Veni, Vidi, Validate – The Key to Italian Train Travel

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When it comes to taking a train in Italy, think real estate. Only, instead of “location, location, location,” think “validate, validate, validate.”

Validating your train tickets may well be the biggest money-saving activity you can do when it comes to Italian train travel. If you don’t validate your ticket, you could be forced to pay fines in excess of 100 Euros.

Of course, there are countless other aspects of train travel in Italy, ranging from reading the train schedule to buying your ticket to locating your platform. In fact, our friends over at Why Go Italy have a nice in-depth piece on train travel in Italy.

However, we think the biggest unknown of the Italian train travel puzzle is the validation piece. It’s so integral to see the full picture but it is so very often overlooked, resulting in one of the most expensive puzzle pieces you’ve ever seen. So, validate, validate, validate.

I can hear you saying, “I get it,  I get it. But how?!”

Validating your ticket is easy. Here’s how:

  • If your ticket has a specific reservation, you do not need to validate your ticket, but we recommend validating just to be sure – it won’t hurt your reservation
  • After buying your ticket, seek out a yellow validation machine on a wall or divider
    • It will often say “convalida” on it but, even if it doesn’t, the yellow color makes it stand out
    • It looks somewhat like a punch clock we used to use at work – there’s a slot for your ticket and not much else
  • Insert the end of your ticket into the slot until the machine validates it
    • Once validated, your ticket will now have the current time, location and date printed on it
  • Voila! You’re ready to board the train!

A LITTLE EXTRA: As you’ll most likely be traveling on Trenitalia while in Italy (it handles 95% of the routes there!), check out the Trenitalia website for more information on timetables, schedules and rates.

What experiences have you had with Italian trains?

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