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How to move around Italy

Italy has a funny shape, it is long and narrow plus it is surrounded by the sea. That’s why you need to know how to travel around Italy in a smart way.

There are many good and easy ways to move around Italy. Choose depending on what you aim, which way of travelling you like more, and what is the comfort you are looking for.

1 – Travel by Car

Italian roads are quite good in Northern Italy but not too good in the South (for the difference between Northern and Southern Italy click here). You should be able to travel easily using Google maps or a good Gps system. Some places in southern Italy or in the countryside might be a little bit hard to find. If you are going there, ask for suggestions before you leave. 

Highways 

They are usually very good and fast. You travel by highways if you want to get from one city to another quickly. You always have to pay a toll and you will miss a lot of landscape, but you will have an easy and mostly straight drive. Signs for Highways are always green.

Highway entrance
Highway entrance

State roads 

In Italy you can drive on almost every road with a normal 2wd car (except for the countryside). Statal Roads are easy to drive, but also quite slow. I love state roads because they often allow you to see beautiful landscapes and take a stop. No Toll. Signs for state roads are always blue.

Travel around Italy on state roads
State roads around Italian old towns

2 – Travel around Italy by Train

There are many kinds of trains in Italy and they are famous for always being a little late (or very late), so do not fear or panic if your train gets into the station 15 minutes after it’s scheduled time. 

Here’s a short guide. Let’s start from the best and the most expensive one:

Frecciarossa (Red arrow)

This is a High speed train, travelling from Naples (South) to Turin (North) at 300 km/h. These trains are brand new and very comfortable. They do not make many stops so they are the best solution if you want to travel from one city to another. Tickets are more expensive than  other trains but still affordable. Frecciarossa trains usually travel on time.

FTravel around Italy in first class with frecciarossa trains
First class in the Frecciarossa train

Frecciabianca (White Arrow)

Frecciabianca is the slow cousin of Frecciarossa. It travels fast, but at normal speed compared to its faster cousin, and it stops very often. Frecciabianca allows you to enjoy the landscape and it is a bit cheaper. It can be late.

Travel by train around Italy with Frecciarossa and Frecciabianca trains
Frecciarossa and Frecciabianca trains in Milano Centrale train station

 

Intercity 

These long range trains are usually quite old. They’re not very comfortable and clean and, if this was not enough, they are also often late. I use this kind of train the least I can. I wouldn’t use them if I’m on vacation. It’s always a better option to choose Frecciabianca.

Regionale

Although these are the smallest and slowest trains, I like them very much because they remind me of an old way of traveling around Italy. On Regionale you can find all kinds of people and travelers. They include a lot of stops in very small cities (like Sulmona), and they usually move on pretty short distances. Some are old, some are brand new, but they are truly important if you want to reach small and uncrowded towns. They are often 15 or 20 minutes late, but rarely more. 

3 – Travel by Plane 

There are many internal flights in Italy but the truth is Italians use them very seldom. High speed trains are a better and cheaper solution. Only chance you’ll have to take a flight is if you want to visit the beautiful islands of like Sardegna (Sardinia) or Sicilia (Sicily). 

4 – Travel by Bus

Bus is sometimes a good solution. There are many companies traveling around Italy, and buses are usually clean and quite cheap. I’d rather choose a train if I have to move between big cities, but this might be a great solution for some kind of travel (for example if I want to go to Rome from Le Marche, trains are very slow and the Bus is the best option).

Travel by bus around Italy
One of Rome bus stations

5 – Travel with a buddy with BlablaCar

Ever used this Car Sharing App before? If not, download the APP as fast as you can. In Italy Bla bla car is a very good way of traveling and might be a great solution to reach your destination. Usually, it is also the cheapest option. Whereas it is pretty popular to travel with apps like blablacar, hitchhiking is not very common – and don’t forget it is illegal in highways.

6 – Travel in style with a NCC (Chauffeur)

This could be the most expensive solution, but it might fit your needs. NCC are cars or vans with a driver. You can use it for small tours around town or for long trips. NCC are usually beautiful black cars (BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Audi) driven by professional chauffeurs.

A good way of using the NCC is to book a van with a group of friends and go on a tour of vineyards during spring. 

This is the service I use the most when traveling to and from Bologna Airport (fares are quite cheap and the service is amazing) but also to other cities.

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Still don’t know which is the best way to get from Rome to Venice, or from Florence to Bologna?

Write to us in private and we’ll try to help you for FREE.

Have you found another great way to travel around Italy? 

Share the experience in the comments below to help other travellers and become one of our community contributors. 

Have a nice trip!

Andrea (yes, it is a male name in Italy)

Andrea

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