The most common way to travel between Italy and Greece is by ferry. There are several Italian ports from which you can choose to take a ferry to Greece. Not all ferries run every day of the week so be sure to check the schedule carefully. Most ferries are car ferries in the case you are travelling by car.
Igoumenitsa is a port situated just across the the island of Corfu and is a gateway to Western Europe. It has great road connections with other Greek destinations and ferry connections to Ionian islands. Patras is the regional capital of Western Greece situated some 215 km west of Athens. From this port you can easily reach Athens (3 hours by train) and continue your travel to Greek islands by ferry or by plane. In the summer there are ferry connections between Italy and the island of Corfu in Ionian sea. Zakynthos, Sami and Kefalonia are other destinations.
The prices of the ferry tickets depend on your departure and arrival points, the duration of the trip, the kind of ticket you buy (deck, air seat, dorm bed, cabin) as well as the company you choose. For those who like to take a plane there are numerous air connections between Italian cities and the Greek destinations.
Brindisi is probably the Italian port most commonly associated with taking a ferry to Greece and has the most options. Ferries from this port sails to Corfu, Kefalonia, Igoumenitsa and Patras. Brindisi is situated in the heel of the Italian boot, and is the most southern Italian ferry port.
Grimaldi Lines operate ferries from Brindisi to Igoumenitsa and Patras. European Seaways operate ferries from Brindisi to Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Patras and Zakynthos, Sami. Red Star Ferries operate ferries from Brindisi to Corfu and Zakynthos and Sami.
The port of Bari is situated in the Puglia region and is the major ferry port in the southern part of the Adriatic Sea. This port has ferry connections to several destinations in Greece, Croatia (Dubrovnik), Montenegro (Bar) and Albania (Durres). Bari is well connected with the rest of Italy by rail and road network.
ANEK Supersfast is a joint venture between two ferry companies - ANEK Lines and Superfast Ferries. They together operate car/passenger ferries between Bari and the ports of Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Patras in Greece. Travel on this route is available throughout the year and takes around 15 hours.
Ventouris Feries, the Greek ferry company, operated the popular routes from Bari in southern Italy to Igoumenitsa on mainland Greece and the islands of Corfu, Sami and Zakynthos. Their ferries can accommodate large number of passengers and vehicles offering an excellent on-boar facilities ideal for the long journeys. Sailings to Igoumenitsa are available throughout the year while to the islands are only seasonal.
If you are in central Italy and would like to take a ferry to Greece you can do it from the port of Ancona in the Marche region. This port has also ferry connections to Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Patras. Minoan Lines operate ferries from Ancona to Igoumenitsa and Patras while ANEK Superfast offers ferries to Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Patras.
From this port you can also sail to Croatian ports of Hvar and Split.
ANEK Superfast operate ferries from Venice to Igoumenitsa and Patras.
From Venice, you can take a ferry directly Igoumenitsa or Patras. Taking a ferry from Venice is a nice alternative if you want to visit Venice. Ferries usually leave Venice in the evening and take close to 24 hours (or longer to Patras). If you arrive in Venice by bus to take the ferry, there is usually a shuttle service between Venice's bus terminal and the ferry terminal. If you're already in Venice, you'll need to take a Vaporetto or water bus.
If your goal is to get to Athens or many of the Greek islands, it's usually easier and quicker to fly directly to Athens. Some of the budget airlines offer fairly inexpensive fares from many Italian cities.
It's usually a good idea to book your ferry ahead, especially on high season dates and if you want a cabin or plan to take your car, but sometimes it's possible to buy your ticket at the port on the day of departure. Some overnight ferries allow passengers to sleep on deck but some require you to book a seat or bed. Ferries usually start boarding two hours before departure but check the ferry company information to be sure.
Here are websites where you can check schedules and buy tickets:
Another Greek port with ferry connections to Italy is Igoumenitsa in northwestern Greece. It has a direct road network with all the major cities on the Greek mainland. Ferry companies that sail on these routes are Minoan Lines, Anek Superfast, Ventouris Ferries, European Seaways and Grimaldi Lines.
The island of Corfu, a popular tourist destination, is connected with the Italian ports of Ancona, Bari and Brindisi by ferry services, but mostly in the summer.
With regards to direct ferries from Italy to some of the Greek islands there is a ferry service between Bari and Zakynthos and Kefalonia (Ventouris Ferries). From Brindisi you can also travel to Zakynthos and Kefalonia (European Seaways and Red Star Ferries).