LIFE/Trenitalia, It’s a Love-Hate Relationship

If you don’t speak Italian or aren’t inherently gifted in navigating based solely on a gut feeling you’re bound to have some trouble with the Italian trains. Between the confusion on which train is the correct train or how to validate a ticket and avoid a fee for possible fraud, getting around Italy can be difficult for someone new to the operation.

During my stay in Italy I have planned to explore different regions and towns on my days off, hopefully making the most of the “study” abroad experience. But, before I can begin dreaming of dipping my feet into the Mediterranean I have to first arrive at my desired destination. There’s only one problem; I’m a visitor with no car and thus forced to rely upon public transportation known as Trenitalia. 

Trenitalia is the main train network, which runs throughout the provinces and services all the major sights and cities. Prices are moderate when compared to the American equivalent, and the timetables appear to be convenient and frequent. What Trentitalia doesn’t tell you is that inevitable train delays up to 40 minutes could alter your weekend destination plans. Unlike American trains, the tickets also require validation, which consists of inserting the ticket into a small machine close to the platforms.

Maps are almost impossible to find, or just plain don’t exist. Consequently, this makes it easy for any confused tourist to end up in a town they have never heard of, with very little idea of how to return to their original terminal. Just two weeks ago I had my “eureka” moment with how to maneuver Trenitalia like any nonchalant Italian. It’s the train NUMBER that is the most important to make note of when purchasing a ticket at the electronic kiosks, not the destination.

Fortunately there is a Trenitalia website which is decently user-friendly and has an English option, allowing me to preplan my departures. Although this greatly assisted me on my journey to grasping the transportation system, which took three weeks, it wasn’t until I found a map of the routes around Rome that the dots started to connect within my mind.

At this point I am ready to validate my ticket and hop on, arriving at my planned destination without any unexpected excursions. I’ve come a long way, and learned to love the view as I sit on the train awaiting my stop at Viterbo Porta Romana. Once I arrive I walk along the makeshift boards that serve as a way to cross the tracks, and wonder where Trenitalia will take me next weekend.

Ciao! mi chiamo Anna Matteucci e vengo da Seattle, Washington. Studio Scienze Politiche ed Economia all’Università dell’Idaho. Sono una tifosa accanita del football americano FORZA SEAHAWKS! e amo il posto che chiamo casa. Ho deciso di studiare a Viterbo per godere del cibo e della cultura italiana. Il Lazio mi ha sempre attratto per via dei paesaggi collinari che creano scenari mozzafiato. Negli Stati Uniti vivo con mia madre e il mio patrigno in estate e quando sono all’università vivo con il mio ragazzo. Ho un gatto e mi piace il colore arancione. Sono una persona estremamente socievole e non vedo l’ora di raccontare la mia esperienza qui a Viterbo.

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