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TRAVEL NEWS

Trains and planes: Italy’s new international travel routes in 2023

Travel is picking up again across the globe, and Italy is no exception. Here are just some of the new air and rail travel routes opening up this year.

Which international flights have been added to and from Italy in 2023?
Which international flights have been added to and from Italy in 2023? Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP.

After a long and difficult period of Covid-related restrictions, international travel is picking up speed — both literally and figuratively — in the air and on the ground.

This is long-awaited news for residents of Italy who want to travel abroad with more ease and convenience, as well as for foreign tourists wanting to visit.

Here’s an overview of new flight and train routes we know about so far:

Ryanair:

The low-cost Irish carrier Ryanair has a whole host of new routes planned for Italy in 2023.

These include two new connections for Trieste in summer 2023 with Barcelona and Dublin.

Venice will have routes added for Cork and Gdansk in Poland in March 2023, Bristol in the summer, and, according to the travel news site Si Viaggia, Edinburgh, Cologne, Tallin in Estonia and Zaragoza in Spain.

A connection between Rome Fiumicino and Cork that started this winter will continue into summer 2023. Rome Ciampino will have flights to Agadir, Rabat and Tangier in Morocco, as well as four weekly connections to Liverpool, Si Viaggia reports.

READ ALSO: Seven reasons to be positive about life in Italy in 2023

The southern region of Puglia in particular is getting a number of new routes, with flights from Brindisi to Dublin and Wrocław in Poland added for summer 2023, and connections between Bari and Kaunas in Lithuania, Poznań in Poland also coming later this year.

The northern city of Turin is reportedly adding new routes to Manchester, Stockholm, Porto, and Vilnius in Lithuania; Naples will add a flight to Memmingen in Germany; and Trapani-Marsala in Sicily will have a direct connection to Porto.

A new Ryanair flight will connect Naples with the German city of Memmingen in 2023.

A new Ryanair flight will connect Naples with the German city of Memmingen in 2023. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP.

Easyjet:

New destinations opening up from Milan Malpensa thanks to Easyjet include Paris and Lourdes from March 2023, Birmingham in June and Lisbon in the summer, reports Si Viaggia. 

Meanwhile flights connecting Venice to Larnaca in Cyprus are expected to start up in April, and a Venice-Dubrovnik route is planned for July.

Easyjet announced late last year it would be adding new routes from the Sicilian capital of Palermo to Nice in April, and from Catania to Edinburgh in June.

READ ALSO: Five easy day trips to make from Rome by train

ITA:

ITA Airways, the successor to the now-defunct Alitalia, is set to add six new long-haul routes from Italy for 2023, expanding its fleet by 39 new aircraft.

These include the hotly anticipated direct flights from Rome Fiumicino to San Francisco and Washington Dulles airport in the US, as well as from Rome to the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro and the Middle Eastern destinations of Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait City.

The direct flight launched by the airline from Rome Fiumicino to New Delhi at the end of last year will continue to operate in 2023.

Wizz Air:

The budget Hungarian carrier Wizz Air is adding at least five new routes from Italy in 2023, reports the booking site Fly4Free.

From Rome, connections will be added to Vilnius from April and Memmingen and Funchal, Madeira in September.

In July, new routes will be launched between Milan and Madrid and Milan and Abu Dhabi, the site reports.

READ ALSO: Nine unmissable Italian railway journeys through magic landscapes

Rome Fiumicino will have five other new Wizz Air routes starting in August, according to travel news site Aviation 24: new destinations include Luxembourg, Castellon in Spain, Baku in Azerbaijan, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait.

Wizz Air is adding several new routes from Roma Fiumicino airport in 2023. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP.

Aer Lingus:

The Irish airline Aer Lingus is adding two new routes to Italy this summer: travellers will be able to fly direct from Dublin to Brindisi as well as to Olbia in Sardinia.

Air Serbia:

Serbia’s national airline will add four new Italy routes from Belgrade in 2023, the company has said, including Florence, Naples, Palermo and Catania.

Norwegian:

Low-cost airline will be adding several new routes to and from Oslo to Italy in 2023, according to news reports.

New destinations will include Bari, Bergamo and Bologna.

Trains

Environmentally-conscious travellers will be happy to know it’s not just airlines adding new routes to Italy in 2023; one train company is doing the same.

Austrian rail operator ÖBB has announced new 2023 routes on its Nightjet service, including a night train connecting Stuttgart in Germany with Udine, Treviso and Venice.

Overnight trains going to and from Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna will take passengers to La Spezia in Liguria via Pavia, Genoa, Rapallo and Levanto.

The company already operates night trains connecting Rome and Milan with Germany and Austria.

ÖBB's Nightjet service is adding new Italy destinations in 2023.

ÖBB’s Nightjet service is adding new Italy destinations in 2023. Photo by Joe KLAMAR / AFP.

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TRANSPORT

OPINION: Why are Italians so addicted to cars?

In a country as attached to the car as Italy, what would it take to get more people to use greener transport? Silvia Marchetti looks at what’s behind the country’s high levels of car ownership.

OPINION: Why are Italians so addicted to cars?

Many foreigners I speak to are shocked by the ‘car first’ mentality that rules in Italy, and by Italians’ degree of addiction to any wheeled vehicle. 

There’s practically one car around for each Italian. Between 2010-2020 the population dropped but there were three million more cars on the roads, despite soaring living costs and falling salaries. 

Italy’s rate of car ownership is the second-highest in Europe after tiny Luxembourg. All Italian regions have a lot of cars running but surprisingly, the number of passenger cars which is the highest at EU level can be found in the Alpine regions of Valle D’Aosta and the northern autonomous province of Trento, where particular regional statutes envisage special tax incentives helping locals to buy new cars.

Most Italians just don’t like walking. They aren’t active travelers who’d opt for a bike, and can’t go even 500 meters without a wheeled vehicle, be it a Jeep, motorbike, Vespa or motorino. 

But it’s not really their fault. People in Italy haven’t been educated on eco-friendly modes of transport, simply because infrastructure like bike lanes, pedestrian paths, high-speed trains, efficient trams, subways and buses are rather lacking. And there aren’t many walkable pavements in cities, let alone in old villages. So the car is Italians’ second home. 

READ ALSO: These are the most (and least) eco-friendly towns in Italy

There’s an historical reason for this, too. After the second world war, during the economic boom when Italy finally rose from the ashes of the defeat, owning a cinquecento or maggiolino was a status symbol. In the 1960s my father would squeeze eight friends into his cinquino and drive around all night, sharing the fuel cost. Then the car fad turned into a frenzy, and now it’s an obsession.

Iconic Italian car and motorbike models fuelled a post-war fad – which has become an obsession. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

Whenever I need to go somewhere far from my house I wish I could do the entire trip by public transport and ditch my car, so as to avoid having parking problems too. I remember once when I was at university there was this huge party near the Colosseum, I drove around for an hour looking for a parking spot and eventually I gave up, went back home really frustrated. 

Car sharing also is something totally foreign to Italians. You just need to look around in the morning at rush hour to see that there’s just one person per car, which is totally unsustainable climate-wise.

READ ALSO: Rome ‘among worst cities in Europe’ for road safety, traffic and pollution

Even in areas like Milan, where public transport is more efficient than in the southern regions, people still stick to their car or motorino which just proves how it’s a matter of mentality rather than of transport provision. 

On the other hand, if I want to visit Tuscany or Umbria from my house in Rome’s northern countryside, there aren’t even any direct connections.

My Italian millennial friends refuse to take a bus or tram to the gelateria a few blocks away from their home – the car is the rule, and they don’t care if they risk a fine for double parking, or parking in front of a building entrance. Forget walking, it just isn’t ‘done’.

Italy will soon invest some €600 million in projects aimed at improving bike and pedestrian lanes under initiatives funded by the PNRR, but the mindset of drivers must also modernize for all this money to be really effective. 

OPINION: Why cycling in Rome isn’t as crazy as it sounds

Italy needs an information campaign to raise awareness of environmental and health issues, and this must start inside schools and continue in college. Families also should educate kids to healthier transport modes, and stop buying those ‘micro cars’ when they’re 13 which don’t require a driver’s license. 

I often ask myself what it would take to get Italians – but also other nationalities – out of their cars, or off their noisy motorino with illegal upgrades that make a hell of a noise. Rising oil prices haven’t done the miracle in making car ownership unaffordable. 

Hiking car prices would kill the industry, so the only way is to give tax breaks or incentives to families who keep just one car and manage to share it, or raise taxes if each family member has one. 

Perhaps in a very remote future, interconnected green transport from the doorstep to the destination might be the solution, but at the moment that’s science fiction.

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