Italy is a country that offers a multitude of attractions and complementary services to tourists, who crowd it in droves every year. The attractions and services for tourists in Italy are characterized by high level and user-friendliness – accommodation services, information, food, and the public transportation in Italy also does not fall short in quality.
It is true that in many places in Italy the entry of private vehicles is prohibited and in many cities it is easier and more convenient to get around on foot, or by bicycle, but when moving from city to city, or from region to region, whether on domestic flights, by train, by bus or by rented car speeding on the intercity highways – Italy always offers a service Befitting a leading Western European country.
The means of transportation in Italy are divided into general and main means of transportation, urban means of transportation, which may vary from one city to another, and national means of transportation, including roads, trains, airports, seaports, and more.
Driving in a rented car on intercity highways in Italy
Traveling in a rental car between the various travel destinations within Italy can be a great experience, during which you will switch between wonderful landscapes and fast highways, but it is recommended to use a rental car only for long-distance trips in Italy, especially in the rural areas of the country, because it is very difficult to drive in the centers of the big cities.
Intercity roads and large highways, spread across the length and breadth of Italy and allow travelers in the country to move comfortably and easily between the different parts of the great country. Some of the intercity roads are public roads and some are private toll roads.
To know if you are on your way to a toll road, or inside it – you will have to pay attention to the markings and signs: toll roads will be marked with the letter A and next to it a number, indicating the location of the road and the destination it leads to. For example, the highway connecting Naples to Milan is marked A1, but the road connecting Milan to Genoa is called A7 and so on.
Public roads will always be marked with other letters and in most cases will start with the letter S, but in most cases it is more convenient and efficient to travel on the toll roads, when traveling in Italy in a rented car.
Some important things to know about driving on Italian roads:
- The speed limit on the toll roads in Italy is between 130 and 150 km/h, while on the public intercity roads it starts at 70 and reaches up to 110 km/h.
- Enforcement cameras are placed on the roads and the fines for speeding are very high.
- You can pay on the toll roads in cash, or by magnetic card. Each toll booth is marked with a sign indicating the accepted method of payment. The accepted and convenient payment method for tourists is usually cash.
- The costs of traveling on the toll roads are relatively high and can reach 15 euros per 400 kilometers.
- The toll roads provide plenty of stopping stations for every need – to refuel, or refresh, and some of them are also equipped with a telephone for emergencies.
- The marking of the direction of travel on the roads is different than in Israel and instead of a marking with an arrow pointing to the direction of traffic, you will see on the intercity roads the name of the destination written on the road. For example, on the road leading to Milan, you will see the name “Milano” written on the road in large letters.
- Many tourist destinations in Italy do not allow entry with a car at all and it is important to plan your trips in advance according to this figure.
- The Israeli driver’s license is valid in Italy for one year and you can use it during the trip, but it is important to always carry it with you.
The train is the most favorite means of transportation for Italians
Trains are the most accepted and used means of transportation in the country. Italy is blessed with a branched network of train lines, which allow travel from almost any point to any point in the country and trains are the favorite means of transportation for Italians and serve over 600 million passengers a year.
The train services in Italy are operated by one central company and several other small and regional companies, which operate only in certain parts. There are 3 levels of service for passengers with the central company:
- The “Eurostar” trains – connect the 120 most important and largest cities in Italy using comfortable, modern and well-maintained railways. The service excels in accuracy and speed (reaches a speed of about 300 km/h!!!) and is very convenient to use, but it is also the most expensive of the different types of service.
- “Intercity” and “Eurocity” trains – trains for traveling on long lines, new, air-conditioned and comfortable, with seating compartments designed for six passengers in each compartment. Eurocity trains also go outside Italy to neighboring countries and offer a comfortable ride at relatively low prices.
- “Regional” and “Inter-Regional” trains – suburban trains that transport passengers between the various provinces in Italy, are characterized by short travel routes and multiple stops and offer the cheapest option for train travel in Italy.
Some important things to know about train travel in Italy:
- The train tickets can be purchased at the train stations, in the ticket offices and also through the automatic ticket vending machines, as in Israel.
- The counter workers wear badges with national flags, indicating the languages they speak, so that every tourist can easily find the representative who speaks his language and easily use his services. You probably won’t find Hebrew, but English certainly will.
- You can use the ticket you bought up to 3 months from the date of purchase, provided that your trip is in the same area as the original trip for which you bought the ticket. You can choose another destination for the trip provided it is the same distance as the original destination.
- The card must be punched at the ticket operator before boarding the train and from this point on you will have no more than 6 hours until the card expires and then you may be fined for using an invalid card.
- Classes on the train – first class is of course more expensive, but also cleaner and more comfortable and there will always be a place to sit.
- For long trips, it is recommended to purchase an intercity train ticket with an additional reserved seat.
- For the Eurostar train – it is recommended to purchase a ticket a few days in advance, before the line is filled with passengers.
- You can travel by train from Italy to neighboring countries, such as Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and more, on trains that leave for these destinations every day.
Airports and domestic flights
No less than 69 airports scattered throughout Italy. Some of them are central and very active and offer daily flights to different regions throughout the country.
Flights from Israel to Italy may land at one of these two airports.
Along with the two main international airports of Italy, there are several other small airports that cater to international flights and charter flights from Israel sometimes land in one of them. Among these airports you can find Milan Linate, Verona, Venice, Turin, Genoa, Rome Ciampino, Florence, Bologna, Pisa and more.
Domestic flights depart daily from many airports throughout the country and offer another means of transportation, suitable for those who do not have much time for a trip and want to quickly get from destination to destination, or simply pamper themselves and save travel time.
Means of transportation within the cities and tourist areas in Italy
Each of the Italian cities may offer a different style of transportation, or different means of transportation that operate more efficiently there due to different conditions existing in the city. Some cities in Italy do not allow the entry of private vehicles at all and it is important for you to know the different options:
Transportation within Rome
The capital city of Rome is full of tourist attractions of all kinds and is full of tourists almost throughout the year. It has historical sites alongside art museums, important religious sites, chiefly the Vatican, and excellent restaurants with food typical of Rome. Transportation in Rome fits the lifestyle of the Romans and the structure of the city.
Within Rome there are 3 main means of transportation – subway, tram and buses. They are all operated by one company, so you can purchase a daily ticket, or a weekly or even monthly and annual subscription, which will serve you in all means of transportation within the city.
For a quick trip, it is recommended to use the subway, which offers two different lines passing through the city.
Most flights from Israel arrive at the main (and larger) airport of Rome – Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino), located about 30 km southwest of Rome, and from there you can take a direct express train to the Termini train station, which is A central station and located in a central area of the city.The fare is 8 and a half euros and the train frequency is about every half hour.
Those who prefer a private and comfortable means of transportation can travel by taxi, from the taxi stand located outside the passenger hall at the airport, but it is important to remember that this is a particularly expensive trip and the basic fare includes a baggage allowance and a night allowance for those arriving at night.
Those landing in Rome at Ciampino Airport have the option of taking a bus to the Anagnina train station and from there take a train to Termini Central Station.
Travelers in Rome are strongly recommended to travel mainly on foot, on pre-planned daily itineraries and enjoy the multitude of historical sites, works of art, street food stalls, restaurants and cafes, scattered literally at every turn throughout the city. The great proximity between the main attractions of the city, such as the Colosseum, the Forum and the Pantheon, makes a walk in the city comfortable and practical as well as pleasant and interesting.
Transportation within Milan
Milan is considered one of the world’s fashion capitals and every year the fashion week is held there, which is considered an important and influential annual event. In accordance with its position, Milan received a modern, state-of-the-art, invested and sophisticated airport, which is in the first row with the most advanced airports in the world and named Malpensa.
Within Milan you can travel by subway, or tram, also called “tram”, and buses.
The subway has 4 different lines that stop at 87 different stations throughout the city and is a very efficient and comfortable means of transportation.
It is possible to purchase a daily, or weekly, even monthly and annual ticket, which provides free movement in all means of transportation in the city.
You can take a direct train from Malpensa airport to the central train station of Milan, with a journey lasting 40 minutes and a price of 8 euros. The frequency of trains departing from the airport to Milan is about every half hour and you should check the schedule for the planned travel times.
Milan can also be reached from the airport by bus service, which offers a frequency of every 15 minutes and takes passengers directly to the city’s central train station. The journey takes approximately 50 minutes and costs €5.
A taxi ride from the airport to the city center will cost close to 80 euros.
Those who land in Milan, can easily travel from there to other destinations throughout northern Italy using direct and convenient bus routes.
Milan’s second airport is called Linta and from there you can go to the city center by bus, or by taxi, the price of which will be close to 15 euros.
There is also a third airport in Milan – Bergamo Orio al Serio – and it mainly serves domestic flights, or international low-cost flights. A direct train between the airport and the city can be caught every half hour and costs 6 euros.
Transport within Venice
Venice, the city of canals, is one of the most visited cities in the world and its residents find it difficult to cope with the constant tourist load that plagues the city. For this reason and also because of the many canals running through the city, if you are traveling in Venice, keep in mind that you will not be able to enter it with a car and in any case, it is likely that as tourists in this special city – you will find it more interesting and enjoyable to use the accepted means of transportation between the canals in the city – the gondolas and the bus boats.
The airport of Venice – Marco Polo – is located about 12 km from the city center and can also be reached by direct charter flight from Tel Aviv. From the airport you can reach the city by bus in about 20 minutes, the price of which is 3 euros.
Boat bus – connects the many canals that cross the city and serves as a central and accepted means of transportation. The price of a single ticket is 3 euros and a day ticket costs 10 euros.
Transportation in Tuscany
The Tuscan countryside is rich in vineyards scattered over verdant hills and olive groves, from which fine olive oil is produced. Beautiful country estates where you can stay overnight make this beautiful region of the country a mythical and especially charming attraction and suitable for a trip to the countryside, the overwhelming recommendation in Tuscany is to travel in a rented car, but only until you decide to reach one of the cities.
The cities of Tuscany, including Florence, are concentrated around a relatively small area, so there is no real need for public transportation. But within the cities – Pisa, Lucca, Siena and Florence – there is usually efficient and comfortable public transportation and you can also travel them on foot, around the relatively small tourist areas.
Transportation within Pisa
Pisa is mostly famous for its Leaning Tower, but if you plan to travel there, you probably know that the tower is only part of the Piazza di Miracoli, which was considered an important center for art in the Middle Ages and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The airport of Pisa is named after the famous scientist Galileo Galilei, who spent most of his life in Pisa and is located about two kilometers from Pisa. The port serves international flights, including flights from Tel Aviv and low-cost flights from around Europe.
You can get from the airport to Pisa city center by train for 1 euro, or to Florence for 10 euro.
The main means of transportation in the city are taxis and buses. Trains arrive in Pisa from almost all parts of Italy.
Rented car – it is allowed to enter Pisa with a car, although it is more convenient and recommended to move around on foot. It is important to observe parking according to the law to avoid fines and towing and to pay attention to the areas where it is forbidden to enter with a car – again, to avoid fines.
Transportation in the Lake Garda area – means of transportation for travelers with children and in general
The Lake Garda area is full of attractions of all kinds and has become over the years a very touristic area in Italy and a favorite especially for families traveling with children. In addition to countless exciting and exciting attractions, the area offers a wealth of services for tourists, from accommodation and restaurants to tourist information stations and a variety of means of transportation.
The convenient and accepted way to move around the region, especially for families with children, is by renting a car, but without a doubt a car is the most expensive option among the available options. It is important to know that not everywhere you will easily find a regulated parking space and in some places the parking will be paid only. In addition, as in many parts of Italy, not every place in the lake area allows vehicles to enter and in some cases it is better to travel by public transport to save on the high fuel costs.
A ferry ride between the various towns around the lake provides a convenient and quick option to get from point to point and sometimes cheaper than traveling by private car.
Traveling by bus is the most accepted and cheapest option for transportation in the lake area, but not all parts of the area are accessible to buses and it is important to find out in advance to which point you can reach.
Train – you can get to the Lake Garda area by train from any of Italy’s major cities and travel to one of the area’s train stations – Peschiera del Garda, or Desenzano del Garda.
Other airports worth knowing in Italy
Punta Raisi Airport, located in Palermo, is the main airport of the island of Sicily and caters to tourists wishing to reach the center, or the north of the island.
A drive of about 15 kilometers to the east will take you to the city center. You can choose between traveling by subway, at a price of about 5 euros, on the trains that leave every half hour, or by traveling by bus, which will take about 50 minutes and cost you about 5 euros.
Additional means of transportation in Sicily
Trains – operate between all the main cities on the island, but they usually operate in the format of a collector and travel slowly. Some of the train stations on the island offer a trip to the mainland by taking a ferry.
Buses – known as the most convenient and efficient means of transportation on the island. Central bus lines operate throughout the island, connecting the various cities and the beautiful beaches.
Traveling in a rented car – is considered the most convenient and preferred means of transportation by tourists on the island. You can rent a car at many points along the island and be positively surprised by the island’s high-quality road infrastructure, or be negatively surprised by the sometimes wild driving culture of the local drivers.
Sicily is connected to the neighboring Aeolian Islands by regular ferry lines, which also offer regular sailing to Naples for example. The ferries operate relatively infrequently, so it is important to find out in advance the relevant sailing times.
Sea ports and ferries throughout Italy
Many ports in Italy offer ferry service to neighboring countries across the Mediterranean. Even within the political borders of Italy, there are 60 islands and there is regular transport between them, although most of them are uninhabited. The ferry lines allow a comfortable, efficient and relatively cheap cruise and you can even take your private vehicle on them and continue with it to the next destination on the trip.
Among other things, you can take a ferry from the seaports located in the cities: Genoa, Naples, Bari, Venice and more.
Italy – diverse and high-quality transportation
Italy, one of whose outstanding features is the accessible and diverse services offered to tourists, also excels in a large supply of means of transportation, which usually arrive with high frequency, are punctual in their arrival times, offer a variety of prices and allow everyone to find a means of transportation that fits their budget.
It is recommended to plan in advance the trips throughout the trip and purchase discounted travel tickets – two days or two weeks, depending on your need – which will allow you to travel freely in all the available means of transportation in the area where you have chosen to travel.
A good trip!