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Extra-urban transport: Buses, Trains, Taxi, Flights

Transportation info from Perugia by bus, train,flight, taxi.

Trains >

Just to start off right, buses R and TS go to the station from Piazza Italia. Italy’s train system, despite privatization, remains excellent and relatively cheap compared with the rest of Europe. No, it seems you don’t need a fascist government to make the trains run on time. However, those traveling by train should be sure to get to the station at least an hour ahead of time, just in case. You can get info at the station but you can also buy a schedule (orario) for the trains for €4 at any newsstand. The computerized information kiosks generally work very well, if they work. Trenitalia’s website is also moron-easy to use: www.trenitalia.com (and also has an English version). There’s also the FCU, the Umbrian Central Line, a separate railway with its own little station, “Perugia Sant’Anna,” not too far from Piazza Partigiani. This makes a number of the smaller cities much more accessible: Umbertide, Città di Castello, Terni, Todi, and Marsciano. Often ignored by foreigners, the Umbrian Central Railroad is Trenitalia’s forgotten little sister no more! Other than getting you to Ponte San Giovanni to shop, the FCU takes you to all the little Umbrian cities that your mother never told you about. There’s a line all the way to Aquila, too. In any event, the FCU is an inexpensive way to see Umbria. Check out the site at www.fcu.it. Traveling will be simpler if you understand how to read the timetables. In every train station there will be two of them – one white, one yellow. The white ones are arrivals (arrivi) while the yellow ones are the departures (partenze). The schedule is organized chronologically. The columns are organized like this: first, the ora (time of departure). Second, the treno (train) type and number. Note that a little squiggle like the Greek letter sigma means that the train is periodic (i.e. not every day). The train type is organized by color. Green is for the regional and interregional trains, the slower ones that make more stops. The faster diretti are black. InterCity (IC) and EuroCity (EC) are red, faster, and you’ll need to buy a supplement in addition to the ticket. Finally, the super-quick EuroStar (ES) is in blue; a supplement and a reservation are mandatory. Also in this column you may find a little S in a circle; this means that this train runs even in case of a strike (sciopero). An R means that a reservation is helpful, an R in a box means it’s obligatory. It’s best to buy the schedule and learn how to use it, but in an emergency remember that there is a copy of the schedule in the escalator corridor in the Rocca Paolina. The column with principali fermate e destinazioni (main stops and destinations) is the most important. The largest city is the destination and the time next to it is when it arrives there. There will also be listed some of the other destinations. “Si ferma in tutte le stazioni” means that this train stops at every stop. Those heading north may need to transfer at Terontola: those heading south at Foligno. Don’t miss these transfers if you’re not on a direct train. In the second-to-last section, servizi diretti e annotazioni, there are random notes. “Si effettua…” means that the train runs on these days (feriali is Mo-Sa, domenica is only Sunday, festivi is only Sunday and holidays). Some of the other stations this train stops in might be listed. Finally, binario (track) is the platform the train leaves from. You will have to specify whether you want a one-way (solo andata) or a return/round-trip (andata e ritorno) ticket. If you’re voyaging skid-row make sure to request seconda classe (second class). Some other notes on Perugia’s train station. There is an information office opposite the ticket counter that specializes in international train travel – the person inside may or may not be helpful if you ask about trips only within Italy. When standing in line, note when the sportello (counter) closes. It is terrible to get to the counter and have it close on you. The station has a luggage storage office (out the back door to Platform 1, turn left, around the corner at the end of the building), and a beautiful waiting room (sala d’attesa). The station also has a little café, a newsstand and pay-per-pee. Oh, and don’t get excited when you hear the bells, which you might think would indicate an arriving train. They usually ring like mad for ten minutes, and then stop. A couple minutes later the train arrives if you’ve said the right prayers. Always remember to validate your ticket(s) before you leave – just stick them in the yellow machine. If you forget to validate a ticket and get on the train, write the date and the exact time as soon as you realize in pen on the back of the ticket, or better yet find the conductor and explain this to him or her. If you’re running late and run into a long line just before your train leaves, hop on and go find the conductor and tell him or her that you have gotten on without a ticket (“Sono salito senza biglietto“). You may pay €32 extra but you’ll be able to catch the train. The other strategy is to go into the edicola (newsstand) and buy a destination-less kilometer ticket, e.g. 100 km that will be enough to get you where you want to go. Remember, unless you want a joyride to Woop-Woop, those heading north may need to transfer at Terontola, those heading south at Foligno. Don’t miss these transfers if you’re not on a direct train.  

Long-Distance Buses >

These are often referred to as “i pullman” in Italian. Some cities (Gubbio, Castiglione del Lago, Siena) are much easier to reach by bus than by train. Long-distance buses usually leave from the station at Piazza Partigiani. Start in Piazza Italia and go down the escalators on the right side of the Rocca Paolina. At the bottom of the escalators, turn left, walk down a bit, and jog right to the next set of escalators. Take them all the way down and go out the tunnel, straight down the sidewalk, and down the stairs. Cross the street and you’re at the bus station. In any event, the ticket area is on your left as you face it from the bottom of the last set of stairs. If you ask nicely, you may get the free schedule of all the buses from that office. There are a number of companies that operate from Piaza Partigiani. You’re most likely to go with the Sulga company, which runs the buses that go to Napoli (Naples), Firenze (Florence), Milano (Milan), Roma (Airport and the Tiburtina train station) and Rome (Tiburtina station), and Puglia, etc. On the Sulga site (www.sulga.it) select Orari delle corse on the left, then put in the city of departure and arrival. The SENA Company runs the bus to Siena. For the hours, look at their website, www.sena.it. Click on Orari e tariffe on the left side, then three quarters of the way down click on the link for “Toscana-Umbria-Lazio.” The Spoletina bus company is the biggest operator in south-eastern Umbria. See www.spoletina.com for bus services from Spoleto to many places not directly linked to Perugia, e.g. Bevagna, Bastardo, Norcia, etc.

Planes >

For Fiumicino: If you go by train, ask the train station employee to give you a ticket to Roma Tiburtina (€11.10) and then from Roma Tiburtina to Fiumicino Aeroporto (€6). If you say “Perugia to Fiumicino” you’ll pay €10.12 to Roma Termini and then an extortionary €11.50 from Termini to Fiumicino. But either way you have to connect in Rome. If your flight leaves early you will have to go the night before because you won’t arrive in time with the bus or train. The airport is outside the city and so you will have to sleep there, either on the chairs by the arrivals area or at the Hilton (a pretty penny).

There are also several Fiumicino airport buses every day operated by the Sulga Company. They leave from Piazza Partigiani at 6:30, 8, and 9 on feriali; check their site for festivi times. It takes from three to three-and-half hours to get to Fiumicino and the airport is the last stop; don’t get off at Roma Tiburtina. Get the newest schedule at the Piazza Partigiani bus office or online at www.sulga.it, and call 800.099.661 for reservations (not obligatory). It’s €21 one-way. Finally, there’s the Terravision bus company that runs a very efficient shuttle service from Roma Termini to both Fiumicino and Ciampino. On the website at www.terravision.it it tells you where you can buy the tickets and when the shuttle leaves. From the Roma Termini Station, go out the doors on the right side of the station (when you are inside it with the tracks to your back). This is Via Marsala; walk away from the tracks (left) and go to number 22 (the Royal Santina Hotel). To Fiumicino it costs €9 one-way, €17 there and back, and takes seventy minutes. The earliest shuttle leaves at 6:30 and arrives at the airport at 7:40.

For Ciampino: the Terravision shuttle costs €8 one-way, €13.50 there and back, and takes forty minutes. The earliest shuttle leaves at 4:30 and arrives at the airport at 5:10. It leaves from the same place the Fiumicino shuttle leaves. Ciampino airport is connected by shuttle bus to Ciampino railway station (reachable from Termini) and the stop Anagina on the metropolitana (subway system). Ryan Air also has its own shuttle but it is extortionary. Remember that Ryan Air strictly enforces the baggage weight and size limit (55 by 40 by 20 centimeters), so don’t exceed it! Need to get to FCO or Ciampino at a weird hour, or need to arrive from there? Ask Student Living for special rates for individuals and groups to and from the airport.

Taxis >

There’s a taxi stand in the corner of Piazza Italia. The beasts can also often be found lurking in Corso Vannucci in front of Palazzo dei Priori in Via Fani outside Merlin or in Piazza Italia next to the scale mobili, where there’s even a callbox. Otherwise call the Perugia Taxi number on 075.500.4888. A ride from the train station to the center of Perugia costs about €9. Please note that rates are higher on Sundays and holidays. The taxis are now 24 hours so there is no need (or way) to reserve one – just call. Here are more info about taxi in Perugia

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