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Seat reservations in Italy (Regionale Veloce)

  • 19 March 2022
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Hi,

I’m planning to travel through Italy with Interrail pass during summer and I’m wondering if these “Regionale Veloce” trains require a compulsory reservation. According to the Interrail timetable (see the picture), it does require a reservation, but according to other sources, Regionale and Regionale Veloce trains doesn’t require a reservation. Another interesting fact is that it doesn’t provide the price of the reservation, so I’m really confused.

Thank you for your answer.

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Best answer by Anonymous 31 March 2022, 13:29

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Userlevel 7
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I'm also a bit confused. Deutsche Bahn doesn’t know anything about mandatory reservation. They get their data from the same source, so that's strange (for 21 March):

Trenitalia themselves say reservations can be made, which means they're optional:

So I'd say don't worry and just hop on.

@Nanja, this seems to be some kind of data error. It should be "reservation possible” instead of "reservation required”. There seem to be more RV trains on this route with this error. And maybe on more routes (I didn't check). I don't know of any regional trains in Italy with mandatory reservations.

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This has been something I’ve enquired about both on here and, before the forum, on the Facebook group. It doesn’t always seem like something that Interrail staff are entirely comfortable they can answer adequately, and the reason for that in turn surely must lie with the wall of silence that is Trenitalia’s customer service department…

My understanding is that reservation-obligatory regional trains were introduced as a pandemic-related measure to maintain social distancing, and as Italy remains one of the most cautious countries in relaxing restrictions, I don’t know in practice whether this still applies, and if so, when it is expected to end.

There is also the possibility that, like a lot of spuriously pandemic-related measures (the ability to make passholder reservations on the SNCF website, for instance), it ends up sticking, and about 50% of regional trains remain reservation-obligatory as in Spain.

If these R and RV trains really are and remain reservation-obligatory, one would expect the acknowledged passholder exemption from reservation on IC trains in Italy to also extend to them, once the recession of the pandemic is deemed to allow this. (Maybe this has already happened?)

If passholders can use the IC exemption by extension on reservation-obligatory R/RV trains, it should work well - the imposition of reservation requirements on these trains is only about capacity and seats aren’t actually assigned, so there’s no risk of having to give up your place during the journey. (Don’t ask where I heard this, I’m afraid I can’t remember)

So I'd say don't worry and just hop on.

I’d say this too, on balance. But with regard to your earlier point that these trains are marked prenotabile by Trenitalia, that’s ambiguous. Prenotabile means bookable, but that maybe should be taken to mean obligatory reservation in this case because it is impossible (on their website, at least) to buy tickets on such trains without a reservation included. Prenotabile is also the term used for IC trains.

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EdM already writes what I had also in mind as explanation. Just add 1 thing; on IC trains it is since also a year or 2 (but apparently NOT related to covid) been mandatory to make the seat REServations for passholders-extra cost 3€/ride. This was done at same time when the chance to do that yourself on the machiens was withdrawn.

There are limitations on the nr of pax that populair trains are allowed to carry to be able to do distancing.

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@Nanja, I think what is needed - insofar as you are able to wring it out of Trenitalia - is a new, summer 2022-ready official line on the status of reservations in Italy in general.

1 - Are reservations always required for passholders on Intercity trains?

1a - If not, are they only recommended during high season (May - September) and national holidays, or are they required during those times? Interrail’s Italy overview page (https://www.interrail.eu/en/plan-your-trip/trains-europe/trains-country/trains-italy) still contains both of these contradicting statements over a year after I first pointed this out.

2 - Are R and RV trains marked prenotabile on trenitalia.com of optional or of obligatory reservation?

2a - If the answer to question 1 is No, can this passholder exemption also be applied to reservation-obligatory regional trains (insofar as they exist)?

3 - To what extent is the current uncertain situation the result of the pandemic? Have these measures ended, and if not, is it known when they will end? Clearly Covid can only be expected to fade away by degrees, rather than ever be eradicated entirely, so if they continue for another year or more they should maybe be accepted as ‘the new normal’ and formalised on the Interrail website as such.

4 - Are some (non-metro, non-narrow-gauge) regional rail companies of Italy not displayed on the journey planner only because they don’t submit timetable data, or are they also not covered by the pass? If some are not covered, what about the ones part- or majority-owned by Trenitalia?

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If you buy a Ticket, some regionale or regionale veloce have on the ticket the train number on it and you should take this train, and you don’t have a seat number or something, only you have to take this train. But it’s not completely compulsory. If the train is full, and you don’t have a ticket with the right regionale on it, you could be ask to leave the train and take an other one. 

I have a ticket for all year in my region, and I take sometimes regionale veloce with compulsory reservation and it was ok. (I haven’t a reservation or something similar). 

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@EdM thanks for your considerations. I completely agree. I did take "prenotabile” to mean "can be reserved” and for me that does not mean “mandatory reservation”. In addition, I didn't expect Trenitalia to use it for IC trains as well. And I see they also use it for Frecciabianca trains (but not for Frecciargento or Freciarossa). In any case, they're creating a lot of confusion. I also see now that DB do not mention "compulsory reservation” anymore for any train in Italy (!). I suppose that's because Trenitalia does not send this attribute anymore to MERITS and that again contributes to the confusion.

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@rvdborgt very kind of you to say so, although I still hope you’re right about it being acceptable in de facto terms to board a regional train in Italy without a reservation. The reason I have always been pursuing an official answer to this question isn’t because I think it’s likely a traveller would get in trouble (as @Angelo points out that’s probably not the case), but just because every now and again one does encounter that one ticket inspector who is a “jobsworth” as we say in Britain, and passholders need to know precisely what their rights are in case that happens.

I really hope that any reservation requirements don’t become permanent. It’s a shame in the case of Spain that there isn’t better co-ordination between Renfe and the national tourist board, because charging €4 for almost all local trains makes slow travel through smaller cities and the countryside difficult to justify with a pass, and only incentivises long-distance high-speed journeys without changes - this perpetuates the unsustainable overtourism seen in major destinations like Barcelona.

If Italy went the same way, penalising travellers who want to use regional trains with unnecessary charges and hassle (even if it’s only €3, add the Interrail app surcharge and it’s €5), it would just put even more pressure on Venice, Florence and Rome. Nobody will bother getting to a more remote scenic village or small town by regional train if making two changes costs them €9 or more. It would be rather short-sighted.

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Hi, I've passed on the questions to our reservation team. As soon as I know more, I will get back to you. Cheers, 

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I think I can actually answer one of these already; it looks like Trenitalia-TPER trains are not covered by the Interrail pass.

Frecciarossa’s Facebook Messenger account (THIS is the way to contact Trenitalia and get a reply!) quoted me this passage, which must be from some kind of official document:

Pass holders are entitled to access all regional trains in the class corresponding to that indicated on the Pass. To access the Frecce, Eurocity (for internal Italian routes), IC and ICN trains (for journeys on seat, couchette and VL) and the Freccialink buses, a seat reservation is required, by paying the "Global Pass "At the station ticket offices or authorized travel agencies (prices and conditions in the table below). Accessory services (eg meal on the spot) are also subject to charges. Pass holders have the right to access all Trenord trains in the class corresponding to that indicated on the Pass, with the exception of Malpensa express, and Tper trains. 2nd class Interrail owners are not allowed on the Leonardo Express in service between Rome Termini and Fiumicino Airport.

I’m not really sure why it appears to categorise TPER trains as a type of Trenord train, but regardless it looks pretty clear-cut. The main implication of this is that unless you take the daily Frecciabianca from Rome, it isn’t possible to get to Ravenna with a pass; however the other main towns/cities in the area are still reasonably well-served by Trenitalia.

I didn’t ask about any other regional companies, but it does look quite a lot like that at this point in time, Trenord is the only regional train company separately administered from Trenitalia which accommodates pass users. So, when planning to use regional trains in Italy it’s important to be very cautious about validity, even if the company in question looks like a Trenitalia subsidiary.

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I think I can actually answer one of these already; it looks like Trenitalia-TPER trains are not covered by the Interrail pass.

[...] Pass holders have the right to access all Trenord trains in the class corresponding to that indicated on the Pass, with the exception of Malpensa express, and Tper trains. 2nd class Interrail owners are not allowed on the Leonardo Express in service between Rome Termini and Fiumicino Airport.

I’m not really sure why it appears to categorise TPER trains as a type of Trenord train, but regardless it looks pretty clear-cut.

Well… if I understand correctly, TPER is the public company overseeing public transport; the rail transport is actually operated by Trenitalia-Tper. My question to Trenitalia would be if this exception also includes trains in Emilia-Romagna previously operated by Trenitalia and if the answer is yes, if they could please let us know from which stations around the region's border Interrail/Eurail pass holders would need a separate ticket.

By the way, I travelled in this region with Interrail in October 2020 (including to Ravenna) without any problems. We also used a few Regionale Veloce, of which the app still claims they require(d) a reservation, but which we didn't have.

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Well… if I understand correctly, TPER is the public company overseeing public transport; the rail transport is actually operated by Trenitalia-Tper. My question to Trenitalia would be if this exception also includes trains in Emilia-Romagna previously operated by Trenitalia and if the answer is yes, if they could please let us know from which stations around the region's border Interrail/Eurail pass holders would need a separate ticket.

That did occur to me, but I assumed because TPER don’t (I think?) actually run any of their own trains independently of Trenitalia, that TPER in this passage must have just been shorthand for Trenitalia-TPER. But now that I look at the Wikipedia entry more closely, I see that TPER’s regional lines were only transferred to Trenitalia-TPER in 2020.

Which means if the quoted document is as little as two years out of date, its statements could be of questionable validity. You might be onto something...

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Well… if I understand correctly, TPER is the public company overseeing public transport; the rail transport is actually operated by Trenitalia-Tper. My question to Trenitalia would be if this exception also includes trains in Emilia-Romagna previously operated by Trenitalia and if the answer is yes, if they could please let us know from which stations around the region's border Interrail/Eurail pass holders would need a separate ticket.

That did occur to me, but I assumed because TPER don’t (I think?) actually run any of their own trains independently of Trenitalia, that TPER in this passage must have just been shorthand for Trenitalia-TPER. But now that I look at the Wikipedia entry more closely, I see that TPER’s regional lines were only transferred to Trenitalia-TPER in 2020.

Which means if the quoted document is as little as two years out of date, its statements could be of questionable validity. You might be onto something...

TPER could also refer to TPER pre-2020, in which case Interrail/Eurail would still be valid on the lines previously run by Trenitalia...

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TPER could also refer to TPER pre-2020, in which case Interrail/Eurail would still be valid on the lines previously run by Trenitalia...

Yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

If so, the sequence is: 1), Interrail passes valid on regional lines in Romagna, 2), Regional lines conceded to TPER, passes no longer valid, 3), 2020, 70% stake in regional lines returned to Trenitalia, pass validity unknown but hopefully...

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Pass holders have the right to access all Trenord trains in the class corresponding to that indicated on the Pass, with the exception of Malpensa express, and Tper trains.

I’m not really sure why it appears to categorise TPER trains as a type of Trenord train

Oh, hang on. Maybe it’s just badly phrased. Look how that sentence appears when you assume they did not incorrectly categorise TPER trains as a subdivision of Trenord along with the Malpensa Express:

Pass holders have the right to access -

(1) all Trenord trains in the class corresponding to that indicated on the Pass, with the exception of Malpensa express,

and

(2) Tper trains.

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Oh, hang on. Maybe it’s just badly phrased. Look how that sentence appears when you assume they did not incorrectly categorise TPER trains as a subdivision of Trenord along with the Malpensa Express:

Pass holders have the right to access -

(1) all Trenord trains in the class corresponding to that indicated on the Pass, with the exception of Malpensa express,

and

(2) Tper trains.

You may be correct. In the current meaning of TPER, that would even include the trains previously not run by Trenitalia.

Now if they could only send their timetable data to MERITS...

Hi @Dratek, :) 

For Trenord, TPER and Trenitalia regional trains in Italy a seat reservation is indeed not required (that is probably why you see ‘From €0’ stated as a ‘price’). I have contacted the reservation team to see if it is possible to remove the ‘Seat Reservation Required’ banner, so it is less confusing for users. Thank you for bringing the topic up! 

 

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Thankyou! You’ve made my year :-D

So Frecce/IC/ICN trains (for which seating is assigned) require reservation, and RV/RE trains (for which free choice of seating applies) do not. This is a clear, cast iron position which will allow passholders to travel with confidence, well done.

So for RV trains,  is it enough to just enable it as a travel day in the mobile pass/rail planning app? ie we have concluded that no additional reservation is required?

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So for RV trains,  is it enough to just enable it as a travel day in the mobile pass/rail planning app? ie we have concluded that no additional reservation is required?

That is correct. You may also want to check the regular fare and if it's worth using a travel day.

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Hi @Dratek, :) 

For Trenord, TPER and Trenitalia regional trains in Italy a seat reservation is indeed not required (that is probably why you see ‘From €0’ stated as a ‘price’). I have contacted the reservation team to see if it is possible to remove the ‘Seat Reservation Required’ banner, so it is less confusing for users. Thank you for bringing the topic up! 

 

 

Hi @Magdalena ,

 

Can you confirm that the regional trains from Milan Central to Malpensa airport, are included in the interrail pass?

It concerns the connection, Milan Central to Milan porta Garibaldi.

If I'm correct, these rides are provided by Trenord.

Hi @Dratek, :) 

For Trenord, TPER and Trenitalia regional trains in Italy a seat reservation is indeed not required (that is probably why you see ‘From €0’ stated as a ‘price’). I have contacted the reservation team to see if it is possible to remove the ‘Seat Reservation Required’ banner, so it is less confusing for users. Thank you for bringing the topic up! 

 

 

Hi @Magdalena ,

 

Can you confirm that the regional trains from Milan Central to Malpensa airport, are included in the interrail pass?

It concerns the connection, Milan Central to Milan porta Garibaldi.

If I'm correct, these rides are provided by Trenord.

Hi,

The connection between Milan Central to Malpensa airport is not included in the Interrail pass.

 

Cheers!

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