Nothing can ruin your vacation quicker than landing in the middle of an Italian train strike. I know, I’ve been there. This complete guide to train strikes in Italy will help you avoid strikes completely when possible and prepare you for dealing with them should you find yourself in trouble.
The basics of Italian Strikes or Sciopero
Strikes are common in Italy and considered just a part of Italian life. Strikes aren’t limited to the trains either. Public transportation, taxis, airports, post and communication, even public sanitation will strike.
The majority of the strikes are planned well in advance and communicated to the public. Often, these planned strikes are limited to a specific region and may be just a few hours. Many strikes are cancelled at the last minute and rescheduled.
The responsibility of making alternative plans is solely yours, you will not find sympathy nor financial reimbursement.
Planning Ahead for Strikes in Italy
The most accurate and comprehensive site is in Italian and can be overwhelming for English speakers. If you know what you are looking for and how to find it a world of stress and angst can be avoided. The website is found here. You are first looking for the area or department in which you are hoping won’t be on strike. For trains, this is Appalti settore ferroviario. Transporto aereo for flights, Trasporto Pubblico Locale for public transportation.
Once you have found your department, you will search for your dates of travel in the first column. The section column is the sector or department. Keep in mind this schedule is listed European style with the date first and then the month. Don’t worry about the third column named Azienda but pay close attention to the Localita. Localita informs you of where the strike will be. Many are limited to a particular region or city. If the word Nazionale with an Italian flag is there, brace yourself as this means it affects the entire country.
What to do if you are caught in a strike
Even with the best planning, this can happen. Since you are 100% responsible for handling this, here are some suggestions.
During national strikes there will be a few major trains running. Check at the station or online to see if you can snatch one of these tickets, but keep in mind they go fast.
Look for alternative transportation such as a bus or private driver. Renting a car is usually the easiest and most economical solution and one that I have utilized. Autoeurope is the consolidator I use for all of my bookings.
Hire a travel planner that knows her stuff and lays out the ground work for you. Oh wait, that’s me! And yes, my clients travel prepared with the confidence of knowing I’ve got their back and their Plan B.
Simply change your plans and stay put. One of the joys of travel, specifically foreign travel and pointedly Italian travel, is rolling with the punches and looking for opportunities from potential mishaps.
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