When it comes to traveling to Italy, there are many things I will talk about. But not when it is transportation. It is a great way to travel around Italy and I recommend it without hesitation. While old-timers might complain about Mussolini’s ability to make trains run on schedule (an urban myth), and everyone has a story to tell about being stuck in Italy due to a train strike, I believe that the train is the best choice for most journeys and most travelers.
It isn’t without its quirks, though, that train travel in Italy can be quite difficult.
My ebook Italy Explained explains everything you need to ride Italy’s trains like a pro. The ebook can be downloaded to your device and taken with you everywhere you go. This is a small investment, but it can make a huge difference to your trip.
Here are some of the things you will learn from my book.
Although it may sound strange, “train tickets” and “train reservations” are different things. For certain train trips, you will need both a ticket AND a reservation. You will need a ticket for some trips, while a reservation is not required. Yes, I know. It makes sense if you understand their purpose. It’s kind of.
Yes, you can ask the ticket agent at the station window for information. But if you are looking to purchase your tickets in advance, decide between tickets and Rail Passes, or don’t mind waiting in line for a half hour if you just need to get a ticket from an automated machine, then you will need to learn the ticket vs. reservation distinction sooner than you think. It’s why it’s the first chapter in my ebook.
“Rapido” Doesn’t Mean It’s the Fast Train
It used to be called the “Rapido”, but I like to believe that it was once the fastest train. It’s one of the slowest trains that you can choose today, but it’s not the only slow train with a speedy name.
You can choose between the most modern and oldest trains in Italy. If you have a limited budget, faster is better. However, the most expensive tickets are not available for all destinations. Understanding your options for train travel is key. I explain all of the types of trains in my ebook.
Rail Pass vs. Point to Point Tickets
It used to be that you didn’t have to know much beyond “it’s always more expensive to buy tickets as it goes in Italy,” which was the common wisdom back then. It’s not as simple. It’s not easy because of the high ticket prices on Italy’s fast trains. However, a Rail Pass can save you money if you buy tickets as you go.
This math-ophobe doesn’t like to admit it but there is a lot of numbers involved in determining whether point-to-point or a Rail Pass is the best option for you. Don’t worry, even if your not a math-ophobe, I walk you through the math step-by-step in my ebook to help you figure out which option is best for you.
Reading the Schedules, Getting on to Your Platform, and Finding the Doggone Ticket Validation Device
It’s not uncommon for things to be confusing at an Italian train station. This is exactly what you don’t want to hear when you rush to board a train. How can you find the train stop at which station? How can you find out at which platform the train will arrive? And how do you get there? Where did they hide their ticket validation machine?
All this information is important to know before you go to the station. It will help you move confidently from the entrance to your train car.
How to Handle Train Strikes
Train strikes in Italy are an inevitable part of life, but they don’t have to ruin your vacation. You can know ahead of time if there will be strikes in Italy. You’ll likely have enough time to plan around it.
This section can be a bit tricky since the announcements about the Italian train strike are in Italian. However, there is information in my ebook that will help you navigate the strike announcements and offer suggestions for how to handle them if they do happen.
Do you want to learn more?
You want to learn more about Italy Explained? The table of contents is below.
- What the difference is between reservations and train tickets, and when you will need them both
- You can take different types of trains in Italy
- It is the difference between first and second classes on Italian trains
- Rail Passes: Eurail and InterRail. The Eurail It Pass is the most basic of all.
- How to choose between a Rail Pass and point-to-point tickets
- How to read an Italian train schedule, including how to use Trenitalia’s website
- How to book train tickets and reservations before you travel or after you arrive in Italy
- How to navigate a train station in Italy
- How to prepare for a train ride in Italy
- How to handle Italian train strikes
- Glossary: Useful words about trains in Italy that you should know