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Trains in Italy

Alice Twain & GAC

Italy is a small, compact country. It is long and narrow, but for the most part very densely populated. This means that the most convenient mean of public transportation is not airplanes, it's trains. And Italy actually has an efficient railway system that connects all main cities and towns. This section tells you everything you need to know to use the trains in Italy.


Select Italy: Purchase tickets for trains throughout Italy.
Rail Europe: Train tickets and passes for all of Europe.


Introduction: Trains compared to planes or car rental, the history of trains in Italy

The Train Network: About the main train network, a map showing the main routes, about the types of stations.

Types of Service: The different types of trains you can take - Eurostar, Intercity, IntercityPlus, Eurocity, Espresso.

Buying Tickets: Buying tickets at train stations, from travel agents, from machines, etc. Updated May 2012 with new information for purchasing tickets online.

Dangers of Buying Tickets in Advance: Trying to decide if you should buy tickets in advance for the day you arrive (via plane or ship)? Check out these options.

Reading the Basic Train Ticket: How to decipher the information on a basic ticket.

Reading the Reservation Ticket: How to understand the reservation ticket.

Reading the Eurostar Train Ticket: The Eurostar train ticket contains the ticket and reservation information.

Onboard Tickets: Tickets purchased onboard the train or ticketless. Updated October 2004 - new regulations increase fine if you do not purchase ticket before boarding.

At The Station: When to arrive, how to find your train, how to validate your ticket.

Finding Your Reserved Seat: How to find your reserved seats on the train. Updated February 2005 because this has changed.

On The Train: Splitting up trips, making connections.

Trains to/from Airports: Rome, Milan and Pisa airports.

Possible Problems: Strikes, delays, someone is in your seat, thieves.

Glossary: Italian terms you need to know.

Resources: Web sites for more information.

Other Useful Train Information

Traveling from Rome to Naples via Train: tips on which train fares to purchase as well as information on Campania transportation options.

"Then, as she was going through Mantua at four in the morning, Philip made her look out of the window because it was Virgil's birthplace, and a smut flew in her eye, and Harriet with a smut in her eye was notorious."
- - Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster - -

Written by Alice Twain, a regular on the Slow Travel Forums. Alice is Italian and lives in Milan. Read her blog in Italian: A Typesetter's Day 3.0. See her Slow Travel Member page.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

GAC, an Italophile who has taken many trains and buses in Italy, enjoys passing on useful tips to prospective travellers.

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