Traveling Italy by train gives one an exciting view of the landscape, proximity to its people and is a more affordable way to travel around Italy. Riding the rails has often been considered one of the highest forms of adventure, and in Italy it takes some knowledge that will increase the fun and excitement of traveling by train.
Train Types Included in the choice of Italian trains are the Eurostar, Intercity or Intercity Plus trains, and Regionale. • Eurostar- with seat reservations necessary, this first class train travels quickly between major cities and is the best train travel option in Italy. • Intercity- these trains are fast and will take you to the major cities. With first and second class tickets available, reservations are needed for the Intercity Plus trains. Reservations may also be made for some Intercity first class travel. • Regionale- most of these local trains are for commuters, and schedules are based on work and school times. One can ask for first class, if available, and will find seating in a less crowded area. These trains often link picturesque smaller villages and towns that the adventurous traveler might enjoy exploring.
Major Stations in Italy Trains travel throughout the length of Italy. Some larger cites that might want to be explored include Milan, Brescia, Padua, Verona, Genoa, Trieste, and Rome; in southern Italy there is train service in Palermo, Reggio di Calabria, Naples, Brindisi and much more. A rail pass will take the traveler to cites that they might not see otherwise.
Buying Tickets Several ways are available for the traveler to buy tickets. One can buy them at the station or before the trip. • Station window- go to the ticket window, and with knowledge of the train you want and the time to travel, tell the agent the number of tickets and the class, either primo or secondo. • Ticket machine - easy to use and helps avoid the lines for the ticket window. • Travel Agent - an easy way to buy tickets ahead of time, but expect to pay a small fee. • Online- schedules can be seen at Trenitalia. • Eurostar- etickets can be bought online from Select Italy, a company based in the U.S. Eurostar seat reservations are necessary to travel by this method in Italy.
Finding Your Destination Train stations have posters containing the arriving and departing trains. For departing trains and schedules, the yellow/orange poster is the one to find. It will tell the route, as well as stops and times for the train. Notes are also shown that might be important to that particular train. Usually the weekend offers fewer trains.
Boarding With ticket in hand, head to the track listed under "bin" on the departures. Larger stations may have signs for the next train posted right at the track listing expected arrival and departure. Once your train is found, you may board it, as the conductor will come around to see your ticket. In most cases, there will be a rack above for the placement of your luggage.
Validating Your Ticket Tickets must be validated before you go to your train. Just before going to your train, find the yellow box and insert that end of the ticket. This will print the first time and usage of the ticket and make it valid for your travel. If you forget, you will have to plead with the conductor and play the forgetful tourist.
Now that you are armed with some basic information regarding train travel in Italy, it is time to plan your trip. Say "Buon Giorno", as you travel the trains in Italy the Italian way.