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
♣ Online – Purchasing advance train tickets online is very simple. You can book your tickets via the ItaliaRail.com website (powered by Trenitalia) or directly on the TrenItalia.com 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
- 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.
- Want to know how To Use TrenItalia.com? Check out this video tutorial on YouTube – Still lost? Check out this step-by-step guide by Seat61.
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.
♥ 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]