Buying Train Tickets For Italy before you leave home will save you money and time.
In order to get the best rates, you need to buy your train tickets two to three months in advance for the intercity/Regional trains.
For current train schedules go to www.trenitalia.com – click the UK flag for English. Select where you are leaving from and where you are going to and the time. If you are leaving at 13:00 (1:00 p.m.) enter 13. Seats are assigned on these trains and you can select where you want to sit when you purchase your ticket. The closer you get to your date, the more expensive the price for the ticket.
TIP: Select seats close to the exit, to allow you to prepare to get off quickly.
When using the local trains you can buy your tickets that day. You can purchase your tickets from machines at the train station, or you can buy your ticket from a ticket office. This will allow you to speak to someone about the train you want to take. You can also purchase tickets from the Tabacchi stand, but they require cash to purchase these tickets.
Some of our destinations required a transfer to a local train. If the train runs late and you miss your connection, you have four hours to use that ticket for another train going to your destination. This was never a problem for us.
When traveling , we usually bring a copy of the train schedule so we know the stations coming up, and when to get off the train. We did not always understand the announcement or could not hear what they were saying. We also check the schedule on the cell phone, to see if the train is running late. It’s important to be ready to get off when the train arrives, as the trains do not stay at the station very long. If you are struggling to get your luggage down from the racks and make it to the door, due to the train being crowded, you could miss your stop. People start to enter the train before everyone departs. We always got up and stood at the exit when our stop was approaching so we could get off the train when it stopped. This is really important for busy stations.
TIP: The doors do not always automatically open. There is a green button to push once the train stops that will open the door.
If you transfer trains, or are just waiting for your train, watch for Platform/BIN changes. This happened to us in Pisa waiting to go to Florence. Five minutes before our train was to arrive the board went blank. They made an announcement in Italian, and someone told us the Platform had been moved. Everyone ran for the steps as you had to go through the tunnel to get to the correct platform.
For the most part, the trains are a great way to get around in Europe without the hassle of renting a car and driving. Buying train tickets for Italy before you leave for your trip will save you money. It’s just one less thing you have to do while you are on vacation.
Do you prefer to take the train or rent a car in Italy?