Traveling to Italy for the first time introduces a host of new experiences. The sights, food, people, and way of life are all unique and exciting. But there are a few things that may be different than you're used to at home and are worth knowing about before your visit. To save you from any inconvenient surprises, here are two things you probably didn't know (but should know) about traveling in Italy:
You Can't Always Buy Tickets on Board
One of the great things about traveling in Italy is the convenience of public transportation. You can find a train, bus, or water taxi to take you practically anywhere you want to go. But despite the convenience of the availability of destinations with public transportation, don't just automatically assume that you can hop on board and buy a ticket on the spot. Not so!
Depending on the city and type of transportation, you might need to purchase your ticket prior to boarding since there may not be ticket machines on board. If you won't be boarding at a major train, bus, or water taxi station, then you'll probably need to look for the nearest newspaper stand or tabaccaio/tabaccheria (tobacco shop) to buy one. Also, make note that not all of these places are open on Sundays, so you may need to purchase ahead of time. In certain cities you may be able to purchase bus tickets on board, but you will likely pay a higher price than purchasing a head of time. Keep this in mind as you plan your transportation needs for your trip.
Validate or Get Fined
Once your purchase your public transport ticket, there's still one more task to accomplish other than just hopping on board. You'll also need to validate, or date stamp, your ticket so that it can't be re-used at a later date. These validation machines are usually red and are placed near the entrance where you will be boarding.
If you forget to validate (or don't validate deliberately), you can be fined €30 if the conductor or driver asks to see your ticket and it's not validated. Save yourself the trouble and make it a habit to validate your ticket every time you board a train, bus, or water taxi.
Hopefully these tips will help you feel a little more travel-savvy during your visit!