One morning at the last moment, we decided to go on an adventure to Lucca for the day, which is a short 1.5-hour train ride from Florence. Here’s how we learned to purchase the train tickets for such a short, and impromptu, trip!
1. Plan to get there a bit early ⌚️ We got to the train station about 20 minutes prior to our intended departure, which worked well. Trains seemed to depart for this itinerary about every half hour.
2. Make your way to the part of the station titled Biglietti, or Tickets 🎟 In Florence’s SMN train station, it was about halfway down the station and to the left.
3. Decide how you will purchase your tickets: either via self-service or at a ticket counter 🤸🏻♀️We chose the self-service kiosk, which was quite easy. First, you choose your language, and then it prompts you for a destination city. Many of the most popular destinations are already selected, but in our case, we had to search for Lucca. It popped up and we selected our time, as well as the number of tickets.
4. Pay 💰 We decided to pay in cash, putting our coins in first. If you want to use a card, you must make sure you have a chip-and-pin card for unattended transactions like this (or the charge might be declined). The touchless payment options seemed to not be working on our machine, further encouraging our cash decision. For a point of reference, the tickets were just over 7 Euro each, which is a great deal, and easy to have enough cash on hand for! 👍🏻
5. Retrieve your tickets from the slot on the machine 🎟 “qui è tuo quattro biglietti” is what the machine said to us!
6. Determine your departure platform 🚉 Often you will need to know your train number and final destination. Our train left from the 6th platform.
7. Very important step not to be missed: validate your ticket 🚏There are validation boxes located on the walls near each platform for Trenitalia short-distance trains like this. Look on your ticket for the proper way to insert the ticket. Pop the ticket in just as you’re about to board. Missing this step could result in a fine.
8. Check your ticket to see if there are any car or seat assignments 💺 Since our trip was so short, we had 2nd class tickets, which had unassigned seats.
9. Board the train 👩🏻✈️ We boarded about 10 minutes before departure and found many empty seats up on the second level. The four of us spread out, only to have others sit with us! This was fine, but next time we might aim to all sit together.
10. Sit back and enjoy your ride 🚂 Oh, and keep your ticket handy in case you need to show it at any point.
There you have it — a step-by-step guide to jumping on a train in Italy! It is really so easy and fun, too! So if you find yourself deciding whether to go on a day trip, know that the logistics of train travel shouldn't stop you.