Traveling by train in Italy is a great way to explore this beautiful country. First time train travel in a foreign country can be a little daunting to some. Making sure all of your base are covered allows train travel to go smooth as possible. Our first train trip was without any issues. If you’re planning the same, make sure to keep reading!
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.