1. How to Buy Train Tickets in Italy

    In December I travelled to Pisa in Italy for a short break before Christmas. There is not much to do in Pisa apart from climb the Leaning Tower but just an easy train ride away is Cinque Terre – somewhere I had always wanted to visit from the first time I saw that iconic photo of the village of Manarola.

    As with many of my posts, I am using this opportunity to show how easy it is to buy train tickets by yourself to give you the freedom to tour independently. I know that in the summer months this area of Italy is incredibly busy due to the number of cruise ships that dock in La Spezia, Genoa and Livorno daily but this does not mean that you need to rely on booking overpriced organised tours to see everything that you want.

    If you know the exact dates and times that you want to travel, you can buy train tickets ahead of time on the Trenitalia website but buying tickets using the machines at the train stations the day before travel or even on the day itself is incredibly easy.

    In every train station you will notice the many green ticket machines that you can use to purchase tickets. The photos I have taken show the purchasing of tickets from Pisa Centrale to La Spezia Centrale however the process is the same no matter what the destination.

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    If you do not speak Italian then you can change the language on the machines to English, French, Spanish and German. After selecting the language you need, to buy tickets you will need to:

    Select “Buy your ticket”

    Select your destination by selecting one of the stations listed on screen or

    If the station you want to travel to is not listed, touch “Other Stations” and use the keypad to start typing your destination and select the station name when it appears on the screen

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    You can also change the date and time of departure by touching “Modify” in the top right corner of the screen and selecting a new date and time

    Then you can select which train you would like to book tickets for from the options that appear on the screen by touching the shopping cart icon on the right of the screen

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    Select if you would like to purchase 1st or 2nd class tickets

    Select how many tickets you need – you can select both adult and children’s tickets at this point

    You can also have the option of adding a return ticket to the booking at this point

    The final step is payment

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    As you will have tickets printed with a specific train number, date and time on them, you will not need to validate them in the machines on the platforms before boarding the train.

    If you are unsure to any Italian printed on your tickets, the only words you really need to know are:

    Treno – Train Number
    Carrozza – Carriage
    Posti – Seat Number

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