Buying a train ticket in Italy: the train ticket office

Buying a train ticket in Italy- Italy from the Inside

Photo by Francesca Tosolini

The Italian train system is very efficient and convenient if you have to cover long distances. In Italy, trains are very popular in everyday life. They are a common means of transportation for commuters, students, businessmen, etc. Taking the train in Italy can definitely get you closer to the Italian culture.
The primary train operator in Italy is Trenitalia.
A train ticket can be purchased at several locations, but, usually, the train station ticket office (biglietteria) is the place people prefer.

It’s very important that you have a clear idea of the kind of ticket (biglietto) you want to buy (comprare). It may be a good idea to write the trip plan on a piece of paper (pezzo di carta) to show to the clerk, in case the language barrier makes the process too difficult. Keep in mind that most clerks speak only very basic English, so a note showing information such as the city or town of departure, the city or town of arrival, the date (data) and the time (ora) of departure and the number of people traveling in your party would be helpful. Another good idea is to have a map showing where you have to go and just pointing to the locations you want to travel to.

If you are in a hurry, look for the Fast Ticket Window (Sportello Veloce). This is an option that may be very useful if you are just about to catch your train, but you still haven’t purchased your ticket. The Sportello Veloce ticket window is reserved for passengers whose train leaves within 15 minutes. I was one of those passengers once… My adrenaline was already going up when I saw this ticket window and literally ran to it. Fortunately, there were only two people in front of me. It wouldn’t have been my dream to spend two hours waiting at the Naples train station… Right now this service is available only in major train stations.

Oh, and in case you wonder, credit cards are accepted.

The ticket office is usually open from 6am to 9pm (in the major train stations), so buy your ticket the day before in case you have to catch an early train (and in case you wonder, yes, you can find many people waiting in line even at 6am…). Ticket office hours are listed on the Trenitalia’s website (choose a region and then click on the “Servizi in stazione- Biglietterie” link). ***

{This is an excerpt from chapter 1 “General transportation” of the eBook “Italy from the Inside. A native Italian reveals the secrets of traveling in Italy”}

Our paperless trip to Rome

ColosseoDuring the Christmas holidays, I decided to take the kids to visit a friend of mine in Latina, located a few kilometers south of Rome. Obviously, being so close to the Eternal City, we spent two nights in the Capital as well.

The interesting thing about our trip though, was the fact that I didn’t bring one single piece of paper with me, since all the tickets I had were electronically stored in my iPhone, more exactly in my Dropbox account.

First the train tickets: we took a Trenitalia train from Trieste to Venezia and then its private competitor Italotreno from Venezia to Rome.

Trenitalia sent me both a text message and an email with the confirmation code:


Once onboard, the train attendant simply entered the reservation code in their mobile  check-in device. Same thing for Italotreno, which sent me a PDF file via email:

Italotreno reservation

As for a place to stay, I used Venere for my search and found a beautiful B&B near the Coliseum: the Relais Rome Sweet Home. And as for the examples above, I got an email with a reservation code and additional details that I transferred to my iPhone.

Relais Rome Sweet HomeWe stayed in a 4th floor suite, a beautiful apartment with the kitchen on the loft…

relais Rome Sweet Home …terracotta floors and…

Relais Rome Sweet Home…exposed wood beamed ceilings. We loved staying here, the location was fantastic and staying in a XV century building really completed our Roman experience.

Last paperless ticket was the one I purchased to visit the Sistine Chapel.

Cappella Sistina prenotazioneThis is something any tourist who is planning to visit the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums (and/or any other important museum) should do. The line outside the entrance was incredibly long (and slow), but with our prepaid ticket, that they scanned directly from my iPhone, we got in extremely fast.

Overall, a pleasant and efficient experience that saved us time and trees.  If you are planning to take public transportation in Italy, consider purchasing our newly released eBook that covers in great detail how to take advantage of trains, ferries, cabs and planes to move around the country.

Announcing our new Kindle eBook – Tips for Transportation: All You Need to Know to Get Around in Italy.

Release of the new eBook on Transportation in Italy by Paolo and Francesca

We are happy to announce the release of our new Kindle eBook titled “Tips for Transportation: All You Need to Know to Get Around in Italy.

Download this eBook on your iPhone, iPad or Kindle device and take it with you in your next trip to Italy. It contains the very latest information on how public transportation works in Italy, all researched, collected and documented by Francesca during her extended stay in Italy. Topic covered include:

  • Airports
  • Buses
  • Car rentals
  • Ferries
  • Taxi cabs
  • Trains

Priced at an affordable $1.99, this eBook features more than 110+ Kindle pages, 50+ original photos and a glossary of 100+ useful Italian words. We welcome your comments as well as your Amazon reviews!