Hot! Italian Trains 101

This weekend, a directionally challenged friend visited me in Finale and was kind enough to take on the challenge of getting from airport, to train station, to Finale on her own. To help, I purchased a ticket for her in advance and gave her step-by-step instructions. She made it without problems and said the photos and checklist were essential. So for those of you worried that you can’t find your way around in another country, have hope. If my friend can do it, so can you.

Here is what you need to take the train in Italy. These instructions reference Milan’s main train station, but will translate to any major station in the country.

Welcome to Milano Centrale

(1) Milan’s main train station is Milano Centrale (pronounced Chin-Trawl-E). Built in the early 20th Century, it is an impressive example of grandiose Italian architecture. New renovations were completed two years ago and it now has a modern second level with plenty of seating and shops. There are escalators on either end to move people and luggage around.

If you are coming from Malpensa Airport, you will arrive by airport shuttle or train directly at the station. If you are coming from Linate Airport, you will take a city bus or metro and should get off at the Station stop.

(2) Enter through any door and follow the signs to the trains.

(3) If you need to buy a ticket, the Fast Ticket kiosks are easy to use and have instructions in five languages.

Finding Your Train

(4) The trains are on the top level. As you enter the tracks you will see the Central Reader Board.

(5) Find your train based on: Train number, time of departure, or ending destination. All of this information is on your ticket.

The last number on the board is the Binaro – or track number. For example, on the Reader Board the train to Roma leaves at 14:00 (2pm). The Roma train is on track 15.

If you don’t see the Bin number right away, be patient. This number will be posted closer to your train departure time.

Boarding The Train

(6) Once your BIN NUMBER is posted, you may go towards the track. The bin number is listed at the beginning of the track lines. It will also have the ending destination, train number and departure time posted.

The train should be there ready to board. If not, just wait and it will arrive soon.  If it is arriving, wait for people to get off the train before you board.


Finding Your Seat

Your ticket will indicate the Car (CARROZZA) and Seat (POSTI) reserved for you. (5)

(7) First look for your CARROZZA. The number will be listed on the door. This is Car 7. The 2 indicates Second Class.

(8) Next find your Compartment by finding your seat number. The diagram shows where you seat is inside the compartment.

(9) Take your seat inside the compartment. There is a rack for your luggage above the seats. If your bag is heavy, someone is always helpful to put it up.

During the trip, the conductor will ask to see and punch your ticket.

Now sit back and enjoy Italy.

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  1. Nice post! I mentioned it to a twitter/blogging acquaintance with a blog all about train travel. I like the photos.