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Buss Travel

Trains don’t go everywhere and sooner or later you’ll have to use regional buses ( autobus ). Almost everywhere is connected by some kind of bus service, but in out-of-the-way places schedules can be sketchy and are drastically reduced – sometimes non-existent – at weekends, especially on Sundays, something you need to watch out for on the timetable. Bear in mind also that in rural areas schedules are often designed with the working and/or school day in mind – meaning a frighteningly early start if you want to catch that day’s one bus out of town, and occasionally a complete absence of services during school holidays.

There isn’t a national bus company, although a few companies do operate services beyond their own immediate area. Bus terminals can be anywhere in larger towns, though often they’re sensibly placed next door to the train station; wherever possible we’ve detailed their whereabouts in the text, but if you’re not sure ask for directions to the autostazione . In smaller towns and villages, most buses pull in at the central piazza. Timetables are worth picking up if you can find one, from the local company’s office, bus stations or on the bus. Buy tickets immediately before you travel from the bus station ticket office, or on the bus itself; on longer hauls you can try to buy them in advance direct from the bus company, but seat reservations are not normally possible. If you want to get off, ask posso scéndere?; “the next stop” is la próssima fermata .

City buses are always cheap, usually costing a flat fare of between £1000/?0.52 and £2000/?1.03; it’s normally a bit cheaper down south. Invariably you need a ticket before you get on the bus and once you’ve bought your ticket it is only valid for about an hour; within that time, however, you can use it on as many journeys as you like. Tickets are available from a variety of sources, commonly newsagents and tobacconists, but also from any shop displaying the biglietti symbol, including many campsite shops and hotel front desks. Once on board, you must cancel your ticket in the machine at the back of the bus. The whole system is based on trust, though in most cities checks for fare-dodging are regularly made, and hefty spot-fines are levied against offenders.

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