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Tips and Expressions for Travelling by Train in Italy

Viaggiare in Treno in Italia – Railway Travel in Italy

In Italy, the train is a very common means of trasportation, and one of the most convenient ways to get around the country. I can’t think of a better way to see Italy’s great cities as trains link just about every city center.

There are different types of trains by cost and speed, namely the Regionale, Intercity and Eurostar.

The first is a local train and is cheap and usually safe. This kind of train connects the smaller towns with the big cities. Intercity covers long distances and it’s fast and usually less populated, while the Eurostar is more comfortable, expensive and always requires a reservation.

During high season in Italy it’s a must to reserve your seats and, if you can afford it, always recommended to go for the first-class upgrade. While I was solo traveling in Italy, I faced the train from Milan to Verona so full (in covid times) that social distancing was impossible.

It’s not difficult to buy a train ticket. You can go directly to the train station and purchase it there or through e-tickets online. For Eurostar, and sometimes for the Intercity, seat reservations are mandatory. Check the train schedule for dates, times and prices, and just about any information you could need about traveling by train in Italy.

I think the Italy Pass (Eurail Italy Pass gives you unlimited travel on the national rail network of Italy) is cheaper than “point to point” tickets. Also, these passes will allow you access to Eurostar trains, which are much faster and more comfortable. If, however, you like to keep your traveling relaxed and without a real itinerary it likely won’t make sense for you to choose this option and purchase tickets in advance.

Before you board the train, always remember to validate your ticket, because there are fines if you don’t. Near the trains you’ll notice yellow boxes where you can insert the end of your ticket and it will be validated with the date and time. Also, while it’s usually quite safe to travel by train you always have to be alert, especially with your bags in crowded places teeming with tourists.

An Italian Train Ride Dialogue:

Impiegato/Clerk: Buongiorno, posso aiutarla? = Good morning, can I help you?

Passenger: Buongiorno, potrebbe darmi alcune informazioni sui treni che vanno a Firenze? = Good morning, could you please give me information about trains to Florence?

C: Si, il regionale parte alle 14.22 e l’Intercity alle 15.02 = The local train leaves at 14.22 and the Intercity at 15.02.

P: Potrebbe dirmi per cortesia se ci sono posti liberi sull’Intercity delle 15.02? = Could you please tell me if there are seats available on the Intercity at 3:02?

C: Per quando ha bisogno il biglietto? = When do you need the ticket for?

P: Dovrei partire il 18 luglio = I’m supposed to leave on July the 18th.

C: Un momento solo che controllo… = Just a moment, let me check…

Oh, mi dispiace ma non ci sono posti liberi per quella data = Oh, I’m so sorry, there aren’t any tickets available for that day

P: Avete posti liberi per Firenze martedì pomeriggio? = Do you have any seats available to Florence next Tuesday afternoon?

C: Bene..si…può trovarne uno libero il 21 di luglio…va bene? = Well…yes…you can get a seat on the 21st of July….Will that be ok?

P: Va bene, prendo il biglietto per il giorno 21….= That’s fine, I’ll take the ticket for the 21st.

Quanto costa il biglietto per Firenze? = How much does the ticket to Florence cost?

C: Solo andata o andata e ritorno? = Single or return?

P: Andata e ritorno = A return ticket

C: Il biglietto costa 12E. = The ticket is 12E.

P: Posso pagare con i traveler cheques? = Can I pay with  traveler cheques?

C: Certamente = Certainly

C: Ecco il suo biglietto, costa 12E. = Here is your ticket, the fare is 12E.

Ok, il biglietto è per il 21 luglio, ore 15.02, binario 7 = Ok, your ticket is for the 21st of July at 15.02, platform 7

Ecco il suo biglietto ed il resto = Here’s your ticket and change

P: Va bene, grazie = thank you!

By Elisa Bressan

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