7 tips for Italy by train
The topic of train travel in Italy is fresh on my mind after a recent trip to Italy. I have also found that the options for train travel are changing frequently, so an update on this topic is in order.
I am summarizing a couple of tricks I learned this summer when I visited Italy in hopes it will help others get around Italy as adeptly as I was able to during my trip. I found that Italia Rail usually had good options: https://www.italiarail.com/. So, these tips apply to that service, even though there are other options for train travel in Italy.
Tip 1: book in advance, especially in high season. You will nearly always save money if you can book at least a week in advance. As the trains fill up, the seat selection options reduce. I had to book business class for one of my trips because I waited too long. I turned ‘lemons into lemonade’ by enjoying the great service provided in business class for the more expensive ticket, but I have to admit it would have been nice to have the choice for a lower fare.
Tip 2: most of the tickets are now e-tickets on Trenitalia site. The instructions tell you what you need, but most times what you really need is the booking code that is printed on the email.
But, watch out, some of the smaller stations might make you print a physical ticket, even if you booked online initially. Look carefully at the instructions on the email you receive with the tickets you order. In the case of a train that I took from Perugia to Florence, I had to get a paper ticket at the Perugia station, which meant standing in line for 10 minutes to get my ticket.
Tip 3: try to get direct trains if you can, or at least minimize the transfers. Allow a half-hour, if possible, between trains.
Tip 4: Signup for ItaliaPass and/or create an account. You will see special options and get better prices that you won’t see otherwise.
Tip 5: If you have a smart phone, take a photo of your e-ticket and seat assignment so that you don’t have to depend on wi-fi or your email to produce a ticket. If you have access to a printer, it is probably advisable to print them off, too, if you can.
Tip 6: If you want to use “free” wi-fi, it actually costs 1 euro cent. Since I don’t live in Italy, I don’t have any of the types of accounts I would need to login. I had to use a credit card to setup an account to login so I could get wi-fi access. It is recommended to setup an account ahead of your trip so you don’t have to mess with the login on the train.
Tip 7: Relax! You are in Italy and the scenery is beautiful, the conversation is great and you can truly enjoy the journey, not just the destination.
Ci sentiamo presto, Lina