How to purchase Italian train tickets online
Reserving Italian train tickets before your trip to Italy prevents you from getting stranded, as they are frequently sold-out in high season periods
Another good reason is that after purchasing the train ticket online there will be no need to go to the train counter to obtain a paper ticket, and there is actually no need to have a paper ticket at all! All you need to do is show to the train inspector the e-mail with order confirmation from your Iphone, smartphone or IPad.
To proceed, you should follow these simple instructions carefully, and with some patience, as it is an official national website, so it wants you to follow some rules:
(1) It is best registering before accessing the website (it makes the final stage of purchasing the ticket online smoother, and without it sometimes it is impossible to purchase). Please go to this page:
and follow the simple registration rules: fill in your name, e-mail address, UserID, password etc. like you would do in any other website.
(2) Go to the official national Italian railway website, at this address you will find the page in English (please open it in a different page in order to keep reading also this page):
Although you might be tempted to fill-out immediately the train timetable, if you haven't done it, please *register* or you will not be able to finalize any ticket purchase in the website (so please go back and finalize step 1 of this article).
(3) Fill out in the search engine to the left: City of departure ("from...") and naturally City of arrival ("to..."). Fill out your date: for ex. 13 .04. 2013 (remember, Italy follows the European pattern of indicating dates: day/month/year!).
(4) In the search engine, select also the *time* ("hour", in the system) you would like to depart, and naturally *allow leeway time* for you to reach the train station from your accommodation or where from you will find yourself (for ex. from the airport to the train station).
(5) Of all possible trains, we suggest that you select the FRECCIAROSSA ("RedArrow" in Italian), and Eurostar (acronym ES). They are very fast trains. All others (Intercity or IC, InterRegionale or IR etc.) are rather slow. The FrecciaRossa (RedArrow) is a superfast train, competing time-wise with air flights: it brings you for ex. from Milan to Rome (600 Km.) in approximately 3 hours (other trains would take 6-7 hours), and from Florence to Rome in 1 hour and a twenty minutes (all other trains take 3-4 hours). It costs less than airplanes, and it brings you directly in the city centers. Also the Eurostar is very fast, and has reasonable prices.
Using fast trains should be a traveller's first choice for mid-range distances, for example from Florence or from Venice to Rome. Italian trains are very inexpensive compared to other European countries, and are generally a lot faster. The Frecciarossa and Eurostar are also elegant, clean, comfortable and with mod-cons (AC, internet Wi-FI, electric socket to plug PCs etc.), and last but not least they have wide windows enabling you breathtaking views of the Italian landscapes, which are beautiful and ever-changing: travelling in a fast train is like watching a live documentary of Italy.
(6) Once you have filled out the online form, select also "number of tickets" - of course depending on the number of persons in your party - and regarding the fare, select the best you find (but caution, if you select "best fare in the first page", in case there are no special offers available, it might bring you to a dead-end page, so just select the best fare of the available ones, including possible special offers, without asking more!).
TIP: the earlier you book, the best fares you will find!
TIP: We suggest that you buy 2nd class tickets, as 2nd class is comfortable and will bring you all the same to your destination. First class tickets are expensive, and the main difference are that seats are a little larger and more comfortable, and also that the carriages are the nearer to the hub or halls of the train stations, so you will have to walk a shorter distance to board them, but sometimes it is the opposite, 2nd class carriages are nearer!
(5) In the lower part of the same page, *fill out UserID and password* (which are the ones you filled-in during the registration page). In the same lower part of the page, it will ask you if you want to select the seat (near window etc.) or if you want "automatic assignment". Choose "Automatic assignment", because if you choose "Select seat" or "Nearby" the system later will get stuck (!) and will not allow you to finalize purchasing the ticket!
(6) Pay with your credit card, by filling in all relevant details.
(7) You will receive an e-mail at the address you fill-in on registration, with the order confirmation, and ticket number / details. You might print it and show it to the ticket inspector on board of the train, but it is also sufficient that you show him/her the e-mail confirmation you received on your IPhone, computer or android (from the screen, he / she will read it).
In fact the ticket inspector will check from the e-mail a specific "PNR" code, which must match the one he/she has. As above mentioned, there is no need to go to the train counter to obtain a paper ticket, and there is actually no need to have a paper ticket at all (if you are able to show the inspector the e-mail with order confirmation from your Iphone, smartphone or IPad!).
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