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Trains in Italy: Reading Your Train Ticket - Reservation Ticket

Alice Twain

Intercity Ticket, With Reservations

The La Spezia-Roma ticket on the Basic Ticket page was issued by a travel agency (I can tell it by the coloring of the ticket and the fact that it has sharp angles). Here is another ticket, from Prato to Milan, issued by a ticket machine. The coloring is a bit different and the angles are rounded, but the basic structure is the same. Click the image to see a larger image.

Click to see a larger image

Intercity trains allow seat reservations, but you have to request a reservation when booking your ticket. In this case a second ticket will be issued, stating the day and hour of departure, the number of the train and the location of the seat. This is the reservation ticket for the Prato-Milan trip. Click the image to see a larger image.

Click to see larger image

Reading the Intercity Reservation Ticket

We will look at each part of this ticket to fully understand what the ticket is for.

Departure and Arrival Stations

The important information is in the central area of the ticket. On the top you can see the number of seats that have been reserved (Posti/Places) and the departure and arrival stations (da/de Prato Centrale a/ Milano Centrale). This reservation ticket is for one seat.

Date and Time of Departure, Train Number, Car and Seat Number

On the right side of the ticket is the most relevant information:

  • the date of departure (in the Italian date format, DD/MM/YYYY)

  • the hour of departure, after the clock icon (in 24 hour clock format)

  • the number of the train, after the icon of a train

This reservation ticket was issued for March 28, 2003 (28/03/2004), for the 6:46pm train (18.46), number 588.

Below the date, time and train number is the seat location: the class of service (under Cl.), the number of the car (under the car icon) and the number of the seat. Where the seat number is printed tells you if your seat is near the window (Finestrino/Fenetre), in the middle seat (Mediano/Milieu) or near the corridor (Corridoio/Couloir). The seat number is printed under the appropriate title. This reservation ticket is for a 2nd class car, car number 005, seat number 36, by the window.

Train Number

Each train has an ID number. I do not know exactly how these IDs work, I only know that southbound trains have odd numbers and northbound trains have even numbers. You need to able to locate the train number for two reasons: you may need it to find your train, but the most important thing, you will need to write down that number on the bonus request form if you happen miss a connection because your first train was delayed.

Smoking/No Smoking

Finally, on the left, there is the very important (to some travelers) notice of whether the compartment is smokers (fumatori) or non smokers (Non fumatori).


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.

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