Traveling by train is a way of life: it can be as expensive as a car or a flight but railway travelers are able to enjoy the Italian panorama from the window and maybe meet some interesting Italian for a talk!
There are several types of trains in Italy:
EuroStar Le Frecce – Alta Velocità
Tickets for the fast, comfy, and pricey Freccia trains require reservation. There are 3 kinds of Freccia trains:
- Frecciarossa trains connect Turin-Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples-Salerno on the high speed line. Speed: up to 360 km/h.
- Frecciaargento trains connect Rome to Venice, Verona, Bari/Lece, Lamezia Terme/Reggio Calabria on the high speed lines and traditional lines. Speed: up to 250 km/h.
- Frecciabianca trains connect Milan to Venice, Udine e Trieste; Genoa and Rome; down to Bari, Lecce on the traditional line. Speed: up to 200km/h.
Other EuroStars are as comfy as Le Frecce trains and they connect Rome to other cities like Ancona, Foligno, Perugia, Potenza, Spoleto and Taranto. EuroStar trains require reservation.
Intercity trains travels only to the main cities. They are not as fast as an EuroStar Le Frecce, but are not as slow as a Regionale. Trains are air-conditioned and a few require reservations (it’s always a good idea to make reservations!).
The connections are:
- Rome-Naples-Reggio Calabria – Sicily
- Rome – Bari / Taranto
- Milan / Venice / Trieste – Bologna – Florence – Rome – Naples
- Milan / Venice / Bolzano -Bologna – Ancona – Pescara – Bari – Lecce
The idea is to save a day and a possible overnight accommodation in a hotel, but think about discomfort, sleeplessness and even the possibility to find lots of people without seats in the corridor because they didn’t make reservations (it’s not required in most trains). Night trains are not the best option.
Regionale are local trains that stop at every station along a particular line, often taking twice as long as a faster train. They usually provide only 2nd class seats, but most of them have air conditioning as well.
Remember to validate your train ticket before boarding. Validation machines, usually colored yellow or orange, are located all over train stations. Insert and remove your ticket from the slot and check to see if the machine stamped it. Failure to validate may result in steep fines, and train operators do not accept ignorance as an excuse. The same goes for bus tickets, which should be validated immediately after boarding the bus using the onboard validation machines.
Tickets and timetables
For timetables and purchasing your tickets visit www.trenitalia.com . It’s always a good idea visit the “Offer and deals”, normally discounts apply for tickets bought in advance (15 days before is ok!).
Railpasses might be a good idea for budget travelers that want to visit many cities in the same day, but attention because most of times you must stand in line to validate your pass and pay for supplements.
To get ready for your trip, I suggest you read the book Europe by Rail, 11th.
Prices, special offers and further information: