Underground railway system
Italy has a terrific underground railway system and extensive network of trams and buses in every big city that will get you near most tourist destinations. For example, the metro in Rome has three lines. The two lines cross at the city’s central railway station, which is called Roma Termini. Line three is not yet connected to the rest of the network and has hardly any interest for usual sightseeing. The metro system is efficient and affordable, and metro maps are easy to navigate: beware at rush hours that the trains can get very crowded.
Trams and buses in Rome
Rome has also an extensive network of trams and buses. In front of Termini station, there’s also an important bus terminus. Don’t be confused by all those different Bus Route numbers at stops. Just look at the direction the bus is heading, the arrow on the sign will indicate that, than scan the stops listed. Rome’s mini electric-bus routes are particularly helpful for visitors going to many of the popular tourist sights. Note that there are differences in routes for weekends and evenings.
Even if your route through Italy is concentrated in the bigger cities, for some routes it’s more efficient and cost-effective to take a bus than a train. As long as your trip is all within one region, bus travel in Italy can be the best way to get around in many cases.
Many smaller towns that don’t have train stations will have bus stops, so you’ll be able to get a little further off the beaten path if you go by bus than if you rely solely on trains. Remember that there’s no national bus network in the country, however, so if your route crosses a regional border it’s better to look to another mode of transportation besides the bus.
Renting a car
You can also rent a car for a portion of your trip. This is a particularly good option for those who aren’t excited about different hassles involved with driving such as city driving and parking. Driving in Italian cities can be extremely frustrating, and finding parking in historic town centers even more so. In other words, while renting a car for certain parts of your trip or for trips through less-traveled parts of Italy can be a great idea, renting a car to drive through Rome or Florence is not.