Notes on Trenitalia

Trenitalia Web Site (English)

Trenitalia is the web site for the intercity Italian Train System. In theory the Trenitalia allows you to not only check the schedules for trains, but also buy tickets. I write in theory because this is one of the most difficult to use web sites I've ever encountered. I suspect that some people will simply give up in frustration rather than use the site.

I only purchased two train tickets: from Venice to Siena and from Siena to Bologna, so my experience with the Trenitalia site is limited to these transactions.

To purchase a ticket you first have to create a user account, with a user name and password. You also provide an email address. After you log in, you can check the train schedules and purchase a ticket. If you attempt to purchase a ticket without logging in you will get an obscure error that suggests that there are fields in the reservation form that need to be filled in (which is not the case).

Assuming you're logged in and you select a ticket purchase, a dialog box will pop up with, apparently, the number of tickets purchased. It failed when I tried to select a seat, so I allowed the system to assign a seat. The Trenitalia system reserves the ticket for 15 minutes. Apparently you have to purchase the ticket in this time. I made the mistake of reserving too many tickets once. This results in an error, informing you that you have to log in after a fifteen minute wait.

After you fill in your credit card information to purchase the ticket and send it to Trenitalia, it will come up with a web page that has the reservation information, along with a reservation code (a so called PNR code). The PNR code is used to obtain the ticket from the automatic ticket machine at the train station. A picture of one of these ticket machines (according to the Trenitalia web iste) is shown below (click on picture for a larger image).

From the Trenitalia web site:


With the Ticketless delivery option, you can purchase tickets over the Internet, through the Call Centre (89 20 21), or simply by collecting them on board the train you booked, showing staff your e-mail confirmation from Trenitalia, or showing certain correct details about the reservation (date and time; carriage and seat allocation; the PNR Reservation Code).

The Ticketless service is available on all Eurostar, and on certain IC \IC Plus trains, for all destinations (even intermediary) in both First and Second Class.

Pick-up from automatic self-service ticket machines

Ticket collection from stations with self-service ticket machines is free and has the added advantage that you can use it right up until the departure of the train.

Before choosing collection from a self-service ticket machine make sure there is a machine in the departure or collection station (list of stations).

To collect a ticket from a station self-service ticket machine, you must bring with you:

I find this somewhat confusing: you can either get the ticket from the machine or you can show the ticket person on the train your reservation. Without any experience, it seems like showing the ticket person your reservation and getting a ticket on the train would be easier. But I seem to recall, from my conversational Italian class, that there is an extra fee for getting a ticket on the train. I don't know if this is the case with Internet purchased tickets or not.

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