Top Tips for Travelling in Italy by Train
Italy is a vast and exciting country to travel with numerous well-known cities to visit and explore. Unlike some countries, Italy boats a long list of famous landmarks to visit throughout the country from Rome’s coliseum, to the leaning tower of Pisa, to Milan’s catwalks so it can be easy to spend up to a Month or even longer stopping off at various cities. Trains are no doubt the easiest and cheapest way of getting around. Whilst it is possible to fly from city to city, it will undoubtedly cost a lot more, especially travelling from each airport into the city centre. If you’re planning to spend a while travelling Italy, or are just curious on how to travel this beautiful country using the rail system, then here are a few tips on using Italian trains.
Fast-track trains are often considerably more expensive than long-haul journeys so if you have the time and patience the longer routes can be a rather rewarding and relaxing experience. There are many regional trains running through the country that are even longer than 8 hours. Luckily these trains often made up of homely carriages and there are even sleeper trains that you can take through the night saving you money on hotel costs. However travelling through the day has its benefits too as it can allow you to see the beautiful landscape of the country that you would otherwise be unlikely to see on your trip.
Landscape taken from a train journey through Italy
Whilst Italy is a generally very safe country to travel in, precautions should always be taken, especially when travelling by train at night. If you are a lone traveller it is always a good idea to try to share a cabin with a few other passengers, just so you are not completely alone. Additionally, although it may be difficult at times, try to keep an eye on your luggage as any bags left unattended can be an easy target for pickpockets and we all know losing a suitcase can ruin a trip! Sleeper trains can be conveniently locked overnight so there’s no worrying about pickpockets during the journey.
3. Ticket validation
This is something that can be easily missed if limited Italian is known and the fines can be rather hefty. It is vital that any regional tickets without a specific train number or date must be validated. There should be green and white ticket boxes at every station that will print the time and date on your ticket once inserted. It is very important you do this as there will often be a conductor on the train checking each journey.
It is common to greet another passenger when seating and Italians are likely to appreciate any kindness from a foreigner. A simple ‘buon giorno’ or ‘ciao’ should do but if you’re uncomfortable with your accent a simple smile should suffice. Like most other countries, passengers are expected to retain their feet off the seats, keep the volume low on their headphones and to avoid particularly smelly foods.
By Ellie Swain