Robert Bishop offers up some great Tips for traveling in Italy by train for visitors who are looking to buy point to point train tickets in Italy. (Many tourists really, really want to buy tickets in advance and many have a great deal of trouble doing so. It isn’t very difficult, really.)
But please, whatever you do, use the yellow machines and validate your ticket before you board your train. It’ll save you lots of money. Here in the Lunigiana, and in Liguria, they’ve cracked down; there is an instant fine payable on the spot issued to violators no matter how much you grovel. The only concession I’ve seen is on our little Aulla-to-Lucca motorino, where the conductor sent four British tourists back to the station to validate their tickets while the train waited and the rest of us looked on accusingly. They returned sheepishly, the wool of ignorance no longer pulled over their eyes.
Last spring we were even required to show a tax official the receipt we got from buying a couple of items at a bread store. We’ve never had to do that before.
From the timing, I’m wondering if this cracking down wasn’t part of Prodi’s economic reforms—reforms that really appeared to be working to return some money to government coffers after Italy’s deficit widened a few years ago. Will these sorts of things relax as the new administration concentrates on ways to gift the rich with tax cuts? Stay tuned.