Although Italy has a railway system which is much more developed than their bus network, there are still many possibilities to travel by bus from and to Italy, especially because travelling by bus is sometimes cheaper than travelling by train.
National bus network in Italy
There are two major bus companies in Italy which are actually an alliance of more smaller bus companies. If you travel within Italy, you will easily find buses which run between cities/villages within a particular region. Buses which run between regions are more difficult to find because there is a limited number of bus companies which run between cities in different regions, that is, long distance bus lines. Travelling from one place to another, in certain cases requires a combination of a bus and a train.
Bus travelling also works best for connecting smaller villages which are difficult to reach by train.
The main bus stations in Italy are Bologna, Florence, Naples, Milan, Padua, Rome, Torino and Venice.
International buses from and to Italy
Italy is by buses connected with all countries in West and Central Europe; there are not so many connections with Eastern Europe. There are several major bus companies which run between Italy and Portugal, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, Belgium, Slovenia, Croatia.
On GBB you can find the following international buses to and from Italy :
Use the search form on top of the page to find departure times for the above mentioned routes.
Quality of bus service in Italy
In general, the quality of buses operating routes to and from Italy is very good to excellent. The buses are new, air conditioned and almost all have wireless Internet access.
On domestic long distance and international routes you can find buses which have televisions and toilettes.
Drivers on international routes in most cases speak a foreign language (English or German), while on the national routes it might be a little more difficult to communicate because the Italians in general speak only Italian, their English is very poor.
Bus ticket prices
Bus ticket prices depend on the bus company and the distance travelled. Purchasing a return bus ticket from the same company you will usually get a discount, unlike when purchasing two single tickets. Some companies might have discounts for certain groups of people like children, pensioners or students.
Tickets for some international routes can be purchased online on getbybus.com website; another option is to buy tickets at bus stations or on the bus. Reservation of bus tickets is possible but you might have problems if you don't speak Italian.
Regarding luggage fees, they depend on the carrier, the distance travelled and the size of the luggage.
If you want to bring your bicycle or pet on the bus, the best thing to do is to contact the bus company you intend to travel with because it varies from company to company. Certain bus companies allow bringing a bike (if there is space in the luggage compartment) at a price of about 10 Euros and bringing animals but of small dimensions and in appropriate boxes.