Italy: Local Travel Info

Way more than just good spaghetti bolognese.

Italy Local Travel Info

INTERNAL FLIGHTS & MAJOR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS

The main airports in Italy are the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (also known as Fiumicino) near Rome and Malpensa International Airport near Milan. There are also several regional airports in Italy, chiefly in Florence, Venice, Trieste and Palermo, which serve mostly European and domestic routes.

GETTING TO AND FROM THE AIRPORT IN ROME

Most international visitors to Italy arrive at Rome’s Fiumicino airport. Getting to the centre of Rome from the airport is very easy. Shuttle trains leave every 30 minutes for Stazione Termini, Rome’s main train station. Tickets costs around €12 one-way. Alternatively, you can get to and from the airport in Rome by taxi, which costs around 40 euro to the centre, depending on traffic (which can be very bad). Watch out for unlicensed taxi cabs; stick to those on the ranks, and ask at the airport helpdesk if you’re not sure.

RENTING CARS

Renting a car in Italy is easy and straightforward – however, driving in the cities can be difficult and stressful, especially if you’re not used to it. If you’re feeling brave, several of the major car rental firms have desks Fiumicino airport, and also at the Stazione Termini in Rome. Don’t even think about trying to drive in Florence; the traffic congestion is even worse there than in Rome. Rates for car hire in Italy are comparable with other major European countries (upwards of 100 euro per day in high season). The old cliché about Italians being bad drivers is not necessarily true – the road accident rate in Italy is quite low for a country of its size in Europe – but driving in Italy can nonetheless be an intimidating experience if you’re not used to it. The roads in the countryside can be narrow and precipitous, and people tend to drive fast. If you’re planning to rent a car in Italy, consider buying a toll card. This allows you pre-paid access to toll roads – useful on long journeys.

To book car rental in Italy online, view our Car Hire section for Italy. We offer Ok Alpha users the latest special offers and best rates available for car hire in Italy. We advise you book your Italy hire car in advance so you can pick it up and drop it off directly at the airport.
 

DRIVING LICENSE REQUIREMENTS IN ITALY

The minimum age for driving in Italy is 18, but the car rental companies set their own age limits, which are invariably higher. You need to bring your license with you to drive in Italy; foreign licenses are fine, so long as they’re in a language that uses the Roman alphabet (you’ll have to get an International Driving Permit to rent a car in Italy otherwise.) You must carry your driving license at all times while driving in Italy. If you don’t have a photo on your license, you should carry your passport too.

RULES OF THE ROAD IN ITALY

The driving laws in Italy are comparable to most other European countries. In Italy they drive on the right hand side. The maximum speed limit in Italy is 130kmh (80mph) on motorways, and usually 50kmh (30mph) in towns. It’s compulsory to wear a seatbelt in the front and back, and to carry your driving license at all times. Don’t speed, even if your fellow road users do – speed traps are common, and traffic police are not to be argued with. Never drive slow in the fast lane. In fact, just don’t drive in the fast lane at all. If you wear glasses, you’re meant to keep a spare pair in the car with you. Don’t drink and drive; the alcohol limit in Italy is very low, and the penalties are severe.

BUSES IN ITALY

Buses in Italy are reliable and cheap. Buses in Rome and most other big Italian cities are a great way to get around, especially as driving can be so difficult. However, the lack of a single, nationwide bus company means that there are relatively few options for getting around Italy by bus, long distance. You’re better off taking the train to, or booking yourself on an escorted tour bus to see the major tourist sights in Italy, if they’re out in the countryside.

TAXIS IN ITALY

Taxis in Italy can be hailed on the street. However, you might have trouble finding a taxi in Rome or any of the other big cities; the most reliable way to find a taxi in Italy is to call for one (but don’t assume the operator will speak English), or better still, get your hotel or restaurant to call one for you. The cost of a taxi in Italy varies considerably depending on where you are; standard rates for a taxi in Rome are around €0.70 per 3km, with a minimum fare of around €2.50.

CYCLING IN ITALY

Cycling is a popular way to get around the cities in Italy, and the Italian countryside is a top destination for biking holidays in Europe. Cycling around Rome, Florence or the other major cities is cheap and convenient way to get around, although be careful on the busy roads. Bike rentals in Italy cost around €3-5 per hour, or €15 per day on average. You can take a number of great bicycling holidays in Italy, if you want to see the countryside from the saddle. The regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto and Tuscany make for some of the most beautiful places to see in Italy by bike, although you should avoid long-distance cycling in Italy during the hot summer months.

HITCHHIKING IN ITALY

Hitchhiking in Italy is frowned upon, although some backpackers still try to get around Italy by hitchhiking from north to south. It’s illegal to hitchhike in Italy along major highways. Italians tend to view hitchhiking as an unfashionable and potentially dangerous pastime.