Reviewed: The Cheapest, Easiest Ways to Book Italian Train Tickets

by  Mose Hayward
LAST UPDATED ON  2023-05-17
PUBLISHED ON  2018-09-05
You can get the same lowest prices as the official Italian train operators offer but avoid the hassle of dealing directly with them.

Your Guide

Mose Hayward

Travel Nerd

We’ve spent weeks testing websites to find out how to efficiently book the cheapest tickets for Italian train travel.

We tested all kinds of routes and options, and looked at overall end purchase prices as well as the complaints about and defects with the national operator’s website, Trenitalia and to the competing private train operator, Italo. We compared these to various private ticket booking systems for Italy.

The winner is a train booking site that’s better for both foreigners and Italians that enables one to get the same prices while reducing exasperation with the official websites.

The Best Way to Book Italian Train Tickets

We found that Trainline is the best train booking option right now for Italy — it has the smartest search engine that comes up with cheaper and better route options than private competing portals, and even better in many cases than the official Italian train companies’ sites themselves.

Trainline also helps avoid the obvious challenges of those sites, such as poor translations (and untranslated portions of the sites, such as place names), foreign credit card denials, surprise re-directs, incomprehensible options, and technical bugs that cause you to restart your purchase process. Plus Trainline searches both Italian train systems at once.

The downside: there is a few-percent booking fee tacked on at the end of the booking process. It’s worth it for all of the advantages above, and only amounts to a couple of euros, but we wish Trainline were more transparent about exactly how much the fee will be for users, instead of just showing it on the final payment screen.

Customers are also generally reasonably satisfied with the level of customer service from Trainline when tickets need to be refunded or exchanged.

The other excellent private portal for Italian train tickets is Raileurope. It is just as easy to use, but doesn’t have as many options as Trainline, such as senior cards for Italy. Its booking fee is transparent: £4.95, €5.95 or $5.95, depending on the currency that you choose. This is usually more than Trainline, but it is a fee per basket, so you may save money if buying multiple tickets at once from RailEurope.

Why Search for an Alternative to the Italy’s Rail Operator’s Websites?

The Advantages of Trainline for Italian Train Tickets

A Few Disadvantages of Trainline — But They Don’t Derail Us

Other Private Platforms for Booking Italian Train Tickets

Wrap-up: Our Favorite Train Portal for Italian Tickets

We now generally head to Trainline for train tickets for Italy.

For simple tickets, prices are the same as the carriers themselves, and the booking process is much, much smoother. There is a booking fee at the end of the process, but it’s quite small and well worth it for the better service and better routes.

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