Italy by Land

http://www.touritalynow.com/images/italy_bus.jpgBuses

Sometimes bus services between Italy’s major cities can be more convenient than trains, especially in the south. The major Italian bus company that operates throughout the country is called SITA. You can call them at 39 055 47821

You may also choose to use the bus to get around in Italy’s major cities or to take a day trip outside the city. Be sure to validate your ticket (insert it in the big orange box) when you get on board or you could face a fine.

Taxis

Taxis are available in all of Italy’s cities and even less-populated areas as well. Look for a meter inside the taxi and be sure to look for a card listing sample fares and surcharges (nights, Sundays, holidays, luggage). For taxi trips outside the city boundaries, fares will be based on distance and be sure to settle on the fee before you go. Don’t expect to just hail a cab as you might back home. Ask your hotel to call one for you or proceed to a designated taxi stand. You will see the word “TAXI” on the sign.

Italian Car Rentals

If you are a confident driver, you should have no trouble driving in Italy, just avoid driving in the major cities. It is not worth the headache and the cost of parking in many of them can be high, about 30 euros per night in Florence, for example.

The majority of Italian rental cars are manual transmission and you will pay extra for standard cars, but it is worth it if you are not comfortable with a stick shift. Italian highways (called autostrada) are well-maintained and offer easy drives from city-to-city, although the tolls are high. The speed limit is 130 km per hour. Be sure to keep your headlights on, wear your seatbelt and stay to the right unless you are driving fast. There are plenty of Autogrill along the highways where you can stop for food and gas. For more information: www.autostrade.it

Driving in the Italian countryside can be daunting if you are not used to steep hills and narrow streets in ancient towns. If you are just making a stop, you may want to park just outside the town. You must do this for instance in San Gimignano.

You will need an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) to drive in Italy. The IDP is a translation of your American driver’s license. You can get one for $20 through AAA (American Automobile Association). While you do not need to show the IDP when you rent a car, you might if you are stopped by the police. Also bring your regular driver’s license from home, you must show this at the rental counter.

Another good resource for driving in Italy is the Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI) at 39 06 49981.

However you choose to travel in Italy, our experienced travel consultants can help make the arrangements as part of your vacation package. Call us for help at any time at 800.955.4418