With offers this good, who cares where you go?

This is just a quick post to let people know how easy it is to book tickets with trenitalia and how cheap it currently is to travel by train in Italy (wonderfully cheap compared to  the painfully expensive UK ticket prices I normally deal with).

Link to Trenitalia offera mini
Traveling by train is a great way to see Italy. It's quick, takes you from city center to city center, and gives you a constantly changing smorgasbord of beautiful scenery. We've recently braved the trenitalia website (which, while a bit slow, isn't too bad actually) and have saved a small fortune with the current Offerta mini special offer, and if you plan to travel anywhere in Italy in the next month or so, I urge you to give it a go, rather than using a foreign agency, through which you can't normally access the special offers as you can if you use the trenitalia site directly.


The Italian Frecciarossa train or 'Red Arrow' from www.train-photos.com

Trenitalia's top-of-the-range trains are the Eurostar Italia 'Frecciarossa' (red arrow) high speed trains, which travel at 175mph and the Eurostar Italia 'Frecciargento' (silver arrow) 125mph tilting trains. These are the most expensive but can give you journey times such as Rome-Naples in 1 hour 10 minutes or Rome-Venice in 3 hours 45 minutes. The next level of train is the 'Eurostar City' (EC) which are still pretty good and are still air-conditioned and comfortable. One step below the EC is the IC, or intercity train. These are cheap but still of a good standard and are pretty quick, going 100-125mph. Below these are the Espresso and Regionale trains, which can be a bit more variable. They are very cheap for the distances involved but can sometimes be in a bit of a state, so I'd avoid these if you can (unless you're really on a budget).

Using the trenitalia website, you pick the trains you want to take and only after this do you get to choose the cheaper offerta tickets (this is what other travel agents can't get to). These tickets can be amazing. For example, I've got a return from Rome to Naples for 32 Euros, taking Eurostar City trains both ways. Quick, convenient, and cheap. Once you've chosen your tickets, you can register (to get sent e-tickets to your e-mail account) and pay. At this point, you may struggle. For whatever reason, the trenitalia website experiences some problems with some non-Italian card circuits, such as Visa credit cards (but not Visa debit cards) or American Express. Sometimes this is because your bank thinks the transaction is dodgy, since, as it's on the trenitalia site, it appears as if suddenly you're spending money in Italy, so it's a good idea to check with your bank and let them know you plan to use the site before giving up. Other than that,  and only if you're in the US, you can use this excellent new portal to the trenitalia site from Why Go Italy, which does have access to the promotional offers.

Remember, all Regionale and local train tickets must be validated immediately before boarding using one of the small yellow machines at the entrance to every platform. You do not need to validate Eurostar Italia, EC or IC tickets as these include specific train reservations (which means that not only are you guaranteed a seat but you have to religiously stick to taking the train at the time you booked, unless you want to face a hefty fine).

If you want more comprehensive information on train travel in Italy then I suggest you take a look at the magnificent seat61 website, which has everything you need to know about train travel, tickets, left luggage, train stations etc., around the world.

So, if you're in Italy in the next couple of months and have a few days, do it! Take advantage of the excellent offers on the trenitalia website and see as much of Italy as you can! 
Buon viaggio!!

Update - the latest special offer (Promo Autunno) where one can travel anywhere in Italy on the Frecciarossa from only €19 has been extended until the 23rd January 2012 !

Click to go through to Trenitalia for the latest offer.

3 comments:

  1. I agree with you that the trains in Italy are an efficient and economical way to travel.

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  2. Yes, I agree too. Italy's trains are not too bad at all, and ticket prices are still reasonable. UK train tickets are frighteningly expensive but the service is no better - possibly worse.

    The online booking system is easy to use, works and there is not a baffling choice of tickets either.

    My only gripe is that you cannot book places for dogs online.

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  3. Thanks for your comments guys!

    Alex - I didn't know you had to book a place for a dog anyway! Surely if you have to book for a dog you should be able to do it online.

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