Transportation in Italy

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Getting around Italy is generally easy and efficient, thanks to the country’s excellent rail network. But even though much of Italy is served by train, there are certainly plenty of towns which don’t have a train station. Your transportation options are listed below, with links to more detailed information about each.

>> Need more help planning your trip to Italy? My first-time visitor’s guide may be just what you’re looking for. It includes tips for the Italy newbie as well as handy information for the veteran Italophile.

Getting Around Italy By Train


Most of the country is served very well by the railway, and if your Italy trip will be keeping you in the bigger cities on the regular tourist path you will have no trouble getting from place to place using the trains. In fact, if your itinerary keeps you on the tourist path it’s advised that you stick with the train network and don’t even consider renting a car.

Train travel in Italy is an efficient way to get around, and the only hiccup will be if you’re “lucky enough” to visit during a train strike. If this happens, know that you’re not alone – and you’ll probably have some great stories to tell when you get home.

Further Reading:

Taking the train is a great option for most popular routes in Italy, including the following:

Getting Around Italy by Plane

For most people, an Italy trip begins with a flight to Italy. Most people choose from between two main cities in the country for their arrival, but there are other options. In addition to the major international airports in the country, there are many more airports in Italy to choose from – and if your flight route from home includes a stopover in Europe before you even arrive in Italy, you may be able to switch to a budget carrier at that point to save money.

Italy may not be a huge country by some standards, but depending on your particular Italy itinerary it might be both faster and cheaper to fly between certain cities rather than take ground transportation.

Further Reading:

Some of the routes in Italy for which flying might be your best option are:

Quick search for airfare to Rome (FCO), Milan (MXP), and Venice (VCE):


Getting Around Italy By Bus

Even if your route through Italy is concentrated in the bigger cities, for some routes it’s more efficient and cost-effective to take a bus than a train. As long as your trip is all within one region, bus travel in Italy can be the best way to get around in many cases.

Many smaller towns that don’t have train stations will have bus stops, so you’ll be able to get a little further off the beaten path if you go by bus than if you rely solely on trains. Remember that there’s no national bus network in the country, however, so if your route crosses a regional border it’s better to look to another mode of transportation besides the bus. The exception to this is if you’re taking a Eurolines or Busabout trip through Europe.

Further Reading:

Routes for which the bus is the best option include:

Getting Around Italy By Car


If you’re planning to get really off the beaten path, or if you don’t have a set itinerary, or if you’re traveling as part of a small group, renting a car in Italy might be a good option.

You can also rent a car for a portion of your trip, say for a day or two to drive through Tuscany, and then use the train for the rest. This is a particularly good option for those who aren’t excited about the hassles involved with driving – primarily city driving and parking.

Driving in Italian cities can be extremely frustrating, and finding parking in historic town centers even more so. In other words, while renting a car for certain parts of your trip or for trips through less-traveled parts of Italy can be a great idea, renting a car to drive through Rome or Florence is not.

Further Reading:

Nearly any route you might travel in Italy can be done with a car, so you can consult any of the city-to-city articles linked on the getting around Italy page to find out how a driving trip stacks up to other transportation methods for each route.

Getting Around Italy By Boat

With as much coastline as Italy has, it’s not surprising that taking boats to get from place to place is something to consider when you’re planning your trip. In some cases, it’s the only ground transportation option you’ll have – and in other cases, it’s just a lovely excuse to add another type of transport to your itinerary.

Ferry trips in Italy vary greatly from short commuter-style trips to long overnight journeys, and the boats themselves vary quite a bit, too. For instance, not all ferries are equipped to take cars, so if you’re driving around Italy be sure you know whether you’ll be able to drive onto the ferry before you show up at the dock.

Some of the routes for which you might consider a ferry trip include:

Quick search to book ferry trips in Italy:

Getting to/from Major Airports in Italy

Once you’ve arrived in Italy, your first order of business is getting from the airport to wherever you’re starting your trip. Here are some articles about getting to and from the main international airports in Italy, including all your transportation options.

Getting Around Specific Cities in Italy

Sometimes the best option for getting around within a city is your own two feet – but when a city is big enough, it makes sense to get to know the public transit system within the city so you don’t wear yourself out too quickly. Here’s more information about the public transportation within a few specific cities in Italy:

Getting to/from Italy from Outside the Country

Here are some articles that may help you if you’re planning to visit Italy in addition to other countries in Europe during one trip:

photos, top to bottom, by: cameronparkins, WexDub, Jake&Brady, olofw, Xelcise

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