The Beginner’s Guide to Getting Around Italy

With excellent food, 3 volcanoes, and over 1,500 lakes, Italy is one of the best destinations for travelers. Before planning a trip to Italy, one of the essential things to decide is how to get around the country. There are several ways to get around, and in this article, we discuss some transportation options and travel tips in Italy. 

Using the Train

When it comes to Italian transportation, trains are the best and quickest in all major cities, including Venice, Rome, and Florence. Italian trains usually go up to 300 km/185 miles per hour, which most cars can’t match. Train tickets are also reasonably priced, ranging from €10 to €100 depending on the destination or whether you travel first class or second class.  

The two major trains in Italy are Italo and Frecciarossa, and you can get individual train tickets from their website or the Trainline Mobile App. Also, bookings are usually open days before your trip making it easy to buy your tickets in advance for a lower price. 

If you want to see major cities and spots in Italy, the train can be your easiest option. Some of the major train lines include: 

  • Venice – Padua – Bologna – Florence – Rome – Naples – Salerno
  • Turin – Milan – Bologna – Florence – Rome – Naples – Salerno
  • Milan – Brescia – Verona – Vicenza – Padua – Venice

Getting To The Train Station

Train stations are usually in the city center, making it easy to get to them. To get to the train station if you travel to Milan, Venice, Rome, or Florence: you can take a taxi, metro, or walk if it’s within walking distance. 

In case you are trying to get to Naples Train Station from islands like Amalfi Coast and Capri, you have some options: 

  • Order a taxi in advance to take you to the Naples Train Station. This will take about 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours and costs about €130 to €150. 
  • Take a ferry from the island to Naples port. This is a cheaper option than the taxi, but it can be stressful if you have a lot of luggage. Meanwhile, you have the option to hire a Porter Serve to bring your luggage to your hotel and back to the ferry port. This usually costs about €15 per luggage. 

Validate your train ticket 

It’s essential to buy your ticket before getting to the train station; you can get it online or from a ticket office in the state. Always stamp and validate your ticket before you get on the train. Most train platforms have ticket validating machines to stamp the date and time on your ticket. 

Using Taxis and Buses

Another option to get around in Italy is through a taxi. If you are getting into taxis, ensure that you use the official taxis. The official taxis in Italy are usually white with official markings, so don’t get into a taxi unless it is white and marked. 

Also, you can take the metro bus, but there is no national bus service, so you may need to scout around to find the best routes and prices. Meanwhile, try to avoid the metro during rush hour.

Renting a Car

Driving in Italy is fun and makes it easier to get to places trains and buses can’t reach. If your travel itinerary is full of small towns/villages and lesser-known areas, then the best option is to rent a car. All the picturesque villages and beaten path towns are only accessible by car. 

If you will be getting around with a car, you need to be aware of some conditions and rules. 

Abide by parking lines

Before parking your car in Italy, always make sure you are following the traffic and parking rules. So, start by checking the parking lines: 

  • White lines mean it’s time-restricted free parking, and in this case, you need to show a parking disc showing the time you parked the car. 
  • Yellow lines mean the spot is for residents in the area or street, and you can only park there if you have a permit. 
  • Blue lines mean you must pay before parking, so bring some coins to the parking machine as some don’t accept cards. 

Alternate day parking rules

Also, it’s essential to research parking rules before driving around. For instance, on Amalfi Coast, there are driving/parking rules that are in effect from 10 am to 6 pm on weekends in July, every day in August, and weekends in September. 

If the license plate on your rental car ends in an even number, the vehicle is not permitted on odd days and vice versa.

Public buses and registered cars for Amalfi Coast residents are exempt from the regulations, but rental cars are not. Also, these plate number rules do not apply to travelers with a confirmed hotel reservation, so you can consider contacting your hotel about registering your rental car for use during weekends. 

Prepare to drive a manual car

Automatic cars are not common in Italy, so you may need to drive a manual or stick model. Also, you should know that Italian cities are usually very congested, and drivers are known for their fast driving skills. 

Hiring Private Drivers

If you don’t think you can drive around Italy, you can get a private driver or transfer. There are some places easier to get to by car, like getting from Naples to Sorrento or the Amalfi Coast. So, an excellent option to get around is by finding a private transfer company to arrange a driver from the station or airport. This is also a great idea if you travel in groups or with families. 

Traveling by Ferry

Different ferry companies run services in Italy to get through places like the bay of Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia. Also, the best way to get to some places is by ferry. For example, the best way to get from Capri to Naples is by ferry. Also, the best way to get to Positano from Rome is by taking the train to Salerno and then taking the ferry from Salerno to Positano directly. The ferry is a beautiful scenic ride to discover Italy and is about 40 minutes long. You can reserve a ferry ticket in advance by visiting the company’s website or using the FERRY HOPPER mobile app, where you will  find the routes, prices, and times.

Other Travel Tips To Get Around Italy

Pack Light

Italian cities have a lot of steps, cobblestones, and narrow staircases; it may be hard to get around if you have heavy suitcases. Also, if you made travel plans to Venice, you will need to carry your luggage on flights of stairs because elevators are rare. The last thing you want is to lug your heavy suitcases up a hundred stairs or over cobblestones. For this reason, it’s best to pack light and choose appropriate bags to ensure everything goes well when you arrive. 

Be Aware of Transportation Strikes

Strikes are very common in Italy, so you need to be aware in case there is one that can affect your travel itineraries. Transportation strikes are a part of the culture in Italy, and this includes bus strikes, taxi strikes, and even train strikes. 

The good thing is they often announce strikes, so pay attention to the signs at train stations so you can come up with a plan B. 

Wear Comfortable Shoes

The best way to Italian cities and towns is in comfortable walking shoes. So, pack comfortable shoes for convenience throughout your trip and adventure. 

Bottom Line

These travel tips are a sure way to have an amazing time in Italy. And, don’t forget to have fun traveling! There are so many fun places, sites, museums, restaurants, and shops to visit, so plan your travel itineraries accordingly. 

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