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Italy Train & Bus Travel

We just returned from our three week Italy trip beginning October 1. Make sure your train tickets are validated properly as well as any bus tickets. Ask if you are not sure. We found every train we were on had conductors examining tickets (some more than once). One poor fellow did not have proper validation and was fined big time. The ticket examiner yelled at him for about five minutes straight and then brought out his credit card machine to run the passenger’s credit card right there. Big fine! On a bus trip in Siena two ticket examiners boarded and checked everyone’s tickets. We had just inserted our tickets into the validation machine! Some buses had validation machines at front and rear of bus.

The Circumvesuviana line to/from Naples was still extremely crowded in October. No seats anywhere and pretty uncomfortable. Extremely cheap tickets though. We paid extra for the Campania Express leaving Piano di Sorrento to Napoli. Website said we were guaranteed seats! Not true! All seats were taken but standing was not nearly as bad due to lack of crowd. And by the way, we thought the Campania Express would be a totally separate train......NOT! Turns out it was the LAST car on the normal Circumvesuviana train! A woman yelled out from the train when it rolled into the station announcing “Campania Express”! She checked our tickets and only would board those who had paid the extra fare. My husband and I each got to stand in our respective corners!

Posted by
5379 posts

Wow! I had tried to take Campania Express to/from Sorrento figuring the extra cost was worth it for reserved seats and air conditioning -- didn't because the time between trains was too long. Now I don't feel bad about using Circumvesuviana.

Posted by
69 posts

Thanks so much for this helpful advice! I haven't traveled to Italy in over 10 years and I appreciate the help! I'll be headed back next year. Quick question- did you purchase any of your tickets on line here in the US? how does that work for validation? I'm sure you can't hold up a big 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper with the confirmation information on it to be validated... Thanks to you and any others that can help with this!

Posted by
20718 posts

Any ticket purchased on-line comes, essentially, pre-validated since it specific to a day, time, train car, and seat. Can only be used on that train at that time so no need for validation. The ONLY ticket that needs to be validated is a Regionale train ticket purchased at a ticket machine or ticket office. Anything else is good to go.

Posted by
69 posts

Thank you much! I just posted a question to this on the forum. I appreciate your response.

Posted by
3112 posts

Adding to the comments above about tickets purchased online, regional train tickets also come pre-validated but can be used on a later regional train if needed (up to 4 hours). All other tickets are for a specific train and, if changes are allowed (generally not the case for discounted tickets), one must go to a ticket window and change their tickets before boarding a different train.

Posted by
1771 posts

the Campania Express would be a totally separate train......NOT! Turns out it was the LAST car on the normal Circumvesuviana train

The Campania Express is a separate train, they must have had an emergency on that day and they find a smart solution not to miss a run. Dozens of other passengers on many forums can confirm that it is a separate train.
I'm sure you agree that something that happened to you doesn't have to be the norm just because it happened to you. There are no reserved seats on the Campania Express, in fact they do not assign a seat & car number to each passenger. Online They sell a limited number of tickets per train, but tickets locally purchased are not train-specific.

Posted by
95 posts

A bit of clarification for Lisa - you should still have some form of the on-line ticket with you on the bus or train, either paper or on your phone/tablet.