How to buy a train ticket in Italy?
The train is one of the best transport options in Italy: it is fast, cheap and safe! Today you will learn how to buy train tickets in Italy! Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
How to buy a train ticket in Italy?
The train in Italy is one of the most used transports because it is fast, safe, practical and covers almost the entire Italian territory. But, do you know how to buy a train ticket in Italy? But before starting our step-by-step process it is important to understand a little bit about how the railway network works in Italy. Also check out our Transports Section in Italy!
The most famous company is undoubtedly Trenitalia S.p.A., which is a company 100% subsidized by Italian Public Rail Transport and is the main Italian company to manage passenger and cargo rail transport in Italy. In recent years, Trenitalia has made significant advances, in general, mainly with ticket services, given the huge amount of tourists they receive: the service has improved a lot and is getting more and more practical and fast, which saves its passengers money and time!
Difference between Italo and Trenitalia
Another strong company in the industry is Italo (a private company), the direct competitor of Trenitalia. There are some differences between them: speed and destinations served! Another difference that can be considered is the price range: for operating high-speed lines, Italo charges more for its services* (excellent, BTW!), But it doesn’t arrive in smaller cities, for example, and that’s when they use a ‘trick’ of master: in order not to lose market, Italo offers bus lines so that passengers can reach the destination city using all the company’s services: both works wonderfully well!
*After all, if you buy your tickets far in advance (at least 30 days before your trip), Italo fares tend to be lower.
Some tips for you…
- The most convenient way to purchase a train ticket is using the Internet! Do you want to know more about transports in Italy? Then go to our session on Transport in Italy, clicking here!
- Thinking of arriving in Italy via Rome – Fiumicino Airport? So be sure to read our Post on “How to get from Fiumicino Airport to Rome downtown?” with several options and tips 😉
What is the difference between trains in Italy?
Before showing the step-by-step instructions on how to buy a train ticket online, it is worth remembering that there are differences between the Italian trains and the operated sections, let us know now what they are?
“Regionale” (regional) trains are the cheapest, but very simple. It is widely used by the residents of cities that travel to get to work, for example. It is not one of the most beautiful ones, but it is very efficient if you need to change provinces. The seats are not the most comfortable, but it is a good option overall.
Regionale Veloce (Fast Regional)
The difference between economy class and first class is minimal, so it is not worth paying more for the first class. That said, you need to know that this train stops at EVERY single station on the way, so the journey is way longer than it actually could be. Unlike the “Regionale”, which stops only at the “busiest” stations (check the itinerary before boarding!). It is not one of the most punctual, but I suggest you forgetting about that end not get stressed!
- The bathroom is not one of the most incredible in the world. It is not difficult to find them dirty, so prefer to use the station toilet before boarding or go to the toilet when you reach your final destination.
Intercity goes from one city to another and stops at the main stations along the way (not only in the larger ones, but in some smaller ones considered important connecting stations between one line of another, for example). It is a very fast train; it can travel at 200 km / h, and a little more modern than the Regional and, without a doubt, much cleaner and punctual.
Freccia Rossa, Freccia Argento and Freccia Bianca
Freccia Rossa, Freccia Argento and Freccia Bianca, are the trains that connect the main capitals of the regions and the main cities, and the trains travel nonstop! The trains reach 300km / h, they are modern, clean and fast, as they do not stop at any station in the middle of the way, the trip is REALLY fast (in the smaller ones, for example, they pass directly).
Some tips for you…
- Pay attention to the acronyms when buying tickets. EC, for example, and ECN means, respectively, Eurocity and Eurocity at night; trains that cross the border to Switzerland or France, for example. M means Metropolitano, usually indicates Metropolitan Line, the subway. And the letters D or DD mean Direct or Straight Direct: you board in the city X and the train only stops at the final destination, Y.
- If possible, go to the station the day before your train departs to familiarize yourself with the station, location, where you must embark. If you are not going to take the train that day there is a fixed panel with ALL schedules and trains circulating at that station. Take a look over there and check your schedule and your platform. Always arrive at least half an hour in advance! And pay attention to the speakers, they are used to inform any last minute change.
IMPORTANT TO KNOW!
- Always remember to pay a LOT of attention when buying your tickets! The cheapest tickets are usually non-refundable!
- Another important point: ALWAYS check the number of the boarding platform!
- In the panel (tabellone) of departures and arrivals at the train station everything appears very clear. There it is possible to check the TRENO (train), DESTINAZIONE (destination), ORARI (time), RITARDO (delays), INFORMAZIONI (information) and the BINARIO (platform) where the train will stop.
- There are almost always two panels: the ARRIVI (arrival) and PARTENZE (departure) panels, ok?!
- It is very important to remember that the destination city is not always a final stop. It may be that your station is “in the middle of the trip”, so always look for the number of the train that is in the ticket and keep an eye on the stops.
Frequently Asked Questions
Next, I selected for you some questions , so that you can have everything complete. Do not forget that below we will still have the step-by-step instructions for purchasing the train ticket.
1) What if I don’t validate the ticket purchased at the station? What do I do?
Look for an employee on the train and tell them that you were unable to validate the ticket in time; they will validate it for you. Tickets purchased online generally do not need to be validated. Always check the ticket: you will see the info telling you if it must to be validated or not!
2) What if I want to change the date?
If you bought the ticket online it is possible to enter the website and change the date there. If you bought at the station, you will need to go to the counter. You can only change the date ONCE, so get organized to avoid this situation. It is worth remembering that each company has a ticket change policy, check with the company to find out whether it is possible to change or be refunded for the ticket purchased in advance. That’s why I suggest you to buy your ticket on official websites to make the procedure easier in case you need.
3) Do I have to register all passengers name on the website when I purchase the tickets?
No! You can use one name, from the other passengers they usually only ask for name and date of birth.
4) I accessed the site, but I cannot access the departure times. What do I do?
Probably the season is starting or ending in Italy. Their system is a little “slow”, and it may take some time to them to update the dates online; I suggest you accessing the website day by day, sooner or later the schedule will be normalized.
5) Can I take luggage on the train?
Yes, you can, but I don’t suggest taking huge volumes! Some trains accept small suitcases and some of them do not offer a place to accommodate luggage, especially regional ones and/or the Metropolitan trains, so traveling with a large suitcase can be a problem. Choose a small or medium suitcase. Find out here How much luggage can I take on Italian trains?
6) I will take a train with final destination X, but I will stop in another city first. Can I use the same ticket?
It depends! The ideal would buy another ticket. The ticket is only valid for “direct” trips, without you getting off the train at another station, the ticket only lasts four hours, I mean: if you miss the time, you will necessarily have to buy another ticket. I repeat: get organized to avoid major problems!
7) What if the train is delayed?
If the train is delayed more than expected, a warning will be given at the station. Look for an employee and show your ticket, he will guide you. In winter, delays are more common, due to snow that can block some train lines, but the trip is unlikely to be canceled, only in extreme cases or major problems with railways and trains themselves! Still, they will accommodate you in another train, so: don’t worry!
8) What are the main stations in the main cities?
- Milan: It is the Milano Centrale Station;
- Rome: It is the Termini Centrale Station;
- Venice: It is the Santa Lucia Station;
- Florence: It is the Santa Maria Novella Station;
- Naples: It is the Napoli Centrale Station.
Below you will find step by step with the Trenitalia website.
I always suggest you to make the comparison and also check the prices on the Italo website. Sometimes their promotions can be even better than Trenitalia offers. See the post where I talk about it: How to book a train ticket through Italo.
1) How to buy a train ticket in Italy? STEP ONE
First of all, access the Trenitalia Official Website (www.trenitalia.com). On the home page we look for our train (as shown in Figure 1), inserting the departure and arrival stations, indicating the date and time, informing if the ticket will be only one-way or round trip and the number of passengers (adults and children).
2) How to buy a train ticket in Italy? STEP TWO
Train types. Once the data is entered, the website shows you all available trains as shown in the image below. Next to the timetable we have the information of the type of train, with its respective number. By clicking on the “i” icon, it is possible to see all the stops until the final destination. The last column is the price column, along with the choice of ticket type.
Thanks to the table above, we have a range of options to evaluate and consider.
3) How to buy a train ticket in Italy? STEP THREE
Choose your seat! After looking the table of available trains, we proceed to choose the price and seat. When clicking on “seleziona”, the window will show the details of values by category and the promotional prices of the economic and super economic classes of the various types of “freccia”. For Frecciarossa trains, there is an additional classification for the ticket pattern: standard, premium, business and executive.
The screen above is very important to see how much we can save on the ticket price.
Promotional offers are not always available, and are exclusive to those who book first – so it is essential to book as soon as possible.
Once you have decided on the solution that suits you best, let us pay close attention to the choice of seat at the bottom of the page. If we choose nothing, the system will automatically establish a seat for you. My suggestion is to choose the seat and the train, considering the best seats on the train according to your needs! And here’s the trick! 😉
- Remember that before buying a ticket with an offer it is better to always read the conditions, because generally the tickets with good discounts are non-refundable!
4) How to buy a train ticket in Italy? STEP FOUR
Payment. Once the place was chosen and the offer was guaranteed, we go into the next screen regarding payment (for your convenience, I divided it in two). The upper part contains a summary of the ticket information. On the bottom line it is possible to fill in the passenger data, if necessary (usually for business tickets). There are also additional services to find a hotel in the destination city.
The bottom of the screen is very important, as you need to confirm and make the payment. Choose GO ON WITHOUT LOG IN. Remember to put your e-mail very carefully, this is super important because if they need to get in touch, they you are going to e-mail you!
Fill the form details:
And finally, we will choose our payment method.
Transaction Summary: here we can see our shopping cart with a summary of all transaction data. There it also notes informing the deadline for the expiration of the session regarding the purchase of the ticket (usually lasts 10 minutes).
The payment screen is very complete and allows you to use all types of credit cards (including prepaid ones): Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club. It is also possible to pay using PayPal. Since December 2014, Trenitalia has offered the possibility to store credit card details in order to make future payments quickly.
Basically, all you have to do is make a first payment using your credit card and authorize Trenitalia to store the data in advance. In the following times it will not be necessary to re-enter the data (Apple System). If you need to save a seat, but are unable to pay at the moment, you can select ‘prenota ora, paga dopo’ (“book now, pay later”).
You will have two days to make the payment and it is also possible to do so through the lottery (Rete Lottomatica Servizi if you’re in Italy); through ATMs of the Unicredit Network, at the Trenitalia service desk or at authorized agencies. If you choose to pay by credit card on the website, you will be redirected to a page for filling out the card details and confirming the purchase. Below you can see an example using a Visa credit card.
5) How to buy a train ticket in Italy? STEP FIVE
PNR and Electronic Ticket. Once the payment is done, you will be redirected to a transaction confirmation page that offers you the possibility to send the ticket data via SMS to your smatphone (recommended option). At the same time you will also receive an email with the electronic ticket in PDF format.
Check carefully the important information such as: date, time, wagon, seat and the PNR code to inform the employee who will validate the ticket (if requested). Here is an example of PNR: VQCFC5. In fact, the attendant only needs to know the last two symbols of the PNR, so memorize this code and your seat number. Attention: to complete the purchase of the ticket you have a period of up to 10 minutes, after that time the session expires – I suggest you having your credit card details ready before beginning the procedure!
Watch this video and learn: Five things to never do in Italy
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How to buy a train ticket in Italy? Buying a train ticket is not a terror and, following our tutorial, there is no mistake! If you feel insecure or have no time, and need help to organize your trip, do not hesitate to look for me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy. And how can I do that? Continue reading this post until the end and you will understand how can we make your life and journey easier
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