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Purchased our tickets as soon as they became available Rome -> Florence. All 18 of us were reserved in Carriage #4. Guess what carriage was NOT connected to the train??? Yep - Carriage #4! Of course Italian Train personnel on the train and on the platform have no idea as to the answer, and as soon as it gets too complicated they all just completely disappear.

Lesson learned on this trip: If your ticket has you on a Carriage that doesn't exist on your train - head for the nearest 1st Class Carriage and take the open seats! Conductor came by later and told us he had found seats for us in the very last car on the train. We said it would be too difficult to drag all of our luggage through the middle of the moving train. He shrugged and went away and we rode 1st class.

Posted by
14 posts

We purchased tickets from Innsbruck, Austria to Venice, Italy from Trenitalia. It was ALMOST a nightmare. When the conductor came by (we were on an OBB Austrian train) we were told the tickets were invalid and we would need to get off at the next station and buy valid tickets. This was our very first experience with trains in Europe. So, we got off, only to find the station all locked up and nowhere to get tickets. Luckily, it was shift change, so the train was still sitting at the station and we got back on and there was a new conductor who sold us "valid" tickets. Lesson to be learned here-buy tickets in the country where your trip is originating from. I have contacted Trenitalia for a price adjustment, but have had no luck.

Posted by
1589 posts

" All 18 of us "

Tim, are you a tour guide or just crazy! lol

Posted by
7209 posts

Husband of a teacher with students on a 2+ week fieldtrip

Posted by
4411 posts

ducksnbaskets, I don't understand; that should have been fine, unless you were on the wrong train or something. Sometimes the train you want (for instance) is the French train going from France to Belguim, so you would buy from the French train company. Other times, you want the Belgian train going from France to Belgium, so you'd buy your ticket from the Belgian company site. Now...sometimes the conductors don't know their own company's tickets when they are presented with them. My first experience with a print-at-home ticket blew the mind of our Italian conductor; he had to take our tickets 127 train cars away to find someone who could figure out what to do with them (sigh). We were really dreading our next ride a few days later; the woman (THAT'S probably it LOL!) simply scanned our ticket and wished us a good day. Like the first guy was supposed to do (shaking head).

Tim, you did what any Italian would have done ;-)

Bravo! I'm certain you had already been practicing your shrug.

Posted by
32 posts

Wow, makes me feel very lucky we have been to Italy twice and prepurchased our tickets and caught 4 trains and didn't have any problems. when in florence this year i purchased our tickets to Venice on line and took a snap shot photo of the ticket on my iPad which i took with me and it was fine, also have printed tickets and they went well. i am currently looking at train in Vienna to Zurich then Zurich to Como and further on which i plan to purchase in advance as it is much cheaper so fingers crossed and hope it goes well. We noticed some people just got out their phone to show the number of the ticket.

Posted by
4604 posts

Anyone who's going to train in Italy should read Tim Parks (British ex-pat travel writer) to see how things work and don't work, and how they can go wrong. He had quite an experience with a printed internet ticket.

And needless to say with a part of 18 you can pretty much take over whatever train car you want.

Posted by
518 posts

18!? Well, safety in numbers! :D

I'm hearing mixed reviews from people regarding internet tickets printed at home. Some conductors know exactly what to do and others scratch their head. I was nervous over this uncertainty so I ended up buying my tickets from Rome to Cinque Terre and ultimately to Nice, France, from a travel agency that was also an authorized Trenitalia ticket agent (this was right outside my hotel in front of the Largo Argentina).

Although, the Trenitalia ticket only takes you as far as Ventimiglia, which is the last stop on the Italy side, before crossing over into France. At Ventimiglia you have to get off, go into the station and buy a ticket for the 30 minute or so trip to Nice.

Posted by
635 posts

If you book on .italo instead of Trenitalia, the online receipt specifically says that the ticket code number is all you need. We've never had a problem with them.

Posted by
1245 posts

Ive booked several tix online using trenitalia website over last five years and never had a problem. Sometimes conductor scans my printout, sometimres just enters the pnr code in their handheld computer.

Posted by
988 posts

It surprises me more people use Trenitalia over ITALO. We have never had a problem with ITALO...we book online way in advance. The website is very user friendly and is also recommended on the Seat61 website. Trenitalia is a Government run train, while ITALO is private. The trains are very nice, comfy seats, good service & food. Seat61 and the ITALO website have photos. It used to be they didn't have quite the number of times and locations and stations - but that has changed. Just throwing another great option out there. The prices are comparable to better than Trenitalia.

Posted by
4411 posts

Tim knows his train etiquette (and lots of other things about European trains). If your car is missing from your train - Welcome To Italy! - you go plop your party down in the empty seats (typically easy to spot unreserved seats) in the 1st class car (usually near the conductor). It's the conductor's problem. Tim tried to resolve the problem before boarding the train, but received no assistance. The suggestion to haul all of their stuff through the entire train was a bureaucratic mess of an answer - do YOU want 18 unhappy people schlepping through YOUR car, banging into you with their luggage all the way down?

Considering the route, this train was likely a non-stop train, so their decision to stay put didn't impact anyone else.

Posted by
23472 posts

The ONLY fine you will receive is for not having a valid ticket for the train you are riding. If in the wrong seat or even car, they just move you. Tim had valid tickets for that train - just didn't have valid seat reservation. The exception would be if using a rail pass on anything other than a Regionale train, then a valid seat reservation is also required. The whole process with Trenitalia is generally pretty smooth. Over the years, never had any problem with Trenitalia except the one time we forgot to validate a Regionale ticket but the Conductor never showed (short trip). We wrote the date and time on the ticket but don't know if he would have accepted that. Glad I didn't have to find out.