Let's say you have successfully purchased a train ticket and feel confident you know how to read the information on it. What now? Now, you must be able to decode the train schedule!
In Italy's train stations, you will find posters that represent the daily train schedules -- "Arrivi" are the arrivals and "Partenze" are the departures. Arrivals are usually on white paper while departures are usually on yellow or gold. Once you find the "Partenze" schedule, you can locate your train.
Trains are listed in order by their time of departure FROM the station you are in. The poster is sectioned off by hour in a 24-hour clock time (it's OK if you have to count on your fingers to know that 18:00 is 6 PM -- I do it all the time!)
In my example above (and I apologize for the fuzzy photo -- this poster was behind plexiglass), the outbound train is departing from Roma Termini at 11:05 AM. It is the first train departing after the 11:00 hour. You also find the train number, the final destination and arrival time (good information to know if you're destination is BEFORE the last stop). All other stations listed are the stops made in between. The times following these stops are when the train is scheduled to depart from those stations.
On the far right in the blue circle is the platform (Binario, or BIN) the train is scheduled to depart from. Once you've identified your train and its platform, you are on your way!
So you see, taking the train in Italy isn't as scary as it seems. Trust me, one ride and you'll be hooked!