You know a day isn’t going to be good when it starts at 3 a.m. and planes, trains and taxis through Italy are going to be included. On the plus side … I’m in Italy! On the downside … it’s 3 a.m. So if you feel like living vicariously through a day in which I race across Italy in every manner of transportation possibly, read on.
Why should you read my stupid story? Hopefully you’ll get a few Italy travel tips and, more importantly, enjoy the fact it’s not you who had to get up at 3 a.m.
Why does a day involving planes, trains and taxis through Italy need to start so wretchedly early?
It takes a long time to organize 50 travel agents, tour operators and journalists for a 7:20 a.m. flight from Bari in Puglia to Rome, and that’s the unwieldily size of the crowd I’ve been traveling with. (Can you imagine? We’re like a moving circus!)
If you don’t like traveling with crowds don’t worry. In Rome I shed the group like a butterfly shedding its wings (only without any kind of symbolic transformation whatsoever) to venture off on some Italian solo travel. From Puglia to Tuscany in a day.
The first delay in a day of planes, trains and taxis through Italy
Once our mammoth group lumbers into the airport we learn our flight is delayed. So we sat in the airport in Bar, Puglia, in the very southern end of Italy forever. Until finally forever was over and we made it to Rome.
The solo travel planes-trains-and-taxis-through-Italy adventure begins and so does the second delay
In Rome I waved goodbye to my 50 new closest friends who made their connecting flight back to Toronto by the skin of their teeth (wait, skin has teeth?) while I, by this time, had missed all my train connections. And my train connections, I’m sorry to say, were extensive.
Best Italian train travel tip ever
From the Fiumicino Rome Airport, also known as the Leonardo da Vinci Rome Airport, you can do more than just book your train ticket into Rome (on the Leonardo Express, doncha love it?)
You can book all your onward trains throughout Italy at the same time and then you don’t have to deal with trying to figure out how to buy a ticket to, say, Florence, in the Rome Termini Station downtown. This comes in handy when you have, as I mentioned before, extensive connections and don’t need the headache of finding the ticket-buying lineup. It’s hard enough just finding the right platform, a toilet and a sandwich. And a fresh orange juice.
The good thing about Italian men on a planes, trains and taxis through Italy adventure
I should mention here that many Italian men will help you lift your bags onto the train – if you’re a woman, I mean. And that they often wear well-cut suits while doing it. Just saying.
When traveling by train through Italy, 1st class doesn’t always cost that much more
In Rome I splashed out and bought a 1st class ticket as far as Florence – hey, it was only $30 more and included a soft drink! At Florence I changed trains to travel to Montacatini, an Italian spa town, and it was the slowest pokiest unheated train ever.
Once it arrived that is, because for the third time in my planes-trains -and-taxis-through-Italy day, there was a delay And then the train stopped altogether and we all had to get off and find another one.
When confused on an Italian train turn to the Italians
This is when I had to conscript two Italian high school students to guide me around, because I was totally lost and had no idea how to find the other train – though at least I wasn’t as lost as the young Asian guy who kept popping up from his seat and trying to get off, while the Italian high school girl kept telling him it wasn’t his stop.
Don’t rain on my planes, trains and taxis through Italy day
When I finally reached Montacatini it was raining and of course there was only one taxi at the train station. And just before I could nab it some young guy got in. No way was I letting that baby go without me (by baby I mean the taxi not the student). I went up to the driver and kept shouting Grotta Giusti (which, as it turns out, is pronounced Chiusti not Giusti so it took some time to make myself understood).
Finally the taxi driver let me in the cab. I think the young guy was the taxi driver’s son, so they didn’t mind. And I was relieved. There is no other way to get to Grotta Giusti because it’s in the next town over.
The planes-trains-and-taxis-through-Italy day finally pays off
And then finally all that travel angst was over and I was inside in the beautiful 19th-century manor of Grotta Giusti going into steamy grottos and thermal pools.
And then it starts up again
But now tomorrow I’m off again and I don’t even know where I’m going to go. I’m thinking of spending one day in Lucca. Everyone says Lucca is the most gorgeous place ever, surrounded by fat Renaissance walls, but I refuse to book anything. I just have that urge to not know where I’ll end up, at least for one day. Isn’t that the ultimate freedom, even if it includes planes, trains and taxis through Italy, all in one day.
Read more: about the Top Cities to Visit in Italy
For more of the best places in Europe to see: visit Top Destinations in Europe