LOCAL train system OF ITALY
Traveling around Italy is really simple using the train system, whether it’s the national or private train service. You have plenty of options, dates, times, and they’re very easy to buy in advance or at the time of travel. However, you usually cannot buy more than 4 months or less before. So don’t be alarmed if you’re searching and cannot see something so far in advance.
Regional trains in Italy are usually the least expensive and don’t need to be booked ahead of time. They aren’t cheaper when you buy in advance and you can purchase them at a machine kiosk at every train station. If you don’t see a machine at the station, be sure to find a train worker as your enter the train to explain and buy your ticket directly. If you are caught without a ticket, you will be fined, so just let them know and they will allow you to purchase directly onboard. You may see some terms or abbreviations when searching for regional trains such as interegionale (IR), diretto (D), espresso (E).
However, no option is guaranteed to be faster than the other. If you see regionale veloce (fast regional), this is the train that will make less stops along the way but typically regional trains stop at every station. On these trains there is no reserved seating so spending a little extra for first class may be worth it if you have a long way and are traveling with suitcases since first class can be less crowded. If you decide not to buy in advance, make sure to validate your ticket before entering the train. There are small yellow machines typically at every platform to insert the ticket. It will be stamped with the time and date. This step is very important because if you do not validate your ticket, you can also be fined!
TrenItalia is the national train site of Italy. It’s simple to use and you are able to change the language to English. Here you can register as a member of buy as a guest; there’s no need to create an account when buying. To search for options, you can choose round-trip or one-way, and simply enter the departing and destination cities. You have the ability to pay with a credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Once you purchase your tickets online, they are sent in a PDF via email. You can print them or simply show the PDF to the ticket checker as they come by on the train. Be sure, if you don’t have WiFi, to download the PDF beforehand and save it in a safe place on your phone.
Italo is the private train company in Italy. Their trains are usually newer and much nicer than the other options also depending on the class variation that you choose. This might be best to use for long journeys which is typically what they offer.