Italians are always on the go: whether zipping to work, on their way to a family function, or rushing to aperitivi with friends, this is a country that is constantly in motion. And that country has recognized its citizens’ need for movement. You have already read about the amazing train system that connects and stretches throughout the peninsula, but there are several other options that allow you to quickly transport to, from, and within towns and cities.
Rent a Car
One of the fastest and most direct ways to get to your destination is to rent a car or take a taxi. Cars are easily rented in most major cities and dropped off in others. Just be sure to have you international driver’s license handy as well as an adventurous and informed approach towards taking to the Italian roadways.
Taxis are almost always available and easy to find in the larger cities. Italian taxis actually work a bit differently than American ones, and although some may stop on the side of the road if you employ the New York wave, you are actually expected to pick up a taxi at a designated area marked by a “Taxi” traffic sign. Here, you will find the cars waiting in a row. Simply proceed to the car first in line you’ll be good to go. Remember, just like in the United States, rides are more pleasant if you are more pleasant…and at times the price drops for kinder customers, too.
Metro and Trams
Some of the major cities, such as Turin, Milan, Rome, and Florence, have a metro or tram system. These systems are always viable option if you would like to get somewhere quickly using public transportation. However, be warned that in cities such as Rome, where bureaucratic laws concerning archaeological sites have put the breaks on metro development (a long-anticipated Metro C has been being debated and “built” since 2006), forcing the trains to not run to certain key areas of the city, such as Trastevere. Trams that run above-ground can also be found, but are similar to trains in that they may not reach all corners of the city. The best plan of attack is to do your research beforehand, know where the metro runs, and plan for other forms of transport, such as buses or taxes, for your key sites that the train misses.
Buses are a great option to get to where you’re going, as long as you are not in a hurry. Italians have buses available within cities, as well as some from city to city (there is one, for example, from Padova to Venice and its airport). The only downside is that sometimes the buses do not come on time, especially in highly trafficked cities, and you need to know which one to take. This is another case in which you simply want to do your research before embarking on your trip, with timeliness (or lack thereof) in mind.
Which types of transportation have you used or will you use on your next Italian trip?