Appearance of Italian taxis
Taxis in Italian cities are usually yellow, sometimes white, while in smaller towns white is the most common colour with a small number in other colours.
They’re usually found at official taxi ranks, for example at railway stations or near town centres, and aren’t usually hailed in the street, although they may stop if they’re empty.
Requirements for taxis in Italy
Taxis in Italy should have a meter, which you should ensure is switched on. If the driver claims that it’s broken, you must agree the fare before starting a journey. If you’re familiar with a town, it may be worthwhile mentioning that you wish to go via a particular landmark on the direct route to your destination, so that you aren’t taken via the ‘scenic route’. Taxi journeys in Italian cities aren’t for the faint-hearted and can be hair-raising for the uninitiated, with drivers ignoring speed limits and any semblance of road rules, while roundly cursing other motorists.
Fares are set by the local authorities. In Milan, for example, they start at €3.10 and are then charged on a time and distance basis. There are also supplements for such sins as having luggage, wishing to travel at night and for journeys to local airports. It isn’t necessary to tip taxi drivers, although most Italians round up the fare to the nearest euro or leave some small change.
In rural areas, drivers will usually take you to small villages or isolated houses, and the fare is invariably reasonable, for example, from Chiusi Station to a farmhouse in deepest Umbria costs around €25 for an 8km (5mi) journey, including a few kilometres on dirt roads.
Always check that the taxi is licensed. It’s a good idea to make a note of the driver name and license number, which should be displayed inside the taxi on the left passenger door. Unlicensed taxis are common and aren’t safe. It is also recommended to carry small change. Drivers won’t have change for 50 euro and even if they do, they probably won’t tell you. You also don’t have to tip drivers more than rounding up to the nearest euro, so small note denominations and coins will be very useful.