrilatero Marche-Umbria S.p.A., became controlling shareholder of Stretto di Messina S.p.A. (now in liquidation), the concessionaire company for the design, construction and management of the Strait of Messina Bridge. Between 2007 and 2008, Anas also founded joint ventures with several Regions (Lombardia, Veneto, Lazio, Molise and Piemonte) fot the construction and management of new motorway infrastructure.

Double picture of motorways

For the first time, in 2008 the Financial Statements approved by the Shareholders Meeting show a profit of 3.5 milion euro.   

Between 2010 and today 

In 2012 Anas International Enterprise S.p.A. was founded with the objective of further enhancing and strengthening our company's activities abroad.

A picture of construction machines and compactors smoothening the layer of asphalt

From the 1 October 2012, tasks such as monitoring contracted construction works on toll motorways under concession and supervising the concessionary companies that manage these toll motorways, previously performed by ANAS (IVCA), were transferred to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. On 9 August 2013, ANAS’ Shareholders' Meeting approved our new company by-laws. 

On 18 May 2015 Anas' Shareholders' Meeting nominate Gianni Vittorio Armani President and CEO and two other members of the Board of directors: Cristiana Alicata and Francesca Moraci.

In August of the same year the Interdepartmental Committee for the Programming Economy (CIPE) approved the new 2015 Programme Contract, which represented a crucial element of discontinuity with the past, since it placed extraordinary road maintenance at the heart of our company's strategic activities, to recover the significant maintenance deficit accumulated over the years on our network and enhance our existing assets.

Double picture -.a road tunnel and a milling machine during roadworks

In 2016 ANAS started an ambitious renewal process aimed at making our organisation and procedures more efficient, improving our provided services to Stakeholders, introducing new technological solutions (projects such as #SmartRoad, #bastabuche, #stradepulite and #stradatecnologica) and reopening roads that had been closed to traffic for many years or that had traffic limitations due to landslides or the hydro-geological instability of the surrounding territories ( #bastastradeabbandonate).

Two pictures of the A2 Autostrada del Mediterraneo

In December 2016, the last major construction works were concluded within the works for the modernization and up-grading of the Salerno-Reggio Calabria Motorway, now called the new A2, "Autostrada del Mediterraneo". 
In January 2018 Anas' shares were transferred to the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group. On 23 January 2018 the Shareholders meeting named the new members of the Board of Directors: Ennio Cascetta (President), and Gianni Vittorio Armani, Cristiana Alicata, Vera Fiorani and Antonella D’Andrea. The Board of Directors then nominated Gianni Vittorio Armani Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.
In 2018 we also celebrated our 90th Anniversary with many events and  cultural projects. Celebrations began on 22 January 2018 at the Quirinale with a meeting with the Italian President,Sergio Mattarella.  To find out more about our 2018 celebratuions please click here.
On 21 December 2019 the Shareholders meeting appointed a new Board of Directors, composed by Claudio Andrea Gemme (Chairman), Massimo Simonini, Ivo Roberto Cassetta, Antonella D’Andrea and Vera Fiorani. Anas' Board of Directors then appointed Massimo Simonini as our company's CEO and General Manager.