Travelling by air in Italy is easy, thanks to a broad range of flights and carriers all over the country. There are numerous connections between cities, as well as services from Rome and Milan to all the other Italian airports. The wide-ranging network also connects the mainland with Sicily and Sardinia, and even the smaller islands. There are about forty small and medium airports in Italy, located in all Italian regions (except Molise and Basilicata).
The main Italian carriers are:
Air Dolomiti: www.airdolomiti.it
A capillary railway network will take you to even the remotest places in Italy, from seaside destinations to mountain peaks, while passing through unique landscapes and sceneries. You can rely on fast connections between the main cities (Rome-Milan in just over 3 hours) to travel in comfort, taking advantage of numerous on-board services such as free wi-fi, catering, assistance for the disabled, accompanied children, transport of animals and bicycles.
Tickets can be purchased online through the websites of the two companies, at travel agencies or railway station ticket offices.
Before getting on-board, check whether you need to stamp your ticket using the obliterating machines in the station.
In addition to high-speed trains, there are minor lines serving the whole of Italy, including small towns, in a capillary manner.
Regular buses connect all Italian destinations over a capillary network, from large cities to small villages. Their itineraries inevitably cross unique landscapes and scenarios, by the sea or in the mountains, bringing together the many small jewels dotted around every corner of Italy. It is always advisable to reserve your seat in advance online, by phone or through authorized dealers.
European Driving Licenses are recognized in Italy.
Citizens from non-EU countries must have an international driving permit (IDP).
To move around freely, you can also hire a car but you should inform yourself in advance about the requirements needed by the various car hire agencies. The driver must usually be over 23 years of age (sometimes 25), but there are also companies that allow rental to younger people. You also need a credit card and a driving license.
An excellent motorway network, indicated by green signs, crosses all twenty Italian regions. Two main motorways connect Northern and Southern Italy: the Autostrada del Sole (A1, serving Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples) and the Adriatic (A14, connecting Bologna, Ancona, Pescara, Bari and Taranto). Motorway tools are applied in Italy. You can pay in cash or by credit card. Alternatively, there are quicker methods, such as "Viacard" or "Telepass". Viacard is a magnetic card that can be used in automatic and manual toll gates or sometimes given to the toll collector. Telepass is the most practical and fastest automatic payment system, based on remote electronic recognition and charging the toll to the user: it means you can pay without stopping at the toll booth and avoid queues.
For more information relating to weather conditions, toll costs or traffic, you can stop at the “Punti Blu” (Blue Points) located on all motorway junctions, visit the official website of Società Autostrade or phone the Traffic Call Centre on 840-042121 (operational 24 hours a day).
An alternative to motorways is the impressive network of state roads indicated by blue signs. There are no tolls and have one or two lanes; they are secondary routes that often ensure beautiful views that cannot be admired from the motorways: they are slower but they make the journey much more interesting.
Italy boasts a large network of petrol (unleaded, diesel) and gas (LPG or methane) supplies both on the motorways and on secondary roads. Along the main motorways and in various built-up areas - not necessarily the largest - you can find columns today for fast charging of hybrid or electric vehicles.
A twenty-four hour assistance service for motorists in emergencies is provided by the Automobile Club of Italy (ACI), a Federation of 106 Provincial Automobile Clubs which represents and protects the interests of Italian motoring. You can contact the number 803.116, or visit ACI's official website.
Parking areas in large cities are marked off by stripes of various colours: usually, white stripes indicate free parking spaces, yellow indicate reserved parking (disabled, taxis...), while the blue indicates paid parking at rates which vary depending on the city and, in some cities, also on the area. Check the information on signs and payment columns to find out the times and days when you have to pay for parking, as well as the hourly cost.
Ztl (Limited Traffic Zone)
Many city centres have limited access to them by car with the activation of ZTL areas (Limited Traffic Zone) and timetables. This means that certain streets and squares cannot be entered when access points are open unless you have specific permits. The days and times of such restrictions vary from city to city but the signals are always evident and make it immediately understandable whether or not you can enter a specific city area. They are normally disabled on weekends but it is always a good idea to check based on where you are and the applicable rules.
Drive on the right and overtake on the left.
It is compulsory for all motor vehicles to turn on the low beam, position and license plate lights on any suburban road and on motorways, even during the day. In the city, drivers can decide whether to keep them on or not. The obligation to turn these lights on is also valid in cities for all two-wheeled vehicles (mopeds and motorcycles).
The horn should not be used in residential areas, except for emergencies.
Trams and trains have right of way.
The use of seat belts both front and rear (when present) is mandatory: sanctions can be applied to both the driver and passengers.
On roads with two or more lanes, you must occupy the free lane most to the right; the left lane or lanes are reserved for overtaking.
When arriving at a junction, unless otherwise indicated, you must give way to cars coming from the right.
Helmets are absolutely mandatory when riding mopeds and motorcycles of all engine powers. Motorcycles below 150 cc cannot circulate on motorways under any circumstances.
DRINK - DRIVE
In Italy, the upper limit for driving with alcohol in the blood is 0.5 grams per litre, in line with the value in the rest of Europe.
To enforce speed limits, numerous electronic controls with speed cameras and tutors are installed along the entire Italian road and motorway network.
Speeds limits for various vehicles based on the type of road travelled are given below.
Cars and Motorcycles (over 150 cc):
urban areas 50 km/h (31 mph);
secondary suburban roads 90 km/h (56 mph);
main suburban roads 110 km/h (68 mph);
motorways 130 km/h (81 mph).
In the event of rain or snow, the limit drops to 110 km/h on motorways and 90 km/h on the main suburban roads.
Car with trailer or caravan:
In urban areas, the top speed is 50 km/h (31 mph);
on secondary suburban roads 70 km/h (44 mph);
on main suburban roads 70 km/h (44 mph);
on motorways 80 km/h (50 mph).
Motorhomes weighing more than 3.5 tonnes but less than 12 tonnes:
urban areas 50 km/h (31 mph);
secondary suburban roads 80 km/h (50 mph);
main suburban roads 80 km/h (50 mph);
motorways 100 km/h (62 mph).
A warning triangle and spare tyre must always be available on all vehicles. A first aid kit and a fire extinguisher are also recommended.
It is mandatory to have safety vests or reflective shoulder straps available on the vehicle. They must be worn by the driver and passengers outside vehicles at a standstill on the roadway, outside built-up areas, at night or in poor visibility conditions. It is also mandatory to wear them when you set up the warning triangle after a breakdown or if you get out of the car when stopped in the emergency lane.
Every vehicle circulating in Italy must be accompanied by civil liability insurance. For people arriving from abroad, the green card is recommended: an insurance policy that can also be taken out at the border and valid for 15, 30 or 45 days.
In the event of minor road accidents, the parties - if they agree on the dynamics of the accident and their responsibilities - can sign the "Constatazione Amichevole di Incidente" (Amicable Accident Statement) available for each car with the insurance documents. This procedure speeds up compensation times for those who are in the right and does not require the intervention of law enforcement agencies.
For more complex situations, you can contact the "Polizia Comunale" (Municipal Police) if the collision occurred in an urban centre or the "Polizia Stradale (Road Police) (calling 113) if you are on the motorway or a suburban road. It is important, especially if you call law enforcement officers, not to move anything at the scene of the accident: the vehicles and any parts of them scattered on the roadway must remain where they are.
Italy is a perfect destination for cyclists, both for its geographical configuration with gradients suitable for everyone and unique landscapes, as well as other means of transport in Italy that allow you to take your bicycle with you everywhere. Bicycles can be taken on all trains marked with a large bicycle icon.
You can take only one bicycle free of charge (knocked down and contained in a suitably closed bag or a folding bike) and place it in indicated baggage spaces. If there is not enough space, you can arrange it elsewhere provided that it does not hinder or annoy other passengers or train staff. In any case, dimensions must be no more than 80x110x45 cm.
If you do not have a folding bike and you need to transport your bicycle fully assembled, enquire at the ticket office to find out the timetables of trains with a bike transport service and any rates applied.
For more information: www.trenitalia.com
All ferries and ships offer free bicycle transport.
Car Sharing | Bike Sharing
In large cities, as well as in some small towns, you will find car sharing, bike sharing and scooter rental services: an agile, low cost approach to short journeys.
Buses and trams circulate daily in Italian cities, connecting historic centres and suburbs, surrounding areas and smaller towns and villages. Remember to buy your ticket at authorized outlets - official corners, newsagents, bars - before boarding. Services are very frequent from Monday to Friday, with end-of-service times that vary from area to area; large cities have night services at reduced frequency. The number of trips available at weekends decreases but the evening duration of the service is extended.
Milan, Rome, Naples, Brescia, Turin, Catania and Genoa: you can travel about quickly on classic underground subways in these cities. Other Italian cities have large-scale rapid rail or tram lines, similar to subway systems. During the week, service is constant and ends at times that vary from city to city; the number of trips and the end of service times change at weekends.
For quick trips, especially in cities, taxis are a valid option. This service is available in larger cities and tourist centres (more frequently in high season), as well as smaller villages thanks to app-based management.
Authorized taxis in Italy are white and must have the word 'Taxi' written on the roof. They must also be equipped with a taximeter indicating the cost of the journey in real time to which, depending on individual instances, extra costs for luggage, holiday service, night service and out of town routes (such as trips to airports) may be added. To book a taxi you should go to taxi ranks marked by yellow lines or an orange sign, or call radio taxi phone numbers, which vary from city to city.
A single paid number is available - 892192 - that operates throughout Italy and processes requests for more than sixty radio taxi companies, thereby covering about 70% of the taxi vehicles available in the country.
Alternatively, there are many official rental agencies with drivers you can contact for city journeys or medium-long hauls.
Always be wary of people who stop you on arrival in the city, at the airport or station, offering you a taxi service: these are unauthorized people and should be avoided. Taxis in Italy have specific, easily identifiable waiting ranks and drivers do not solicit customers on the street.
Ships, hydrofoils and ferries connect ports everywhere along the Italian coast as well as the large and small islands of our country. The service is available all year round and, depending on the company and the type of ship, you can also embark with a means of transport at an additional cost. In many cases, you can reach the tiny pearls of the Mediterranean for a day trip. And if you take your bike with you, you don't have to pay any extra!