Ferrara is ideally situated for those who like to go on day trips and visit other places of interest, especially by train. It is on the main train line to the historical city of Padova and is just a train ride away from the fascinating city of Venice. In the other direction lies the city of Bologna, famous for its two towers and home to the oldest university in the world, which is only half an hour away from Ferrara. From Bologna’s station you can catch trains going up and down the country to some of Italy’s major cities.
Costs and types of trains: Travelling by train is much cheaper than in England and you can choose from different types of trains – fast and slow, expensive and cheap. If you book trains in advance you can also save on fares.
R = Regionale – These are the cheapest trains which stop at every station, so they can be slow
RV = Regionale Veloce – These stop at the main stations and are cheap; most people travel by them
IC = Intercity – Seat Reservations or advanced booking required: These generally travel long distances and seat reservations are obligatory and booking in advance is advised. They are therefore more expensive than R trains
Frecciarossa/Frecciabianca/Frecciargento – These are exceptionally fast trains which need to be booked in advance. They are expensive but you can get to Rome within two and a half hours!
Buying Tickets www.trenitalia.com. You can now buy a lot of the tickets on-line (not for Regional or International trains) and Italy has a new “Ticketless” option where you can book and pay on-line. An e-mail or text can be sent to your phone with a PNR number (a booking code) and you show this to the train conductor who will give you a payment receipt (free of charge) on board the train.
For more traditional methods go to the ticket counters at the station (“il biglietteria”) and try your hand at Italian. There are also automatic ticket machines dotted around the station. These have a language option and are easy to follow. Type in your destination and it will list all the different types of train possibilities (or you can press a button for “more options”). You can buy both regional and long-distance tickets from the machine including the necessary seat reservation for long-distance trains, for any date you like within the next 90 days.
Tickets for Regionale trains can be bought in advance but used later (up to 3 months from when it was bought) hence why these tickets need to be validated on the day of travel. At the Station Each station has an arrivals and departure (“Arrivi”/ “Partenze”) board at the main entrance. Don’t panic if you can’t see your train straight away. The trains are listed by their number, departure time and their final destination (which might not be yours) so make a note of your train’s final destination when you are buying the tickets and go by the train’s number and departure time to be sure.
IMPORTANT: you must validate your ticket by stamping one end of it in one of the box-shaped green and grey machines before getting on the train. These are situated near the stairs leading to the platforms – they are easy to find as you will see everyone doing it. At some stations these machines are yellow. If the stamping machine doesn’t work you must find the train conductor straight away. If you do not validate your ticket you will pay a heavy fine. Fast trains which require seat reservations (e.g. Frecciarossa, Eurostar and InterCity) do not require the ticket to be stamped (because they are for a set date and train), but if you are not sure, stamp it anyway as it will not invalidate the ticket.
Useful vocabulary & phrases
Biglietteria – ticket office
Biglietto – ticket
Binario – platform
Fermata – stop
Salire/Scendere – to get on/to get off
Prenotare/Reservare – to book/reserve
Timbrare – to stamp
Posti – seat number
Carrozza – carriage
“Vorrei un’andata e ritorno per Venezia” – I’d like a return ticket to Venice
“Vorrei due singoli per Bologna” -I’d like two singles for Bologna
“Dove posso timbrare il mio bigletto?” -Where can I stamp my ticket?
“Devo timbrarlo?” -Must I stamp it?
“A che ora parte il prossimo treno per Ferrara?” -What time does the next train for Ferrara leave?
“Quali binario?” -Which platform?
“Quanto costa?/Quanto costano?” -How much is it?/How much are they?
“Quand’ è la fermata per Ferrara?” -When is the stop for Ferrara?
“Questo treno si ferma a Ferrara?” -Does this train stop at Ferrara?
Buses in Ferrara are efficient and easy to use. There are two types of buses: the yellow ones which run around the city (Urbano) and the blue buses (Corriere) which go outside the city to different villages (extra-urbano). Both require different types of tickets as prices depend on the length of the journey.
For the yellow buses an ordinary ticket allows you to travel around the city on any route, using any number of buses for up to 75 minutes from when you stamp the ticket on the first bus. It costs 1,30 euro and can be bought from most news agencies (tabaccheria), TPER automatic machines and the bus station. An all- day ticket (“Giornaliero”) costs 3, 50 euro.
It is possible to buy a ticket on the urban line buses although costs are slightly higher (1,50 euro). A green sticker on the bus door shows that you can buy tickets onboard. A Red sticker shows that that the self-service ticket machine is not working or unavailable and that you need to buy a ticket before getting on the bus.
Don’t forget to stamp your ticket!
For the blue corrieri prices differ depending on how far you are going so state your destination. Not all news agencies sell these tickets so be prepared to go to the bus station. You can save money by buying a ticket which lasts up to a month or even more and stamp it on the first journey you use it. Don’t forget to stamp your ticket as conductors often get on to check them.
BUS STOPS & TIMETABLE Go on-line to www.tper.it/orari/linee
Select “urbana Ferrara” and there is a list of bus numbers and bus stops. There is also a bus route map which is very useful.
FERRARA BY BIKE
Known as the city of bicycles Ferrara has no end of bike shops, repair places (there is one just down the road from school) and bike hire opportunities. However, if you are looking to buy a cheap second-hand bike, the best way to find one is by word-of-mouth. There are so many accessible places to visit by bike for an afternoon out or even a day trip it is worth looking at the following website which gives names and addresses of shops as well as ideas for bike rides: www.ferrarabike.com
At the bottom of the home page why not try downloading “Le Bike Map” which are clear maps offering a variety of short and long routes.
Taxis are not cheap in Italy and before you have even closed the door a minimum charge has already appeared on the meter. It is always worth asking before getting into the taxi how much approximately the journey will cost. Taxi ranks can be found around the city (outside the station, in Piazza Savonarola next to the castle) but a reputable company is “Radio Taxi” 0532 900 900. (Taxis in Ferrara are white)