You needn't be afraid of traveling independently in Italy. Tourists are welcome everywhere and most people will go out of their way to help you. With a little research beforehand, you can be sure of a much more interesting experience than with a package tour.
Below you will find some links to useful sites.
Air: If you're arriving on an intercontinental flight, you will probably land at either Milan Malpensa or Rome Fiumicino airport.
In addition, Italy has numerous smaller airports which cater to airlines on short-haul flights from other parts of Europe.
Rail: The Italian national railroad network is now called Trenitalia.
(Note that it is unnecessary to book seats or purchase tickets more than a day or two before your journey.)
Car: For car-hire, Auto Europe has a good reputation.The company utilizes different local suppliers as necessary. (It's generally cheaper to arrange rental from outside Italy.)
Detailed information on the motorway system, including tolls, is provided by Autostrade S.p.A..
(A word of warning: cars are more trouble than they're worth for visiting cities and towns. Unless you're planning to tour the countryside, travel by train and use public transport at your destination.)
Bus services connecting towns all over Italy: www.bus.it.
Ferry connections: www.traghetti.com.
Museums and monuments
The Heritage Ministry (Ministero dei Beni Culturali) runs an excellent website, updated regularly, at www.beniculturali.it. It gives information about all the museums, monuments and archeological sites owned by the Italian State, as well as news of exhibits and events.
You should note, however, that many monuments belong to the Catholic church or are privately owned, and there are also municipal museums in most towns: these are not covered by the above site.
Cities and towns
For Venice, Florence and Rome, see the relevant pages on this site for useful information.
Most municipalities in Italy have websites in the format www.comune.nameofmunicipality.it, where you may be able to find details of local services. (These sites rarely have an English section, however.)
See also our list of regions and provinces.