Getting Around Italy

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Most Viewed Transportation in Italy

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Enviornmentally Friendly Gondola

    by deecat Updated Jul 7, 2005

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    A symbol of Venice is definitely the gondola. Even though it is very expensive, it still remains a tradition in Venice. Many people make fun of it and say it is a "rip off". I would not go that far. I do believe that it is too expensive, but if Venice had left the gondola as the only means of transportation for humans, it would be in much better shape environmentally.

    I cannot imagine Venice without Gondolas and Gondoliers. When I remember Venice, I visualize these ancient means of transportation and wish that's all there were on the canals. They literally skim the water smoothly, silently, sensuously.

    There are 12 gondola stations around Venice. In addition there are several smaller stations. (There was a small one next to our hotel). Some of the most popular are near the Rialto Bridge as shown in my photograph, Piazza San Marco, and Piazzale Roma.

    No matter what the detractors say, I still feel that the sleek 36-foot black "boat" is a marvel, especially after dark with the magical reflections in the canals.

    It's wise to ask for a quote before making a decision. A good price would be 60-65 dollars for a 50 minute ride. Remember, there is a 15 dollar surcharge after dark. Oh, yes, and the back canals are much better than the Grand Canal.

    If the romantic Gondola is not for you, then use the vaporetto system. They are a combination bus and ferry, very large, loud, and crowded. They are good for use on the Grand Canal.

    But, being the romantic that I am, I can dream what the Venice of old was and what the Venice of today could be if gondolas were still the only means of transportation.

    Gondola in Venice
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Traveling in Italy by Car

    by deecat Updated Apr 22, 2005

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    Only use a car inItaly if you are visiting the countryside (Tuscany for instance) . However, in cities such as Rome, Florence, Milan, and, of course, Venice, you have no need for a car.

    Additionally, a car would be a liability in those cities because of congestion, parking, and some wild local drivers.

    If you are renting a car, you will need an International Driver's Licence (get one in the US at AAA) as well as your regular driving licence.

    Not as much as in the past, but still, you will be shocked at the cost of gas (benzina) in Italy. We found that the gas stations take credit cards. If there is an attendant, ask for il pieno which means full tank.

    We were impressed with the roads and road sign directions in Italy. You drive on the RIGHT and yield to traffic from the RIGHT. Seat belts are compulsory in both front and back seats.
    Urban area speed limit = 50 km (30mph)
    Outside urban areas = 110km (70 mph)
    Autostrade =130km (80mph)

    In small towns and villages, sometimes cars are not allowed.

    We were amused when we first were in Italy by the way Italians park...they park where they wish in many small towns.

    If you choose to drive, DO NOT BE SHY or you will not do well.

    Car in Gaeta
    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Types of accommodations on Trenitalia night trains

    by mccalpin Updated Aug 3, 2011

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    I don't think I've taken a sleeping compartment on an Italian train, except a couchette, but this is what the Trenitalia website says...

    There are a number of choices for a "seat" on the overnight train from Milan to Rome:
    Couchettes for four "Comfort" - Couchette C4 Comfort
    2 bed compartment - compartimento 2 letti
    3 bed compartment - compartimento 3 letti
    double seat compartment - posto doppio
    special seat compartment - posto speciale
    single seat compartment - posto singolo
    Excelsior singolo (solo in 1a)
    Excelsior doppio
    Excelsior singolo con lettino
    Excelsior doppio con lettino
    Excelsior Matrimoniale

    On the left is what the English page shows, and on the right is the Italian. Note that the Excelsior descriptions are in Italian in both cases.

    The page that describes these services is only in Italian (I suspect), and can be found at
    here.

    After reading it carefully and recognizing the differing terminology (probably due to service offerings changing over time but not all documentation being updated in a timely manner), this is what I think (note: all prices as of summer 2011):

    Excelsior is like a hotel room, up to and including a private bathroom and shower. The non-discounted price is 120 euro per person for the Excelsior doppio (double).

    posto doppio (and posto speciale and posto singolo) appear to be cabins in a carriage called a "vettura Letti Classica". This type of carriage has 12 cabins per carriage. The non-discounted posto doppio price is 100 euro per person.

    compartimento 2 letti (and 3 letti) appear to be cabins in a carriage called a "vettura Letti Turistica". This type of carriage has 17 cabins per carriage, hence the rooms are smaller than on the "vettura Letti Classica" above. The non-discounted price compartimento 2 letti is 82.90 euro per person.

    couchettes are six seats (daytime) and 4 beds (nighttime) that fold down from the walls. The rooms are often shared with strangers, and there is the possibility of asking for an all-female room. The non-discounted price for a couchette is 67.90 per person.

    The posto doppio and compartimento 2 letti otherwise share a similar set of features:
    "- lavabo con acqua calda e fredda,
    - prese di corrente per rasoio elettrico e lampada da lettura,
    - porta abiti,
    - accessori per l’igiene personale,
    - porta intercomunicante tra 2 cabine adiacenti apribile su richiesta del cliente per chi vuol viaggiare in compagnia di amici o parenti. "

    - sink with hot and cold water
    - electrical outlets for an electric razor and a reading lamp
    - clothes storage
    - accessories for personal hygiene
    - an optional door between two cabins for those who want to travel with friends or family [just like a lot of hotels].

    Read more: Italy Travel Forum

    Related to:
    • Trains
    • Luxury Travel
    • Business Travel

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    Local buses at Tuscany

    by hopang Updated Mar 5, 2009

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    If you are staying at Chianciano Terme and wish to travel to Siena or Florence by bus, you may take a local Tuscany bus from the New Town Square. It costs just five euros per adult to travel to Siena from Chianciano Terme, a distance of approximately 50 kilometers.

    Based on last year's bus time table (please note that time table changes from time to time and you may obtain a copy of bus time table from the Tourist Information Office), the earliest bus to Siena departs Chianciano Terme at 6.10 a.m. and arrives at Siena at 7.40 a.m. The last bus departs Siena for Chianciano Terme at 5.45 p.m. and arrives at Chianciano Terme at 8.00 p.m.

    sYou may purchase your bus tickets at the Tourist Information Office near the Town Square. For travelling locally, i.e. within Chianciano Terme and Montepulciano area, it costs just two euros per adult and the bus tickets can be purchased from any Tabaccheria (local tobacco dealers).

    A Tuscany bus A local bus Comfortable seating
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    Four wheeled rickshaw

    by hopang Updated Mar 13, 2009

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    Renting a four wheeled rickshaw (quadricycle) at Via San Giuseppe, just several meters across the road from the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a lot of fun with total relaxation. You can cruise along the cobberstoned streets of Pisa in style, at the same time visiting other parts of the city in Pisa! The rental of a four wheeled rickshaw costs approximately ten euros for four passengers for a duration of approximately half an hour - a wise choice to explore other parts of Pisa!

    A quadricycle
    Related to:
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  • hopang's Profile Photo

    By Horse & Carriage in Vatican City

    by hopang Updated Aug 13, 2009

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    Horse-drawn carriage is a popular means of transportation along with the mini trains for local and foreign tourists in the streets of the city of Vatican! Even though Vatican City has a total area of only approximately 110 acres and is the smallest State in the world, you may still relax and take the slow moving horse-drawn carriage to view the colourful streets, the lovely and wonderful architectural buildings and the charm and elegance of the castles and palaces in the city.

    These horse-drawn carriages are stationed on the eastern end of St Peters Square opposite St. Peter's Basilica. You may even take the horse-drawn carriage from Vatican City to tour parts of the city of Rome if you think there is not much more to see in the Vatican City!

    Horse & Carriage at St. Peters Square
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  • hopang's Profile Photo

    By walking in Vatican City

    by hopang Updated Aug 13, 2009

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    Walking is an ideal way to exercise your legs, body and mind especially on your vacation in a foreign country! Vatican City has a total area of just around 110 acres which is the smallest State in the world in terms of size and population. Thus all corners of the Vatican City are within walking distance.

    Of course you may choose to stop and relax while walking wherever and whenever you like along the way in the city streets, to chill out in the bars or restaurants, to hunt for souvenirs at the many souvenir shops along the streets, to do some window shopping at the elegant shopping malls and boutiques or simply to visit the various interesting tourist attractions in the city!

    Vatican City
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    International Airport, Verona

    by hopang Updated Mar 4, 2009

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    Verona International Airport is also known as Valerio Catullo Villafranca International Airport. It is located approximately 12 kilometres from the city of Verona. The airport is also located in the middle of provinces of Brescia and Mantua and other smaller provinces.

    Approximately three million passengers pass through the airport annually, thus making it one of the major airports in Italy. It is mostly used for charter flights from European destinations. The departure terminal building is not very large. Nevertheless cafes, restaurants and duty-free shops are located in the building. The airport was formerly used by the air force during the Second World War and converted into civil airport after the war.

    Verona International Airport
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  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Annoying Travel Mode in Italy

    by deecat Updated Apr 22, 2005

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    One of the most annoying means of transportation that I witnessed throughout Italy was the use of motorscooters. I was shocked by the number of people who drive them...all ages, both sexes.

    The problem with them? I found the noise level quite high. In small towns and villages, it would break the atmosphere, otherwise so tranquil. Also, the driving manners of many on scooters was downright RUDE. They would dash in and out of traffic, ignoring other cars and poor, unsuspecting pedestrians.

    I understand the lure of scooters. They are small ; thus, they are easy to park and maneuver. But, that is no excuse for the rude behavior exhibited by many drivers.

    There are many of you who will disagree with me, which is your right. And, some of you want to ride them yourself.

    If that is so, then you need to know that in many cities and some towns that are popular with tourist, there are stands and shops which offer scooter rentals. You usually have to leave your passport as a deposit, which could create a problem for you if you are asked for your passport some where else.

    Dee
    Related to:
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    How to use the trains in Italy

    by Lacristina Updated Mar 18, 2007

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    It's easy to buy your train tickets while in Italy, and likely that the least expensive way is to buy point-to-point tickets. It isn't necessary to buy tickets much in advance - a day is usually all that is needed, though holiday weekends can be a problem. I often buy my ticket 15 min. before the train leaves without a problem. Most popular routes have trains virtually every hour.

    A travel agency displaying the "fs" Trenitalia logo in their window will be happy to help you - and won't cost you anything additional. Or you can use the automated machines in the major train stations.

    There are different kinds of trains: Eurostars, IC (intercity), R (regional) E (Espresso), D (direct), etc. In general, the faster the train, the higher the cost.

    A second-class seat on a Eurostar is perfectly fine unless you're going for a very long distance. I use it all the time for Rome to Naples, Rome to Florence, etc. All tickets on a Eurostar (1st or 2nd class) guarantee a reserved seat.

    A second-class ticket on an IC or D, or R guarantees passage, but not necessarily a reserved seat. At busy times, you may not get a seat if you don't get to your train early. But if you pay a few extra euros, you can buy a guaranteed seat. A first-class ticket always guarantees you a seat.

    To give you an idea of costs: Rome to Florence
    Eurostar 1st = 42.35E , 2nd = 29.33E; Time: 1:36
    IC 1st = 29.80E, 2nd = 21.95E; Time: 2:34
    D 1st = 22.36E , 2nd = 14.31E ; Time 3:37

    You can check on schedules an prices at www.trenitalia.com up to 60 days out.

    Don’t forget to time-validate your ticket in the yellow machines on and near the train platform. And no pleading ignorance - they’ll have none of it!

    For my tip on the airport train to Rome:
    FCO Airport Train to Rome

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  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Traveling in Italy by Train

    by deecat Updated Apr 22, 2005

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    Train travel is good in Italy. At one time, it was slow and crowded; today, it is fast, frequent, clean, and convenient. Sometimes a train provides a more convenient link between cities than air travel or car.

    Most of Italy's trains are state-run by the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS). There are a few privately-run lines, and they usually share the same main stations.

    Tickets are called Biglietti. You choose whether you want first or second class. You can buy tickets at the station ticket office. I've noted lately that automatic ticket machines are available. Be sure to VALIDATE your ticket on both outbound and return trips. A ticket usually starts on the day of purchase so tell the agent the day of travel.

    Fares are based on kilometers. Visitors to Italy are able to purchase a pass called Biglietto Turistico Libera Circolazione (BTLC) which is a travel-at-will pass for between 8 and 30 days.

    Most of the main city stations have baggage rooms and are manned; however, smaller stations have self-service lockers. Fees are charged per bag. (You may have to show your passport).

    Termini Train Station in Rome
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  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Some Tourist Use This Means of Transportation

    by deecat Written Aug 22, 2004

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    In Italy, as in the United States, a tourist attraction "gimmick" is to have horse and carriage rides around the city. It is advertised as romantic, refreshing, and a ride to remember always. On some of these rides, the driver also serves as a tour guide. If that is the case, then they are worthwhile because it would be an activity with two purposes: romantic and practical.
    My problem is: I am allergic to horses! I really like horse, but cannot be around them for too long or else my throat closes up, and I cannot breath.
    For the rest of you, it might be an interesting experience.
    The photo was taken by my husband Allan while we were in Florence.

    Horse and Carriage
    Related to:
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Trains of Italy

    by shirez Written Oct 7, 2004

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    There are different kinds of trains in Italy:
    *Eurostars
    *IC (intercity)
    *R (regional)
    *E (espresso)
    *D (direct), etc.
    In general, the faster the train, the higher it costs.

    A second-class seat on a Eurostar is perfect for medium long distances and you will get a reserved seat when you buy a second-class ticket.

    A second-class ticket on an IC or D, or R doesn't guarantee a seat and at busy times you may not get a seat if you are not fast enough. Althought there are seats also on the korridor of the train. A first-class ticket always guarantees you a seat.

    You can buy your train ticket the following ways: throught the internet, at the cashier or through a machine on the train stations. I would say the last one seems to be the easiest ways (also because you dont have to buy your ticket much earlier than departing) but these machines have a very sensitive italian soul:-)) Sometimes it takes a lot of time to be able to purchase your ticket... Anyway you can select the language, and then a lot of details for your ticket, just be sure you wont get lost in the information:-)

    Price examples from Florence to Rome
    ***Eurostar - Time: 1:36
    1st = 42.35 EUR / 2nd = 29.33EUR
    ***IC Time: 2:34
    1st = 29.80EUR / 2nd = 21.95EUR
    ***D Time 3:37
    1st = 22.36EUR / 2nd = 14.31EUR

    You can check details at www. trenitalia.it, but remember to enter the city names in italian (Venice=Venezia, Firenze= Florence..)

    And don’t forget to validate your ticket in the yellow machines before you get on the train. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay penalty.

    queue for train ticket

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    Bus Travel Within Cities and Towns

    by deecat Updated Apr 22, 2005

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    Most cities and towns in Italy (but not many villages) have a bus system. They are cheap and efficient.

    Bus stops are called fermate .
    Buses are called autobus .
    Tickets are called biglietti .
    You buy your ticket BEFORE YOU board the bus.
    In small towns, you can buy the ticket at the Tobacco shops or bars which display the bus company's sticker.

    You can purchase discounted tickets, day-or week-long visitors' tickets.

    Board the bus via the FRONT & REAR DOORS
    .
    Exit the bus viea the CENTRAL DOOR
    .
    Tickets must be VALIDATED by punching them in machines at the front or rear of the bus.

    Fines are big if you are caught without a validated ticket!!!

    Whenever we used a bus, we found them to be clean, on time, and very inexpensive.

    Allan on autobus in Gaeta

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    Comparing Eurail pass to point to point tickets #1

    by mccalpin Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Someone recently asked about Eurailpass versus point to point tickets in Italy...here is a comparison of Rome to Florence, Florence to Venice, and Venice to Rome - versus the 3 day Italy pass from Eurail...

    ***

    When I looked at raileurope a few minutes ago, the 3 day second class pass was $190 and the 3 day first class pass was $238 (hmmn, 1st class tickets are generally a 40%-50% premium over second class, so this looks odd already).

    So I planned 3 trips: Rome to Florence, Florence to Venice, and Venice back to Rome (assuming you are flying to/from Rome). Here's what I found:

    (Note: all numbers without markings are in euro)
    rome - florence
    Eurostar 33.00 2nd class 47.00 first class - direct
    EuroCity 26.50 2nd class 35.00 first class - direct
    espresso 17.90 2nd class - from Tiburtina to Campo di Marte
    regional 14.90 2nd class - direct

    florence - venice
    Eurostar 30.00 2nd class 44.00 first class - direct
    (change) 23.20 2nd class 34.10 first class - Eurostar to Bologna, diretto to Venice (2nd class only)
    InterCity 23.50 2nd class 30.50 first class - Campo di Marte to Mestre
    espresso 15.90 2nd class

    Venice to Rome
    (change) 58.00 2nd class 81.50 first class - IC to Bologna, Eurostar to Rome (varies slightly during the day)
    Eurostar 51.00 2nd class 74.00 first class - direct or change in Bologna
    InterCity 40.50 2nd class 55.00 first class - direct

    (continued in next tip)

    Related to:
    • Trains

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