First Time Train Travel In Italy


Recently, we decided to take a little day trip by train in Italy! While it was not the first train trip for either of us, it was our first trip by train within Italy itself.  We wanted to make sure we had all of our bases covered so it would go as smooth as possible.  We would be gone the entire day, returning late at night, and needed to leave our hotel at 4:30am the following morning.  There was no room for error.  We had no issues with our daylong outing so I wanted to share some tips with anybody else who might be considering the same…

Arrival and Boarding

You can book in advance online and print out your tickets. Doing so means there are no problems with the language barrier, seats are guaranteed, and there’s no need to validate your ticket once you arrive at the station.

Upon arrival, look for the arrivals and departures board at the station.  It’s easiest to find your train number as opposed to searching by city. The final city of the train’s destination is listed on the board. So if you’re stopping somewhere before the final destination, you will not see your stop listed.  For example, if you are going to Florence like we were, but your train’s final destination is Milan, that is what will be listed.  Again, search for the train number and even the train type as opposed to the city.  We made sure to arrive early enough to check everything out and figure out what we were doing.

If you do not see your departure listed, don’t panic. The board updates continuously and oftentimes departures are listed no more than 20 minutes out.

Find your platform using the assigned numbers as soon as you can. Sometimes there is limited time between the platform listing reflecting on the board and the actual departure time.

Once they begin boarding, the train cars will be numbered. Find your car and take your seat!

Enjoy the ride! 

If you are on the bullet train, they go incredibly fast. Ours topped out at 248 km/h!  The seats are super comfortable, spacious, and clean. We far enjoyed this method of travel as opposed to airplanes.  You’re also free to get up and move around during the trip, including using the bathrooms which are located in between each car.

There will be a dining car,  as well as a basic service cart that passes through the train cars during your trip. Offerings are very affordable and they go about their work quickly.  Sit back and enjoy the views!!

 At The Station

When it’s time to get off at your stop, it’s best to do this quickly as they do not allow a lot of time.  You should also be courteous to people who are trying to get onto the train as well.  Be sure to scope out the train station a little once you’ve arrived.  Being familiar with it will make it easier to navigate when it’s time to leave again!  City maps can be found at vendor stalls outside the train station.  However, be sure to also have a general idea where the train station is as well.

Our early morning train to Florence was nearly empty, but the returning train to Rome was packed.  After experiencing how easy, fun and clean it is to travel by train in Italy, it’s easy to understand why so many people travel this way. We are planning to use this option even more for future travels down the road.

Share your thoughts and tips about train travel with us in the comments below!

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We spent a week exploring museums, churches, and all the historical sites of Rome and Florence.  Keep your eye out for new posts on our Italian adventures coming soon.  In the meantime, why not PIN THIS POST?!