Travelling in Italy: Getting There
Air travel within Italy can be quite expensive although most companies offer special deals if you book well enough in advance or avoid busy times. Always check the Internet for special offers.
Car rentals are great for giving you the freedom to explore the countryside at your leisure. Hiring a medium-sized car will cost between 300 and 400 euros per week and there are often special offers for the weekend only.
Remember that driving is Italy is on the right and make sure you are aware of the different speed limits -130 Kph (80 mph) on the autostrada (toll-motorways) and between 70-90 kph (43-56 mph) outside city centres. The limit in city centres is 50 kph.
Petrol stations on motorways are open 24 hours. Elsewhere they are generally open from 7.30 to 12.30 and from 14.30 to 19.30. Self service pumps are available 24 hours a day.
You must pay to use the highway (toll-motorways). You are issued a ticket at your entrance and when you exit you pay a toll based on the distance covered. On some short highways a flat toll is paid on entry. Do not try to enter or exit through TELEPASS gates as these require a special Telepass device on your car.
Train travel is the best way to move easily and cheaply around Italy and visit the main towns and cities especially since stations are usually located in or close to the centre.
There are fast trains called Eurostar on main lines including Rome - Florence - Milan.
Reservations are advisable. All rail tickets can be purchased at the station ticket office (biglietteria) up to two months before travel but MUST be stamped immediately before boarding the train at the machines on the platforms. Passengers without tickets or with unstamped tickets will be fined. It is worthwhile buying your ticket ahead of your travel time since there are often long queues at the ticket office and you could risk missing your train. An Internet booking service is also available but not for all trains.
The InterRail Pass combines low cost travel in Europe with maximum flexibility. Choose from eight different zones that reach as far as Turkey and Morocco. The pass allows you up to one month of unlimited travel in the zones chosen. Substantial discounts are also available on European ferries for InterRail Pass holders. Anyone can purchase a pass but the cheapest rates are for people younger than 26 years old. The new mini InterRail ticket is valid for 12 days and perfect for those who want to discover Europe but do not have a month in which to do it!
More information can be found on the Interrail site, including a guide to the zones. Rail Europe has an online booking facility.
Carta Verde Trenitalia
Trenitalia” (Italian Railways) offers a special card to young people under 26 years which offers a 10% discount on 1st and 2nd class local tickets and 25% discount on international tickets. The card is valid for one year and costs 40 euros.
You can check details on:
Bus and coach services
Bus and coach services are also a cheaper way to visit Italy. This is especially true on local routes and in mountain areas, but they also operate services linking towns via the motorway. However, it is often more difficult to find out which services are on offer since there are often many different operators in each province.