While many will argue that German trains are the most punctual, after experiencing both German and Italian trains, I have to argue that Italian trains are far superior.
If you’re spending a semester abroad in Rome you are more than likely going to be travelling around both Italy and Europe. One of your cheapest options is to take the train.
If you’re like me, the idea of taking trains between countries is very bizarre, but oddly enough it is completely in normal in Europe (almost even encouraged).
If you plan on taking the train around on your travels then you are going to head to Rome’s main train station, Termini.
As I mentioned in Roaming About Rome: The Woes of Public Transportation, there are numerous different bus routes in Rome, and many of them will bring you to right outside of Termini, making life a little less complicated. Both the A metro line and B metro line can take you right to Termini as well. Luckily, Rome has numerous different ways of getting to Rome so you don’t have to miss your train (trust me, I had some close calls).
Termini is a pretty big train station. There are tons of shops and restaurants (even a McDonald’s if you are feeling homesick) on every floor of Termini. Yes…there are multiple floors. For the trains themselves, you will want to be on the main level.
If you like to be prepared you can buy your tickets ahead of time online, or you have two options to buy tickets when you get to the train station. Your first option is taking to the salesperson, but if you don’t know Italian and you want the cheapest ticket possible, I do not suggest the first option. Your second option is buying your ticket from the ticket machines.
There are some pros and cons of using ticket machines. No matter what language you speak you can pick that language on the machine. You can also go through all the different times to your destination and the different prices. Your ticket also prints out right from the machine AND takes both cash and credit. Very convenient. There’s just one problem. Italy has been known to have a bad pickpocketing problem so of course the Italians want to warn all the tourists about it.
But of course they do it the wrong way.
While it is very convenient that you can pick whatever language you speak on the machine, the machines also announces, very loudly I might add, “Beware of pickpockets.” They, of course, announce this is the language that you chose. Announcing to everyone around you that you are an American tourist.
Thank you, Italy.
But seriously, be aware of pickpocketing in Termini. While I never was pickpocketed or witnessed it, it is still a problem and you need to make sure that you keep an eye or your luggage. Speaking of luggage, if you don’t feel like getting trampled and want to keep your luggage close by, your best option is a duffel bag to bring with you. Duffel bags are light, can fit a lot in them, and they’re easy to hold on to. Check out this duffel bag for your travels:
As for the rest of the train process, there is a giant board that will tell you what gate your train is boarding on. Make sure that you have your ticket ready to show the officer at the gate or they won’t let you through to your train.
Once you are on your train, check to see if you have an assigned seat because most European trains have assigned and reserved seats on a train.
After you find your seat, sit back and enjoy the ride. The trains from Rome can take you all over the place. I recommend buying a travel guide of Italy to map out everywhere you want to travel. Check out the travel guide, which I bought before my trip and gives great recommendations of things to do and places to eat in each popular city in Italy. Check out the link below:
Overall, enjoy travelling around Italy and enjoy the views on the way there, they are absolutely amazing.