This TikToker Has A Genius Trick To Tell If Your Italian Train Ticket Needs Validating

Without a doubt, train travel in Italy is one of the best and most affordable methods of transportation. But it can be a real headache figuring out which train tickets require validation and which don't, and failing to validate a ticket can result in confiscation of the ticket and a fine. Thankfully, TikToker @italy.with.jenna created an insanely helpful TikTok flowchart to clear up the confusion surrounding this subject, and her followers are overflowing with gratitude.


I probably overdid this more than I needed to because you really can just ask yourself the assigned seat question — but thinking this might help some understand the reasoning a little. #italytravel #italy #italytraveltips #italywithjenna #traveltips

♬ original sound – Italy with Jenna

To navigate through the flowchart, you first need to know whether your ticket corresponds to a government-run Trenitalia train, an Italo train (these began operating in 2012), or a regional ("regionale") train. Here's a little background information to help you understand the difference: Trenitalia and Italo trains are the high-speed ones traveling between major cities, whereas regional trains connect hundreds of smaller cities and towns all over the country. For example, the regional trains are what allow for easy navigation through Cinque Terre and other regions away from major cities. 

Getting back to validation, the top level of Jenna's chart indicates that if you purchased an Italo train ticket, it does not require validation. Hooray! In that case, board your train and enjoy your journey. If you have a Trenitalia or other non-Italo ticket, you have a few more levels of the flowchart to navigate to shed light on the validation dilemma.

More about train ticket validation in Italy

If you purchased a train ticket other than an Italo ticket, either online or at a station, the next question to answer on Jenna's handy flowchart is whether it's for a high-speed ("frecce") train. If you know for sure the ticket is for one of these high-speed trains, it does not require validation. If you're not sure, look on your ticket to see if there's an assigned seat. If there is, it means you're booked on a high-speed train and you don't need to validate your ticket. If you purchased your ticket online, be sure to download the QR code from your ticket confirmation email to show the conductor, and you're all set.

If there's not an assigned seat, it means that what you've purchased is a regional ticket, and you'll need to validate it. The next step is to use the correct method for validation. This depends on whether you purchased an online regional ticket or a paper one at the station. Tickets purchased online should be validated online between midnight on your departure date up until your departure time. To do this, find your confirmation email and click on the "check in" button, which will load a page with your passenger information. Click "next" on this page, and a message should pop up that says, "Check-in complete. Enjoy your journey." 

Validating paper tickets

To validate your paper ticket, you'll need to find a green and white validation machine in the train station right before boarding your train. To do this, insert your ticket into the slot in the validation machine, and it will stamp a code on the top of your ticket, which serves as its validation. Now you can breathe easy and board your train. When the conductor asks to see your ticket, they will see that it's been stamped and you'll be on your way to your destination. 

What happens if, in the rush to board your train, you forget all about validation? It's ok, it happens to even the most organized travelers sometimes. In this situation, the wisest approach is to try to locate a conductor right away to tell them about your mistake. They may have mercy on you and charge you only a few euros to validate the ticket. Otherwise, they may make you pay a fine or worse, confiscate the ticket. But hopefully, our explanation of Jenna's flowchart will help you avoid any validation-related mishaps. For more helpful tips on rail travel through Italy, check out our guide on how to get the best deals when purchasing train tickets.