Italy's far-reaching regional bus network, often operated by private companies, is not as attractive an option as in other European countries, partly due to convenient train travel. Schedules are often drawn up with commuters and students in mind and may be sketchy on weekends. But, car travel aside, regional bus companies often provide the only means of getting to out-of-the-way places. Even when this isn't the case, buses can be faster and more direct than local trains, so it's a good idea to compare bus and train schedules. Lazzi operates in Tuscany and central Italy; while BusItalia-Sita Nord covers Tuscany and Veneto. SitaSud caters to travelers in Puglia, Foggia, Matera, Basilicata, and Campania. Dolomiti Bus serves the Dolomites.
All major cities in Italy have urban bus services. It's inexpensive, and tickets should be purchased from newsstands or tobacconists and validated on board (some city buses have ticket machines on the buses themselves). Buses can become jammed during busy travel periods and rush hours.
Smoking is not permitted on Italian buses. All, even those on long-distance routes, offer a single class of service. Cleanliness and comfort levels are high on private motor coaches, which have plenty of legroom, sizable seats, and luggage storage, but do not often have toilets. Private bus lines usually have a ticket office in town or allow you to pay when you board.
ATAC (Rome. 06/57003. www.atac.roma.it.)
ATAF (Stazione Centrale di Santa Maria Novella, Florence. 800/424500; 199/104245 From mobile phone. www.ataf.net.)
BusItalia–Sita Nord (Viale dei Cadorna, 105, Florence. 055/47821. www.fsbusitalia.it.)
Dolomiti Bus (Via Col da Ren 14, Belluno. 0437/217111. www.dolomitibus.it.)
Lazzi (Via Mercadante 2, Florence. 0573/1937900. www.lazzi.it.)
SitaSud (Putignano, Bari. 080/4052245. www.sitasudtrasporti.it.)
Artecard (800/600601 toll-free in Italy. www.campaniartecard.it.)
Unicocampania (081/5513109. www.unicocampania.it.)
ANM (Via G. Marino 1, Naples, 80125. 800/639525 toll-free in Italy. www.anm.it.)
SITA (Varco Immacolata, inside Molo Beverello port, Naples, 80133. 089/405145. www.sitasudtrasporti.it.)
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