Organizing your tripIt is easy to reach Italy and travel around the country once you arrive. Italy offers excellent air links with the rest of the world, but it is also possible to come here by train, by sea or by using the extensive motorway network. It is also easy to travel around within the country. All the main cities are connected with frequent daily flights. The rail network is spread over more than 15,000 kilometres, offering uniform cover throughout Italy, while travelling by coach or car is even more convenient still, with a dense network of motorways, dual carriageways and trunk roads allowing visitors to reach any location in the country simply and rapidly. To reach all of Italy's islands from the mainland, regular ferry services depart from the main towns and cities along the coast.
Italy's main airports for intercontinental and international arrivals are 'Leonardo da Vinci' (Rome Fiumicino) and Malpensa (Milan); however, international flights arrive in almost all the country's numerous airports. A wide range of flights is available from both traditional and low-cost airlines, covering a vast array of destinations. Italy has air links with most European countries and with the rest of the world. The websites of the main regular and low-cost airlines provide further information on routes, flight times, prices and availability. More or less all the airports are serviced by a dense network of taxis, buses and trains, which allow to reach one's final destination with a certain ease.
Travelling by air in Italy is easy, thanks to the wide range of flights and airlines that operate in the country. There are plenty of connections from one city to another, with frequent services from Rome-Fiumicino and Milan-Malpensa to all the other airports in Italy, and it is also simple and convenient to reach Sicily, Sardinia and the smaller islands from the mainland, with frequent services available. There are almost forty other small and medium-sized airports in Italy, present in every region except Molise and Basilicata. The leading Italian airlines are:
Travelling by train will never lose its particular charm, at least not for visitors in Italy. Both daytime and overnight services between Italy and the rest of Europe are known for their high quality, rapidity and excellent level of comfort. It is advisable (and in some cases compulsory) to book a seat. Some international rail companies also offer the opportunity for visitors to transport their own motor vehicle. Every day, a large number of international trains come over the border to Italy, connecting the country to the main towns and cities in Austria, Germany, France and Eastern Europe.
For further information about trains from Spain:
For further information about trains from France:
For further information about trains from Germany:
For further information about trains from Switzerland:
Italy has an extensive rail networkthat connects the whole country. There is a wide range of regional, intercity and high-speed services to choose from, with 95% of the routes run by Trenitalia, which guarantees 7000 trains a day, almost half of them in peak traffic hours. There are various types of train: local services, Diretto (DIR), Regionale (R), and Interregionale (IR), which stop at all the stations on the route, and the faster, long distance trains, Intercity (IC) and Eurostar (ES), which stop only in major towns and cities. In addition, there are high speed Eurostar Italy trains, the so-called Freccia Rossa, that can reach 300 km/h. Once a ticket has been purchased, it must be stamped before boarding the train, using one of the many yellow machines present on or near the platforms. For service times and information, it is advisable to consult the website of the national state rail system: www.trenitalia.it
For sea lovers, it is possible to reach Italy by ship. There are many national and international passenger ship and ferry companies that link the main ports in Europe to Italy. Ticket prices are very high in the summer and vary depending on the weight of the passenger's vehicle loaded on the ship. The Navi Veloci fleet sails between Barcelona and Genoa. Sea links between Greece and Italy are guaranteed on the busiest routes: from Igoumenitsa, Corfu and Patras, Blue Star Ferries sail directly to Venice and Brindisi, while Superfast Ferries operate services to Ancona and Bari. Fragline Ferries sail from Corfu to Brindisi; Grimaldi Ferries, one of the best-known Italian companies, link Tunis and Barcelona with Civitavecchia, Salerno, Livorno and Palermo. Tirrenia Navigazione ferries operate numerous services throughout the year between Tunis and the major Italian islands, Sicily and Sardinia.
Marmara Lines link Çeme in Turkey to Ancona and Brindisi. Jadrolinija runs between Dubrovnik, on the Croatian coast, and Bari, while Virtu Ferries is the best option to travel between Malta and Catania. For information, see:
For further information:
Italian islands are an ideal destination for holidays. Discovering Sicily, Sardinia, the Tuscan Archipelago, Lipari, Lampedusa, Stromboli, just to mention a few, is undoubtedly a unique experience. Several ferry companies make different routes throughout the year.
Large vessels provide a connection for the main Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily. Genoa, Livorno, Civitavecchia and Naples are the main starting points for landing on Sardinia.
In order to get to Sicily, arriving to the ports of Palermo and Messina, however, it is advisable to start from Naples and Villa San Giovanni in Calabria, the town stretched out on the popular Straits of Messina. Many ships carried their overnight trips and travelers can choose to stay in a cabin or book a seat on the covered bridges. It's also possibile sleeping on the upper decks of the ship, outdoor, using its own (sleeping bag or anything else), purchasing the simple passway-bridge.
The smaller islands are connected by ferries and hydrofoils. On board most ships and ferries, it is possible to transport vehicles , with an increase of the basic fee. It 's important to remember that many companies make very attractive offers and discounts if you book in advance.
Below are listed the sites of major shipping companies which make connections among the Italian ports.
There are many comfortable coach services that take passengers over the alpine borders into Italy. The Eurolines consortium, which gathers together the main European coach travelling companies, has information offices in the main towns and cities, and offers services departing from over thirty locations throughout Italy. These coaches offer all the services and facilities necessary for a comfortable journey, and of course offer services to and from the major cities such as Milan, Rome and Florence. There are also other options to reach Italy by coach. For additional information, it may be useful to consult the website www.busweb.com, for a detailed list of the scheduled coach services operating in around 30 European countries.
EuroLines - www.eurolines.com
Busabout Adventure Coach Travel Europe - www.busabout.com
Europe by Bus - www.europebybus.com
Buses on the Web - www.busweb.com
The cities, towns, villages and hamlets of Italy are connected by efficient bus and coach services that allow visitors to travel around and explore all the sights and attractions the country has to offer. A range of scheduled passenger transport routes are available to travel the length and breadth of the country. The numerous companies that operate in Italy guarantee connections both between small country villages and small and medium-sized towns and rapid, efficient transport services between major cities. To travel to smaller cities or country towns and villages, coaches are generally a cheaper and more convenient option than trains. Departure and arrival times can be consulted at the local information offices, as well as local tourist information and tourist board offices. In larger cities, tickets can be purchased directly from the travel company offices or from travel agencies, while in smaller towns and villages it is easier to purchase them from the local bars or directly from the driver. It is not compulsory to book seats, although it is advisable to do so for longer or overnight journeys. For any information you may require on destinations, timetables and fares, you can consult both travel portals and the official websites of the various companies.
For further information:
Sita S.p.A. - www.sitabus.it (particularly for buses coming from Veneto, Tuscany, Campania, Basilicata and Puglia)
Arpa - www.arpaonline.it (Abruzzo)
Sais - www.saistrasporti.it (Sicily)
Busweb - www.busweb.it
Saj - www.saj.it (Calabria)
Sais - www.saisautolinee.it
Marino - www.marinobus.it (Puglia and Basilicata)
Sena - www.sena.it (Tuscany)
Autostradale S.p.A. – www.autostradale.it (Lombardy)
The extensive European motorway network and the presence of a number of mountain passes makes it easy to come to Italy by car or by motorbike. Italy can be reached from Austria, France, Switzerland and Slovenia. The main passes, open all year, that provide access to Italy are: the Mont Blanc Tunnel, which from Chamonix links France to the A5 motorway for Turin and Milan; the Great St. Bernard Tunnel, which links Switzerland with the A5; the Brenner Pass through Austria, which links up with the A22 motorway for Bologna. The alpine tunnels may often be closed during winter, and sometimes even in autumn and spring, as a result of heavy snow.
For further information:
An excellent network of motorways, identified by green-coloured signs, shortens the distances between the twenty regions that make up Italy: 3408 kilometres of roads that guarantee perfectly safe, efficient travel and transport services throughout the country.
Two main motorways link the north and south of Italy: the Autostrada del Sole (the A1, which connects Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples) and the Adriatica (the A14, which connects Bologna, Ancona, Pescara, Bari and Taranto).
Tolls must be paid on the motorways. Cash or credit cards may be used for payment.
“Viacard” and “Telepass” cards are a quicker method of payment. Viacard is a magnetic card that can be used at the automatic or manual accesses or eventually given to the toll-man. Telepass is quickest solution for automatic payment, based on distance electronic recognition of the vehicle, charging the fee to the user: it allows to perform transactions without stopping at the tollbooth, quickening transit and saving fuel.
For any information you may require on weather or traffic conditions, the cost of motorway tolls etc., you can stop at the Punti Blu info points, located at all motorway junctions, contact the official website of the Società Autostrade company, or telephone the Road System Call Centre 840-042121, operating all day long.
In addition to motorways, drivers will find an extensive network of trunk roads, indicated by blue-coloured signs, which link towns and villages within the various regions, or municipalities in one region with those in another. Secondary roads, on which tolls do not have to be paid, offer splendid views, which cannot be admired from the motorways: these routes are not as quick, but the journey is undoubtedly more pleasant and interesting.
Italy is also the ideal place for motorbike tours, and in the summer, the country’s roads fill up with bikers, attracted by the breathtaking scenery offered by coastal stretches, rolling hills and tree-lined roads through the mountains. A wide array of routes are offered by both public and private organisations for motorcyclists to explore the country from north to south, from the sea to the mountains. Bikers need not book a place on ships and ferries, and may also have access to some limited traffic areas in major cities. Safety helmets are compulsory.
Italy is a wonderful place to explore for amateur cyclists and cycle tourists. Other means of transport can also be used in conjunction with bicycles, which can be loaded onto all trains displaying the appropriate bicycle logo (for information, visit: www.trenitalia.com/cms/index.jsp?vgnextoid=ea7ca4eb5afba110VgnVCM1000003f16f90aRCRD).
The cheapest way to travel is to purchase a separate ticket for your bicycle, which is also available from the automatic ticket machines and is valid for 24 hours from the time of issue. Visitors who choose to take a trip to any of the major or minor islands will find it even easier to take their bicycle with them, because all ferries and ships carry bicycles free of charge.
Drivers who find themselves in emergency situations are guaranteed 24 hour assistance from ACI, the Italian Automobile Club, the Federation that groups together the 106 Provincial Automobile Clubs, set up to represent and protect the interests of drivers in Italy. You can call 803.116 from any phone, or visit the ACI official website. The radio offers information on traffic conditions: the three national RAI radio stations transmit the “Onda Verde” traffic news about every 30 minutes, while, on the routes covered, you can tune into Isoradio (103.3 Mhz), which offers good music as well as traffic bulletins.
Italy has an extensive, well-served network of petrol stations, which also supply unleaded petrol and diesel, both throughout the motorway network and along secondary roads.
It is very simple to rent a car or a motorbike, but it is best to check in advance which are the requirements of the different agencies. Age generally must be 23 or over (sometimes 25), but some agencies allow younger people to rent a vehicle. A credit card is generally necessary, plus a driving licence. Non-EU nationals should also possess and International Driving Permit(IDP).
Parking areas in major cities are designated by a lines of different colours, usually white lines indicate free parking, yellow lines reserved parking (for residents, disabled, taxis...), while blue lines require payment of a parking fee that varies according to the city, time and area.
Authorised taxis in Italy are white, and must have 'Taxi' written on the roof. They must be fitted with a taximeter indicating the cost of the fare in real time and, where applicable, the supplements payable for luggage, public holiday services, services during the night or outside of the city (as in the case of services to and from airports, for instance). To call a taxi, you can either go to a taxi rank, indicated by yellow lines or an orange sign, or telephone the various radio taxi services, which vary from one city to another. There is also a single number service (892192), available everywhere in Italy, which sorts the telephone requests to over sixty radio taxi companies, thus covering around 70% of the taxis available throughout the country. Calls to the service cost 62 eurocents per minute from a landline and 96 eurocents a minute from a mobile network.