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How To Use Buses In Italy (Expat Advice)

How To Use Buses In Italy (Expat Advice)

Going from place to place in Italy is going to require transportation.

Most people coming to Italy are going to consider using the bus. This is one of the most common modes of transportation in Italy but it’s important to plan to make sure you do things the right way.

This will ensure you are aware of which bus to take, how to follow the different routes, and how to make sure you are getting a good deal.

We will explain all of this for those who are going to be visiting Italy soon and want to make sure they are traveling from place to place properly.

Choosing The Right Bus In Italy

It’s important to start with the type of bus you are going to ride on in Italy.

Let’s assume you are going to the grocery store in Italy or you want to check out a house in Italy, which type of bus are you going to take?

It’s important to know these details beforehand.

Regional Bus

This is a type of bus that is going to be traveling between “regions” in Italy.

What constitutes as a region?

It’s going to be specific zones that are going to be linked to cities and/or towns depending on where the bus route is going. Most people will take these busses when they are going on longer routes (more than an hour) because it will cut out the stops that come with city buses in Italy.

We would recommend using Arriva Italia as a regional bus company. They offer good routes and appropriate service.

City Bus

This is one of the most common types of buses in Italy.

This is what the average person is going to use when moving to Italy.

The city bus is specific to the location and is going to be interconnected with other routes in the area. This is important because it allows you to travel within an Italian city easily.

We would recommend going with a trusted local bus company, which is going to vary depending on the city you’re in.

Private Bus Companies

It’s essential to also consider private companies in Italy.

These are companies that offer specific routes within Italy to allow people to book a ticket and then link out to these regions.

We tend to use Flixbus for this type of service because it is efficient. You tend to get to where you want to, especially if you are going to an area where other tourists often visit. These areas tend to have more routes going to and from them.

Terms For Bus Travel In Italy

It’s important to have appropriate knowledge about the different terms for bus travel in Italy.

These terms are going to be a common part of the process as you are looking to map out a route from point A to point B.

What are some of these terms that are going to come up?

You will often see terms such as Autobus (bus), Linea (route), Corsa (ride), Posto (seat), Orari (schedule), Stazione degli autobus (bus station), and biglietto (ticket).

We recommend writing these terms down, so you can figure out relevant information surrounding taking the bus in Italy.

Bus Schedules In Italy

This is often a concern when you are traveling within Italy.

You are going to want to plan a bus route in Italy but how are you going to read the schedule? This creates a real hurdle for those who want to get things right.

This is why we will often take the time to break down what the bus schedule is going to say when you are in Italy.

For the most part, the route is going to be clear when you are going longer distances. This is due to the lack of multiple stops. It will take you from one point to the next without stops. This is simpler and you will find this to be easy to figure out.

It’s the city buses that are complicated.

When reading a bus schedule in Italy, you will want to focus on where you are being picked up and where you want to go. Both need to be included in the route that you are reading. If not, this is not the right bus route for you.

The route will also have timings listed on it.

This can allow you to figure out how long it will take to get from point A to point B.

How To Buy Bus Ticket In Italy

Now that you are aware of the basics, it’s time to look into buying a bus ticket in Italy.

Tourist Tickets

There is such a thing as tourist bus tickets.

What is this type of ticket?

A tourist bus ticket is designed to offer a quick day pass where a person can take as many bus rides as they want. This tends to be common in the major tourist cities of Italy.

For example, you can get this in Rome and you will be able to check out all of the major tourist attractions in Rome using the tourist bus ticket.

Abbonamento (Monthly or Annual Pass)

This is going to be a common option for those who are going to be traveling multiple times within the region.

This is a traditional monthly or annual pass.

It’s common to see this in other parts of the world and it’s no different in Italy. You are going to get what is known as an abbonamento or a pass.

You just show the pass and you are good to go. It will save you money.

You can get this from the bus company and they will give you the pass to use on the local buses.

General Tickets

Sometimes, all you are going to need is a simple ticket to your destination.

This is simple enough and you can get it easily when you go to the bus station. You should be able to use it for connecting buses for a set period (around 90 minutes or so).

Two-Way Tickets

Yes, you can also pick up two-way tickets in Italy.

What are these?

These tickets are designed for those who also want to come back after they visit the destination. It’s possible for people to take out multiple tickets like these and simplify the purchasing experience for the next week or so.

This is not the same as a pass, but it will offer a way to get those round-trip tickets in Italy.

The term for this is carnet and it’s common for people buying bus tickets in Italy.

Where to Buy Bus Tickets In Italy

When you are prepared to buy a bus ticket in Italy, you need to know where to get it.

On The Bus

This is one of the simplest ways of buying a ticket.

For the most part, this is going to let you put money into a machine on the bus and take your ticket. This is always going to be available when you are taking a local bus.

You will require cash if you wish to do this.

It’s rare for there to be a debit/credit card machine but it’s possible some bus companies do offer this type of service in Italy.


This is a common option within Italy.

Locals will often go to what is known as a tabaccheria or a small shop that is going to be used to buy convenience items such as drinks, cigarettes, and of course bus tickets.

You can go to one of these shops and let them know what type of bus ticket you need. It’s norma for them to also know which type of bus ticket is right for your needs at that moment. Don’t be afraid to ask them.


You can go through the bus company’s app or website if you wish to buy the bus ticket online.

This is going to allow you to complete the transaction online and have the ticket ready to go on your device.


You will often notice offices for the major bus companies.

These are known as bus stations and you are more than welcome to go to one if you are looking to get a ticket there.

They will have a person that is going to be running the headquarters for ticket sales. It’s possible to pick up any type of bus ticket here.

How To Get On The Bus In Italy

When you are ready to take the bus in Italy, you will need to get to the right spot beforehand.

This is where knowing the main bus stops is a must.

Bus Stations

These are bigger stops that are going to have a complete station associated with them.

This is often going to be near a train station.

The bus station is going to be bigger because multiple buses are going to go through this area and there is going to be a separate ticket operator for customers that want to buy tickets on the spot. This is ideal for those who are looking to get the ticket on the go.

Bus Stops

This is going to be a simple bus stop that is located throughout the city.

How is it going to look?

The bus stop is going to have the sign “fermata” on it and it’s going to have a place to sit with covering on top. This is often seen in other parts of the world and is a clear indication this is a bus stop where you can sit down and wait for the bus.

You will often notice additional details about the bus route here too. This includes an image of the route in some cases.

Tips For Using The Bus In Italy

What is the etiquette for using the bus in Italy?

For the most part, you are going to enter the bus from the front door. This is going to be close to the bus driver and it’s going to allow you to show or buy your ticket before sitting down. However, you can sometimes enter from the middle of the bus too if it has three doors.

When you live, you are going to leave from the middle of the bus.

When you enter the bus, you are going to have to show your ticket.

This is going to be done with the help of a box that is used to validate the bus ticket. You are going to put the ticket in there and it’s going to produce a second ticket that is going to be printed out just for you. It’s like a stamp.

What about those with a bus pass? You just show the bus pass and you are good to go.

Stopping The Bus

When you are ready to get off the bus, how are you going to do this in Italy?

You are going to spot a button on the bus. This button is going to be clearly visible and it should be close to where you are sitting. It should also light up as you are riding from point A to point B.

You are going to press this and it’s going to let the bus driver know you are getting off on the next stop.

Final Thoughts

These are the tips on how to use a bus in Italy.

We know it might feel overwhelming at first, but the process is not going to take as much time as you think. Be patient and make sure you learn all of the terms related to bus travel in Italy.

As long as you do this, you are good to go.