Figuring out transportation in Italy can be a daunting task, even if you do speak Italian—but it doesn’t have to be! With some local input, we created this guide covering trains, buses, Uber, metros, taxis, airports, and everything else you’ll need to conquer transportation in Italy.
No matter where you want to go in Italy, you're going to have to get savvy with Italian transportation. Fortunately, locals tell us that you'll have plenty of options.
Most Italians get around via car and only 20% don’t own a vehicle—but locals say that doesn’t mean you automatically have to opt for car rental in order to see the country.
In addition to these, there’s budget airlines and a fleet of long-distance buses to get you from one beautiful city to another. Here’s what you need to know:
Locals tell us that Trenitalia (the Italian rail company) is an excellent way to get around Italy.
It connects virtually every major city and has tons of options, including high-speed and late-night trains. The high-speed trains service the major cities you’re likely to visit (like Florence and Venice), while slower intercity trains access secondary locations.
Trenitalia is extensive and efficient, but using it can be overwhelming at first. Benefit from local insights—locals can provide detailed transit instructions.
When it comes to Trenitalia, locals say you'll have an option between buying individual tickets or a rail pass. They say if you’re only planning on traveling between a couple of cities, go with the individual, city-to-city tickets. But if you’re planning on seeing all the major cities as well as the Italian countryside, then locals in Italy say you should go with a Eurail Italy pass—it’ll give you unlimited train access for whatever duration you choose.
A rail pass for 6 days will put you back about $200 dollars. That might sound like a lot, but it's less expensive than buying city-to-city tickets throughout the same time period.
If you’re coming from the US, odds are you’re not entirely familiar with using an extensive train system like what you’ll find in Italy. Get local advice. Locals suggest following these easy steps:
You can skip a lot of the hassle of validating tickets by opting for e-tickets whenever they’re available.
There are plenty of coach buses in Italy, but locals tell us taking a bus is not as simple as taking a train. Unlike the train, there’s no national bus network in Italy—just lots of individual companies.
It’s best to use trains when going between cities, as opting for an inter-city bus line will just mean tons of transfers and headaches.
Locals say that if you do opt to buy a bus ticket, you should use larger European companies like Eurolines.
In addition, each individual city has its own bus company. Tickets can usually be purchased in metro stations and newsstands. Locals note that an average one-way ticket in most Italian cities costs €1.50.
Make sure to validate your bus ticket at the bus stop before boarding, just like you do for rail tickets. Not doing so could result in a €40 fine!
Locals tell us that taxis in Italy are perfectly safe to use (although they can sometimes be expensive). Here's what locals in Italy say about using taxis (and Uber):
Locals tell us that while you won’t find a subway in every major city in Italy, Rome, Naples, and Milan all have very affordable multi-line metro systems that can help you navigate between important city hubs. Tickets can be bought in the metro stations and cost €1.50.
Using public transit can be intimidating anywhere, so get a local's perspective on how to best utilize the metro wherever you're staying in Italy. Locals can give suggestions based on how you like to travel.
It might seem counter-intuitive to think about booking flights within Italy, but in Europe flying short distances can often be comparable to taking the train, price-wise. Plus, hopping on a plane makes it easy to travel quickly between all the incredible places to visit in Italy.
Locals tell us these are some of the best ways to get to and from Italy’s major airports.