If you want free bathrooms and cheap espresso while in Italy make sure to rent a car, because the only places where the restrooms are free in the entire country are on the "autostrada" the huge toll road that blasts up the center of the country. The trouble is that by driving the autostrada you will miss all of the Italy that you came to see. It's like driving up 28th street on the way to Estes Park and wondering as you pass the McDonald's and Burger King what is so special about Boulder.
If you don't mind paying $1.60 (1 euro) to go to the public restrooms every once in awhile and travel light enough to walk a couple of blocks to your hotels in each amazing town then definitely travel by train. Every train station delivers you to the absolute center of the action. City sites, festivals, night life, all are almost always just blocks away.
Prepare for this type of travel like you would for a home football game...please remember all these lessons were obtained through painful experience.
1) Travel light; the most important Italian train travel advice is just six words "one rollie bag, one shoulder bag". You think you will be able to manuever that one small extra piece without any trouble, dream on. Try practicing with six minutes sprints we call "frantic train connections" . Using your rollie, the shoulder bag and just one small additional bag, head over to the UMC and time yourself for three rounds of the following...start at the front desk, race down the main steps, out the lower door, across the outdoor covered walk, then back in through the Food Court (most realistic if done at class changing time) then back up the steps to the Ballroom main doors, if they are locked go back around. Still want what's in that extra bag?
2) If a taxi driver approaches you, run. No legitimate self respecting taxi driver would ever get out of his/her car for any reason, period. If a driver has singled you out, gotten out of his car and approached you, you can be sure of only one thing...it is going to cost you. Just say no and get in the cab with the bored and surly driver waiting on the corner.
3) Enjoy the ride, no other form of travel allows you to comfortably fly across the land at 100 mph while drinking great wine and enjoying the company of your fellow travelers...oh and "go" on the train, it's free.
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