Strikes are a way of life in Italy. They are less serious than you might think for several reasons that include they are announced in advance, public transportation doesn’t usually totally shut down, they can be very brief, and sometimes the workers just go ahead and work.
Of course strikes, called scioperi (pron: show-pear-ee) can throw your plans off, so here are some helpful pointers and suggestions.
If you encounter a transportation strike, please take a deep breath. They are common in Italy and Italians adapt, they don’t get upset but figure out a workaround. If you are staying in an Italy Perfect vacation rental, your greeter might be able to help you figure this out. Otherwise a hotel concierge is a good resource. For train strikes look for a travel agency to help.
Strikes are planned in advance! Here is the official page of announced strikes. All in Italian but look for your dates and location and type of service focusing on aero (air), ferroviario (train) and trasporto pubblico (public transport, i.e. bus and subway). See image below with key labels translated. Dates of strikes can change so recheck close to travel dates.
Train and public transport strikes typically do not completely immobilize things, meaning that there is still limited service because many trains run anyway and public transport still runs on limited service. Taxis can still be running. Train strikes official page points you to the page that links to further pages with lists of the trains that will run even during strikes all in Italian. Many trains actually run. If your train is cancelled, the train staff is supposed to help you. If you end up not being able to take a train, get a document from the train company staff so you can process a refund upon return, receiving the refund could take a year. Of course the service staff could also be on strike or overwhelmed. Best resource is to keep proof of the cancellation (screen shot) and use your travel insurance to reimburse you.
Easy Travel Report website is easier to read than the Italian sites if a bit more limited.
If there is a strike that affects your flights, your airline will help you. One hint: while you are standing in that loooong line at the airport for the service desk, get on the phone and call reservations where you may be able get your problem worked out by a calm agent who isn’t standing across the counter from a mob of red-faced, panicked travelers.
Strikers photo credit: Creative Common License https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/