Regionale (Italy)

If you will be travelling by Regionale trains, our guide will tell you all you need to know, from booking and using tickets, to making the most of the journey experience.

Regionale (R) train services are the LOCAL trains in Italy and call at every (virtually all) stations on the routes they take.



Four Things Worth Knowing About Regionale (R) train services:

1. A wide variety of trains used on Regionale services - and that’s because Trenitalia is gradually replacing what were/are some of Europe’s oldest trains

At the top end of the scale are virtually brand new air-conditioned trains, SOME of which are double-decked - and you are more likely to be boarding one of these trains when travelling to/from a major city in northern Italy.

If you are not so fortunate an old relic will be provided, prompting thoughts along the lines of ‘that can’t be the train I’m supposed to take?’… but it will be.

2. Also Regionale trains both new and (particularly) old are often seemingly irresistible to graffiti artists – though they may have assumed that the older trains won’t be used anymore.

And yes those views of the stunning Italian landscape and coast can be marred if you can barely see out of the window.

However, don’t let the graffiti put you off, the trains have a conductor on board to help ensure a safe journey.

3.  On many routes, particularly in northern Italy, alternative Regionale Veloce (RV) train services are faster than these Regionale (R) trains.

Mainly because those RV services - skip some stations that the Regionale trains call at -  the RV trains tend to only call at the major towns and cities.

4.  Some 'Regionale' services aren't operated by Trenitalia - in Lombardy the dominant operator is Trenord.

Therefore Trenord operates most of the Regionale services in and around Milano.

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Nine Things Worth Knowing About Using Tickets on Regionale Trains:

The trains used for Regionale (R) services are nearly always 2nd class only.

2.  The same 2nd class ticket prices are charged for journeys by Regionale and Regionale Veloce trains - despite the fact that on many routes the Regionale Veloce (RV) train services are faster.

3.  Tickets valid for journeys by Regionale (R) trains aren’t discounted online, so will cost the same if you purchase them last minute at the station.

4.  The local stations in Italy don't tend to have staffed ticket counters, instead the local tobacconist 'Tabacchi' stores often sell train tickets for journeys by the Regionale trains.
Look for a general store which happens to sell cigarettes, it will have a 'Tabacchi' sign in the window, and may also have a 'Trenitalia' sign.

5. Don’t forget to stamp your ticket in one of the machines before boarding a Regionale train service.

Once you have stamped your ticket you will have 4 hours to complete the journey - no scheduled journey by Regionale train will take more than 4 hours.

As long as you arrive at your final destination within 4 hours, you CAN stop over at intermediate stations and jump on later trains.

For example if you were travelling from Bologna to Parma and validated your ticket at 10:00, you could then stop off in Modena as long as you arrived in Parma by 14:00 (2pm) - do that and you WOULDN'T then need to buy a new ticket for the Modena to Parma train.

7. If you weren't able to purchase a ticket before boarding, particularly due to a lack of, or broken ticket machines at a station, immediately seek out the conductor and purchase your ticket(s) from them.
Wait for them to find you and you will be fined €5.

8.  Tickets valid for Regionale trains CANNOT be used for journeys by Intercity or Frecce trains - but they can be used on Regionale Veloce services

9. Seat reservations aren't available on Regionale train services - it's why rail pass users can hop on board.

Therefore seats are not guaranteed – particularly on the trains to and from major cities at commuter times.

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Five Tips for Boarding a Regionale (R) train service:

1. As tickets can be used on Regionale Veloce (RV) train services and Regionale (R) train services, on many routes you can choose between the two services.

When there is a choice the better option is USUALLY the Regionale Veloce trains as it's likely that they will transport you to your destination faster.

2. On the paper departure sheets at stations Regionale Veloce trains are shown as RV trains.

On the electronic departure screens they're also usually classified as RV trains - though RGV will also be used.

While for these slower Regionale train services (R) is used.

3. This matters because the trains themselves offer no clue as to whether you will be boarding a Regionale Veloce service compared to a slower Regionale train service.

You won’t see any ‘branding on the trains – so it is virtually impossible to tell RV and R trains apart by looking at them.

4. If you will be joining a Regionale service at its starting point - aim to be at the station a minimum of 15 mins before departure.

When the binario/platform/track number is confirmed you can join the stampede towards the train - miss the rush and it can be too late to find a seat.

5. If need be walk through the train to find spare seats.

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Four Things Worth Knowing About Being On Board RV trains:

Despite the different types of train used for Regionale (R)services, these things are common to ANY journey.

1. There will be a conductor on board all Regionale trains, who will move through the train checking tickets.

2. The announcements will be Italian followed by English, but the Italian names of places/stations are used - so Firenze = Florence etc.

3. Pay particular attention to these announcements if you will be travelling after dark - the parts of Italian stations away from the exits often aren't very well lit, so it can be tricky to see what station you have arrived at.

4. Also Regionale trains often call at multiple station calls in a city BEFORE they arrive in a main station - so be aware of the precise name of the station you are heading to.

Avoid seeing Firenze, Milano, Verona etc on the name of a station and jumping off the train because you have assumed that you have arrived at the right station.

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Taking Bikes On Regionale (R) train services:

Trenitalia's guide to travelling on its trains with bikes is HERE (It is in Italian so use Google Translate to make sense of it).

The particularly pertinent info for the Regionale trains is to do with the 'mounted bikes' - in the English translation.

You need to buy a bike ticket(s) from a ticket office prior to boarding - so don't assume you can take a bike on board.

An overview of train travel in Italy

How to buy tickets for Italian train journeys

Riding ON Italian trains

Travelling on European daytime trains

Travelling on European overnight trains

International train routes to/from Italy

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