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Do we need to get train tickets in advance for Italy?

Do we need to get train tickets in advance for Italy?

Mar 31st, 2017, 11:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,457
Do we need to get train tickets in advance for Italy?

We'll be in Italy the end of May. Will be taking trains for these legs:
- Parma > Bologna
- Bologna > Milan

Will also be taking these day trips by train:
Pisa > Lucca
Bologna > Ravenna (not sure about this one)

I'm guessing we can just get them when we're there but want to make sure.
MFNYC is offline  
Mar 31st, 2017, 12:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 29
Trips pisa-lucca and bologna-ravenna are operated by local (regionale) train.
These trains have not discounts and seats reservation and you can buy tickets online a maximum of 7 days before the travel.
If you buy a regionale ticket at the station, you will choose the day of the trip and your ticket will be valid until to midnight (before validation). If you buy them online, you must choose a specific train and, if you change idea, you will choose an other train only in the next 4 hours after the sheluded train. So buy regionale tickets at the station.
About trips parma-bologna and bologna-milan, if you choose a freccia train or intercity, you can have greats discounts buying tickets as soon as possible (limited number of seats with economy and super economy fares; less expensive than regionale but faster and more confortable).
If you want to buy regionale tickets at the station, you can also buy all tickets at the same station.
I hope to be helpful and sorry fon my not perfect english.
francesco_marchi_148 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2017, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 468
Indeed no advance buying possible or necessary for those Regionale trains.
Parma-Bologna is also served by Regionale or Regionale veloce trains, doing this stretch almost as fast as the Frecce.
Bologna-Milan is best done on the Frecce. Walk-up price is around EUR 45; advance bought Economy tickets are in the range of EUR 20 to 25 (depending on day and hour).
Check connections and prices on the Trenitalia website: www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en.
tonfromleiden is offline  
Mar 31st, 2017, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,425
While you can buy all of them when you are there, you can save money on the Bologna/Milan and Parma/Bologna fast trains if your purchase in advance. If you need a specific train (need to be somewhere at a certain time) then you would need to book these in advance as all the faster trains require mandatory seating and can sell out.

The slow regional trains that serve Lucca/Pisa or Bologna/Ravenna don't reserve seats so those trains don't sell out (cram in with everyone else and you may or may not get a seat). FWIW, I'm not a fan of Lucca and love Ravenna so I would make it a priority over Lucca.

Regional tickets need to be validated before boarding unless you bought tickets with specific time window.
kybourbon is offline  
Mar 31st, 2017, 12:27 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,457
Thanks! Looks like it may make sense to get Milan train in advance. We do need to get there at a certain time for a tour that afternoon.
MFNYC is offline  
Mar 31st, 2017, 01:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,529
Yes you can take all regional trains on those short trips -even when faster trains run the same route like Bologna to Milan- easiest to do as you just buy tickets once there as the excellent advice above says- and they are dirt-cheap. Otherwise for discounts on fast trains you must book a specific train in advance and not be able to change it or is you miss the train you'd be out.

And though regional trains do stop a lot on short distances this never bothered me -in fact I rather love the local trains that stop at every station -watching the action at them rather than a bullet train often in tunnels and well away from all but a handful of big cities.

For lots on Italian trains check www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets; and for general info www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

And here's one who absolutely loved Lucca - fine walled town known for its many towers - there is a Roman arena remains now built into housing areas. Have never been to Ravenna.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 1st, 2017, 09:08 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,457
Deed is done. Purchased my Bologna > Milan tickets because we have a tour scheduled in Milan the afternoon we get there so wanted to make sure we were set. The other tickets we'll play by ear.

Here's where we're staying:
Pisa: B&B 4 rooms
Manarola: AirBNB apartment
Parma: B&B Pio
Bologna: B&B Casa Faccioli
Milan: Gran Duca di York

We'll drive the Pisa > Manarola > Parma legs. The rest is train. Part of the reason for the car was to make a stop on our drive from Manarola to Parma at Tomasetti Family Winery.

Any restaurants, sightseeing musts, off the beaten path gems, etc welcome! I've been having Europe withdrawals for over 1.5 yrs, and Italy withdrawals 16 yrs so really looking forward to this trip. Never been to any of these places.
MFNYC is offline  

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