How To Navigate Train Travel In Italy
If you're visiting multiple cities in Italy, the fastest (and most cost-efficient) method is, bar-none, by train!
We are the first ones to acknowledge that Italian train travel (or any European county for that matter) can seem a bit hectic and overwhelming -- what website is best to purchase tickets on? Which train is the best? Do you have to get them in advance?
Never fear - we've got our locals-approved guide to help you navigate the rails with ease. As veteran Italy train-goers, we have the scoop, and we promise you this: it's simple. Once you venture through one trip, you'll feel like a pro - and you'll soon realize how easy it really is!
What website do I use?
Trenitalia is the most popular choice - it's the national train service in Italy that will take you to all major destinations in high-speed time. Right off the bat, make sure you change the language from Italian to English by clicking the little flag in the upper right section of the webpage! We recommend downloading the Trenitalia app as well, especially for last-minute ticket purchases.
From here, you can purchase all of your needed train tickets and view the entire schedule for all upcoming trains.
Do I have to get tickets in advance?
For all connections from city-to-city, we always recommend getting your train tickets in advance (along with restaurant reservations!). Tickets are cheaper when you get them ahead of time, and you can rest easy knowing that your itinerary is sorted out!
However, if you need to grab a train after your flight to a city, you should wait to get your train tickets. Flights are so often delayed, and train tickets cannot be refunded! You can buy train tickets in any airport in Italy. On the offchance that it's late at night or early in the morning and you're having trouble finding assistance in finding where you need to go, we highly recommend getting the Google Translate app - it's a lifesaver that will make you feel like you're from the future! Just point your phone camera at any Italian sign and it will translate it to english in real time. This helped us grab a late-night train from Bologna to Florence! (just make sure to download the italian and english dictionary ahead of time so you don't need to use data!)
Should I get the first class seats?
If you have the extra money to spend, sure! We don't think it's totally necessary unless you have a lot of luggage, as they give you extra space for it in first class. Second class, however, is perfectly fine and still plenty spacious.
How can I get to the train station from the airport?
There are shuttles that will take you straight to the train stations. If, for whatever reason, shuttles aren't operating, a taxi will take you!
Why can't I find a train to Positano?
Because, unfortunately, there isn't one! However, getting there isn't too complicated. Simply grab a private connection from the Naples train station that can take you straight to Positano in about an hour. Mydaytrip.com is a great place to reserve a private driver, and you can even add site-seeing and stops to the drive (fyi - Pompeii is on the way!) Grab your train tickets to Naples first, and then give the train information to your driver so that they can arrive promptly to pick you up.
Help! I'm at the train station, and I don't see my scheduled train on the marquee!
Don't worry! The most up-to-date train schedules don't show up on the marquee until about 10 minutes before they arrive or leave.
-Yes, luggage will fit on the train! Larger bags won't fit on the overhead cubbies, but there are spaces in between the backs of seats where you can slide your luggage into. As we stated above, first class has more room, so if you have a serious amount of luggage with you, you should consider making the upgrade!
-The water from the faucets on the trains are not potable! Do not drink!
-There are bathrooms on all of the trains! We haven't personally had this problem, but some travelers have shared their experience that the bathrooms weren't always well stocked or super clean. Because of this, it's wise to bring along your own tissues and hand sanitizer just in case!
Overall, the train experience in Italy should be smooth and easy - and a great time to watch the scenic Italian landscape go by while you take some time to relax, look over your itinerary, go through your photos, or do some reading!