The Best Resources For Train Travel In Italy

When I traveled to Italy during my 2014 Euro-Trip, I opted on hit the rails as I attempted to navigate my way through the country.

With the help of a couple of websites, and a little bit of prior planning, I was able to get around Italy by train without a hitch.

Traveling through Italy by train is very simple, and I am here to show you how to do it!

Buying Italian Train Tickets

Regional train tickets can be purchased at a tabacchi with a ‘TrenItalia’ logo

Buying Train Tickets in Italy is relatively simple and can be done either in-person or online.

♣ In-Person – When purchasing train tickets in person, you can either buy it directly from a person (from a ticket point or tabacchi), or from a ticket machine

[pin-card needed when using a credit card].

Online – Purchasing advance train tickets online is very simple. You can book your tickets via the website (powered by Trenitalia) or directly on the website.

What’s the difference between Italia Rail and Tren Italia?

  • ItaliaRail charges you in Euros and has a booking fee (see Seat61 for waiving this fee)
  • TrenItalia allows you to select the currency that you want to be charged in (GBP, USD, CAD, EUR, or AUD), however the site can be a little more confusing to understand when booking than ItaliaRail

Additional Tips:

  • There is no need to purchase advance regional train tickets online. These tickets never sell out (as there is no date printed on them), so you can easily purchase them in-person at the station.
  • Purchasing long-distance train tickets online is highly recommended, especially during peak travel seasons in Italy (such as the summer). In addition, you can sometimes get cheaper fares when booking your long-distance train in advance.

Validating Train Tickets in Italy

 Ticket Validation Machine

Open-Ended Tickets – When you purchase an open-ended train ticket at the station (no date on your ticket), you MUST validate it in the ticket validation machine (it will either look like the one pictured above or it will be a yellow box). If you forget to validate your ticket, you will be fined.

Reserved Tickets – If your ticket is reserved (has a specific date and time), validating is not necessary. If you book a reserved ticket online with Tren Italia, you will be given a PNR ticket number, which you will provide to the train conductor for validation.

Riding The Train in Italy

How to Travel Italy by Train: It’s Easy, We Promise (Walks Of Italy) – One of the best ways to travel around Italy is by train. This guide will show you how to find an Italian train schedule online, how to figure out the difference between Italian trains, how to book a train ticket, and how to get on the train.

How To Survive Trains In Italy (Bacon Is Magic) – Ayngelina gives a basic guide for do’s and don’t of taking a train in Italy, for example: ‘Don’t expect Italian trains to be on time’.

Train Travel In Italy (Ron In Rome) – Ron gives extremely detailed tips (with pictures) for doing everything from booking Italian train tickets along with guides for different stations.

Specific Destinations 

Pisa to Florence (At Home In Tuscany) – This guide shows you how to travel the one hour distance from Pisa to Florence (and vice versa) by train and bus. It also tells you how to navigate Pisa when you arrive to the city.

The Cinque Terre Train: A How-To Guide (Walks of Italy) – This how-to guide shows you how to navigate the Cinque Terre train system.

[Curious about some of the Cinque Terre villages? Check out my guides to Manarola and Riomaggiore]

Have you ever traveled on the train in Italy and/or written about it? Share below!

By |2017-07-30T01:10:03+00:00February 13th, 2015|Italy|16 Comments


  1. Tryphena Wade Feb 13, 2015 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    This is great. I tell people all the time that in Italy, the train/bus system is the best way to go. A while ago I booked a room in Florence and hopped from there to Rome, Pisa, Sienna, Castiglioncello, and Cinque Terre. I did the hike in 5Terre but trained/bused it everywhere else. I absolutely love Italy!! It’s one of those places I don’t mind going back to again and again. Check out my time in 5Terre!!

    • Chanel Feb 13, 2015 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      Riding the train was a very easy way to get around Italy; in fact, that is the sole way that I traveled around the region of the country that I visited. I missed Sienna and Castiglioncello this time around (although they were on my radar), so it looks like another trip will be planned in the near future! 😀

  2. Anne Feb 13, 2015 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Oh my, the trains in Italy. They befuddle even the most experienced traveler. Thank you for this helpful guide!

    • Chanel Feb 13, 2015 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome Anne! Always remember to validate! 😀

  3. Vanessa Feb 16, 2015 at 9:12 am - Reply

    So helpful! I find trains the easiest way to travel. This blog post is worth adding to my bookmarks. Thank you!

    • Chanel Feb 16, 2015 at 9:34 am - Reply

      Glad it could help Vanessa! Have a great trip 😀

  4. Lamesha Feb 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    this is super helpful and at just the right time. Our family is moving to italy in the next few weeks. Can’t wait to use all your tips. Thanks

    • Chanel Feb 20, 2015 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      Awesome! Have a great move and thank you for reading 😀

  5. Anglo Italian Feb 28, 2015 at 6:53 am - Reply

    Great source Chanel! Being Italian I understand that it’s necessary to have some directions and tips on how to take trains in Italy. 🙂

    – Franca

  6. Michelle Dunner Apr 16, 2015 at 12:01 am - Reply

    I’ve recently booked my main train travel in Italy this summer with Trenitalia. The added bonus is you can select your seats on their site, which I couldn’t see where to do on Italia Rail. I was also really pleasantly surprised about the cost. You’d need to do a lot of travel to get value out of Eurail.

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Apr 16, 2015 at 12:10 am - Reply

      Yes, I definitely agree Michelle, I think one ways are definitely the way to go unless you plan to do an enormous amount of rail travel and through different countries 😀 It has been a little while since I booked tickets, but I believe with Tren Italia the assigned my seats for me and I was only able to select the class.

      • Michelle Dunner Apr 16, 2015 at 1:54 am - Reply

        They’ve upgraded the booking interface! You can now choose your seats for the major trains 🙂

  7. Lisa Hyyperlic May 15, 2015 at 10:03 am - Reply

    But what about the punctuality of trains in italy? from locals I heard they are never on time?! But even the fast trains? :/

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer May 15, 2015 at 10:06 am - Reply

      They are not always punctual Lisa, but sometimes they do leave on time 😀

      • Lisa Hyyperlic May 15, 2015 at 4:25 pm - Reply

        Okay, well, let’s hope they are on time. Thanks! 😀

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