Italian Language Blog

Mezzi di Trasporto – 1 Posted by on Oct 9, 2010 in Italian Language

If you’re visiting Italy, and you don’t have your own mezzo di trasporto (means of transport), then you will probably have to use i trasporti pubblici (public transport). Here is a bit of vocabulary to help you get around:

1. l’autobus (the bus)

prendere l’autobus to take, or catch the bus
domani mattina prendo l’autobus per Santa Margherita tomorrow morning I’ll catch the bus to Santa Margherita
comprare un biglietto to buy a ticket
vorrei un biglietto per Santa Margherita per favore I’d like a ticket for Santa Margherita please
che autobus devo prendere per Santa Margherita? which bus do I have to take for Santa Margherita?

N.B. You normally buy the bus ticket either from the appropriate biglietteria (ticket office), or from a tabacchino, bar, etc. and not on the bus itself. When you get on the bus, you insert the ticket into a machine, usually located near the driver. This is to obliterare il biglietto (literally: obliterate the ticket). Make sure you keep the ticket for possible inspection.

You can get on and off the bus at:

la stazione degli autobus the bus station
una fermata a bus stop
una pensilina a bus shelter

getting on and off:

salire sull’autobus to get on the bus
scendere dall’autobus to get off the bus
può dirmi dove devo scendere? can you tell me where I have to get off?
deve scendere alla prossima fermata you have to get off at the next stop

you might have to wait for the bus to arrive:

aspettare to wait
arrivare to arrive
ho dovuto aspettare mezz’ora prima che arrivasse l’autobus! I had to wait half an hour before the bus arrived!
forza, sbrigati, l’autobus sta per arrivare! come on hurry up, the bus is about to arrive!

try to find a place on the bus:

trovare posto to find a place to sit
c’è posto? is there anywhere to sit?
scusi, questo posto è libero? excuse me, is this seat free/unoccupied?
non c’è posto, dobbiamo restare in piedi there are no seats (no room), we’ll have to stand

some more useful words:

il/la conducente or l’autista the driver
un/una pendolare a commuter
la tariffa the fare
la tessera dell’abbonamento the season ticket
l’orario the timetable/the schedule
il pullman the coach

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  1. Rafael Chaves:

    Hi Serena. I’m from Brazil and “sto inparando l’italiano” by myself. What’s the difference between “comprare il biglieto” and “fare il biglieto”

    Thank’s a lot!!!

    • Serena:

      @Rafael Chaves Ciao Rafael,

      ‘Comprare il biglieto’ (to buy the ticket) is correct. ‘Fare il biglieto’ (to do the ticket) means the same thing, but is more colloquial.

      A presto, Serena

  2. Vince Mooney:

    Salve Serena:

    The word ‘prendo’ seems to be in the present tense in the phrase, “domani mattina prendo l’autobus per Santa Margherita”. Could you have used ‘prenderò’ or would that sound stilted in Italian?


    • Serena:

      @Vince Mooney Salve Vince!

      The future tense is not commonly used when we talk about something that has already been decided and will happen in a fairly near future.

      Saluti da Serena

  3. Edoardo:

    Serena, as far as I can remenber “il biglietto deve essere validato, validare mi sembra la parola che ho visto. Any way thank you a lot for your help with the italian language. Edoardo

  4. Gabi:

    Edoardo, I suppose that the verb should not be “VALIDARE il biglietto” but “CONVALIDARE”. Serena, could you help us please?Grazie.Gabi

    • Serena:

      @Gabi Salve Edoardo, salve Gabi!

      Allora, ‘obliterare’ was the verb first used when the stamping machines were introduced on buses and trains, in fact the machine is still called ‘obliteratrice’, and many people, including me, tend to use this verb. It is true that today the verbs ‘validare’ and ‘convalidare’ are both used. ‘Validare’ is probably the most common one in this particular case, despite being an antique form of ‘convalidare’, according to my Italian Dictionary!

      I hope I’ve been helpful.

      Saluti da Serena

  5. Lany:

    Ciao Serena,
    I just wanted to say thank you so much for having this blog! It’s really very helpful. =] You are appreciated!
    – Lany

    • Serena:

      @Lany Grazie Lany, e benvenuta nel mio blog.

      A presto, Serena

  6. andreas:

    Salve, Serena!
    Ancora una spiegazione utilissima. Grazie.

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