Italian train etiquette

I love travelling by train in Italy, first class of course. Italians though, are always complaining about the trains here: they don’t run on time, they are dirty, always full, they’re always going on strike. Sure, I’ve had a few problems with late trains and strikes but mostly it’s been a positive experience.

It can be a fraught experience for the uninitiated however, so here are my 8 tips for getting the most out of your train ride:

  • Always try to get away with travelling 1st class with your 2nd class ticket. You may be able to travel in comfort almost to your destination – which could be an hour or two – before the ticket inspector checks your ticket and moves you along.
  • Take your mobile phone out immediately you step on the train. Talk as if you are at home – as loud as you like, using your normal language.
  • Take up as much available space as you need.
  • Leave your suitcase in the aisle if there is no available space next to you, it will only inconvenience people who are moving around with luggage themselves.
  • If you are in 2nd class on one of the fast intercity trains and haven’t reserved a seat, sit wherever you like. When the person with the allocated seat turns up, refuse to move.
  • If you are in a caring mood, help the woman with the heavy suitcase onto or off the train (there are usually two or three steps from the platform to the train). If the mood isn’t with you, watch her struggle, then hop on yourself.
  • Have a conversation with your friend the entire trip (in your normal voice); what you did last night, how your boyfriend is such a doosh, clothes shopping, what you and your boyfriend are planning for the weekend… Be as intimate and personal as you like, nothing is sacred.
  • As soon as you get off the train, light a cigarette and puff away as if your life depended on it.

As I said, I love train travel in Italy…first class of course!

Happy travelling….Isabella


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