Guidebook Updates for Italy

When we learn of important changes to the information in our guidebooks on Italy, we post them here. (Of course, it's still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you're set for a great trip!

Across Italy

For books printed before September 2018, the following may apply:

  • Both Trenitalia and Italo have call centers for answering general questions. You can dial these numbers direct from any US number: Trenitalia +39 06-6847-5475 (daily 7:00–24:00); Italo +39 06-8937-1892 (daily 6:00–23:00).

For books printed before November 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The number for making a collect call from Italy to the US via AT&T is now 800-172-444.

For books printed before May 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Eurail Select Passes are now available as Italy–Switzerland two-country passes (among other options).

For books printed before November 2016, the following may also apply:

  • Italy's unreserved train tickets (regionali) are no longer valid for a two-month window. Instead, you much specify an intended travel day when you purchase the ticket. Tickets must be validated on the day of travel, and your must board your last train of the trip within four hours of the time stamped on the ticket. (To change the date on a ticket after it's been purchased, contact a Trenitalia agent before midnight of the day before travel.)
  • Trenitalia has changed its ticket validation machines from a yellow box to a new green-and-gray oval machine.

Cinque Terre

For books printed before September 2018, the following may apply:

  • Train schedules have changed in the Cinque Terre and any local train might skip one or more of the five towns. Before getting on any train, confirm that it stops at the town you need.
  • The alternate Riomaggiore-Manarola trail (known as "La Breccara") is closed through 2018.

For books printed before November 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Tickets for regional trains are now valid only on the day of purchase (you can't buy several in advance). This makes the Cinque Terre Treno Multi-Service Card worth considering for the sake of convenience, even if you don't plan to hike, since it covers local trains connecting all Cinque Terre towns, plus Levanto and La Spezia.

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

  • A new Cinque Terre Express train has begun service between Levanto and La Spezia. It runs every 30 minutes, stopping at all five Cinque Terre villages, but doesn't operate in the off-season. Check bahn.com or Trenitalia's site for schedules.
  • The park service has renamed and renumbered many local hiking trails. For example, the popular coastal trail, formerly trail #2, is now called "SVA" or the "Blue Path." But you'll likely hear people using the old names, and most maps haven't yet caught up with the new system.

Dolomites

For books printed before January 2017, the following may apply:

Florence

For books printed before September 2018, the following may apply:

  • The Duomo sights combo-ticket is now €18.
  • After years of flux, the Uffizi, Accademia Gallery, and Bargello now have stable websites with useful information for visitors (see links).
  • The price of admission to the Uffizi Gallery has increased fairly dramatically (from €12.50) to €20 March–Oct (€10 if no special exhibits); off-season (Nov–Feb) it drops to €12 (€6 if no special exhibits).
  • The prices of admission to Pitti Palace sights have changed. Ticket option #1 (includes the Palatine Gallery, Royal Apartments, and Gallery of Modern Art) increased to €16 March–Oct (€8 if no special exhibits); off-season (Nov–Feb) it drops to €10 (€5 if no special exhibits). Ticket option #2 (includes the Boboli and Bardini Gardens, Costume Gallery, Argenti/Silverworks Museum, and Porcelain Museum) remains €10 March–Oct but drops to €5 if no special exhibits; off-season (Nov–Feb), admission is €6 (€3 if no special exhibits).
  • The Uffizi and Pitti Palace will offer a combined three-day ticket (valid for three days from first use) offering ticketholders priority admission (once to each complex) to all the museums in the Uffizi Galleries’ circuit (Uffizi, Pitti, Boboli).
  • Accademia Rooms is now the Hotel Accademia and has 21 newly renovated rooms and new contact info: tel. +39 055-290-993, info@hotelaccademiafirenze.com.

For books printed before October 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The Duomo Museum is now open daily 9:00–20:00 year-round, but (still) closes all day on the first Tuesday of every month.
  • Reservations to climb the Duomo's dome can now be made at ticket machines in the lobby of the Duomo Museum. (They can also be made online and at the ticket office on Piazza San Giovanni; see below.)
  • Miso di Riso Vegetarian Bistro has been sold, and replaced by a traditional Tuscan restaurant.
  • The tourist information office in Livorno no longer arranges buses to Florence for cruise passengers.

For books printed before June 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The Bargello is now open Tue–Sat 8:15–17:00, until 13:50 Nov–March (closed Sun–Mon; last entry 40 minutes before closing).
  • The Museum of San Marco is not open on the first Sunday of the month.

For books printed before May 2017, the following may also apply:

  • You now need to make a reservation in order to climb the Duomo's dome — book one online or at the ticket office in Piazza San Giovanni 7, facing the Baptistery entrance. (If you have a Firenze Card, make the reservation when you pick up your access ticket.)

For books printed before November 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The Firenze Card no longer covers transportation, though it does now cover several additional sights, including the Ferragamo shoe museum.
  • The Duomo's dome is now open on Sunday in addition to its regular hours (Mon–Fri 8:30–19:00, Sat 8:30–17:40, Sun 13:00–16:40).
  • The Baptistery's hours have changed (now Mon–Fri 8:15–10:15 & 11:15–19:00, Sat 8:15–19:00, Sun 8:15–14:00).
  • The tourist information office at Via Cavour 1 red has reduced its hours, and is now open Mon–Fri 9:00–13:00, closed Sat–Sun.
  • The combo-ticket covering Florence's Baptistery, dome, Campanile, Duomo Museum, and Santa Reparata crypt is now valid for 48 hours (rather than one admission per sight).
  • San Miniato Church is now open daily Easter–mid-October 9:30–20:00, off-season 9:30–13:00 & 15:30–19:00.
  • The Oblate Sisters of the Assumption's hotel no longer offers family discounts.
  • The eatery Veggy has closed.

Lake Como

For books printed before November 2017, the following may apply:

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Da Luigi Pizza da Re in Varenna has closed.

Lucca

For books printed before November 2016, the following may apply:

  • Alla Dimora Lucense hotel has closed.

Milan

  • Milan's second airport, Linate, will close for renovations from late July 2019 to late October 2019.

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also apply:

  • New security procedures at the Duomo are causing hour-long waits to get in. It's recommended that travelers arrive early to account for the lines. The dress code for the Duomo has also become stricter. Travelers wearing T-shirts with sports logo may be turned away.
  • Italo now runs a useful Milan–Venice train route.

For books printed before May 2018, the following may also apply:

  • The Duomo Museum is now open on Mondays and closed on Wednesdays.
  • The stop for the bus from Milano Centrale to Malpensa Airport has moved to Piazza IV Novembre, on the west side of the station.
  • The city now charges drivers a €5 congestion fee for driving in the city center on weekdays.

For books printed before November 2017, the following may also apply:

  • To book Last Supper reservations at www.vivaticket.it, enter "Cenacolo Vinciano" into the search bar at the top of the main page.
  • Duomo tickets can now be purchased at the Duomo Museum and also at the nearby Duomo Information Point office.
  • Trains operated by Italo no longer stop at Porta Garibaldi Station — use Milano Centrale instead.
  • The Malpensa Express train now serves both terminals at Malpensa Airport.
  • Public bus #73 now directly connects riders from Linate Airport to the Duomo.

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

Naples

  • The southbound Circumvesuviana commuter train now stops at a new station called "Villa Regina" just before the stop for Pompeii — meaning that the Annunziata stop is no longer the last station before the Pompeii stop (Pompei Scavi).
  • Trams are not currently running in Naples (because of road construction), and won't be for several years. Take the Metro if you need to get between the port area and the main train station.

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also apply:

  • The location of the Alibus airport shuttle bus stop has changed at Centrale Station. It is now to the left as you exit the station, near the Tiger store.
  • The tourist information office inside Centrale Station has moved to the main lobby, next to the Trenitalia ticket office.
  • Galleria Borbonica's website is www.galleriaborbonica.com.

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

  • From Naples the Circumvesuviana train takes about 20 minutes (not 50 minutes, as printed in some editions of Rick Steves Italy) to reach Ercolano Scavi (for the Herculaneum ruins, €1.80 one way) and 40 minutes to reach Pompei Scavi–Villa Misteri (for the Pompeii ruins, €2.60 one way).
  • Mondo Guide's Naples-based guided tours of Pompeii for Rick Steves readers now begin at 11:00 every day (not 10:30).
  • Laundry DYI has closed.

Orvieto

For books printed before January 2017, the following may apply:

  • The bus to Bagnoregio now departs from the large parking area near the city's former barracks. To reach the stop from Piazza Cahen, walk along Via Roma away from the funicular and you'll come to a drive leading into the barracks. In the parking area, look for yellow painted spaces and posted bus schedule.

Pisa

For books printed before September 2018, the following may apply:

  • The LAM Rossa bus stop at the Pisa Centrale Train Station is now outside the main entrance and to the right (not in front of the NH Cavalieri Hotel). Travelers can no longer take this bus line to or from the Galileo Galilei Airport to Pisa Centrale Station. Travelers must use either the "Pisa Mover" train to get to Centrale station from the airport, or take a taxi.

For books printed before September 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The main tourist information office has moved to the Field of Miracles, next to the Duomo's ticket office.
  • A new "Pisa Mover" train offers an easy five-minute connection between downtown and Pisa Centrale train station (€2.70, daily 6:00–24:00, leaves every 5 minutes).

For books printed before November 2016, the following may also apply:

Pompeii and Herculaneum

For books printed before January 2017, the following may apply:

  • From Naples the Circumvesuviana train takes about 20 minutes (not 50 minutes, as printed in some editions of Rick Steves Italy) to reach Ercolano Scavi (for the Herculaneum ruins, €1.80 one way) and 40 minutes to reach Pompei Scavi–Villa Misteri (for the Pompeii ruins, €2.60 one way).
  • Mondo Guide's Naples-based guided tours of Pompeii for Rick Steves readers now begin at 11:00 every day (not 10:30).
  • Visitors to the Pompeii site can ask for an entrance/exit bracelet that allows you to reenter the site up to three times on the same day.

Riviera Towns near the Cinque Terre

For books printed before January 2017, the following may apply:

  • Hotel Mediterraneo in Santa Margherita Ligure has closed.

Rome

For books printed before September 2018, the following may apply:

  • Usually free, the Pantheon is expected to require a €2 ticket in the near future.
  • Visitors to the Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill now choose from one of two tickets, both good for two consecutive days: a €12 combo-ticket allows one admission to the Colosseum (after 14:00 only) and one admission to the Forum/Palatine Hill; or an €18 "super" ticket, good for one admission any time at the Colosseum and two admissions to the Forum/Palatine Hill. Admission to the Colosseum is free for kids ages 17 and younger (must present proof of age). Access to the House of Augustus and the House of Livia on Palatine Hill is available only with the "super" ticket.
  • Visitors to St. Peter's Basilica who are short on time can download an (expensive) audioguide that includes line-skipping entry to the basilica. See www.voxmundi.eu for details.
  • The Victor Emmanuel Monument has new hours: daily 9:00–17:00 (shorter in winter).
  • The combo-ticket for the Tomb of Cecilia Metella and Villa dei Quintili on the Appian Way is now valid for two consecutive days.
  • Rome's tourist call center now answers the phone daily 9:00–19:00 (tel. +39 06-0608).
  • Elettrico minibus #117 has been discontinued. (For help with Rome's public transportation and journey planners in English, see muovi.roma.it, romamobilita.it, or atac.roma.it.)

For books printed before April 2018, the following may also apply:

  • The Vatican Museums have a new website. The museums are now open on Fridays 19:00–23:00 (last entry at 21:30) from mid-April through October (must reserve online).
  • Tram #3 now runs from the Colosseum to Trastevere train station (as stated in text, but transit maps in some editions imply otherwise).
  • On the Appian Way, the Baths of Caracalla are no longer included in a combo-ticket with the Tomb of Cecilia Metella and Villa dei Quintili.
  • The National Museum of Rome has a new website: www.museonazionaleromano.beniculturali.it.
  • The Roman House at Palazzo Valentini is now open every day (including Tuesdays).
  • The website for the Mamertine Prison, also known as Carcer Tullianum Museum, is at www.tullianum.org.
  • The Etruscan Museum at Villa Giulia is now open 9:00–20:00 (closed Mon).
  • Gelateria Vice has closed.

For books printed before November 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Tickets for general audience with the Pope booked through the American Catholic Church must now be picked up at St. Patrick's Church at Via Boncompagni, N. 31. The website for booking is www.stpatricksamericanrome.org. St. Patrick's Church has taken over the role of home of the American Catholic Church in Rome.
  • The Roma Pass is now a single plastic card that covers both sightseeing and transportation. The card is activated with its first use at a sight or on public transportation.
  • Off-season hours have changed slightly at St. Peter's Basilica: The church is now open until 18:30 Oct–March (and still open daily April–Sept 7:00–19:00).
  • Visitors to the Roman Forum cannot exit through the Capitoline Hill entry point. The best exit to go directly from the Roman Forum to Capitoline Hill is behind the Column of Phocas, near the WCs.
  • There is now a €2/person fee to book Borghese Gallery reservations over the phone.
  • There is no longer a taxi stand on St. Peter's Square; the nearest stand is at Castel Sant'Angelo.
  • The correct email for Funny Palace Hostel is info@funnyhostel.com.
  • Autoservizi Monti Concezio, run by gentle, capable, and English-speaking Ezio (pronounced "Etz-io"), offers private cars or minibuses with driver/guides (car-€40/hour, minibus-€45/hour, 3-hour minimum for city sightseeing, transfers between cities are more expensive, mobile +39 335-636-5907 or +39 349-674-5643, info@tourservicemonti.it).
  • Ristorante Pizzeria “da Francesco” now requires reservations for evening seatings at 19:00, 20:30, or 22:00 (tel. +39 06-686-4009).
  • The Rome Walks tour company is no longer in business.
  • Palatium restaurant has closed.
  • Osteria Sacro e Profano restaurant has closed.
  • The theater at Ostia Antica is under renovation and the main gate may be blocked by scaffolding.
  • The Despar supermarket chain is now called "Coop."

For books printed before March 2017, the following may also apply:

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Tram #8 no longer stops at Largo Argentina; the nearest stop is Arenula, a few stops away.
  • The church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, which owns the "Bocca della Verità," now charges €2 for access to the statue (and only one photo allowed).

For books printed before September 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The shortcut to the Victor Emmanuel Monument and Aracoeli Church, as described in our guidebooks, no longer works: The route from Piazza del Campidoglio that skips the church, and once led through the iron gate at the top of the stairs, is now inaccessible, as is the shortcut through Santa Maria in Aracoeli Church.
  • The Holy Stairs (Scala Santa) at the Church of San Giovanni in Laterano no longer close at midday, though the chapel there still does.
  • Elettrico minibus #116 has been discontinued. (For help with Rome's public transportation and journey planners in English, see muovi.roma.it, romamobilita.it, or atac.roma.it.)
  • Castel Sant'Angelo is now open daily 9:00–19:30.
  • Dall'Antò restaurant, in the Monti district, has closed.
  • At Termini station, entry to the train platforms is now restricted to ticket holders. Entrances are from the inner atrium and from the halls to the side of the tracks.
  • Atral no longer runs buses between Termini station and Fiumicino Airport, but two new bus companies — T.A.M. and Schiaffini — make this run, leaving from the south side of Termini.

Siena

For books printed before September 2018, the following may apply:

  • The correct address for the tourist information office across from the cathedral is Piazza del Duomo 2.

For books printed before October 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The Duomo's ticket office has moved: Facing the cathedral entry, it's now behind and to the right.
  • The exhibit on the contrade and Palio inside Santa Maria della Scala has closed.

Sorrento

For books printed before November 2017, the following may apply:

Tuscan Hill Towns

For books printed before October 2017, the following may apply:

  • Volterra's duomo is closed for renovation until 2020.
  • Affittacamere Mariucccia in Montalcino has closed.

For books printed before November 2016, the following may also apply:

  • Seminario Vescovile Sant'Andrea in Volterra is now closed to the public.

Venice

For books printed before September 2018, the following may apply:

  • Italo now runs a useful Milan–Venice train route.

For books printed before May 2018, the following may also apply:

For books printed before November 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Teatro San Gallo no longer performs the "Venezia" show.
  • Villa Mocenigo Agruturismo (10 miles from Marco Polo Airport) has a new mobile phone number: +39 338-3629-268.

For books printed before December 2016, the following may also apply:

  • For travelers arriving by cruise ship: The best way to get to Piazzale Roma is to take the People Mover monorail, as the shuttle buses offered by some cruise companies from the port to Piazzale Roma are no longer running.

Verona

For books printed before September 2018, the following may apply:

  • A new funicular runs daily between the Roman Theater and Castello San Pietro.

For books printed before December 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The website for Verona's tourism office is www.turismoverona.eu.
  • Gelateria Ponte Pietra, mentioned in the guidebook's self-guided Verona walk, is at #23, not #13.