There are several ways to get around Italy. It all depending on the things you want to see during your trip, how much time you have and what you prefer as the most relaxing way of traveling. We traveled a lot around Italy, and most of the time we use our car with a rooftop tent on top. But there are many other ways to get around and explore the beauty of Italy.
How do You Get Around Italy? It is easy to travel by car around Italy. Traveling by public transport is also very easy — both for the cities and to get around the country. There are many different metro and bus connections in different cities. Trains are connecting the cities and beautiful countryside. The easiest way to reach the Italian islands is by ferry.
Getting around Italy is quite easy, and there are many ways of transportation. Some of them need a little more preparation than others. Let’s compare the different ways to get around Italy so you can find out which way of traveling fits you the most.
Ways to travel around Italy
Traveling around Italy is comfortable no matter which way of transportation you choose. It’s all depending on what you find the most relaxing way of traveling.
Getting Around Italy with a (Rental) Car
Many people say that it is crazy to drive around Italy because the Italians can’t really drive and it’s supposed to be chaotic. We got some news for you. It’s not. Driving around Italy is actually very straightforward. However, the Italians tend to drive a bit faster than is allowed, so make sure you pay attention at all time. Especially when you are driving around cities, where it can be much busier. We also learned that you need to pay extra attention to driving at roundabouts. A lot of Italians just drive up a roundabout without even looking if there’s no other traffic.
With all of that in mind, it’s still our favorite way of transportation while traveling around Italy and Europe.
Most of the roads in Italy are in good condition. Sometimes when your driving around the countryside it’s possible that you’ll cross a road that is not really good or unpaved. But when you just drive a bit more slowly, every car will manage.
There are some rules you need to pay extra attention to while driving in Italy. In the cities and historic villages, there are many zones where you can’t drive a car. The so-called Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL), in proper English Limited Traffic Zones. These zones are restricted zones to limit the traffic in cities and historical centers. Make sure to pay attention to the rules in each city or historic center. Just follow the signs along the road, and you will be alright.
Italy has several toll roads. Mainly the highways are toll roads. Paying for tollroads is easy. You can pay cash or with a credit card. When you have a rental car, you can ask the rental car company if they use Telepass. Telepass is an electronic device in your vehicle which allows you to drive through the tollgates without stopping. While driving through the gate, the device is scanned and registered. You will be charged for the toll fee afterward via your rental company. Make sure that you know in advance if the rental car uses Telepass or that you need to pay a toll every time you passes a tollgate.
We love the feeling of freedom while traveling in a car. You can stop everywhere you want and go wherever you want to go. We recommend this way of getting around Italy because it gives you so many choices where you can go! When you want to travel by car around Italy, make sure you book a rental car (Link to our Plan Your Trip Page) in advance.
The only downside is that you can’t drink Italian wines while driving! But there are many tours you can plan which involves a designated driver, so it’s easy to get around that problem!
Traveling by Train
When you don’t want to drive and see a lot of the country, traveling by train is an excellent alternative. It’s easy, fast, and too expensive. Italy has a large network of trains connecting the biggest cities and all areas of the country. There are actually two several ways you can travel by train in Italy.
You can choose for the highspeed trains, these trains connecting the biggest cities and are comfortable when you are traveling from one side of the country to another. The Italian train network is managed by Trenitalia, where you can also plan and buy your tickets. Depending on the train route and which class your traveling in, you will find several amenities onboard like; Catering, Entertainment, and WiFi.
There is also a local train network in many areas of Italy. That is connecting the smaller cities, villages, and countryside for train travelers.
Traveling by train in Italy can take up a lot of time. So it is essential to plan your travels. When you’re short on time and want to see as much as you can, you can choose to take a sleeper train. So you’ll wake up on another side of Italy! When your train arrives!
Public Transport: Buses and Metro
Public Transport in cities is excellent in Italy. There’s also a comprehensive public transport network around most of the historical villages in the countryside. Many times you need to park a few kilometers outside the historical centers, but there’s always a way of public transportation that takes you into the center.
So it is easy to get around a city using public transport, but you need to do a little preparation. Depending on where you go we recommend to find out if you need to travel by bus or metro. We lined up the most prominent cities, to make your travel planning way more manageable.
Ways of Public Transport: Metro, Trams, and Buses.Milan has four metro lines connecting the city. Also, there are many buses and trams you can use in the city. It’s recommended to use the Milano Card. A public transport card for tourists, which gives you unlimited access to all the public transport in Milan within a specific period. You can choose a period of 24hours, 48hours or 72hours.
Ways of Public Transport: Metro, Trams, and Buses.Public Transport in Rome is excellent. Many metro lines, trams, and buses are connecting the city. In Rome, it is also recommended buying a Rome Pass, which gives you unlimited access to public transport for a certain amount of time. But also access and discount to several museums. The Roma Pass is available for 48 hours and 72 hours.
When you are only staying for a few days in Rome, you probably don’t use public transport in the city that much. It’s straightforward to walk around the historic center. Curious about what to see and do in Rome? Check out our City Guide to Rome to find out what Rome is Famous for!
Ways of Public Transport: Trams, and Buses.There are no metros in the historic center of Florence. But with many trams and buses, public transport is very good. In the historic center, there are only driving electric buses connecting different parts of the city. It is effortless to walk around the center of Florence. When you’re staying outside the center or want to explore more than the historical center itself, you can also buy the Firenze Card. The Firenze Card may seem the most expensive card of all, total price € 92, but don’t let it scare you. The Firenze Card, together with the Firenze Card Plus, will give you access to over 80 museums and unlimited use of public transport for 72 hours after activation.
Depending on how long you stay in Florence, it can be affordable to buy this card.
Ways of Public Transport: WaterbusesMany waterways surround Venice, so public transport takes place on the water. Venice is maybe the most visited city in the world, but amazing to visit. We recommend to plan though and prepare yourself in which ways to get around the historic center. Of course, this city has a City Card, same as all the others. The Venezia Unica City Pass is a card where you can buy tickets for museums, public transport, and many other things. Check out this how-to guide to learn more about this card
Traveling to Italy
Now that you have compared the different ways to get around Italy, it’s also important to know what is the easiest way to get there.
From the United States or Canada, the easiest way to go to Italy is by plane. There are several International Airports in Italy where you can fly directly from the US or Canada. We lined up the biggest airports in Italy, so it is easier for you to choose;
- Leonardo DaVinci International Airport
Airport Code; FCO
- Rome Ciampino Giovan Battista Pastine Airport
Airport Code: CIA
- Malpensa International Airport
Airport Code: MXP
- Orio al Serio International Airport
City: Bergamo / Milan
Airport Code: BGY
- Milan Linate Airport
Airport Code: LIN
- Turin Airport
Airport Code: TRN
- Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport
Airport Code: BLQ
- Pisa International Airport
City: Pisa (Tuscany Region)
Airport Code: PSA
- Naples International Airport
Airport Code: NAP
- Palermo Airport
City: Palermo (Island Sicily)
Airport Code: PMO
You can use the airport codes while searching for a flight ticket. From all the airports it is easy to reach the neighboring city with public transport or a rental car.
How Many Days Do I Need in Italy? We recommend spending at least 14 days if you want to see most of the country. The big cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice, can take easy two days per city to explore. Traveling around the countryside and explore the beautiful Italian landscapes, for example in Tuscany is something you don’t want to rush and take a couple of days for.
Is it Safe to Travel by Train in Italy? Traveling by train is very safe in Italy. Italy is a safe country to visit and travel around. However, you need to be alert in several places, especially at a busy train station. Like in many big cities, pickpockets may be active. Stay close to your luggage and keep your valuables safe. In most of the cases, you’ll be fine.