Joshua and I moved to Italy in October of 2016. The first big train trip we took was also his first time wearing a muzzle for more than a fitting. We have gone to a lot of places together since then, and I have learned a few things.
On Trenitalia, dogs travel for half the base rate for the person they accompany. On Italo, there is a flat fee of €50.
The picture for this post shows Joshua relaxing on a regional train between Venice and Bologna. We used to make use of the high speed Freccia trains which take about ninety minutes to get from Venice to Bologna. An ordinary Trenitalia fare is €33 (€45 in business class.) Dogs aren’t allowed in the ultra-cushy Executive club car under most circumstances. €33 + €16,50 = €49,50 (Business class €45 + €22,50 = €67,50) Buying ahead, or during a special promotion can lead to cheaper prices.
The regional train takes a half hour longer, but the fare is €12,50 + €6,25 = €18,75. These prices are always the same.
For the amount of travel we do, I have found the regional train to be very satisfactory. The particular floorspace above is in a handicapped area. There is enough space for him to sprawl, and in the very first or last car of the train there are very few people passing by.
On trains, buses, and the vaporetto, dogs must wear a muzzle. Tiny dogs who ride in handbags are exempt from the rule, and other small and friendly dogs often get by without enforcement. Rottweilers do not usually get overlooked in this manner. There have been conductors who have encouraged me to remove Joshua’s muzzle during the Summer so he could cool down. Other times, I have left his muzzle off when I was alone in a car, and one conductor asked me to keep Joshua’s muzzle on even so. When I am alone in a car I wait to be asked.
When I do use the Freccia, I use business class. The standard class is more cramped, and the dog either has to be wedged into the place where passengers want to put their feet, or they have to lie down in the aisle. Since there are many more passengers in Standard, there are also a lot more people walking up and down the aisle.
Business class is more spacious, and less trafficked. The aisle is wide enough for someone to step around, rather than over the dog.
Dogs ride free.
Italians provide for elderly and disabled people on public transportation in model fashion. There are often places for prams or strollers. When these facilities are not in use by their intended passengers, I put the dog there to keep him out of the way. If it is crowded I try to get him to the place he is least likely to be stepped on.
Vaporetto – Venice’s water bus
Dogs ride free. A rule exists that a person may take only one dog. Sometimes it is enforced. I hear the less crowded it is, the more lenient they are.
Optimally, I put the muzzle on as the vaporetto approaches the stop. The crew will often stop you before you get on if the dog isn’t wearing it.
The 3,4,5,6,7 lines use smaller boats with passenger seating fore and aft. For a trip where I won’t be getting off soon, I try to sit at the extreme front or back – whichever is least crowded. At the forepeak there is often an open space perfect for the dog.
The 1 and 2 use larger boats, and only the part aft of the gangway is covered. There are handicapped spaces just inside the doors on either side where a dog can be out of the way. On the larger boats it is usually not a problem if it isn’t crowded. If it is crowded, I’d only take the 1 or 2 if there was simply no other way. There almost always is.