April 20th , 2011 → 10:11 am @ Susan

Train travel in Italy

Sometimes it’s nice to leave the car at home and ‘let the train take the strain!’  Train travel in Italy is easy and affordable and, Aulla-Lunigiana station -  just twenty minutes away from Casa Lucia – is the major station for the Lunigiana region with high-speed train services to cities all over Italy and regional trains to hundreds of towns and villages.  Here is a brief guide to train travel in Italy -

Types of Trains in Italy

Eurostar (ES or Treni Eurostar Italia)
Italy’s premier train, not to be confused with the Eurostar that travels under the English channel (the Italian Eurostar was first to claim the name). Seat reservations on Eurostar Italia are mandatory. Eurostar travels swiftly between major Italian cities.

Intercity and the newer Intercity Plus trains
Relatively fast trains that run the length of Italy, stopping at the large cities. First and second class service is available. First class coaches offer slightly better seats and are generally less populated. Seat reservations are compulsory on the Intercity Plus trains, and the fee is included in the ticket price. Seat reservations can be made for some Intercity trains, too.

Regionale (Regional Trains)
These are the local trains, often running around work and school schedules. They are cheap and usually reliable–but seats can be hard to find on major routes. Many regional trains have only second class seats, but if available, consider first class, asking for Prima Classe, per favore, it’s less likely to be full especially during commute times.

Finding your destination on the train schedules

In every train station there are both white and yellow/orange train schedules displayed. For departing trains, check the yellow/orange colored poster. It will tell you the route, the major intermediate stops, the the times the trains run. Be sure to check the notes column; expect schedule changes for weekends and holidays (there are generally fewer trains that run on weekends).

Buying an Italian Train Ticket

There are a number of ways to buy a train ticket in Italy.

  • Go to a ticket window at the station equipped with the time and destination of the train you want to take, the number of tickets you need, and ticket class (primo or secondo).   In major stations, the ticket vendors generally speak some English.
  • Use a ticket machine if the station has them. These are pretty easy to use, and you can avoid long lines at the ticket window.
  • Buy a ticket from a travel agent if they’re equipped to handle train tickets. An extra fee will usually be added to the price.
  • Buy train tickets online and see train schedules online at www.trenitalia.com.
  • Buy Eurostar e-tickets online from Select Italy, a US-based company. If you’re traveling by Eurostar, remember that seat reservations are mandatory. It’s also possible, and sometimes mandatory, to make seat reservations for IC trains as well.

For travel on regional trains, note that a train ticket buys you transportation on a train, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a seat on that train. If you find that your train is crowded and you can’t find a seat in second class, you may try to find a conductor and ask if your ticket can be upgraded to first class.  Please note that local trains are not always listed under the Trenitalia site, so don’t be alarmed if you can’t find the journey listed for Aulla to Cinque Terre, for example.  They do exist, but you will need to drop by the station to check on times. 

Trains run from Aulla to major cities all over Italy, such as Pisa (including the airport), Florence, Lucca, Milan, Venice, Verona, Bologna, Rome, and Naples.  To find out exact times and dates for the locations you want, click on www.trenitalia.com (the English language option is at the top right-hand corner) and type in Aulla as your starting point,  your destination, the date you require, and your preference for single or return.

Happy Travels!

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