One of the concerns you may have about living abroad in Italy is the cost of transatlantic travel. Of course you want to get back and forth to the US for family events and emergencies.
To significantly lower airfare cost consider not taking a nonstop flight from the US, but rather make a stopover at a hub airport of a transatlantic carrier to a city like Barcelona, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Madrid, or Istanbul. You may already be familiar with international fares to be found on Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity; the following sites are also a terrific resource for discounted transatlantic flights:
Ryan Air and EasyJet (the Jet Blue of Europe) have revolutionized intercontinental air travel with their budget fares and made it extremely attractive for many northern Europeans to have a second home or retire in Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy. They call it their “Home in the Sun.”
As there are always lots of flights from the US to London, it is not difficult to find a discounted flight particularly during the off season, it’s a great place to spend a day (or two) then pick up a bargain fare on Ryan or EasyJet into one of Italy’s smaller International airports. Don’t be surprised to find you are closer to your final destination than if you took a direct transatlantic flight to Milan or Rome.
These sites are well worth a visit:
Below are Italian cities with International Airports. Take a moment to look at the arriving flights at some of these airports as they may make it possible to land closer to your dream home and avoid a lengthy commute from Milan or Rome.
International Airports in Italy
Ancona La Marche
Il Caravaggio www.sacbo.it
Bologna Emilia Romagna
Forli Emilia Romagna
Lamezia Terme Calabria
Milan Linate Lombardy
Milan Malpensa Lombardy
Parma Emilia Romagna
Rimini Emilia Romagna
Rome Ciampino Lazio
Rome Fiumicino Lazio
Trieste Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Metro, Bus and Train
It is possible even if you choose to live in a small village to live in Italy without a car. Extensive regional bus and rail networks make public transportation the fastest, easiest and most cost effective way to travel.
Tickets for travel on the metro, bus and trains should be purchased prior to boarding. Local metro and bus tickets can be purchased at tobacco shops, stores selling candy and newspapers, some street vendors and local bars.
Train tickets are available online at www.trenitalia.it or at the train station. To avoid long lines at the station, tickets can be purchased at travel agents (visitor information kiosk at major city train terminals like, Rome, Florence, Milan and Bologna usual offer travel agent services).
Train and metro tickets must be validated by punching them in validating machines usually located near the entrance of train or metro tracks prior to boarding. Failure to validate may result in a fare surcharge onboard by the conductor or a fine by an inspector on the metro.
Bus tickets must be validated immediately after boarding at machines (usually yellow) found at the front or near the rear exit. An unstamped ticket may result in an immediate fine imposed by a bus inspector. If the fine is not paid on the spot, it will automatically double and will be forwarded to the violator’s home address.
Travelers have the right to contest metro or bus fines by writing (in Italian) to the Customer Service office of the Transportation Company of the city where the violation occurred requesting they cancel the ticket within 30 days of notification of the fine. If the local Transportation Company rejects the request, travelers can file an appeal (in person or through a legal representative) through the Justice of Peace (Giudice di Pace) for that city.
The Italian State Railway website provides information on train time- tables, travel times, cost of travel and allows you to book electronic tickets. The news site has the latest information on train travel. Click the British flag in the upper right corner to translate site to English.
Bus and Metro
Bus and metro tickets are usually good for 60 to 90 minutes from the time they are stamped and can be used within that time on a connecting transport service. Bus transportation schedules with maps, routes and timetables can be found on these sites:
Driving in Italy
For 24 hour emergency road assistance dial 116
Americans traveling in Italy as tourists and planning to drive should obtain an International Driving Permit before leaving the US.
The International Driving Permit is available from the American Automobile Association (AAA) apply at:
American Automobile Association
Worldwide Travel Dept.
1000 AAA Drive
Heathrow, FL 32746
407 444 7000
Tourists may also use their valid American driver's license if accompanied by an Italian translation issued by one of the following offices of the Italian Automobile Club (ACI):
· ACI (Rome office) - Via Marsala 14a - Tel: 39 064 998 2496
· ACI (Naples office) - Piazzale Vincenzo Tecchio 49d - Tel: 39 081 725 3811
Americans living in Italy and registered as residents with the local Vital Records Bureau (Anagrafe) must apply for an Italian license within one year of the date of registration. There is no agreement for reciprocal recognition of drivers’ licenses between the United States and Italy.
The Italian Ministry of Transportation has determined that bearers of US driver's licenses cannot obtain an Italian license directly in exchange for a domestic one. Interested individuals must comply with the usual requirements prescribed for obtaining an Italian license, (a written test, a driving test, a medical (eye) examination, and pertinent documents).
For travel times, maps and toll calculators (tolls can be hefty) for Italy’s famed autostrada see:
Every effort has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information. This information is provided as a general guide. We can accept no responsibility for the accuracy of the information found on the websites listed as they may often change. No endorsement should be implied by inclusion here. We disclaim any liability for any loss or inconvenience experienced by any person arising either directly or indirectly from the use of these websites. If you discover any errors or omissions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you.
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