LivingTravelShould you buy an Italian rail pass to travel...

Should you buy an Italian rail pass to travel by train in Italy?

While having an Italian rail pass, also called a Eurail Italy Pass, can sometimes be more convenient, it doesn’t always save you money. If you take multiple trips between major cities that are quite far apart, travel long distances, or travel to Italy from another country, an Italian Rail Pass will probably save you money.

Train tickets in Italy

If you plan to visit Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan, individual train tickets will cost less than an Italian rail pass, especially if you buy tickets in advance and can get a discount. Going to Rome, Florence, Venice and coming back to Rome will be closer to the same amount. However, if you plan to travel more days by train and go further, a rail pass valid for more days can save you money.

There are other factors to consider as well. If you are under 26 you can get a less expensive pass and if you are traveling with a group there is a discount. Passes are valid for 3-8 days in a month and do not have to be consecutive, so if you are not sure which day you want to travel and you don’t mind going to the station early to get your seat reservation, a pass can give you more flexibility than buying all your train tickets in advance.

If you buy an Italian rail pass, you will still have to make (and pay for) seat reservations on high-speed ( frecce ) and intercity trains. An Italian rail pass is only valid on domestic trains, operated by Trenitalia . It is not good on private rail lines like Italo high speed trains or smaller private regional lines like those in Puglia or between Naples and Sorrento.

Regional trains in Italy are inexpensive, so using a rail pass for regional trains and even for some Intercity trains is not profitable. For example, if you are visiting the popular Cinque Terre , you will take a regional train and use a rail pass so it is not worth the cost.

You can check the price of individual tickets on Trenitalia, the Italian railway site or check the prices or buy (in US dollars) the Frecce (high speed) train tickets for your route on the Select Italy train tickets page.

You must have your rail pass validated within six months of purchase by a rail official at a train station. Reservations and supplements are not included in the pass and must be purchased separately. Be sure to read all the details about your rail pass before using it, as conditions can change.

Do you need a rail pass in Europe?

There are many types of European rail passes available, including passes valid for rail travel in a single country or in multiple countries. Train tickets in most other European countries are generally more expensive than those in Italy, so if you are traveling by train in another country besides Italy, you may consider a two-country pass.

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