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Air

Airports & Airlines

Italy's main intercontinental gateway airports are Rome's Leonardo da Vinci and Milan's Aeroporto Malpensa. Both are served by non-stop flights from around the world. Venice's Marco Polo Airport is also served by a handful of intercontinental flights.

Dozens of international airlines compete with the country's revamped national carrier, Alitalia, rated a three-star airline by UK aviation research company Skytrax. If you're flying from Africa or Oceania, you'll generally need to change planes at least once en route to Italy.

Intra-European flights serve plenty of other Italian cities; the leading mainstream carriers include Alitalia, Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and KLM.

Cut-rate airlines, led by Ryanair and easyJet, fly from a growing number of European cities to more than two dozen Italian destinations, typically landing in smaller airports such as Rome's Ciampino.

Departure Tax

Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.

Land

There are plenty of options for entering Italy by train, bus or private vehicle.

Border Crossings

Aside from the coastal roads linking Italy with France and Slovenia, border crossings into Italy mostly involve tunnels through the Alps (open year-round) or mountain passes (seasonally closed or requiring snow chains).

The list below outlines the major points of entry.

Austria From Innsbruck to Bolzano via A22/E45 (Brenner Pass); Villach to Tarvisio via A23/E55

France From Nice to Ventimiglia via A10/E80; Modane to Turin via A32/E70 (Fréjus Tunnel); Chamonix to Courmayeur via A5/E25 (Mont Blanc Tunnel)

Slovenia From Sežana to Trieste via SR58/E70

Switzerland From Martigny to Aosta via SS27/E27 (Grand St Bernard Tunnel); Lugano to Como via A9/E35

Bus

Buses are the cheapest overland option to Italy, but services are less frequent, less comfortable and significantly slower than the train.

Eurolines A consortium of coach companies with offices throughout Europe. Italy-bound buses head to Milan, Rome, Florence, Venice and other Italian cities. It offers a bus pass valid for 15/30 days that costs €320/425 (reduced €270/350) in high season and €225/340 (reduced €195/265) in low season. This pass allows unlimited travel between 47 European cities, including Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome.

FlixBus (www.flixbus.com) German-owned company offering both inter-regional and international routes. Direct international routes to/from Italy include Milan to Paris, Lyon, Nice, Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Munich. From Venice, direct routes include Ljubljana, Vienna, Budapest, Zurich, Lyon and Paris. Its InterFlix bus pass (€99) allows travel on five FlixBus routes across Europe. The pass is valid for three months from the time of activation.

Car & Motorcycle

From Continental Europe

  • Every vehicle travelling across an international border should display the nationality plate of its country of registration.
  • Always carry proof of vehicle ownership and evidence of third-party insurance. If driving an EU-registered vehicle, your home country insurance is sufficient. Ask your insurer for a European Accident Statement (EAS) form, which can simplify matters in the event of an accident. The form can also be downloaded online at http://cartraveldocs.com/european-accident-statement.
  • A European breakdown assistance policy is a good investment and can be obtained through the Automobile Club d'Italia.
  • Italy's scenic roads are tailor-made for motorcycle touring, and motorcyclists swarm into the country every summer. With a motorcycle you rarely have to book ahead for ferries and can enter restricted-traffic areas in cities. Crash helmets and a motorcycle licence are compulsory.
  • The US-based Beach's Motorcycle Adventures (www.bmca.com) offers a number of two-week tours from April to October, with destinations including the Alps, Tuscany and Umbria and Sicily. For campervan and motorhome hire, check IdeaMerge (www.ideamerge.com).

From the UK

You can take your car to Italy, via France, by ferry or via the Eurotunnel Shuttle rail service (www.eurotunnel.com). The latter runs up to four times per hour between Folkestone and Calais (35 minutes) in peak times.

For breakdown assistance, both the AA (www.theaa.com) and the RAC (www.rac.co.uk) offer comprehensive cover in Europe.

Train

Regular trains on two western lines connect Italy with France (one along the coast and the other from Turin into the French Alps). Trains from Milan head north into Switzerland and on towards the Benelux countries. Further east, two main lines head for the main cities in Central and Eastern Europe. Those crossing the Brenner Pass go to Innsbruck, Stuttgart and Munich. Those crossing at Tarvisio proceed to Vienna, Salzburg and Prague. The main international train line to Slovenia crosses near Trieste.

Depending on distances covered, rail can be highly competitive with air travel. Those travelling from neighbouring countries to northern Italy will find it is frequently more comfortable, less expensive and only marginally more time-consuming than flying.

Those travelling longer distances (say, from London, Spain, northern Germany or Eastern Europe) will doubtless find flying cheaper and quicker. Bear in mind, however, that the train is a much greener way to go – a trip by rail can contribute up to 10 times fewer carbon dioxide emissions per person than the same trip by air.

Voyages-sncf (http://uk.voyages-sncf.com) is an online booking service for rail journeys across Europe.

From Continental Europe

  • The comprehensive European Rail Timetable (UK£16.99, digital version UK£11.99), updated monthly, is available for purchase online at www.europeanrailtimetable.co.uk, as well as at a handful of bookshops in the UK and continental Europe (see the website for details).
  • Reservations on international trains to/from Italy are always advisable, and sometimes compulsory.
  • Some international services include transport for private cars.
  • Consider taking long journeys overnight, as the supplemental fare for a sleeper costs substantially less than Italian hotels.
Direct Trains to Italy from Continental Europe

Geneva

To

Milan

Frequency

4 daily

Duration (hr)

4

Cost (€)

86

Geneva

To

Venice

Frequency

1 daily

Duration (hr)

7

Cost (€)

120

Munich

To

Florence

Frequency

1 nightly

Duration (hr)

11

Cost (€)

99

Munich

To

Rome

Frequency

1 nightly

Duration (hr)

14

Cost (€)

99

Munich

To

Venice

Frequency

1-2 daily/1 nightly

Duration (hr)

6½/8¾

Cost (€)

95/79

Paris

To

Milan

Frequency

3 daily/1 nightly

Duration (hr)

7½/10¼

Cost (€)

104/95

Paris

To

Turin

Frequency

3 daily

Duration (hr)

5½-6½

Cost (€)

104

Paris

To

Venice

Frequency

1 nightly

Duration (hr)

14½

Cost (€)

115

Vienna

To

Milan

Frequency

1 nightly

Duration (hr)

14

Cost (€)

49

Vienna

To

Rome

Frequency

1 nightly

Duration (hr)

14

Cost (€)

79

Zurich

To

Milan

Frequency

7-8 daily

Duration (hr)

Cost (€)

77

From the UK

  • High-velocity passenger train Eurostar (www.eurostar.com) connects London to Lille and Brussels, as well as to Paris, Lyon, Avignon and Marseille. Direct trains to Italy run from Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Alternatively, you can get a train ticket that includes crossing the Channel by ferry.
  • For the latest fare information on journeys to Italy, contact International Rail (www.internationalrail.com).

Sea

Multiple ferry companies connect Italy with countries throughout the Mediterranean. Many routes only operate in summer, when ticket prices also rise. Prices for vehicles vary according to their size.

The helpful website www.directferries.co.uk allows you to search routes and compare prices between the numerous international ferry companies servicing Italy. Another useful resource for ferries from Italy to Greece is www.ferries.gr.

International ferry companies that serve Italy:

Adria Ferries

Anek Lines

GNV

Grimaldi Lines

Jadrolinija

Minoan Lines

Moby Lines

Montenegro Lines

SNAV

Superfast

Venezia Lines

Ventouris

Virtu Ferries

International Ferry Routes from Italy

Albania

Destination Port(s)

Durrës

Italian Port(s)

Bari

Company

Ventouris, GNV

Destination Port(s)

Durrës

Italian Port(s)

Bari, Ancona, Trieste

Company

Adria Ferries

Croatia

Destination Port(s)

Dubrovnik

Italian Port(s)

Bari

Company

Jadrolinija, Montenegro Lines

Destination Port(s)

Split, Stari Grad

Italian Port(s)

Ancona

Company

SNAV

Destination Port(s)

Split, Zadar, Stari Grad

Italian Port(s)

Ancona

Company

Jadrolinija

Destination Port(s)

Umag, Poreč, Rovinj, Pula

Italian Port(s)

Venice

Company

Venezia Lines

France (Corsica)

Destination Port(s)

Bastia

Italian Port(s)

Livorno, Genoa

Company

Moby Lines

Destination Port(s)

Bonifacio

Italian Port(s)

Santa Teresa di Gallura

Company

Moby Lines

Greece

Destination Port(s)

Corfu, Igoumenitsa, Patras

Italian Port(s)

Bari

Company

Superfast, Anek Lines

Destination Port(s)

Corfu, Igoumenitsa, Zakynthos, Cephalonia

Italian Port(s)

Bari

Company

Ventouris

Destination Port(s)

Igoumenitsa, Patras

Italian Port(s)

Brindisi

Company

Grimaldi Lines

Destination Port(s)

Igoumenitsa, Patras

Italian Port(s)

Ancona

Company

Superfast, Anek Lines, Grimaldi Lines, Minoan Lines

Destination Port(s)

Igoumenitsa, Patras

Italian Port(s)

Venice

Company

Superfast, Anek Lines, Grimaldi Lines, Minoan Lines

Malta

Destination Port(s)

Valletta

Italian Port(s)

Pozzallo

Company

Virtu Ferries

Montenegro

Destination Port(s)

Bar

Italian Port(s)

Bari

Company

Montenegro Lines, Jadrolinija

Morocco

Destination Port(s)

Tangier

Italian Port(s)

Genoa

Company

GNV

Destination Port(s)

Tangier

Italian Port(s)

Savona

Company

Grimaldi Lines

Slovenia

Destination Port(s)

Piran

Italian Port(s)

Venice

Company

Venezia Lines

Spain

Destination Port(s)

Barcelona

Italian Port(s)

Genoa

Company

GNV

Destination Port(s)

Barcelona

Italian Port(s)

Civitavecchia, Savona, Porto Torres

Company

Grimaldi Lines

Tunisia

Destination Port(s)

Tunis

Italian Port(s)

Genoa, Civitaveccchia, Palermo

Company

GNV

Destination Port(s)

Tunis

Italian Port(s)

Civitavecchia, Palermo, Salerno

Company

Grimaldi Lines