I’ve actually had the opposite experience.
In big cities, there are many indeed, who speak English. Not very well though, but you can still understand each other and communicate well.
In smaller cities or rural areas though, I’ve found very few who speak it. They may know some English basics, but not enough to have an actual, proper conversation.
It can’t hurt to ask though. They do learn English in schools, but it’s not an easy language for Italians to learn, so many may have a hard time remembering it