Reading the Italian Train Departures Board

What You Need to Know About Finding Your Train in Italy

Think you might need help reading the train station departure board on your Italian train trip? The new ones offer a little more English in smaller type, but there are some European quirks hiding in there.

The destinations in the destinazione column are sometimes trunkated; places like Civitavecchia, where you catch the ferry to many destinations is one of these. The Informazioni column scrolls across, so in a still picture like this you're not seeing all the destinations the trains stop before reaching their final destination, but they'll be listed here. Although not a problem, be aware that Italy uses a 24 hour clock, so that 3pm will be listed as 15:00.

The binario column shows the track you should look for your train on, 1 being the number close to the station in smaller stations.

The unnamed column tells the type of train. Most of these trains are regional trains. RV indicates a regional "veloce" train, or a faster version of regional trains. You'll also see the fast InterCity (IC) trains connecting major cities and the fast Le Frecce trains in three colors, from fastest to slowest, red (FR) silver (FA) and white (FB). Night trains are given the designation (EN). You might also see the private Italo trains listed.

I buy my regional train tickets at the train station, either at the ticket window or at the machines that accept cash. It's easy to buy your outgoing train tickets when you arrive in a city station, then you'll have them before you leave, just in case something goes wrong or you've read the schedules wrong.

After you buy your ticket, if your train arrival is imminent, you can go to the track and see if your train is there and board it. If you've got time, you can get refreshment at any larger station.

To see one of northern Italy's main lines and a compelling one for tourists, see our Torino to Trieste Rail Map.

Italy also has some private tourist railroads, some that operate with steam engines. See Touristic Trains in Italy.

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