You know where you want to go; now how do you get there? Walking into a train station in Italy, especially in large cities such as Milan, Rome, Florence, and Venice, is like walking into an airport in the United States.
There is a lot of hustle and bustle. People are in a hurry (yes, even in Italy people rush around train stations), there are many different languages being spoken – it can feel like you have been thrown into a boiling pot of confusion.
So……when you walk through the doors of a train station in Italy take a deep breath and look around to get your bearings. Look for the train schedules which are posted in large glass enclosed boxes. These train schedules will tell you everything you need to know.
There will be two schedules; arrivals (arrivi) and departures (partenze). Since you are going somewhere you will need the departure schedule. Look for the city you are traveling to and the time you want to leave. It is important to pay attention to the footnotes – some trains do not run on weekends or holidays, or they may have extra trains on weekends and holidays if you are visiting a resort. If there is limited space on the schedule or if the train makes a lot stops they may have only the major stations listed and the last stop the train will make.
Once you have your information find the ticket office (la biglietteria). Not all employees at the ticket counter will speak English. Since you looked at the train schedule you will have enough information to get what you need – remember, you do not need to speak in complete sentences. You can just say the city and the number of tickets you need (hold up your fingers to be safe).
They will ask you if you want one-way (di andata) or round-trip (di andata e ritorno).
How to buy Train Tickets In Italy, Italian Vocabulary and Train Travel Advice YouTube Video
This Wolters World video walks you through what you will see in an Italian train station. Mark suggests buying your tickets at the kiosks if you know where you want to go to save time. Another tip: Eurostar train and fast trains require reservations. Regional trains do not. Look for the R on the timetable.
Some Train Travel Vocabulary
Where is the Train station Dove e la stazione
Which track? Qual binario?
Do I have to change trains? Devo cambiare il treno?
At what time does my train leave – A che ora parte il mio treno.
See……buying a ticket at a train station in Italy is not so mysterious. If you are still intimidated, find a International Travel office that you recognize and they can help you.