Well I did it again.
I didn’t pay attention. And we didn’t know we were on a local train. There are three things that are vital to know when traveling by train in Italy. First, know what kind of train it is: e.g. local, bullet, non-stop, etc. Second, know the final destination of your train. Your stop may not be on the boarding schedule. And, finally, know the NUMBER of your train. That way, you will be certain of the Bin in which your train will depart or arrive. For example, let’s say your traveling from Rome to Orvieta. The name of that little city will not be on the posted destinations. It will most likely be Florence. But if you know that and know the number of the train posted on your ticket, then you can easily find the bin number for your train. A BIN, by the way, is short for BINARIO, which is the Italian name for the track for departures and arrivals.
On a local train, they make no announcements and you must read the sign naming the town. In May four of us traveled from Lake Como to Lake Lugano in Switzerland. A quick 30 minute train ride. Did fine on the way to Switzerland. Easy to navigate. On the way back to Como, we went through customs and our train was local and crowded due to work traffic. Como was the second stop. Since we were chatting and not paying attention, we were almost to Milan when we realized our error. Fortunately, I speak Italian and someone helped us. We got off the train, trudged to the other side and found our way back to Como and our hotel. Not a huge deal. But for a first time traveler, if might have been a bit scary. If you pay attention, you’ll do better.
Also, please note there is no one to help you with your luggage. TRAVEL LIGHT.