Remove from Favorites Add to Favorites Remove from Favorites Add to Favorites

Become a Member and get free shipping on your orders!


How To Navigate Train Travel In Italy

17 January 2024
by Regan Hofmann
You must be signed in to print this content

The easiest (and most cost-effective) way to feel like a local in Italy is to take the train.

When you’re visiting from the U.S., traveling through Italy by train can feel a little overwhelming. How do you buy your tickets? Where do you wait for your train? How does everybody else know exactly what to do?  

Never fear! This is our locals-approved guide to help you navigate the Italian rails with ease. Traveling by train is by far the simplest way to get around in Italy, with regular service connecting even the smallest towns. Arriving by train usually puts you right in the center of town, so you’re ready to explore as soon as you disembark. And it’s much, much cheaper than trying to get around on small commuter flights or hiring a driver. Once you venture through one trip, you'll feel like a pro—and you'll soon realize how easy it really is! 

Here, we answer some of the most common questions from first-time train travelers so you’ll be ready to sit back, relax, and watch the beautiful Italian scenery roll by your window. 


How long will it take? 

If you’re traveling between major cities like Venice, Rome, and Florence, high-speed trains will get you there in as little as an hour or two. Outside of these main hubs, you’ll probably be traveling on slower regional trains, similar to commuter rail. These make lots of stops in small towns and villages, so your trip may take longer—but you’ll be able to do lots of sightseeing from your window! 


How do I book my tickets? 

The Trenitalia site is the easiest way to book all your train travel on both high-speed and regional lines. (We recommend downloading the Trenitalia app as well, especially for last-minute ticket purchases.) 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! From here, you can search for trains by entering your starting location, destination, and day of travel, and easily see all scheduled trains plus any connections you might need to make.  


Do I have to buy tickets in advance? 

When you are traveling from city to city, we always recommend getting your train tickets in advance. Tickets are cheaper when you buy them ahead of time, and you can rest easy knowing that your itinerary is sorted out. 

However, if you need to connect to a train after a flight, you should wait to book your train tickets. Your flight’s arrival could be delayed, and train tickets cannot be refunded! Instead, buy your tickets at the airport once you’re off the plane.  

If you bought your tickets in person, be sure to stamp them in one of the validation machines in the train station before you board. If you bought your tickets online, they don’t need to be validated. 


Can I bring my luggage on the train? 

It depends! High-speed trains have plenty of luggage space in the form of cubbies, racks, and spaces between the seats where you should have no trouble. If you’re traveling with a group, book your seats together so you’ll be able to pool your luggage space together, rather than trying to squeeze in among other travelers. 

Slower regional trains, however, generally have much less storage space (and don’t allow reserved seating), so you may have a harder time with lots of luggage. If you’re traveling regionally with more than a suitcase, you’ll need to upgrade to a first-class seat, which comes with more room for luggage. 


What if I have to use the bathroom? 

Don’t worry, all trains in Italy have bathroom facilities available for travelers. Generally, there’s one restroom at the end of each seating car, though you may have to walk between cars to find one that’s available. You’ll find them marked with the letters WC.  

They’ll be there for you when nature calls, but don’t expect anything too luxurious. Especially on older regional trains, these are on par with airplane restrooms, and can sometimes be poorly maintained. It’s a good idea to bring your own tissues and hand sanitizer in, just in case. And just as on an airplane, the water in these facilities is not potable, so don’t drink it!  


How do I read the marquee at the train station? 

Every train station has a marquee that displays the times and tracks (for larger stations) for incoming and outgoing trains. When you’re looking for your train, be sure to look for the train number, not the station where you’re headed. Trains are identified by their terminal station name, so you’re likely to see a different city name on the marquee. If you’re traveling south through Puglia, for example, the train will be listed as Lecce, since that’s the last station on that line.  

If your train is running late (a frequent occurrence), you’ll see a notation next to the train number—like 5' or 10'—that means it is an estimated 5 or 10 minutes behind schedule. 


Help! I'm at the train station, and I don't see my scheduled train on the marquee! 

Don't worry! In busy stations, the most up-to-date train information won’t show up on the marquee until about 10 minutes before they actually arrive or leave.  

And on that note, don’t blindly get on a train just because it happens to be at your train’s track at the right time! It could be an earlier train that got delayed and will take you far, far from your chosen destination. Always look at the marquee before you get on board. 

1 comment

  • Author's avatar image
    laura - Feb 29

    Giada is always on target with her information, Grazie Laura

Please sign in or create an account to leave a comment.