Travel all over Europe has been affected by the cancellation of thousands of flights due to volcanic ash from Iceland. If you are already in Italy, here are some travel tips.
The airports most affected by cancellations or closures in Italy are in northern Italy and include Milan, Venice, Turin, Verona and Bologna. Flights from Rome heading south continue to operate, such as Rome to Catania and Palermo in Sicily, Rome to Brindisi and Bari in Puglia.
Flights from Rome to northern Italian and European cities (London, Amsterdam, Brussels & Paris) are not currently operating, while flights to southern European cities such as Madrid and Lisbon, were mostly operational, along with flights to Tunisia & Morocco. So, if you are headed south, you have a good chance of getting to your destination (unless the wind shifts!)
Intercontinental flights from Rome were partially operational, as long as the flight route is no in the path of the volcanic ash.
Trains have become packed and the Trenitalia website for booking train tickets in Italy got so much traffic that is was barely functioning, forcing travelers to wait in long lines at train stations in order to buy a train ticket. Some heavily traveled train routes, such as Milan to Rome, are sold-out over the next 2 days. You can always give the Italian train website a try: Italian train schedules.
Things look better on several long distance ferries, such as Genova and Livorno to Palermo and Catania, or Palermo to Naples. Check the Grandi Navi Veloci or Grimaldi Lines websites for destinations and timetables.
Car rentals are experiencing heavy bookings especially at the airports in Italy, while city offices for car rentals were in better shape. Europcar and Avis have the most locations for car rentals in Italy. One way car rental drop-offs that are a long way from the pick-up point may carry heavy surcharges.
You may have to be flexible and combine different kinds of transportation in order to get to your destination. A couple of my customers are trying to get back to London from Sicily, and are booked on the overnight 17 hour ferry from Palermo to Genoa, then a train to Paris, then trains and ferry to London.