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.

Taking the Bus in Italy With a Dog

Enjoying a bus ride with Dad in Florence!

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
Taking the Bus in Italy With a Dog

Anyone can understand this right?

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.

Taking the Bus in Italy With a Dog

This open top bus was SO much fun!!

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.


13 Comments on “Taking the Bus in Italy With a Dog!

  1. Hi Monte,

    I’m happy to say that well behaved dogs, like yourself, are allowed on busses the subways in Los Angeles. Yes we actually do have underground Metro Subway lines in the land of la la. LA is very pet friendly and boy would they love you here!

  2. I have been on the search for information about how to travel with a dog in Europe. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. One thing we are running into when planning our trip- we love the idea of easy jet or .ryanair but they do not allow dogs. Do you know of an inexpensive “puddle jumper” type airline for traveling around Europe that allows a small dog?
    Also have you ever boarded your dog while abroad?

    • I wish I had more information. You may want to try the train. I find a lot of times in Europe the cost is about the same. You are right – low budget airlines are not pet friendly. You may want to go over to Dog Jaunt and ask Mary-Alice. Also an amazing resource – but more US focused. A fabulous resource is also Gigi at The Ramble – she is traveling around Europe with her dog Luna. She may have ideas. I have always flown with Air France or KLM for Europe.

      I have never boarded. The idea of having a pint size pet was precisely so we could travel as a family. Plus … it’s what we do … blog and all. Heard too many horror stories as well… so I will admit to not really trusting it. In our experience the cost of boarding a pet will often far outweigh the cost of going with a more expensive carrier. One of us can fly with Ryan – the other – with dog – goes Air France. Still costs less than boarding.

      Do let me know how you resolve your dilemma Laurel! And thank you very much for finding us! You might enjoy our posts on Italy and Paris. 🙂

  3. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I have been all over your blog and it has such a wonderful “voice.”
    Your ability to travel as a family is inspiring! I can’t wait for our adventure.

  4. Thank you so much for your inspiration about travelling in Italy with your small dog. Just to let you know that I travelled on a 1 Euro bus in the South of France with my dog. However the return driver refused to take my Papillon and we were abandoned in the mountains, which could have had unfortunate consequences. The bus company involved responded that only the driver can decide if your dog is small or big. They have been really unhelpful. If you feel that this is unsatisfactory do please e mail transport@cg66.fr. Diana

    • Thanks for the tip Diana!

      At just over a kilo – it woudl be hard to argue I am big. But I can see that this woudl be terribly frustrating. No one likes to be at the mercy of others. I keep telling people that France is less dog friendly than Italy – they never believe me! I hope you found your way home without too many perils.

    • They make no distinction between service animals or pets. A dog simply IS allowed on public transport. Small dogs in a carrier – large dogs muzzled.

  5. Thanks for sharing such great article about pets. The social adaptations of pets and humans are same enough that pets can live perfectly happy lives surrounded by humans and vice versa. Cats are pampered with the best of food and medical care, frequently have a rest in their owners’ comfortable beds.

  6. Pingback: Are dogs allowed in restaurants in Italy? - Vicious Foodie

  7. Pingback: Are dogs allowed in restaurants in Italy? | The Ramble

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