Nick's Travel Tips
Buying Trenitalia train tickets
Start by going to www.trenitalia.com and clicking the the UK flag near top right to change to English. You will see a colourful screen, the important part of which looks like this:
When you fill out this form, you have to use the Italian names for places and give the name of the station you want to use. A list of some places and stations is here. When you use the "From" and "To" areas, you can type the first few letters of the place name and pause. A drop-down will show the names of possible places. Note that "Tutte Le Stazione" means "All The Stations".
Continue filling out the form. Note that you need to change the "Hour" information to an early hour in order to see all the trains. The default value is the local time on your computer. If you are up late at night, you will be shown trains for the next day. "Children" means those aged from the day after their 4th birthday to the day of their 15th birthday.
Click on "Cerca" (Search). You will see a screen listing possible trains. To see later trains, go to the bottom of the screen and click "Next solution". To do a different search, change the parameters on the top line of the screen, and click "Update". If you click the symbol next to a train, you will see a list of the stops made by the train during its journey.
If you have more than one person travelling, the price shown is the total price for all passengers. If your party includes children, look for prices counting them as children and then again counting them as adults. It may cost less to buy cheap adult tickets for them rather than full-price children's tickets.
Click on the "Select" link to the right of a train to see all the fares beging offered on that train. Base, Economy and Super Economy tickets buy the same seats, but have different conditions on changes and refunds. The number of Economy and Super Economy tickets on each train is limited. Click the symbol to see the ticket conditions or the facilities provided in each class. Second class is entirely comfortable, and there is no need to waste money on other classes.
Warning: Super Economy tickets are strictly "No change, no refund". Economy tickets may be changed once, up to one hour before the booked travel time, but only at a train station in Italy and on payment of the difference between the Economy fare paid and the full Base fare. Cartafreccia Special tickets are available only to Italians holding a Cartafreccia card.
Note the options at the bottom of the form. If you have made the mistake of buying a rail pass, select the option to view other prices and services. Then on the next screen, in the column headed "Offer", click the down-arrow next to "Base". Scroll down and select "Global Pass". If you click "Seat nearby", you will be able to enter the car and seat number of someone who has already bought a ticket and you want to sit near to. Click "Continue" to see the next screen.
If you chose "Select seat" in the previous screen, you will be shown a seating plan from which you can select a seat. The grey lines represent tables between facing seats. It is not possible to select the direction of travel, as the trains get turned in service and a seat can face either way. Indeed, if you travel from Rome to Venice via Florence, one end of the train waill be leading from Rome to Florence, and the other from Florence to Venice. Click "Continue" when you have selected a seat.
You now have 10 minutes to complete your purchase. Check carefully the details of the train you are booking. Is it the right date and time? Enter information about each of the passengers. Click "Add Travel Solution" to book another journey, or "Add Return" to book a return journey back to your starting point.
If you have registered with Trenitalia, you can enter your User ID and Password to log on. If you have not registered, select "Non Sono registrato".
At January 2014, the "Non Sono registrato" option is sometimes not shown so that only registered users can purchase. Unfortunately, Trenitalia requires an address in Italy in order ro register. This means that people living outside Italy cannot complete the purchase.
It seems that this problem occurs only when the purchase includes one or more segments of travel by Regionale train. The workaround is to buy the Frecce (or InterCity) tickets online to get the discount; then buy the Regionale tickets in Italy.
When you click on "Non Sono registrato", a new area appears in which you enter your name and e-mail address.
"Postoclick" payment is available only in Italy, so select Credit card or PayPal. Check your acceptance of the General Transport Conditions, and click Continue to complete the purchase.
Copyright © 2011-14 by Nick Booth. Please contact me if you have any comment.