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Travel Planning Tips For Italy | Using Buses

TIPS ON HOW TO USE BUS SERVICES IN ITALY

When you’re getting down to the kind of small-town travel this site describes, you’ll probably need to use regional buses at some point. Regional inter-town buses are called pullman, though autobus, the term for a city bus, is also sometimes used.

All things being equal, if you want to connect any two reasonably-sized towns or cities in Italy, the trains will be faster, more frequent, and more convenient than the buses, and will cost about the same, on average (which is to say: sometimes less, sometimes more).

There are few notable exceptions, like the Veneto or some beach communities along the Adratic (some of which are isolated far from train stations—Asolo, Jesolo, and Chioggia, and others of which are simply more convenient to get to by bus, like Soave).

Useful Italian for bus travel

ticket - biglietto

  • one-way - solo andata
  • round-trip - andata-ritorno
  • intercity coach - pullman
  • city bus - autobus, bus
  • bus stop - fermata
  • excuse me (in a crowd) - permesso
  • I'm getting off! - scendo!

In other words: unless you're trying to get to a tiny town off the beaten path (and off the rail lines), it makes far more sense to take the train.

When to take a bus in Italy...

Using The Bus In Italy

You can get just about anywhere through a network of dozens of local, provincial, and regional lines, if you learn a few simple rules and you are not in a hurry.

Every province in Italy has its own bus system; there are a few regional ones as well. (An Italian regione, or "region," is like a U.S. state—Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, Emilia Romagna —while a provincia, or "province," is more like a U.S. county, and usually describes the smaller towns and territory surrounding a major city or town—for example,Veneto includes the provinces of Venezia, Vicenza, Padova, Verona, Belluno, Rovigo, and Treviso)

The only Italian coach company with national scope is SITA(www.sitabus.it), which runs regional lines in the·Veneto (home to Venezia, Vicenza,·Padova).

Things to Consider:

  • Bus schedules aren't always easy to come by or always to figure out—the local tourist office usually has a photocopy of the schedule, each stop has that lines schedule posted, and in cities some companies have offices.·
  • Buses exist mainly to shuttle workers and schoolchildren, so there are more running on weekdays, early in the morning and usually again around lunchtime. Sometimes there will be only one or two runs per day.
  • A town’s bus stop is usually either on the main piazza, by the train station, or (especially in smaller towns) a large square on the edge of town or at the bend in the road just outside the main city gate.
  • You should always try to find the local ticket vendor—if there’s no office, it’s invariably the nearest newsstand or tabacchi (signaled by a sign with a white T), or occasionally a bar—but you can usually also buy tickets on the bus. (this only applies to regional buses not the orange city buses).
  • You can also flag a bus down as it passes on a country road, but try to find an official stop, the bus will not always stop for you.
  • To get off the bus you need to ring the 'prossima fermata' sign or advise the driver. This means you need to at least know where you are going related to the stops being made by the bus. Just follow the order of stops posted on the schedule.
  • Bus schedule times are generally posted by the time it departs from the start point and time of arrival at destination. There may not be a precise time for the bus to stop at a specific town. You need either to go to the stop at the start time, guess-a-mate the time it will take to arrival, sit at the bar and have a coffee if there is one nearby and wait for locals to start to gather at the stop.
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