Taking the Bus in Italy With a Dog!
Buses in Italy are small dog friendly. During our 3-week stay in Tuscany (that included a day trip to Rome) we took our fair share of them. That is the beauty of Europe in general; public transport is – well … public. Little old ladies can take their pets to the vet. Kids can take their small dog to a nicer dog park using the bus. People go to work … with their small dog in tow – a public service in the true sense of the word: without discrimination.
I could get on my soapbox right about now and go on about how irritating it is that a pet – even in a carrier – is not allowed on public transport in North America. But I will simply go on to say that in Italy small dogs travel on public transport – and this is how:
- Must be in a carrier or a sling – in a sling must be attached
- Must be quiet (no barking, whimpering etc.)
- Must be well socialized (no biting the fingers off some kid!)
- Must be clean (no pooch stink – saw one driver tell a man no – because of the bad smell coming from the dog – there was no argument)
- If possible avoid peak hour
It is important to note that these are not rules just a courtesy to other travelers that somehow everyone seems to have figured out. Amazingly nothing was posted or spelled out anywhere – it is simply implied. There is a sign that shows you that the owner must hold the dog and one that shows that large dogs must have a muzzle on the bus (never saw a large dog on the bus while we were there)- but other than that the rest I have noted simply by observation.
It is refreshing to see that people have figured something out – on their own without having the city, government or laws involved. Dog owners are responsible for knowing what they can or cannot get away with. I loved that. Responsibility is something we North Americans tend to pass on to others. Or, worse we sue if it isn’t written someplace. The absurdity of this is supreme – I assure you no coffee cups in Italy have “caution hot” written on them. But I digress.
We took different types of buses.
- Every day public transport: Folks going to work, to school. No issue, not even a blink. No fee.
- Tourist bus: From a train station to a small town 20 min away – one of those big comfy coach buses. No issues – just had to be in sling/carrier and quiet. No fee.
- “Hop on Hop off” Double Decker: Open bus tour in Rome. Here, we had an inconsistency. One lady had no problem letting us on and letting us sit on top, as long as I was brought on board discretely. She even stood up to this big (and I mean BIG) man for my right to be there. Bless her. However, with the same company, unlucky for us, our very last stop – we were allowed on – but this new person would not let us on top – only below. Was still good, we still had the earpiece and guided tour … just not on the upper deck. She said it was not allowed. We chose not to argue since we did not want to get the nice lady from the first bus in trouble by pointing out that she had let us enjoy the open air.
Never, during my 3 weeks stay in Italy, was I denied entry to a bus and never was there a cost. So this begs the question – why can’t I take the bus back home? I invite you to see this for yourself in my video of my trip to Italy.