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Trains in Italy: Reading Your Train Ticket - Basic Ticket
Basic tickets are sold with only the departure and arrival stations and date when issued. These tickets are sold for regular trains that don't allow reservations (Regionale, Diretto, Interregionale) and for trains that allow reservation but don't require it (Espresso, Intercity). These tickets are valid from the day of issuing for two months. In this time span they can be used on any day.
Also, they are valid on any train of the category they have been issued for or lower: Intercity tickets can be used on any train except Eurostar trains; Espresso tickets can be used on any train except Eurostar and Intercity trains; Interregionale, Regionale and Diretto tickets can be used on any Interregionale, Regionale or Diretto train, but not on Espresso, Intercity and Eurostar trains.
Finally, they are valid for traveling between the stations of departure and arrival, but also the stations that are between them (e.g. if you have a ticket from Milan to Rome, you can stop in Florence (or any station in between Milan and Rome), or can take the train from Bologna (or any other station between Milan and Rome)). Note that once you validate your ticket for use (at the station before you get on the train) you can only use that ticket for 24 hours. So you can stop at a town along the way, but you cannot spend several days there and then use the same ticket to continue the journey.
This kind of ticket gives the owner the right to travel on the train, but it does not grant you a seat: you bought the train passage and that's all. On most trains you can find vacant seats that you can use, but occasionally you will be forced to travel standing in the corridor of the train if there are no vacant seats. If you also purchase a reservation, it is issued on a separate ticket, so you end up with two tickets: the train ticket and the reservation ticket.
Here is an example of basic ticket. Click the image to see a larger image.
Reading the Basic Ticket
We will look at each part of this ticket to fully understand what the ticket is for.
Number of passengers
On the top right corner of the ticket you can see the number of passengers the ticket has been issued for: in this example, two adults (adulti) and no children (ragazzi).
When you can use the ticket
On the left of the ticket you see the date the ticket is valid until. In this case the ticket is valid from when you purchased it until November 16, 2003. The date is written in the Italian form: DD/MM/YY (Il presente biglietto e utilizzabilie fino al 16/11/03).
The second line shows that this ticket is valid for 24 hours after it is stamped prior to getting on the train (validita dalla convalida: 24 ore). See At the Station for details about stamping the tickets.
The table in the center of the ticket shows the destination, type of train and length of trip. On the left side of this table you see the departure and arrival stations (Da Roma Termini / A La Spezia Centrale), category of the train (IC = Intercity) and length of the trip (in this case 412 kilometers).
On the right side of the table you see a few of the main stations you will be going through on this trip (in this case, M Pesc. which I don't know what it is ^____^, Livorno Centrale and Pisa Centrale).
The table has two rows: if you have to change trains for your route, the first row shows the first part of the trip (with the departure station and the station where you change trains) and the second row shows the second part of the trip (with the station where you change trains and the arrival station).
Also, the second part of the table can be used to show the return trip of a round trip ticket. This example shows a one way ticket with no train change.
When ticket was issued
Finally, on bottom right of the ticket is the date and hour when the ticket was issued (in the Italian date format DD/MM/YY and 24 hour clock) and the price of the ticket in euro. This ticket was issued on September 17, 2003 at 10:33 am and cost 55.36 euro.
Reservation for the Basic Ticket
Here is the La Spezia-Roma reservations that accompanied the basic ticket. The Reservation Ticket section shows you how to understand this reservation ticket.
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