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Train travel throughout Italy

We are traveling in April to Italy and have reservations for lodging at several towns. We plan to travel by train from one town to another, beginning in Rome. We welcome suggestions on how to book the individual segments. We're having problems finding train schedules and whether we need reservations. Websites seem to be inconsistent. What are the websites between major and minor towns? If you've traveled this way before, we'd appreciate your tips.

Posted by
7464 posts

Lisa, list the cities you’re visiting, and we can help. I have many of my train tickets for Italy for May purchased, so yours should be available on Trenitalia.com. You do need to know the Italian spelling, so let us know.

If you know when you want to take the train, you can save money purchasing ahead for the faster trains. For instance, I know that I like to take a train between 8-9:30am. Those cheaper tickets go quickly. You can see how much you will save by entering tomorrow’s date and an April date.

Posted by
16924 posts

Between major cities like Rome to Florence, Rome to Venice, etc., there is another train company that also t]provides service on fast trains: Italo. Their website is a bit more user-friendly, and we like them for routes that they serve.

https://www.italotreno.it/en

With both Trenitalia and Italo, seat reservations are included in the ticket price for the fast (Freece trains on Trenitalia) and assigned, or you can choose seats yourself for an extra fee. On regional trains there are no reservations, and tickets must be validated before you board.

Do let us know what cities you are visiting and people will help you

Posted by
7722 posts

At risk of repeating others, Trenitalia https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html and Italo https://www.italotreno.it/en are all you need. Avoid other third party sites.

Trenitalia will get you most everyplace (except a few private railways and metro transport), Italo can be a good comparison on the popular routes they run (Rome to Florence for example).

If you will have phone service, the Trenitalia app is handy and easy to use.

Posted by
8243 posts

You really don't need reservations as they lock you into specific dates and times. As your trip goes along, things change.
Buying ahead may get you a small discount, however. And trains between popular cities are very hour or two. Sometimes we like to sleep late--for example.

We often will wait until late in the day before we leave to purchase tickets. That way we don't have to deal with lines--if we use a ticket booth--and we figure out what the lay of the train station is. We often purchase tickets from vending machines with credit card.

Posted by
5137 posts

Trenitalia will likely serve most, if not all of your train needs. There can be savings in buying the fast train seats in advance (Freccia trains), but those savings come with restrictions- the cheapest are nonrefundable and specific to that particular train. Regional trains can be bought at the station before you leave, or bought online ahead of time, but there won't be any cost saving. The Trenitalia app will be very handy if you have a data plan for your phone. In addition to buying tickets via the app, you can get up to date alerts, and info on platform numbers. But as mentioned, you must use the Italian place names eg: Roma, Firenze, Venezia.

Posted by
14 posts

Our destinations in Italy begin in Rome, followed by Assisi, Lucca, Modena, Bologne, Ravenna, Verona, Venice, Padua(Padova), and Milan. We'll spend 2 or 3 nights in each town and have our lodgings booked. Our plan is to get from one city to the next by train. Travel will be in April. Would appreciate any advice about the trains such as booking ahead vs. not, what system of trains to use, etc. Thanks ahead of time!

Posted by
27432 posts

I believe you're adding unnecessary transportation time with Verona positioned the way it is on your itinerary. Verona is right on the train line running from Venice to Milan [corrected]. It requires a detour to go there between Ravenna and Padua/Venice.

Padua and Venice could be targeted either in that order or the reverse, because you'll be travelling through Padua on the way from Ravenna to Venice.

https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html serves all the places you're going with what look like the most direct available routings. https://www.italotreno.it/en would send you from Ravenna through Bologna on the way to Venice, which adds miles, time and probably cost. Some of your other travel legs would probably be fine on Italo, which might be less expensive.

Posted by
20461 posts

Rome to Assisi is a direct regional train, costs 13.30 EUR.
Assisi to Lucca can be done all regional with a train change in Florence for 22.10 EUR.
Lucca to Modena is best done with a Freccia between Florence and Bologna.
Modena to Bologna is a direct regional train for 4.30 EUR
Bologna to Ravenna is a direct regional train for 8 EUR
Ravenna to Padova can be done all regional with a train change in Ferrara for 12.95 EUR, just 45 minutes slower than using a Freccia.
Padova to Venezia S. Lucia is a direct regional train for 4.80 EUR, just 14 minutes slower than a Freccia.
Venezia S. Lucia to Verona is a direct regional train for 10.20 EUR, just 16 minutes slower than a Freccia.
Verona to Milano Centrale is a direct regional train for 12.75 EUR, just 45 minutes slower than a Freccia.

So there you have it. Only one leg needs a Freccia train, and maybe a few more if you want to splurge and save a little time.

Posted by
712 posts

I have pretty much stayed with the trenitalia website-also download the app for your phone as it’s easy to purchase the Regionale tickets that way. I did a brief run through your destinations and as @Sam noted, the Regionales will serve you well for the majority of the segments. I would really look at a Freccia for Padova to Milano.

Off the subject a bit-are any of your accommodation bookings refundable? I only ask because if you don’t have many reasons to go to Modena, it is easy to enjoy it as a day trip from Bologna. Much easier to travel to Modena from Bologna than from Lucca which will require 2 train changes and quite a bit of time. I’d be tempted to up the stay in Bologna and do a day trip. Then again, if there are many sights there you want to see you might like a longer stay.

Back to the subject- you must use the Italian city name for from/to plus the proper station, ie; Venezia Santa Lucia, Milano Centrale, Verona Porta Nuova. There are others, but it can catch you up if you don’t know them. I often have to look on google maps to find the station name I want.

The only trains that require a reservation are the Freccia trains, although when you book the Regionales you will be asked to check in the day before or at the very least BEFORE you board the train. Therefore, the only train tickets to book ahead would be any of the Freccia that you want to use. Book ahead mostly because, the sooner you do so the more likely you can get a lower price. I’m partial to them as they are usually (not always) a direct train meaning I don’t have to change trains somewhere. I also like the faster times of travel so I have more time in the destination even if it means a better arrival for check in to my room.

Good luck and don’t let the trenitalia site make you too angry. Once you use it a bit, it gets easier.

Posted by
313 posts

Both Trenitalia and Italo have phone apps. Just like airline apps, you can plan trips, buy tickets, and use your phone for the boarding pass. If you have reservations the phone app will give you alerts. I used both train companies in Italy and never printed a ticket. For that matter Deutsche Bahn and in Dutch trains also have phone apps. I'm sure you'll find just about every train system in Europe has a phone app at this point.

Posted by
4 posts

Our destinations in Italy begin in Rome (one night) to Orievto (3 nights) to Pistoia (3 nights) to Camogli San Futtuoso (3 nights) to Mandali Retreat Center (6 nights) to Bergamo (3 nights) then we will fly to Greece from Bergamo. In each town our lodgings are booked. Our plan is to get from one city to the next by train. Travel will be in July. Would appreciate any advice about the specific trains & train stations (for example, there are 4 train stations in Milan) that offer the most direct route to our destinations, best place to do an olive oil tour and any tour/hike/restaurant recommendations would be greatly appreciated. It's our first time in Italy and we are very excited! Also, if I've posted this on the wrong Forum, please let me know. This is all new to me :-).

Posted by
5137 posts

Tracy G, you are posting on an old thread that people may not even see. Please start a new thread for your questions in the Italy section of the Destinations Q&As

To learn about European trains and how to book tickets, have a good look at this website: https://www.seat61.com/

Posted by
1 posts

Why is duration of direct route longer time than one with a switch? I’m looking at Venice to Milan and stop is about 1-hour faster?

Posted by
5137 posts

Robfunk84, please cite the website you are using, and the details on the trains in question. Normally the direct trains would be freccias, while those with stops and/or changes would involve one or more regionales.

Posted by
2134 posts

Knowing the travel date is important. In August there is a partial line closure on the direct Venice - Milano line, which the result that travelling with a change of trains in Bologna is indeed quicker...