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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

  • State museums in Italy are free to enter once or twice a month, usually on a Sunday. Free days are actually bad news — they attract crowds. In peak season, check state museum websites in advance and make a point to avoid their free days.

For books printed before December 2019, the following may also apply:

  • The intercity bus services formerly operated by Sena/Baltour have been taken over by Flixbus, with some changes in frequencies and routes.
  • Eurail Select Passes are no longer being sold (but similarly priced Global Passes still are) — see our 2019 rail-travel update.

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also 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.

Cinque Terre

For books printed before December 2019, the following may apply:

  • In Manarola, the Ostello 5-Terre Hostel has closed.
  • In Monterosso, Fast Bar no longer serves breakfast. Instead, try Beach Bar Alga on the beach, Pasticceria Laura at 59 Via Vittorio Emanuele, Wonderland Bakery at Via San Pietro 8, and Bar Davi under the arch at Via Roma 34.
  • ATC shuttle bus schedules are now available online at www.atcesercizio.it.
  • Roberto Pecunia now offers baggage delivery from all Cinque Terre train stations to your accommodations. Call ahead to +39 370 375 7972.
  • Local guide Paola Tommarchi is no longer working in the Cinque Terre.

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also 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.

Dolomites

For books printed before December 2019, the following may apply:

  • The bus station in Bolzano has moved to just north of the train station.

Florence

  • The main ticket office for the Duomo and its related sights (opposite the Baptistery at Piazza di San Giovanni 7) is undergoing renovation; for now, there are self-service ticket machines there and a temporary ticket office at Piazza del Duomo 14a (opposite the entrance to the Duomo's crypt).

For books printed before December 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Tour guide Karin Kibby's new email address is: klkibby@yahoo.com.
  • Hotel Maxim and Hotel Axial are now one hotel: Hotel Maxim Axial. Their new contact info is: tel. +39 055 217 474, www.hotelmaximaxial.com, info@hotelmaximaxial.com.
  • Prestige Rent has a new address and phone number: Via della Saggina 98, tel. +39 055 286 059.
  • Transfer Chauffeur Service has a new email: welcome@transfercs.com.
  • The Bargello's new hours are: daily 8:15–14:00 (until 17:00 for special exhibits); closed on second and fourth Sun and first, third, and fifth Mon of each month.
  • The Medici Chapel's new hours are: Tue–Sat 8:15–14:00; also open first, third, and fifth Sun and second and fourth Mon of each month.
  • The Basilica of San Lorenzo is now closed Sundays. It also has a new website: http://www.operamedicealaurenziana.org/. The basilica library's hours are now Mon–Fri 9:30–13:30, closed Sat–Sun.
  • The Vasari Corridor above the Ponte Vecchio is closed until at least 2021.
  • The Gucci Museum (now called the Gucci Garden Gallery) is now open daily until 23:00.
  • The Duomo now closes at 16:30 Mon–Sat year-round (though opening times sometimes change due to religious functions).
  • English mass at the Duomo is now Sunday at 17:00.
  • The Duomo sights combo-ticket is now valid for 72 hours.
  • There's a new contact email for booking Duomo-themed tours: commerciale@operadelduomo.firenze.it.
  • There is a new combo ticket for the Uffizi/Pitti Palace/Boboli Gardens. Valid for three consecutive days, this €38 combo-ticket offers admission to the Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace, and Boboli Gardens at a €12 savings (€38 March–Oct, €18 Nov–Feb). Note that with this ticket, you must start your visit at the Uffizi.
  • The Pitti Palace's two ticket options have changed. Ticket #1 now covers most of the sights (the Palatine Gallery, Royal Apartments, Treasury of the Grand Dukes (silver museum), Museum of Costume and Fashion, and Gallery of Modern Art) while ticket #2 now covers the Bardini and Boboli Gardens as well as the Porcelain Museum.
  • From July–Aug, the Uffizi and Accademia stay open until 22:00 two nights a week. (Uffizi: Wed and Thu, Accademia: Tue and Thu, also open from 7:00.)
  • The new tram line, T2, is now operating between Amerigo Vespucci Airport and near Florence's SMN train station (runs every five minutes, 20 min, runs 5:00–24:00).
  • Bus #7 to Fiesole now leaves from near the train station on Piazza Adua rather than from Piazza San Marco (only return buses stop there now; with returns also near the train station at Largo Alinari).
  • Buses #14 and #17 no longer run between the train station and Piazza San Marco but buses #7 and #12 now do.
  • The city of Florence no longer rents bikes at the train station.
  • Turishav Travel is now Florentour. Their hours are now 9:30–16:30, closed Sat–Sun.
  • Walks Inside Florence's website is now www.walksinsideflorence.it.
  • Istituto Gould has been renamed Foresteria Valdese di Firenze.
  • Hotel Europa has new ownership and has been reopened as Arté Hotel.
  • Panella's Residence has new ownership and is now open under the name Haggi's Residence.
  • Lovelife Café has closed.
  • Due Sorsi e Un Boccone has closed.
  • Trattoria I' Cche c'e' c'e' has closed.
  • Reserving an entry time for the Brancacci Chapel is not required, but it is recommended. You can book spots up until the day before your visit. It should still be considered mandatory from March through the end of May and advisable through the summer and fall. It's no longer possible to make the reservation at the Palazzo Vecchio.
  • The Medici-Riccardi Palace has a new phone number and website: +39 055 276 8224, www.palazzomediciriccardi.it.
  • The Museum of San Marco's is now open every Sunday rather than select Sundays. It's now open Tue–Fri 8:15–14:00, Sat–Sun until 17:00, and until 14:00 on the first, third, and fifth Monday of each month.
  • Minibus #D is now #C4, and runs on a slightly different route, traveling from near the Duomo to the train station, across the Carraia bridge, through the Oltrarno (passing the Pitti Palace), and on to the San Niccolò neighborhood.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Firenze Card holders visiting the Accademia and/or Uffizi now need to make a free reservation to receive priority access. Reservations can be made over the phone (+39 055 294 883, Mon–Fri 8.30–18.30, Sat 8.30–12.30) or at dedicated ticket counters on-site.
  • Cruise passengers arriving in the Port of Livorno have a new option for getting inland: TuscanyBus.com, which offers cheap bus excursions to Pisa and/or Florence, as well as combo-rides that include Lucca. Buses leave from Livorno's Piazza del Municipio (near the port shuttle dropoff point).
  • Bellevue House/Palazzo Riblet, a hotel near Santa Maria Novella and the newly opened tram line to the airport, now has an elevator.

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also 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 Uffizi and Pitti Palace will offer a combined three-day ticket (valid for three days from first use) offering ticket holders 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.

Lake Como

For books printed before December 2019, the following may apply:

  • Hotel Eremo Gaudio in Varenna has closed.
  • Bellagio B&B Apartments have closed.

Lucca

For books printed before December 2019, the following may apply:

  • Ostello San Frediano has closed indefinitely.
  • La Locanda Sant'Agostino and Sogni d'Oro Guesthouse have closed.

Milan

  • Duomo information telephone numbers have changed: Church tel. +39 02 7202 3375, museum tel. +39 02 3616 9351.

For books printed before December 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Cucina Fusetti and Antica Osteria Milanese have closed.

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.

Naples

For books printed before March 2019, the following may also apply:

  • 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.
  • Cruise-ship passengers can now use a handy CitySightseeing shuttle that runs between the Naples cruise port, Naples' main train station, and Pompeii. This is easier than taking a train and much cheaper than a taxi or private cruise excursion (€15, 4/day usually at 9:15, 10:00, 10:45, and 11:30; last bus leaves Pompeii at 16:30).

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.

Padua

For books printed before November 2019, the following may apply:

  • If arriving in Padua without a Scrovegni Chapel reservation, it may be possible to buy a same-day ticket (especially for single visitors). With a Padova Card purchase, it is likely that same-day reservations can be made no less than three hours (and up to 48 hours) in advance. Check with the tourist information office for more details.
  • Ostello Citta di Padova has closed.

Pisa

For books printed before December 2019, the following may apply:

  • While it's best to make a reservation for the Leaning Tower in advance, there's usually no line after 18:00 (and you may be alone after 19:00; it's open until 20:00 April–Sept and until 22:00 mid-June–Aug).
  • Antica Trattoria il Campano is now open nightly 19:30–22:45.
  • Il Vegusto has closed.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Cruise passengers arriving in the Port of Livorno have a new option for getting inland: TuscanyBus.com, which offers cheap bus excursions to Pisa and/or Florence, as well as combo-rides that include Lucca. Buses leave from Livorno's Piazza del Municipio (near the port shuttle dropoff point).

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also 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.

Pompeii and Herculaneum

  • Pompeii archaeological site no longer sells the bracelet allowing re-entry to the site. Each ticket is for a single entry only.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply:

  • There is no longer a combo-ticket that covers both Pompeii and Herculaneum.
  • Rick now also recommends Gaetano Manfredi as a guide to Pompeii.
  • Cruise-ship passengers can now use a handy CitySightseeing shuttle that runs between the Naples cruise port, Naples' main train station, and Pompeii. This is easier than taking a train and much cheaper than a taxi or private cruise excursion (€15, 4/day usually at 9:15, 10:00, 10:45, and 11:30; last bus leaves Pompeii at 16:30).

Ravenna

For books printed before November 2019, the following may apply:

  • B&B Al Teatro and Ostello Dante have closed.

Riviera Towns near the Cinque Terre

For books printed before December 2019, the following may apply:

  • Roberta De Beni in Santa Margherita Ligure is no longer guiding.
  • In Levanto, Ebikein no longer offers bike rentals, but they still offers guided bike tours.
  • The tourist information office in Sestri Levante is now located at Corso Colombo 50, on the ground floor of Palazzo Fascie.
  • Near Portofino, boats wait on the beach at San Fruttuoso Abbey to take visitors out to the submerged Christ of the Abyss statue, There is currently no set schedule or cost and it is possible to negotiate a price, which is usually just a few euros.
  • Daytrippers visiting the Cinque Terre by train from La Spezia can store bags a 3-minute walk from the station at the deposito bagagli at Via XX Settembre 209 (open 24/7, fully automatic, self-serve lockers in 3 sizes, €5-18/day).

Rome

  • The Opera da Camera di Roma has moved to Palazzo Albertoni Spinola at Piazza Capizucchi 6 (close to the Jewish quarter).
  • St. Patrick's Church no longer arranges papal audience tickets. Requests can only be made by fax to the designated Vatican office at +39 (0)6 6988 5863.
  • The shortcut from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter's is no longer an option. It is strictly for tour groups and the exit is monitored.
  • The Museum of the Liberation of Rome is now open daily 9:00–19:00, closed August.
  • At the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the café has closed.
  • At the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the Museum of the Risorgimento is closed for renovation.
  • Colosseum and Forum tickets have changed: The basic Colosseum and Forum/Palatine ticket has gone up to €16 and is valid for 24 hours. The SUPER ticket is gone; in its place are two new tickets:
  1. The Full Experience ticket, which €22 and valid two consecutive days, covers the Colosseum (plus choice of arena or underground area), Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, special Super sites, and the newly opened Imperial Forums (Forum of Julius Caesar and Forum of Trajan, connected by a new path that passes beneath Via dei Fori Imperiali).
  2. The Forum Super Pass, which is €16 and valid one day, includes Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, special Super sites, and the Imperial Forums, but not the Colosseum.

Both of these tickets allow entry near Trajan's Column.

  • Electric minibuses are back. Elettrico #117 connects San Giovanni in Laterano, Colosseo, Via Cavour, Via Nazionale, and Trevi Fountain. Elettrico #119 connects Piazza Venezia, Via del Corso, Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza del Popolo, and Piazza Augusto Imperatore.
  • Feltrinelli International bookstore is closed.
  • The 48-hour Roma Pass only offers 1 sight, not 2. This pass now covers the Villa Borghese.
  • "Decorum laws" are now more strictly enforced, including fines. We no longer recommend picnicking anywhere but in parks or other green spaces. Eating discreetly is fine, but not near major sights.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply:

  • For Walks of Italy tour company, Rick Steves readers should use discount code: RICKWALKSROME.
  • Sitting on the Spanish Steps is no longer allowed. Violators face a €250 fine.
  • The Canadian Embassy in Rome has a new phone number: +39 06 854 441.
  • The Eataly restaurant/gourmet food shop on Piazza della Repubblica, also known as Officine Italia, has closed.
  • The Repubblica metro stop in Rome has reopened.
  • Roma Pass holders now need a €2 reservation to access the Colosseum, which should be made as soon as possible — spots can sell out weeks in advance (see its site for info on reserving, or call +39 06 3996 7575).
  • The ticket table in the narthex (portico) of St. Peter's Basilica, which once sold tickets to the Vatican Museums, is now gone (but the Vatican tourist information office still sells them).
  • The Vatican post office branch near the columns of St. Peter's Basilica's portico (just before the security checkpoint), is now closed (but you can still get the famous Vatican stamps at the other Vatican post office, next to the Vatican tourist information office). 
  • Two central metro stations, Spagna and Barberini, are currently closed.
  • Hotel Selene Roma is now Dharma Style Hotel, and has a new phone number: +39 06 482 4460.
  • Domus Nova Bethlem is now the Dnb House Hotel.
  • The Hotel Gerber near the Vatican is closing in June 2019.
  • The basic €12 combo-ticket for the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine Hill (for those who don't have a Roma Pass) now includes a timed-entry slot for the Colosseum. Entry to the Forum/Palatine Hill is possible anytime during the validity of the ticket.
  • The north entrance to the Roman Forum, below Capitoline Hill, is now closed.
  • The Assaggi d'Autore restaurant near the Trevi Fountain has closed.

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

  • 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 €16 "super" ticket (which doesn't include the Colosseum — see more recent update, above). 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 (+39 06 0608).

For our Rome audio tours, these older updates also apply:

  • 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.

Siena

For books printed before December 2019, the following may apply:

  • Admission to the sights that comprise Siena's monumental cathedral complex is now by a unified combo-ticket. Individual tickets are available for the Duomo itself, but entry to the Duomo Museum, Baptistery, and Crypt is possible only with the combo-ticket (Opa Si Pass, valid for 72 hours, price varies with the season from €8 to €15).
  • The intercity bus services formerly operated by Sena/Baltour have been taken over by Flixbus, with some changes in frequencies and routes.

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

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

For books printed before October 2017, and the Siena City Walk audio tour, 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.

Tuscan Hill Towns

For books printed before December 2019, the following may apply:

  • In Pienza, Palazzo Piccolomini is now open on Mondays but closed Tuesdays.
  • Volterra's Empathy Bistrot is closed.
  • It is no longer necessary to book La Foce Gardens in advance, but it is recommended visitors confirm tour availability in advance as the gardens can be closed for private events.
  • In Montepulciano, Camere Bellavista's email is now: info@camerebellavista.it.
  • Osteria del Conte in Montepulciano has changed its closed day to Monday (now open Wednesday).
  • The Brunello Wine Bus, near Montalcino, now runs March–Nov Tue and Thu only. Half-day tours are available Tue & Thu–Sat. Their new address is Via Circonvallazione 3.
  • In Montalcino, B&B da Idolina's check in time is now 15:00–19:00 and their website is now www.idolina1946.com.
  • Taverna del Grappolo Blu in Montalcino is now open daily.
  • In Cortona, Fiaschetteria Fett'Unta is now open Thur–Tues 11:00–22:30 and closed Wednesday.
  • Reservations for La Bruciata agriturismo near Montepulciano are taken only for one-week-minimum stays April through October, but shorter bookings may be possible November through March, depending on availability.
  • The Diocesan Museum in Cortona is now closed Mondays in October, and closes at 16:00 Nov–March.
  • Cortona's tourist information office is now open Mon–Fri 9:00–12:30, also Tue and Thu 15:00–17:00, closed Sat–Sun.
  • In Cortona, Locanda al Pozzo Antico's correct address is Via Ghini 14.
  • Casa Betania in Cortona has closed.
  • San Marco Hostel in Cortona has closed.

Venice

For books printed before November 2019, the following may also apply:

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

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

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

Verona

For books printed before November 2019, the following may apply:

  • The ArenaMuseOpera (AMO) museum has closed permanently.
  • Villa FrancescattiBrek Cafeteria have closed.
  • Enoteca Cangrande has moved to Via Dietro Listone 19/D. It's open daily 12:15–14:15 & 19:00–22:00.

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

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