Travelling by train in Italy is a great option for holidaymakers. Travelling by train in Italy is easy once you know some basic information. We hope that this guide from Bookings For You will help you to navigate your way around Italy’s train network.
There are 3 main types of train in Italy including the Frecce and Eurostar (not to be confused with the train of the same name that crosses the English Channel!), the Intercity and Intercity Plus trains and finally, the Regionale.
The Eurostar and Frecce trains are Itay’s fastest trains. If you’re wanting to travel on these trains, you will need to book ahead. This is the fastest way to travel between Italy’s major towns and cities. Even if you have hired a car, you may want to consider taking the train if you’re staying in a rural location and fancy a visit to one of the country’s major cities. The traffic in cities like Florence or Rome can be daunting and finding a parking space can be tricky too.
The next fastest option is to travel on one of the Intercity or Intercity Plus trains. They run the length of Italy and stop at the larger cities and towns. Travellers will need to choose between travelling first and second class. As in the UK, first class coaches will offer more comfortable seating and are generally quieter. If travelling on Intercity Plus, you will need to book your seat ahead of your journey.
Finally, there are the Regionale (regional trains). These are local trains, often taking commuters to and from work and children to and from school. They are cheap but can get very busy at certain times of the day. Some, but not all Regionale, have both 2nd and 1st class train tickets. If 1st class is an option, I’d recommend pay that tiny bit more – you’re more likely to get a seat and your journey will be much more comfortable.
The best place to start planning any rail travel is at Trenitalia. This site will tell you train times, routes and prices. You can also book tickets online via this site.
Alternatively, you can also check timetables and buy tickets at the station. Some stations will have a ticket machine which are fairly self explanatory to use and offer an English language option. Or if you fancy practising your Italian skills, head to one of the ticket windows. You’ll need to know what station you want to travel to, what train you want to take, the number of tickets you need and whether you want to travel first or second class (primo o secondo).
Ticket in hand, head to the platform (binari). The most important thing is to ensure that before you actually board the train, you MUST validate your ticket. There are hefty fines for anyone that doesn’t validate their ticket before their journey. Tickets are validated at either green and white or yellow boxes situated on the station platforms. All you need to do is insert your ticket. The machine will print the time and date of the first use of your ticket. Validation applies mainly to regional train tickets and any ticket that does not have a specific date, time, and seat number on it.
Finally, board your train, sit back, relax and enjoy the journey. Many trains will have a conductor on board who may ask to see your ticket during the journey so keep it to hand.