What does it mean to validate a rail ticket or a rail pass?

Validating a Train Ticket

As of August 2016, Trenitalia tickets for regional trains that are purchased online no longer need to be validated before you board the train. This is because tickets now have a specific date and four-hour window of time in which they're valid. When you purchase a ticket online, you'll need to choose a travel date and time. This means you can simply arrive at the train station, find your train, and get right on board.

Regional tickets that are purchased at the station, however, only come with a date but no time. These tickets must still be validated using the machines typically found inside the station or on the platforms. This validation must take place before you board the train - there's nowhere to validate a ticket on the train, and you'll incur a fine if your ticket isn't validated.

Note that tickets for Trenitalia's high-speed trains always come with reservations, which means they didn't need to be validated before and they still don't need to be validated.

If you have an e-ticket (electronic ticket) with a "ticketless" confirmation you can simply board the train, without printing or validating a ticket.

If you have a seat reservation e-ticket (electronic ticket) with a "ticketless" confirmation but you are travelling with a Rail Pass (EurRail or InterRail), you need to have your printed Rail Passes with you, or you might be fined by the train conductor.

If you are traveling on an e-Ticket and your reservation has been marked "Print at Train Station," you need to print this coupon and you might, depending on the type of ticket, need to validate it before boarding.

  1. Go first to the self-service ticketing machine (usually in the main ticketing hall) and enter your PNR confirmation to print your ticket.
  2. Next, find the platform for your train - every platform has validation machines nearby.
  3. Insert the ticket in the slot provided on the validation machine, and the ticket will be validated with a date stamp.
  4. Don't forget to remove the ticket from the machine, or you will have to purchase a new ticket on the train!
  5. Should your ticket not be validated, you can be fined up to 200 Euros when traveling throughout Europe.

Validating a Rail Pass

All rail passes must be validated twice.

The first validation stamp is printed automatically by our office and will appear on the top right-hand corner of the pass. The pass must begin use within 6 months of this validation.

On the first day of travel, all people listed on the pass must go to the ticket office of the train station and have a ticketing official validate the pass - this is the second validation stamp. This is also called "activating" a pass. The station official should put a second stamp on the pass under the first one.

Please note that the pass must be validated at the station before boarding your train - a conductor on a train cannot validate the pass. If you do not validate the pass, or if you tamper with the pass in any way, the conductor has the right to confiscate it, at which time, the unused part of the pass is non-refundable.

Highspeed trains in Italy require to have a seat reservation booked in advance to boarding a train or you could be kicked out of the train. You can book your Highspeed seats in www.italiarail.com, just click in the search engine that you have a rail pass and book it. Is that simple.  If you are not able to start using the pass within 6 months of its printed date, you will need to return this pass and we will reissue a new pass.

Return to FAQ page.