Saturday, October 25, 2008

How to Buy a Train Ticket on a Italy Vacation

We returned Thursday after 23 days in Italy - a fabulous Italy vacation made so easy because we used the train in Italy to travel.

The train in Italy from Rome to Florence, Bologna on to Venice or Parma are great routes.

The train in Italy from Rome to Civitavecchia on to La Spezia and the Cinque Terre is also an excellent route.

Train from Rome to Naples is another great route to travel by train in Italy.

We find that the easiest way to buy a train ticket in Italy is in the train station at a vending machine. Not all vending machines are created equally and may present a problem if you have never used them before. Click here to see a video of how to buy a train ticket in Italy.

TrenItalia - Cost of Train ticket in Italy: Flexi, AMICA, and Standard
Flexi tickets, like flexible, cost more and are flexible when changing tickets without penalty.

Amica fare on TrenItalia is a 20% discount for advance purchase; it has to be bought at least one day prior to the travel date. It's available in limited numbers, and only on trains that have reservations.

Change Amica ticket on TrenItalia day of travel by paying back 20% discount.

Standard tickets buy when you get to station before train. You pay the regular fare and may or may not reserve a seat - depending on train type.

Italy Train types:
AV trains are the fastest and most modern Italian trains, and always require reservations. On some routes, such as Rome to Naples, they travel on special high speed tracks; otherwise there's not much different between them and a Eurostar train.

Eurostar trains are fast and modern, and always require reservations.

There are two types of Intercity, the plain IC and the ICPlus. The IC trains sometimes have mandatory reservations, and sometimes optional. The ICPLus trains always require reservations. The Eurocity (EC) trains are similar, except they cross international borders.

Local or regional trains are various when traveling within a region to towns. No rervations required.

If you buy a ticket that doesn't include a reservation, with the date and time of departure printed on the ticket, you have to stamp the ticket in a little yellow machine near the track before getting on the train. This establishes the time of travel and ensures that you can't try to reuse the ticket later. There is a big fine if you haven't stamped the ticket. If you have a reserved time already printed on the ticket, it's not necessary to stamp it, but if you're in doubt, stamp it anyway.

For more on traveling trains in Italy visit Web Vision Italy.

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