Traveling in Italy: A How-To Guide

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Grace Wolf
March 26, 2024

For this blog post, I thought that I would give an overview of how fun and easy it is to travel around Italy. While I love being in my home city, there is so much to see in this gorgeous country! With the help of our Italian student companions and the IES Abroad staff, my friends and I have learned the ins and outs of getting around quickly. 

There are lots of options for public transit to get around without needing to fly. However, if you do want to fly somewhere, the closest airports are in Florence, Pisa, Bologna, and Rome. For budget flights, stick with Pisa, Rome, and Bologna—they have budget flights from airlines such as Volotea, Wizzair, and Ryanair! 

There are typically direct buses from Siena to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) airport as well as Rome Ciampino (CIA). For Pisa International Airport (PSA) as well as the Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) there are direct trains to the terminals. For Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR), it is easiest to take the public bus from downtown Siena to Santa Maria Novella—labeled 131 or 131R—and take the tram to the airport. 

While flying can be quick, I have found that trains and buses are great ways to travel around Italy and even sometimes to nearby countries, such as France and Switzerland. Lines such as Flixbus and Itabus run consistent, affordable routes to get to places like Rome for as cheap as €4! 

The trains are also a comfortable and easy way to get around with companies like Trenitalia and Italo. Italo is the high speed train, which can be incredibly helpful during a short weekend trip to not waste time on travel. For example, a bus from Florence to Venice would take around four and a half hours while the speed train takes only two hours. 

With speed, though, comes an increase in cost—but trains and buses are both still a great and affordable way to travel! Always compare the travel time of the train and bus rides, however; for some routes, such as Siena-Rome, they are the same amount of time with a drastic difference in price. 

When you arrive in many cities, they also have their own form of transit to get around. Some big cities have Uber, such as Milan and Naples, but rides are not as common on Uber as they are with taxis. However, in these cities the cab companies have connected with Uber so you are able to use the app to request a cab. 

Beyond cabs, many areas have their own buses, trams, and metro systems. In Naples, for example, my friend and I used the metro to get around a few times and took the local trains to get to Pompeii! 

All in all, I have had a good experience with public transit in Italy. It is safe, mostly reliable (sometimes trains are late, but that is life!), and I have gotten to see amazing places from Cinque Terre to Rome to Sorrento. With some studying up on how things work here, it is so easy to go on day trips or weekend trips with friends before coming home to Siena. Everyone is also extremely friendly in Italy, so if you have questions about anything, ask someone around you! 

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Grace Wolf

Hi! I’m Grace. I'm a first-generation, Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill studying Economics and Environmental Science. I was raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, and I am an active scuba diver, yogi, and gardener. 

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