Cinque Terre Insider

American expat insight into Italy's fabulous "Five Lands"

So, you’ve planned to dedicate 3 or more days to the Cinque Terre… bravo! This area has so much to offer and those that stay for more than just a day or two get to really experience our area (versus merely scratching the surface).

For those staying on longer in the Cinque Terre, I have an insider tip for you. While TrenItalia abolished the weekly train pass (for everyone minus local residents) with the introduction of the Cinque Terre Express, they didn’t eliminate the monthly train pass (although you’ll never actually see it publicized). The monthly pass can be purchased by anyone (resident or non) and costs €33.50 per person. That’s unlimited train travel between the five villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza & Monterosso.  Keep in mind that otherwise the cost is €4 per train trip between the villages. If you plan to take at least nine trains while in the Cinque Terre, the pass has already paid for itself (not to mention the convenience of not having to purchase and validate single tickets).

There is one caveat: The monthly pass is good for one calendar month, not for 30 days from the purchase date. In other words, if you buy your monthly pass on August 1st it will be good for 31 days but if you buy it later in the month it will still expire at the end of the month regardless of the purchase date. Think of it like this: new month, new pass required. This shouldn’t be an issue unless your dates in the Cinque Terre bridge two different calendar months (in which case you’ll need to do your sums to see if buying the monthly pass is worthwhile for you).

The monthly pass can be extended to include other stops as well (obviously at a higher rate). Here are some examples of prices for other monthly pass solutions (the map above should help with your sense of geography):

  • La Spezia Centrale to Monterosso (and everything in between): €45
  • Riomaggiore to Levanto (and everything in between): €39
  • La Spezia Centrale to Levanto (and everything between): €55.50

You can purchase monthly passes either upon arrival to Italy or online on the official TrenItalia website (recommended, it will be just one less thing for you to worry about).


How to purchase your monthly pass online

I’m doing this step-by-step because the site isn’t incredibly intuitive in English (*sigh*).

First go to www.trenitalia.com Click on the British flag to change the language to English if need be.

You should see something that looks like this (it might be slightly different based on what device you’re navigating on, my screenshots are from my iPhone):

Click on SUBSCRIPTION & CARNET. 

A new window will come up. Make sure to click on the SUBSCRIPTION tab on the left.

Now enter the names of the two stations (on the extreme ends of the area you’d like your pass to encompass). TIP: For the Cinque Terre villages only, enter “From: Riomaggiore” and “To: Monterosso” or vice versa.


Choose everything else as you see above, and select the monthly option for the duration from the drop-down list.

Click SEARCH.

The following page will come up. Click on the > symbol following the price if you’re ready to confirm and purchase.
This will bring you to the final page where you enter your payment details.If you’ve never used the TrenItalia website before, you’ll need to sign up for a User ID and password before proceeding (which is a pain, I know). Click on SIGN UP which is located just beneath the red ENTER button. Once you’ve taken care of that, proceed with filling out the remaining fields and enter your payment information (I personally prefer using PayPal for payment).

IMPORTANT: Make certain that you enter the details correctly for the person that the pass is intended for in the section that says SUBSCRIPTION HOLDER. The monthly passes are non-transferable and the holder will have to present valid ID that matches the name on the pass when requested by the controller.

A few things to remember:

  • This monthly pass is exclusively for the use of the trains; no buses or hiking pass or other perks are included. For the all-inclusive pass, check out my post on the Cinque Terre Card here. The Cinque Terre Card is a great option for those staying just a day or two in our area but for those staying on longer it can become quite costly (and you may not need all of the services that it includes). Don’t forget that you can purchase the hiking pass separately for €7.50 (and that the hiking pass is required only on the coastal trail, all other trails are free of charge).
  • If you decide to purchase the monthly pass for the trains once you are here in Italy, ask for the abbonamento mensile at the ticket counter. Don’t forget that you’ll need to specify the stations and provide your ID.

Safe travels,

Amy

17 thoughts on “Staying in the Cinque Terre for 3+ days? This train pass could be for you

  1. mattspapi says:

    Unless I am missing something on the form, you have to be domiciled in Italy and have local documentation to register on the Trenitalia customer site. You cannot purchase tickets unless you register. How does a foreigner register?

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    1. Ciao!

      Unfortunately there’s a glitch on the TrenItalia website at the moment. Rather than take you to sign up for an account, it’s routing you to sign up for their frequent traveler program (like a fidelity card). For that card you do need to live in Italy and provide Italian ID info. I’ve flagged the bug but until they fix it you’ll need to buy your monthly pass when you’re here in Italy. You can buy it at any TrenItalia ticket counter.
      Hope that helps clear up any confusion!

      Amy

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  2. Hey Amy,

    I just checked the Trenitalia website and I found out that I can select “weekly” as the duration of the pass from La Spezia Centrale to Monterosso. I got an error when I selected “six days” as the duration of the pass though. When you say that Trenitalia abolished the “weekly” pass did you meant the “six days” pass or the “weekly” pass? it seems that Trenitalia still offers the “weekly” pass. Here is a snapshot: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9l7dvxjrdfq8jxq/Screen%20Shot%202017-08-12%20at%206.47.17%20PM.png?dl=0

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Ivania!

      The weekly pass still exists, but only for residents. In fact, you can purchase it online but then you would have to show proof of residency when the controller checks your ticket. Obviously there is a fine for those who have purchased the resident-only weekly pass but are nonresidents, so it’s not worth your while.

      Best,
      Amy

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  3. Thank Amy for your prompt response!

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    1. No problem! Happy to be of help. 🙂

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  4. Todd says:

    Ciao Amy
    I have been here in CT since last Sunday and leave this coming Sunday. I can’t thank you enough for the suggestion for the monthly pass. I have probably used the train between 15-20 times already and still have 1.5 days to go. I know you mentioned this in your post above, but for me the real value is that added convenience of not having to stand in line for each ticket purchase – because there will be people in line purchasing last minutes tickets. Extremely simple and well worth the cost. Grazie Mille!

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    1. My pleasure, Todd! I’m so happy to hear that I helped to make your trip an easier and more efficient one. 🙂

      Take care!
      Amy

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      1. Anne says:

        Hello Amy … i am flying into Genoa in September 2018 and basing myself in Monterosso . We will be visiting Cinque Terre 5 villages . Is there a weekly train pass to cover all that area

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      2. Ciao Anne!

        During the peak-season when the Cinque Terre Express is in effect there’s no weekly train pass available for visitors. However, visitors *can* purchase a monthly pass (it might sound like overkill but if you are staying for 3+ days it can be worth it!). Keep in mind the Cinque Terre Express tickets are €4 for each train ride from one village to another. The monthly pass covering the five villages (so between Riomaggiore and Monterosso) costs €33.50. If you plan to take the train 10 times it has already paid for itself (not to mention the convenience of not having to queue up to buy and validate tickets each time). I have a blog post that talks about the monthly pass if you’d like more details. 🙂

        Best,
        Amy

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  5. Tom says:

    Amy, Your blog is fantastic. In regard to the monthly train pass, since it’s a Trenitalia product, can we buy it in Milan (we’ll be there for nine days in September before coming to Levanto for six days), just specifying that the pass is to be effective between Levanto and Riomaggiore? Looks like 39 Euros per person is a good price for travel on that route. Also, does that train pass qualify as a Cinque Terre pass to get us in for the guided trips? We’re not hikers, but the electric bike trips you mentioned in another post look good for us.

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    1. Ciao Tom!

      Absolutely! You can also buy the monthly pass online on http://www.trenitalia.com Just keep in mind that the pass is *only* for the trains (it is not like the Cinque Terre Card which is a multi-service card) so it does not include tours or whatnot.

      Best,
      Amy

      Like

  6. Dr. Joseph Sakowsky says:

    Hi
    My wife are lucky enough to be able to stay in La Spezia for 8 days (22/9/18 – 30/9/18) as a base for experiencing Cinque Terre daily. Thank you for your advice re. a monthly train ticket. I have gone into the site for “sign up” and it asks for our Italy address for delivery of the ticket. We will be staying at Affittacamere La Loggia De Banchi in La Spezia. What do we do, given that you say we need to purchase the ticket when we are in Italy. There must be a timing problem for delivery of tickets if we apply when we are in Italy. Can I purchase the monthly tickets from La Spezia train station ?
    Regards
    Joseph

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    1. Ciao Dr. Sakowsky!

      No worries, they don’t actually mail anything to you. You can purchase a monthly pass either online or at the ticket counter at La Spezia Centrale. 🙂

      Best,
      Amy

      Like

  7. lacyyyh2016 says:

    hi amy can children use the monthly pass as it does not say what ages when purchase. and it is more expensive to buy when you get there. thanks

    Like

    1. Ciao Lacy,

      There’s no reduced rate for kids for the “abbonamenti.” Not to worry, the cost if you purchase in person is the same as if you buy online. 😊

      Amy

      Like

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