Getting around Italy by Bus
Compared to train traveling, traveling by bus in Italy is more expensive but the ride tends to be more comfortable. And generally, the longer the distance, the more likely you will need to travel by train. However, there are some towns and some parts of Italy where there is no train station: your only choice will be by bus travel.
Travel with the city (intra-city bus travel)
For travel within any of the major cities, Italy provides a pretty good bus network. You can buy a biglietto at any of the local tobacco shops, indicated with a big black "T" (see picture to the left). The (intra-city) buses use an honor system, which is even a huge joke to the locals. Inspectors will do routine spot checks of the passengers to make sure that your ticket is validated by a validation machine that must be punched when you enter onto the bus. The driver will typically not validate it for you. It's not worth the potential fine or hassle to try and beat the system by not validating your ticket.
It may surprise you how ugly the intra-city buses are considering that Italy is a country with so much beauty. The buses WITHIN the city bus system are usually orange in color (see picture below of an ugly Italian bus). The protocol is to enter the bus from the back or the front, and exit from the middle.
Travel between cities within the same region
Italy is also served by many regional bus companies for medium-distance travel.
The buses that travel BETWEEN cities tend to be blue, red, or green in color. For these routes, you will need to purchase your ticket in advance at the local office and will need it PRIOR to boarding the bus. Usually these bus stations are located next to the train station for easy transfer.
Travel between regions and long-distance travel within Italy
To travel between regions, from let’s say Rome (Lazio region) to Naples (Campania region), things can get complicated. There are relatively few bus companies in Italy that travel between multi-regions. You will probably have to take a bus from Rome to another town, and then from the other town, to Naples. Unfortunately, Italy does not have a national bus carrier (like Greyhound in the United States). Your best bet in these cases is to typically take the train or to rent a car in Italy.
Travel by bus to Italy from another country
There are a few companies which run multi-country bus routes, including Busabout and Eurolines. Busabout offers packaged tours, while Eurolines is more of a point-to-point bus service. The more popular routes are Paris, France to Rome, and Lyon, France to Milan.