Beyond the Plan: Using Trains in Italy



Or perhaps I should say buongiorno! I had a great trip last month to Italy and really enjoyed day trips using the trains. I spent the first few days in Assisi, the home of St. Francis. I took a train from Fuimicino airport into Tiburtina station where I connected to local trains bound for Assisi and beyond. I purchased my tickets online at Trenitalia and printed out my boarding passes. There was no specific time on the boarding pass, so I used the Trenit app on my iPhone to determine which train to get on.

Most American, like me, rarely if ever use trains, so I did some research. I knew that I had to know the final destination of the train in order to find the correct platform. That’s where the Trenit app came in really handy. I could get to Assisi by trains going through Orte or Fuligno where I had to switch to trains mostly heading to Perugia. Each train has a permanent route number, so that made things easier. The big stations have an electronic board to look up platforms, with listing providing point of origin, final destination, route number, time of departure and platform. Very easy. Smaller stations all have a poster size chart showing train routes with all stops; these two are organized by origin point and destination. The app often had timely and accurate platform information.

While in Assisi, I took two train trips: Spello and Perugia. I spent the next week in Rome and took several day trips. One day I went to Ostia Antica taking the Lido, or Beach, Line from Ostiense. I went to Tivoli to see Villa D’Este leaving from Termini with a change at Tiburtina. One day, I took the train from Termini to Orvieto. I bought tickets using vending machines at Termini station, while I used the station shop in Assisi. Both options are quite easy and allow you to get a return ticket as well. While I could not validate the ticket I printed at home, it is expected that all other tickets be validated in the small green machine found near all platforms or stations. These are very easy to use. You can face a fine if your ticket is not validated with a time and date stamp in the machines. There was a conductor checking tickets on every train I rode, so validate your ticket!

train platform

Give trains a try next time you are in Italy. The ease of train travel makes it possible to travel independently and save tons of money on tours!

Planning My Italian Adventure: Train travel

Traveling to Italy is always a joy! My previous trips have included a week each in Florence, Naples and Rome. I have used trains to get around and find train travel and public transit easy to use –so far. I love planning my travel as much as traveling, so I spend a great deal of time and energy during over Google Maps to organize my days to mix up hectic days with calm garden filled days. I had to struggle with my destination while planning this trip. Torn between northern Italy — Turin, Milan, Verona, Padua and Venice — and the pull to return to Rome. Rome won. I am smitten with Rome: walkability, surprises around every corner, and gritty sophistication.

I am traveling to Assisi for three nights before heading to Rome for five nights.  I have planned some side trips from both bases.  Some apps that make planning simple are Rome2Rio which offers many travel solutions for any country and the Trenitalia. Many regions have their own train and bus systems, so it would be worthwhile checking into those as you plan your own trip to Italy.  

I have the UBER app and use it extensively in Mexico; however, I have read that UBER is spotty in Italy.  I have downloaded two possible solutions for quick trips when I don’t want to wait for a bus:  Freenow and Scooterino.  FreeNow is the replacement for MyTaxi and helps locate and call a taxi in your area.  Scooterino is a ridesharing app allowing you to hitch a ride on one of the ubiquitous vespas in Rome. You can even book a tour on a Vespa or in a Fiat.  I will post an update on this service after my trip!  I look forward to a ride on a Vespa!