The Top Travel Apps to Use While Traveling In Italy
You’ve renewed your passport, packed durable walking shoes, and typed up a detailed itinerary directing your steps in Italy. Your Italian ducks may seem like they’re in a row, but sometimes, a dream adventure to a foreign country can turn into a stress-filled series of mishaps, unless you take advantage of technology and the apps that will make your trip a dream come true. The first time I traveled to Italy, I could not wait to arrive and begin exploring the hidden histories that the winding cobblestone streets offer their visitors. Navigating a city like Florence, in which the streets are decorated with signs indicating streets that curve into twisty knots, like a bowl of al dente spaghetti, or listening to locals speak a language that is equally beautiful and totally foreign are some of the many characteristics that make Florence unique.
There are many things to consider when thinking about traveling to Italy. Where should we go to eat? What museums and sites should we visit? How will we get to and from our excursions? These are the questions that often linger in the minds of travelers and can cause one to feel unsure of which areas to explore in cities like Milan, Florence, or Rome. Here are a few apps to consider downloading to use while roaming the streets of Italy to ensure a more enjoyable experience.
This app allows you to purchase train tickets for national and regional travel. It also offers you the ability to manage your trips and receive updates on the status of your train to ensure that you arrive in a timely manner at the departing station and board the correct train. There are also different promotions offered on the app to receive discounts on tickets.
TrenItalia is crucial for traveling while in Italy, especially as you are able to forego the ticket lines at the departing station, which can be extremely long during the peak tourist season in the summer months. I found great use for this app throughout my time working in Florence. When I traveled to Rome, Milan, and many other cities, it allowed me to be able to plan ahead of time what activities I could do once I arrived at my destination. By using this app, you can also select your seat on any particular cart based on your preferences, prior to boarding the train. Not only does this ease traveling in small or large groups, but it also allows you to have a spot reserved for you until you reach your final stop.
Photograph by Mia Santarelli, Florence, Italy, June 2019
A helpful mode of traveling throughout Italian cities, as you can use it to find, request, or schedule a taxi pickup. You are able to pay directly from the app, which eliminates having to pay in cash and allows you to know the price ahead of time. Although the bus systems in Florence and Rome provide access to a variety of stops, I used this app on many occasions. For example, it certainly came in handy when meeting my host family at a dinner far from the city center or when I traveled to the airport in the early hours of the morning with my large set of luggage to return to the United States. On many occasions, this app has been an absolute blessing!
If you find yourself in Italy renting a car or riding the bus often, MyCicero allows you to pay for parking and find train, bus, or metro tickets for local and domestic lines. This app also offers you the ability to share your trip with friends, so they know where you are as you move throughout the city. Last year I visited my dad’s cousin Danilo, who lives just outside of Rome. After my visit with him, I used this app to take the train from Castel Gandolfo to Rome (Roma Termini), which made it convenient and cost-effective to travel a short distance.
Mobike allows you to rent a bike as a way of navigating around cities such as Florence or Milan. The process is straightforward and provides you an unforgettable experience of a city by pedaling down the streets and wandering into different local hotspots. First, download Mobike, create an account, scan the code of your bike, and begin your journey. Once you arrive at your destination, simply park the bike and end your trip on the app by clicking the lock image. This experience of the city is totally immersive and presents an opportunity to stumble upon different aspects of the city that you might not experience when traveling by bus or car. Additionally, this is an eco-friendly way to become familiar with a city and allows you to incorporate some exercise into your day, making the most out of the time you have to experience the rich history Italian cities have to offer.
Photograph by Mia Santarelli, Florence, Italy, 2015
Italian Translator +
Will help with potential language barriers that will likely arise. Italian Translator + (Vidalingua) allows you to look up different words and phrases in many different languages, including Italian, which creates an opportunity for you to learn different aspects of the local language. Also, you are able to practice your Italian skills by using flashcards, taking quizzes, and becoming acquainted with commonly used verbs that will help you in your everyday interactions with locals.
Although I am advanced in the Italian language, I find it extremely helpful to have access to this resource, as I continue to deepen my understanding of the language each time I have a conversation with an Italian-speaking individual. Although most Italians in tourist cities such as Rome, Milan or Florence, speak English, it is always helpful to have this resource as a way of communicating with locals in a different way. It might also come in handy at a restaurant, especially if there is not a menu available in English!
Ready to explore Italy?
Exploring the different subcultures of Italian cities is an incredible experience, and I hope using these apps will prepare you for an expedition of your own. These tools will enhance the way you navigate the cities of Italy, providing a sense of confidence as you embark on your journey, wherever it may lead you. Whether you find yourself traveling by bike, train, bus, or foot, you will ultimately be prepared to enjoy the passage from one place to the next, soaking in everything that comes your way.
Buon viaggio a tutti voi!
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