Yes, Italy does have Uber but not in the way that travellers expect; you can’t get an Uber everywhere in the country.
The lack of Uber drivers in some Italian cities has everything to do with resistance from other taxi drivers. To add to this, Italian authorities have also decided that Uber creates unfair competition which may adversely affect the livelihood of regular taxi drivers.
Travelling to Italy any time soon? Here’s everything you need to know about using Uber and other transport modes around Italy!
Update on May 24th 2022: Uber has agreed to integrate its taxi-hailing app with Italy’s largest taxi dispatcher, enabling the company to expand its service to 80+ cities across Italy and further boost its presence in cities like Rome, Milan and Turin.
Opening the Uber app from Rome indicated that a cab was available within a range of 3 minutes. Refer screenshot below:
Check out our article on Places To Visit in Italy
In What Cities Is Uber Available?
In spite of the legal challenges and the backlash from private taxi drivers, Uber has been available in Italy since 2013, but only in a few cities like Milan, Rome, Catania and Bologna.
Airport transfers to and from Naples International Airport are also available, even though the service isn’t available city-wide.
However, you can only get Uber Black here. Uber Black vehicles are better than regular taxis and are well-maintained, but the rates are higher than the regular taxi rate.
In Rome, Uber is readily available, but you don’t get the regular Uber taxi. The app works, but the vehicles you find here are Uber Van, Uber Lux, and Uber Black.
Where In Italy Is Uber Unavailable?
Uber is not available in Naples, Lecce, Pisa, Florence, Palermo, Verona, Bari, Genoa, Amalfi and Positano.
If you plan to tour these cities or towns, you will need to resort to more traditional methods of transport – and regular taxis are always available.
Transport System In Italy
The absence of Uber in most Italian cities is compensated by an extensive transport network, and the roads in Italy are well-maintained.
Buses and trains in Italy can get you anywhere in the country, and the transport system has been upgraded to comply with modern international standards.
However, travelling by taxi is the most popular option for tourists in Italy.
This is the most cost-effective way of travelling around Italy. You can get almost anywhere in Italy by train. High-speed trains serve as the link between many major cities like Rome, Bologna, Milan, and Florence.
Some trains even travel out of the country into foreign territories like Vatican City, San Marino, Switzerland, Austria, and France.
Travelling by bus is cost-effective, but the journey can be rather slow and painful, due to the narrow roads in Italy being often congested. You can buy tickets online or from newsstands and station ticket machines.
The most effective way of journeying around Italy is the metro, consisting of four lines with over 100 stations. Major cities like Milan, Naples, and Rome can be reached by metro, and tickets are available at the stations.
A convenient method of travel, although a little obsolete nowadays, trams are an overland transport mode. The network isn’t extensive, but tourists can make use of them in cities like Rome and Milan.
The best method of travel between the mainland and the islands is ferries. If you have a car or a motorbike, you can have it on board with you on the ferry.
You can find private taxis in every Italian city, but Italian taxi drivers have a reputation for fleecing tourists. So always make sure that the meter is on, and if the driver claims that the meter doesn’t work, agree on a flat rate before setting off.
Driving in Italy can be a little risky as the drivers here are known for being reckless. So, it’s best to stick to private and public transport methods.
But if you do decide to drive, keep in mind that unless you have an EU driving licence, you will have to apply for an international driver’s permit.
Walking and cycling are two other options available; walking is the best option for sightseers.
You might find these related articles helpful:
How Much Does Uber Cost Per KM In Italy?
Using Uber in Italy is a little more expensive than using regular taxis. There isn’t a specific per KM rate; the rates change regularly but the Uber fare includes several factors, including time, distance, booking fee, tolls, and surcharges.
You can get a fare estimation through their app or website.
Is Uber Cheaper Than A Taxi In Rome?
Unfortunately for travellers, getting an Uber in Rome is more expensive than getting a regular taxi.
This is due to the type of vehicle that Uber uses – Uber Van, Uber Black, and Uber Lux are the types of vehicles available, and they offer a comfortable but expensive ride.
Can I Get An Uber Ride From The Airport?
You can get an Uber ride from Rome Ciampino International Airport and Rome-Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport. Travellers can use the app to order a vehicle; the advance booking option is also available.
Do I Need Uber To Travel Around Italy?
Not really. You don’t need Uber to get around Italy. The country offers an excellent public transport system coupled with private taxis.
However, Uber can be an excellent travel option in Rome, Milan, and Turin, especially if you want comfort and convenience.
Italy Uber Alternative
Apart from buses, trains, taxis, ferries, and trams, Italy offers a popular mobile taxi app: Free Now.
This is one of the largest taxi apps in the European region, and it serves major tourist cities like Rome, Naples, Milan, and Turin.
Is It Safe To Use Taxis In Italy?
Taxis are safer than crowded buses, but some taxi drivers in Italy are notorious for ripping off tourists. But there are several things you can do to stay out of trouble when travelling by taxi in Italy:
- Always opt for a registered taxi – calling a taxi is a better option than hailing one on the streets.
- Keep a change if you are planning to use taxis regularly.
- Try to avoid travelling with drivers who come to you.
- Always make sure that the meter is on; if not, negotiate a flat rate before getting in.
- Keep a piece of paper with the address of the destination written on it.
Do Uber Drivers In Italy Speak English?
Being able to communicate in English is not a requirement for an Uber driver, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll get an English-speaking Uber driver.
But you can safely assume that most Uber drivers can communicate in English.
Do I Need To Tip Uber Drivers In Italy?
It’s your choice, but no, you don’t need to tip Uber drivers in Italy. You don’t need to tip other taxi drivers in Italy either. Drivers don’t expect a tip, but rounding off the fare is common – for instance, if the fare is 9€, it’s common to pay 10€.
If the driver helps you with your luggage, offering a tip would be a nice gesture.
Why Is Uber Unpopular In Italy?
Uber might be unpopular with the locals due to high fares, so getting a regular taxi would be much cheaper and the Italian public transport system is quite good.
Furthermore, Italy doesn’t allow Uber to advertise their services for fear that the service will create unbeatable competition.
Regular taxi drivers protest the Uber service, and there’s generally a lack of acceptance for Uber drivers in Italy. The unpopularity of Uber mainly stems from the fact that it’s seen as a threat to traditional travel methods.
Tips For Travellers
- Use public transport whenever possible – traffic can be a bit of a nuisance, but buses and trains are cost-effective.
- Create a realistic travel itinerary.
- Visit the small towns to get a real feel of Italy.
- Avoid rush hours.
- Read up on Italian regions.
- Learn a few useful Italian phrases.
There isn’t a set of specific guidelines dictating how to travel around Italy – Italy is a safe place to travel. Still, if you are to negotiate with taxi drivers and haggle in general, you need to be well informed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Uber In Italy
Is Uber Available in Venice?
Uber is not available in Venice.
Is Uber Eats Available in Italy?
Uber Eats is available in major Italian cities like Rome, Florence and Milan.
Does Italy Have Lyft?
Lyft does not operate in Italy. It’s not easy for a foreign taxi service to establish itself in the Italian market.
Is Uber Safe To Use In Italy?
Yes, Uber is generally safe to use in Italy. Drivers go through a yearly background check, and the app includes features like an emergency assistance button and “share my trip”.