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Transportation in Italy

Transportation in Italy is not a problem at all for new travelers. Here, we are highlighting the means and mode of public transportation in Italy.

There is an extensive and well maintained road network. Tolls are charged on the autostrade (highways). As in the rest of continental Europe, vehicles travel on the right and overtake on the left. The wearing of seatbelts is compulsory for front and back seat passengers as well as for the driver. The use of portable telephones is prohibited if they require intervention by hand to function.

Highways and Roads Highways are indicated by the letter "A" followed by a number written in white on a green background. They are almost all subject to tolls, except for some brief stretches, especially approaching urban areas. Tolls are paid in cash at highway exit points. It is also possible to pay by Viacard Telepass cards (systems that make automatic payment possible without stopping at the toll booths) or Viacard a highway toll payment card which can be bought, at a value of either 25 / 50 / 75 Euro, on the highway, in many banks or in ACI offices.

ACI provides complete car service throughout the country. Calls for assistance can be made 24 hours a day by calling 803.116 or by using the emergency booths located every 2 km along the roadway, they have buttons with a wrench symbol, to be used in the event of a breakdown, and with a red cross symbol for a first-aid emergency.

Driving License Regulations:
Italy recognises driving licenses and other traffic documents that are valid in other countries. U.S. and Canadian driving licenses are valid in Italy but the license must be accompanied by a translation or an international license (check your local AAA in USA or CAA in Canada ). For motorists not in possession of an International Driving license, the ACI (Automobile Club d'Italia) will issue a declaration upon presentation of a U.S. or a Canadian license. The declaration is obtainable at any ACI offices. Seat belts are compulsory in Italy.

Buses & Taxies:
Good coach services run between cities and towns and there are also good local bus services. A major Italian company that operates throughout the country is called SITA. You are strongly advised to use only official taxis which are easily identifiable. Ignore offers from drivers of private cars who often loiter around airports and railway stations.: In addition to current standard fares, supplement for luggage (per item) and night time are requested (night service supplement between 10pm and 6am ). For taxi trips outside the city boundaries, fares will be based on distance. Please be aware that the journey time depends upon the traffic.

Railways is another means of public transportation in Italy. The Italian railway network, managed by Trenitalia S.p.A, spans over 16,000 km. Connections with France run along the Nice-Ventimiglia-Genoa coastline and through the Frejus tunnel via Modane, Bardonecchia, and Turin. The lines from Switzerland run through the Sempione Pass tunnel and across Ticino Canton from the Chiasso border crossing towards Milan. There are also a few private railway companies. The rail network is adequately developed and widespread, especially between major urban centers and tourist areas. The railway is connected to the two main islands, Sardinia and Sicily, by means of ferries departing from Civitavecchia ( Rome ) and Villa San Giovanni (Reggio Calabria). The fastest trains operate on the networks between the major cities while the regional trains are fairly slow. It is also fairly cheap and efficient.

Tourist groups, persons over 60 or under 26 years of age, and families are usually entitled to special reductions on rail fares, but the conditions are subject to change frequently. Information is available by calling 147-888088.

Validating Rail, Bus & Subway Tickets:
Please note that in order to avoid heavy fines, it is vitally important to remember to validate any rail, bus and subway tickets purchased for use on the Italian public transport system.

Domestic Air:
Domestic service is operated by Alitalia and a few affiliated companies. Flights can be booked at ticket counters in major cities and at authorized travel agencies. Recently, Alicard was introduced: a credit card valid for domestic Alitalia flights that offers discounts and other advantages. Alitalia and affiliated companies offer special rates for young people, adults over 60, tourist groups, and families. They also grant special rates for travel on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and at certain times of the year. Airport check-in time for domestic and international flights varies from 30 to 60 minutes before boarding.

Sea Transport:
Italy has a total of almost 8,490 Km./ 5,275 miles of coastline, including the peninsula itself and all the numerous islands in the seas around the country. There are many services linking the islands by sea to the mainland: the main links are by car ferries and hydro-foils. In addition, ships from all the countries around the Mediterranean are moored in the well-equipped Italian ports. The main Italian ports of embarkation for the large islands of Sicilia and Sardegna are: Genova, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Fiumicino, Napoli and Villa San Giovanni.

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