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Italian train fares

Greetings all! My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy for this Fall. We will be using trains , both high speed and local. We see many discount options on Trenitalia, plus the option of Italo. It's a bit overwhelming so we're hoping people with recent train experience in Italy might have advice. Basically, to get the best fares should we order tickets online, in advance or the day of travel, and what are the advantages to Carta Freccia, travel as a couple, and travel as seniors? Many thanks.

Posted by
717 posts

There is always lots, and lots of discussion on training in Italy. Just click on Italy and read through some of the threads, including an extensive one on Carta Freccia.

That would be a great kick start to understanding the Trenitalia system.

Posted by
2829 posts

For lowest fares buy online in advance, either from Trenitalia or Italo. Just be aware that the low fares come with restrictions—-the tickets are limited to the particular date and train you booked. Think of it like an airline ticket—difficult or impossible to change or cancel.

Trenitalia has been offering tickets for 2 traveling together (You and Me or something like that) that are as cheap as the Senior tix. Note that Senior tix on Trenitalia require you to have a special Carta Freccia card, which you show with the ticket. I believe Italo Senior fares don’t require a membership card.

You can save a lot of €€€ buying in advance over buying at the station on the day of travel. It is worth doing as long as your plans are firm.

Posted by
7596 posts

Here's a great way to get some background on train travel and purchasing tickets in Italy — from the incredibly useful Man in Seat 61 website:

He'll explain why this

For lowest fares buy online in advance,

doesn't always apply (local trains are the same price no matter when you buy them)

Posted by
28 posts

We returned from Italy two weeks ago. After the RS Sicily tour we flew from Catania to Bari. We spent 2 weeks traveling by train through Puglia. I used the Trenìt! App. Used PayPal for payment on app. Ticket QR code on my phone Everything worked perfectly! Trains on time (or at most 4 min late). We would buy tickets 1-2 days before. Regional trains were inexpensive- depending on length of journey; 5-6 euros each to 13. Without senior discount. All in all, very enjoyable.

Posted by
2745 posts

Trenitalia's Regionale trains: fixed fares, regardless of when you get tickets the prices never change. Regional trains have no reserved seats and can't sell out.

Trenitalia's Intercity and Freccia trains: the only fare available on the day of travel is the top, walk-up fare called BASE. All the other fares you'll see on the official site are discounted and come with restrictions.

Italotreno fares work like Trenitalia's, the on-day fare is called Flex.

You can't pay more than Base and Flex.

Posted by
481 posts

Thank you to all who replied. We appreciate your suggestions.

Posted by
534 posts

Also, having the app for Trenitalia and Italo are handy, especially if you are staying in smaller towns and do unplanned day trips. Many smaller stations do not have regularly operated ticket booths or automatic machines, so buying through the app can be very helpful.

Posted by
481 posts

Thank you. We hadn't thought of that. Every bit of shared experience and wisdom helps!