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READER QUESTIONS

What are The Local Italy’s ‘reader questions’?

As part of our service to members of The Local Italy, we are happy to answer questions from readers on any aspect of life in Italy or Italian culture.

What are The Local Italy’s ‘reader questions’?
Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

You may have seen articles titled ‘reader question’ around the site and, as you may be have guessed, they’re based on questions sent in by you, The Local’s readers.

We receive – and try our best to answer – a large number of such questions, and if any of them touch on a topic that is likely to affect or interest others, we may turn the answer into an article with ‘reader question’ in the headline.

Who can ask a reader question and can I ask anonymously?

All readers of The Local Italy can email us to ask a question; there is no need to be a paying subscriber.

However, answering reader questions individually is a time-consuming task made possible only by the support of our members. The growing archive of ‘reader question’ articles is therefore behind the paywall.

There is no need to live in Italy to ask a question either – we tackle many topics relevant to second-home owners, visitors to Italy or simply people who have an interest in Italy and its culture – but the question does need to relate to Italy.

We will only turn a question into a reader question article where it has value to the broader Local community (and where we know or can find out the answer, obviously).

All reader questions we publish are anonymous. We never release any details of your private correspondence with us and we will not publish a reader question where the person asking it could be identified.

What kinds of questions do we answer?

It can really be anything.

Throughout the pandemic we’ve focused on practical issues relating to Covid rules and travel restrictions and their impact on readers’ lives.  For example, you asked us how to get vaccinated in Italy without a health card and whether you needed to update your green pass after a booster shot..

We’ve also answered your questions about navigating Brexit-related changes and everyday Italian bureaucracy.

Most recently, you asked us everything from what the longer-term alternatives to car hire are when visiting Italy, to whether your children would be eligible for an Italian passport.

But the questions don’t have to be bureaucracy-related (even if this is probably the most perplexing aspect of life in the country!)

If you have a question about Italian language or culture, we’re happy to have a go at answering this too – no matter how big or small.

In brief; if you’ve ever wondered, feel free to ask.

If necessary, we will reach out to our contacts in the Italian government or to trusted experts to get the answer.  

If you’d like to have a question answered, drop us a line at [email protected]

You can find our previous reader questions HERE.

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CHRISTMAS

Is Italy’s public transport running over Christmas and New Year?

If you're spending key dates over Christmas and New Year in Italy, can you expect to find trains and other transport services operating? Here's what you need to know.

Is Italy's public transport running over Christmas and New Year?

Question: My family are spending the holidays in Italy, and we’re wondering what sort of public transport services will be in place. I know we should expect a reduced timetable, but will some services still be up and running?

At any time of year, the quality and frequency of public transport services in Italy varies significantly between rural and urban areas, as well as between cities.

Areas that are usually poorly served by just the occasional bus could have an even more reduced service over the holidays – and you may well not be able to find out the revised schedule in advance.

That said, parts of the country that already have relatively robust public transport networks tend to keep them fairly active over the Christmas period.

Even on Christmas day itself, you’ll find the tens of high speed and regional trains that provide daily connections between major Italian cities and small towns running pretty much on a standard timetable.

Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

Local public transport services are somewhat reduced, but don’t shut down entirely, as they do in some parts of the world.

In Rome, all bus, tram and metro services should run as normal on Christmas Eve until 9pm, with night buses kicking in from 11pm; as well as from 8:30am-1pm and 4.30pm-9pm on Christmas day.

On New Year’s Eve, buses and trams are scheduled to run until 9pm and the metro until 2.30am, with a few dedicated bus lines in place to take people to and from metro stops.

READ ALSO: How to make the most of a Christmas break in Rome

In Naples, it’s currently hoped that bus, metro and funicular services will run throughout the day on December 25th and January 1st, with the metro and funicular staying open until 2am on both dates – subject to operator Anm reaching an agreement with workers.

While Italy has been hit with a series of transport strikes over the past few months, there’s not much chance of major strike action being announced over Christmas.

That’s because Italian law bans unions from organising strikes which could impact the air travel sector – so general strikes and transport sector strikes are out – on certain busy travel dates (known as periodi di franchigia, or ‘exemption periods’). These include December 18th to January 7th, as well as much of August.

Some cities haven’t yet released their holiday timetables, but previous years give an indication of what you can expect.

In Milan last year, buses were operational from 7am-7.30pm on Christmas day, with night buses cancelled on the nights of 24th-25th and 25th-26th. New Year’s Eve operated on a Saturday timetable, with night buses running as normal.

Tram in Milan's city centre.

Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Bus services in Florence last year ran on a reduced holiday schedule until 1pm on Christmas day, on a normal timetable until 9pm on New Year’s Eve, and operated on a holiday timetable on December 26th and January 1st, 2nd and 6th.

The city’s trams ran on a slightly reduced schedule (every 10 minutes instead of every 5-6 at peak times) on Christmas Eve, Christmas day and New Year’s Eve, but ran until 2am on the three days.

If you’re in Rome over the Christmas period this year, you’re in luck: the city council are expanding the public transport services and have offered several free transport days for the month of December. 

On December 24th, all public transport around the city will be free.

And until January 8th, three new bus lines providing shuttle services from city car parks to the centre – ‘Free 1’, ‘Free 2’ and the 100 service – will also be free.

The move is part of an initiative by mayor Roberto Gualtieri to reduce traffic in the city centre over the busiest parts of the season.

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