Different trains in Italy

 I'm writting this post because I felt very lost when I went to Japan and they had all the different trains and was hard to make sense for me. So you guys that are here in Italy and are from different countries probably feel the same way I felt in Japan.
 Train travel in Italy is cheap compared to other western European countries. But there's a catch: major rail lines in Italy tend to have a vast ridership and seats during "rush hours" can be difficult to find on Italian regional trains. Another catch is to get the ticket at least two weeks before if you take a high speed train.
 On this post I will teach you how to get all the kinds of trains and keep reading until the end so you will see how to go to Paris and Vienna with the train from Vicenza Station.

Italy train routes map

Traveling by train is usually the best option for visiting large and medium-sized cities.
Where can you go on the Italian train? Check this Italy Rail Map on Europe Travel.

Difference of trains in Italy

Here is a list the types of trains by cost and speed, expensive and fast trains first. These trains are all part of the national rail line, Trenitalia.
Frecce and Eurostar (ES or Treni Eurostar Italia)
Frecce are Italy's fast trains that run only between most major cities. Seat reservations on Frecce trains are mandatory and usually included in the ticket price. Eurostar Italia trains have mostly been replaced by the Frecce series that serve major cities and you'll see them designated on the Trenitalia web site as Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, and Frecciabianca, however on the departure board at the station they may still be designated by ES.

Intercity and Intercity Plus trains
Intercity are relatively fast trains that run the length of Italy, stopping at cities and large towns. 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 most Intercity trains, too.
Regionale (Regional Trains)These are the local trains, often running around work and school schedules.

In this category you will find the Regionale (R) and the Regionale Veloce (RV). If you can, always choose the RV for your trips because the R stops in all the stations and the RV goes direct. The R and RV are the same price and the price is fixed, so you do not need to buy in advance to get a good deal.


Regionale Veloce to Venice from Vicenza:
Vicenza - Padova - Mestre - Venice (45 minutes) EUR6,25

Regionale to Venice from Vicenza:
Vicenza - Lerino - Grisignano - Mestrino - Padova - Busa - Vigonza - Dolo - Mira - Mestre - Porto - Venice (1 hour and 20 minutes) EUR6,25

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 and doesn't cost much more.

Those trains are owned by the government of Italy so you know what to expect. One time coming from Bologna in a Regionale in the summer I almost passed out of the heat inside the train, the train AC was broke. The government trains in Italy can also be late and sometimes a little dirty. So that's the difference, I know is very confused!

Finding your destination on the train schedules

 In train stations there are both white and yellow/orange train schedules displayed. For departing trains, check the yellow/orange coloured 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 Sundays and holidays (there are generally fewer trains that run on Sundays). Most train stations have a large board or small television listing trains that will arrive or depart soon and which track they use.
 Let's say you are getting a Regional train from Vicenza to Padova. You will look at the screen written VENEZIA, but the train stops in Padova and Mestre. So be patience and read where the train stops on the way. Also make sure you board on the Regionale (R,RV,REG,RE,RGV).
 If you are not good at Italian Geography I recommend printing the train map I have linked here so you can bring with you to check the routes! 

Buying an Italian Train Ticket

There are a number of ways to buy a train ticket in Italy or Before You Go:
  • 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.
  • 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 but you may need to pay in cash.
  • Buy train tickets online and see train schedules at Trenitalia or Italo.
  • If you're traveling on a Freccia or Eurostar Italia train, remember that seat reservations are mandatory. It's also possible, and usually mandatory, to make seat reservations for IC trains.
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.

Private Rail Companies (Italo)

Italo, a private rail company, runs fast trains on routes between a few of the major cities. I really enjoy the Italo train, the difference of the other trains is that they are super clean, always on time, good service, fast and no I don't own stocks of this company even if I should because is a company in expansion right now!
 If you travel from Vicenza you will have to go to Padova or Verona to get the Italo. I strongly recomend of you to sign up on Italo loyalty programme so you will receive emails with a lot of discounts like sometimes 50% off! You can sign up using this link: https://www.italotreno.it/en/italo-piu-loyalty-programme
 You can for example go with Italo even for a day trip to Bologna and Padova.  Italo is also cheaper than the Freccia and the service is much much better. If you can afford the first class do it, it's worth the money and you get to drink prosecco as you ride in the smooth fast train.
 For going to Padova you can take the Regionale from Vicenza, always have a half hour gap if you are depending on the Regionale trains. Once you are in Padova if you get there very early the train station is nice and you can have a nice coffee, shop some snacks at the supermarket or shop at Tiger. The Italo train usually leaves from the platform 1 if you are going south.
 On Italo you don't need to validate or stamp your ticket. You can just tell them a code you will receive when you book it on line or thru the App.

 Some other small private rail companies serve towns in one area such as Ente Autonomo Volturno that has routes from Naples to places like the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii or the
 Ferrovie del Sud Est that serves southern Puglia.

Boarding your Train

Once you have a ticket, you can head out to your train. In Italian, the tracks are called binari (track numbers are listed under bin on the departure board). In smaller stations where the trains go through the station you'll have to go underground using the sottopassagio or under passage to get to a track that isn't Binario uno or track number one. In larger stations like Milano Centrale, where the trains pull into the station rather than passing through, you'll see the trains head-on, with signs on each track indicating the next expected train and its departure time.
But before you go to your train--validate that train ticket! If you have a regional train ticket or ticket for one of the small private lines (or any ticket without a specific train number, date, and time), just before you board your train, find the green and white machine (or in some cases the old-style yellow machines) and insert the end of your ticket. This prints the time and date of the first use of your ticket, and makes it valid for the journey. There are stiff fines for not validating your ticket. Validation applies to regional train tickets or any ticket that does not have a specific date, time, and seat number on it.
Once you find your train, just board it. You will probably have to show your ticket to a conductor once during your journey so keep it where you can get to it. Usually there are racks above the seats for luggage. Sometimes there are dedicated shelves near the ends of each coach for your larger baggage. Note that you will not find porters in the station or waiting by the track to help you with your luggage, you will need to get your luggage onto the train yourself.
It's customary to greet fellow passengers when you sit down. A simple buon giorno will do nicely. If you want to know if a seat is vacant, simply say Occupato? or E libero?

How to get good deals when booking a train in Italy?
 For the Regionale the price is fixed, so does not matter when you buy.
 On Italo the best way to get a good price is subscribing on their website so you receive the emails and you can use the codes that they send you. Two weeks in advance the minimum. I got one time a ticket first class to Rome for just EUR9,99 on the Italo website.

 On Freccia you can also subscribe for the deals, but they are not so good as the Italo. On saturday you can get (sometimes), two tickets for one price. Here is the link: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en/Offers/2x1-Special-Offer

Traveling International Stress Free from Vicenza 
 From Vicenza rail station at the moment we have two night trains that travel international. On both trains you can sleep in a little cabin and I did it before and was actually a very pleasant experience. You can take your dog with you as well on the train.

To Paris THELLO TRAIN to be booked in this website: 

To Vienna OBB Trains to be booked in this website:
I did both trains and I really enjoyed both experiences, there is even breakfast served in the morning. The trains were nice, clean and I had a great night of sleep. You can get as cheap as 35EUR if booked in advance, it's a great idea for bringing kids with you or your pets.  Another good thing is that you can bring as much French wine and cheese as you can fit in your bags.  
 This could be another post of weekend trips to Vienna/Bratislava and to Paris!