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Italy Train Travel

Italy rail travel

The best part of traveling abroad is meeting the locals! The Italians are renowned worldwide for their warmth and expressiveness. Train travel is a great way to practice your Italian; you’ll get the best tips on local cuisine, events, and must-see destinations. Or, just sit back, relax and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Italy is made to be explored by train!

Beautiful landscapes of Italy: the sweet hills of Tuscany, covered with vineyards, the stately Dolomiti mountains, the blues and the greens of the sea shores, the quiet countryside, the busy towns, all framed by the window will pass you by.

Available Rail Passes for Italy :

  1. Eurail Italy Pass
    Train travel throughout Italy.
  2. Eurail Italy-France Pass
    Travel by Train in Italy and France.
  3. Eurail Italy-Greece Pass
    Travel by Train in Italy and Greece.
  4. Eurail Italy-Spain Pass
    Travel by Train in Italy and Spain.
  5. Eurail Select Pass
    Travel by Train in up to 5 European Countries, you choose which ones.
  6. Eurail Global Pass
    The Premier European Rail Pass traveling in 21 countries!
  7. Eurail Italy Rail ‘n Drive
    Combine car rental & train travel exploring Italy.
  8. Eurail Drive Pass
    The Premier European Rail Pass traveling in 21 countries + Car rental!
  9. Eurail Select Pass & Drive
    Travel by Train in up to 5 European Countries + Car rental, you choose which ones.

Available High Speed Train in Italy

  • Eurostar Italia
    The Eurostar Italia is a great way to get to be whisked to Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Bologna or Naples while enjoying the stunning scenery in stress-free comfort.
  • Artesia Overnight Train
    Artesia provides day train and night train services between France and Italy from prominent cities like Paris, Florence, Milan, Rome, Venice and more.
  • City Night Line Train
    The City Night Line overnight train allows you to make the most of your time during your European holiday. You’ll sleep in complete comfort aboard this night train—which links Switzerland and Germany with many of the surrounding countries

Trains Schedule & Travel Times in Italy

From To Type of Train # of Trains Frequency Travel Time
Rome Bari Eurostar Italia 4 Daily 4 hr, 43 min
Rome Ancona Eurostar Italia 4 Daily 3 hr, 20 min
Rome Florence Eurostar Italia 26 Daily 1 hr, 35 min
Rome Milan Eurostar Italia 15 Daily 4 hr, 40 min
Rome Naples Eurostar Italia 15 Daily 1 hr, 35 min
Rome Palermo Intercity 1 Daily 10 hr, 35 min
Rome Salerno Eurostar Italia 11 Daily 2 hr, 31 min
Rome Salerno Intercity 5 Daily 2 hr, 42 min
Rome Venice Eurostar Italia 5 Daily 4 hr, 32 min
Milan Venice Intercity 9 Daily 3 hr, 5 min

Practical Train Information in Italy:

The train is the way to go in Italy. Travel train is inexpensive, the service is frequent, and the trains among the most modern in Europe. Most of Italian trains have been integrated into the state system, and are operated by Trenitalia. Information on the rail network is available online at in Italian and English. Most trains, except in deep rural areas of the south, are modern and air-conditioned.

Trains provide an excellent means of transport, even if you don’t buy a rail pass or one of the special Italian railway tickets. As a rule of thumb, second-class travel usually costs about two-thirds the price of an equivalent first-class trip. Unless you’re riding Eurostar Italia, you’re better off option for first class when travelling by rail in Italy. The newly reconditioned IC Plus and Eurostar City trains (reservation a must) run the fastest schedules with conventional equipment. The InterCity (IC) trains are modern, air-conditioned trains that make limited stops when compared to the far slower direct or regional trains (which should be avoided). Newly reconditioned IC Plus and Eurostar City trains run the fastest schedules with conventional equipment. The best of the Italian trains are unquestionably the high speed Eurostar Italia (ES) trains (don’t confuse these with the Eurostar trains that run from Britain to France, they aren’t the same). Using the same tilting technology as the German ICE T and Pendolino trains, these trains are modern exceptionally comfortable, and though passholders pay a supplement to ride them, they are definitely the way to go in Italy.

Children 4 to 11 receive a discount of 50% off the adult fare, and children 3 and under travel free with their parents. Seniors and travellers under age 26 can also purchase discount cards.

New Electric trains (known collectively as Artesia trains) have made travel between France and Italy faster and more comfortable than ever. France’s TGVs travel at speeds of up to 185 mph (297kmph) and have cut travel time between Paris and Turin from 7 to 5 ½ hours and between Paris and Milan from 7 ½ to 6 ¾ hours. Eurostar Trains travel at speeds of up to 145 mph (233kmph) and currently run between Milan and Lyon (5 hr), with a stop in Turin. Riveria trains connect the French Riviera to Milan just as quickly.

Tilting Cisalpino trains are some of the world’s most advanced and speed northern Italy (primarily Venice, Florence, and Milan) to major cities in Switzerland. Though aimed mostly at business travellers, they’re a great way to get from Italy to Switzerland. To ride these trains, passholders must buy a Passholder Ticket that includes a seat reservation (mandatory).

A luxurious overnight train (the Salvador Dali), connect Milan and Tuin with Barcelona in Spain. Artesia de Nuit trains connect Paris to various cities in Italy. And EuroNight (EN) trains service both international and domestic routes. Riviera night trains connect Nive to Venice, Florence, and Rome. InterCity Night (ICN) trains essentially offer the same services as EuroNight trains, but travel only within Italy’s borders.

Italy Railway Map

Italy Railway Map


When you purchase either a single or a round-trip ticket, the validity is for a period of 2 months from the date you bought the ticket. The date you want to travel is stamped on the ticket at the time of purchase, providing you make a seat reservation. Undated tickets purchased at newsstands or from tobacconists need to be validated on the day you plan to take the journey.

Even though reservations are optional on most rail journeys, it’s still wise to book a ticket and a seat on runs between such major cities as Florence and Venice, Rome and Naples, or Rome and either Florence or Milan. Italian trains are very crowded on public holidays, and reservations are almost mandatory during these peak periods. A regular seat reservation runs between $11 and $17, depending on the train and class you’ve selected. Big rail depots, such as the Stazione Termini in Rome, often have separate windows for making reservations, labelled prenotazioni. Reservations are mandatory on all ES, Artesia, Cisalpino, IC Plus, Riviera, ES City, and night trains.

If you’re travelling at night, it’s wise to reserve a couchette (foldaway bed) or sleeper (private sleeping cabin), especially for long distances, such as the train that goes from Paris to Rome or vice versa. A wide variety of sleeping accommodations are available depending on the night trains that you choose. If you ask for Superiore or Finestrino when booking, you’ll get a top bunk giving you more legroom and greater privacy. When reserving, try not to get a seat next to the corridor, as passengers here are the most likely to get robbed.

The supplement you’ll pay for access to a couchette abroad an Italian night train varies considerably depending on how many others you’ll be sharing a compartment with. For a couchette within a compartment shared by six, you’ll pay a supplement of $35 per person. For a couchette within a compartment shared by four (and these are available only on an increasingly limited umber of trains), you’ll pay a supplement of $45 per person. And for a sleeper shared with only one other person, you’ll pay a supplement of between $56 and $68 per person, deepening on the train and the itinerary (single sleepers are available on Ellipsos night trains, the supplement varies). You can and should preserve sleeper options (and pay the supplement), through Rail Europe as soon as you have trip dates figured out, especially if you’re travelling during high season. If you’re already within Italy, you can reserve these in advance by heading for the ticket window of any railway station.

Note: Seat reservations are not always marked on seats and some people may try and claim your reserved seat as their own. Firmly but politely insist they vacate (and if you haven’t reserved and sit in an apparently unreserved seat, be advised that you may actually be sitting in someone else’s seat).

Service & Amenities

Most InterCity trains have facilities for persons with limited mobility. There are dining facilities on all major trains, though prices are lethal. If you’re on a strict budget, do as the Italians do and pack your own picnic for consumption while riding the rails and taking in the scenery. It’s a great way to travel. ES trains offer better seating and are one of the only domestic trains in Italy where second class travel won’t be as less grand experience than first class. First class passengers on ES trains get a free drink and snack served at their seats.

Overnight accommodations on Italian trains range from “Gran Class” single sleeper cabins within private bathrooms and showers on the Ellipsos Trenhotel train from Milan to Barcelona, to sex-berth economy couchettes on the Artesia de Nuit trains from Paris to Rome, to reclining sleeperette seats on ICN trains from Rome and Venice. Note that although sleeper cabins are segregated by sex (except for families taking a whole cabin), couchettes are not segregated by sex. First class sleeper cabins usually include a continental breakfast in their rates. All sleeping accommodations require the payment of a supplement in addition to your rail pass, and must be reserved well in advance. We recommend reserving through Rail Europe before you leave home. Note that to reserve some classes of sleeper cabins; you’ll need to have a first class railpass.

Warning: Theft on some Italian trains is a problem. If you opt for a couchette or sleeper on an Italian train, make sure your belongings are well secured.

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