I’m often asked if we have Uber in Italy. After all, wouldn’t it be convenient to just pull up the Uber app on your phone in Milan and catch an inexpensive ride across town?
Well, yes, it would be nice, but the Uber ride hailing app that you know and love doesn’t exist in Italy.
Uber Technically Exists in Italy
That is, you can open the app on your phone and ‘get an Uber’ in many cities in the Italy. However, there’s a major difference between the Uber in your home country and the Uber we have here.
Uber exists in Italy mainly in two cities – Rome and Milan (but also in a few others). The main Uber service offered is called Uber Black, and it utilizes NCC drivers (noleggio con conducente). You can also get a licensed Milan or Rome taxi via the UBER app. These are the only ways (NCC or taxi) that Uber can currently legally operate in Italy. The Uber service that you know and love at home is not legal in Italy.
Uber also exists in many other cities in Italy, but again, it will connect you with an NCC driver or local taxi. It is less expensive to call a local taxi.
Good To Know: You may have heard about the conflict between Italian taxis drivers and UBER. Italian taxi drivers don’t want UBER in Italy because getting and having an Italian taxi license is complicated and expensive. So, why are taxis being called via the UBER app? Well, the president of Radio Taxi in Rome (Lorenzo Bittarelli) created an app called itTaxi. itTaxi is allied with UBER in Milan and Rome (and other Italian cities) – a taxi driver that’s part of itTaxi can be connected to someone using the UBER app.
Some taxi co-ops have rejected itTaxi (for example, Florence), so you won’t find any taxis using the UBER app in these cities. And, there are even heated arguments between taxi drivers in Milan and Rome who are for or against the UBER alliance.
What is an NCC Driver in Italy?
An NCC (noleggio con conducente) is basically a private driver. NCC drivers in Italy have a special decal next to their license plate that shows they have the special NCC license and can legally operate as a private driver.
So, by calling an Uber in Italy, you’re using the company as a middleman to call an NCC.
Depending on the type of ride your need, it’s usually cheaper to just call a taxi.
Alternatives to Uber in Italy
Need a shuttle, transfer, or ride in Italy? Rather than using Uber to book NCCs, I recommend booking an NCC directly, calling a taxi, or using the AppTaxi app.
If you need a private transfer, book an NCC. Otherwise, utilize Italy’s licensed taxis.
Booking an NCC Directly
When should you book an NCC (private driver)? Examples include:
- You want to schedule a transfer to or from the airport
- You want to go on a wine tasting in the Langhe in Piedmont with your friends
- You want to book a shuttle from Venice to the Dolomites and you need car seats (you can often reserve a car seat with an NCC)
Advantages: You control the departure time, it’s a private transfer, you may have flexibility in the transfer schedule. You can often prepay.
Calling a Taxi
Taxis are great for simple and last minute trips. Examples include:
- Getting a ride back to your hotel after dinner
- Arriving at the airport and taking a taxi to your hotel or agriturismo
- Shuttling from your hotel to your next hotel
Advantages: It’s easy to get a taxi within a minute or two in cities. Hotels and restaurants can call taxis quickly, or you can call or use an app on your phone. Taxis are easily identified by their personal number (example: Como 25 or Berlin 220).
Disadvantages: It may be tough to find a taxi in a small Italian village – you may have to wait awhile. You need to understand and speak some Italian (or have someone help you). You need to make sure the driver uses the meter and that you know what supplements are (for example, supplements for bags or night service from the airport are posted on a sign at the airport). Taxis can be expensive for long rides (like between cities). Your driver may not want for you to pay with a credit card (even though he/she is required to accept payment by card).
Good To Know: Taxis in Italy are licensed. Italian taxi drivers also take oral, written, and practical exams and have to obtain other legal documents.
Fun Fact: Taxi licenses in Italy can cost up to 200,000€. You can see why Italian taxi drivers are protective of their careers.
For example, it’s 11:00pm here in Florence, and I just looked up an Uber from Piazza Duomo to the Florence airport. I was quoted 40€. I can make the same trip with a Florence taxi for only 27.30€ (22€ base fare + 3.30€ night supplement + 2€ for two suitcases).
Another example (4:30 pm in Florence), and I just looked up at Uber from the SMN train station to Piazzale Michelangelo. A taxi (metered) will cost between 15-20€, while UBER quoted me 37.11€ for the same ride:
Getting a Taxi Using an App like AppTaxi or itTaxi
Apps can be helpful for requesting a taxi without having to call or have someone help you.
Advantages: You can request a taxi without having to go to a taxi stand or have someone call for you. The language barrier is removed – you can use the app in English.
Disadvantages: Quoted rates aren’t always accurate – check the price with your taxi driver (usually metered, but some routes are fixed, like between the airport and city center). Also, using an app means using a middleman. Sometimes it’s easier to just go direct and call a taxi.
What’s the Best Option for Getting a Ride in Italy?
What I do (and recommend to friends, family, and clients) is to book an NCC for private tours or long transfers, and to call taxis for trips in cities.
I find trusted NCCs through my accommodation (or friends or colleagues in the area). If you’re visiting, ask your hotel reception for a recommended NCC.
I call the area taxi number (you can always find it by Googling ‘numero telefono taxi a Firenze’ – replace ‘Firenze’ with your location).
Good To Know: Often the number is only a few digits and you need to add the local prefix. For example, the Florence taxi numbers are 4242 and 4390. You need to add 055 (Florence prefix) and dial 055.4242 or 055.4390.
If I’m at the train station or somewhere with a taxi stand, I wait in line for a taxi.
Helpful Tip: If the taxi stand line is really long, just walk across the street (for example, to the front of a hotel) and call a taxi to pick you up. They’ll arrive in a couple of minutes (better than waiting 30-40 minutes in the long line).
More Transport Options in Italy
Besides taking an Uber or a taxi in Italy, there are quite a few other ways to move around the country:
- Rent a car – Read more about Renting a Car in Italy
- Take the train – Read more about Train Travel in Italy
- Fly to your next destination
- Take the bus
- Take a tram
- Take a ferry or boat – A must in Venice
- Ride a bicycle – One of my favorite ways to travel around Italy
Check out my favorite Italy Travel Apps
Uber in Italy FAQ
At the time of writing, you are not able to reserve a car seat with Uber in Italy.
You can tip your Uber driver like you would tip a private driver in Italy. Read all about Tipping in Italy.
No, Lyft does not operate in Italy. Drivers in Italy are licensed and the process is highly regulated.
Uber Van in Italy is similar to Uber Black, in that the vehicle is driven by an NCC-licensed driver. Uber Black vehicles may be a van or other type of vehicle.
It’s often easier to take public transport, but if you’d like a private vehicle, you’ll need to call a taxi, an NCC vehicle, or an Uber.