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Travel Guide 2019: Exploring Italy by Train

Frecciarossa

Whenever the name Italy is mentioned, our minds sway to Rome and the sovereign Vatican City. To a certain degree, we cannot help it, because these are the world’s greatest travel destinations. However, Italy has a lot of other amazing locales that you shouldn’t miss when you’re here for a vacation. Places like Florence, Venice, Tuscany, and Milan all have their unique charm, culture, food, and art that are distinct from the rest of Italy.

The only problem is getting from one tourist attraction to the other. The distance is huge and the cost of car rentals and gas in Italy are usually higher than those in the United States. Also, the traffic is nerve-racking and you probably don’t want to drive during a vacation. Thus, exploring Italy by car may not be the perfect option.

If you are looking for a faster, more relaxed and more practical way of getting around, train travel is the answer. And the best thing is that you don’t have to read road signs written in Italian. Also, there is no need to look for parking spaces once you get to your destination. Italy has an extensive rail network and they connect mostly every major city with another. You can literally be having breakfast in Rome and hop aboard a train to see Tuscany at lunchtime. The trains are not only comfortable but also offer the most picturesque routes at economical rates.

Here is the ultimate guide to exploring Italy by train that will make the journey as beautiful as the destination.

There are two options to choose from; Trenitalia and Italo.

Trenitalia

Trenitalia-Train | Tour Italy Now

Trenitalia is the state-run train service and has the most extensive network. It’s been around for a while and connects large cities and smaller towns.

For speed and reliability, the ideal choice is a Frecce train. These are a series of high-speed trains coupled with prompt service and comfort. They come in three types and take passengers from Rome to Venice in just over 3 hours.

Frecciarossa – This is Italy’s fastest, arrow-headed train that reaches a speed of up to 350 kilometers an hour.

The Frecciarossa runs on the Turin-Milan-Bologna-Rome-Naples-Salerno route. This train flaunts a nice café car, power sockets at every seat and Wi-Fi internet access.

Frecciargento – Just like the Frecciarossa, this train links Rome to Venice and stops over at every key point in between. The train operates at a speed of up to 250 kilometers an hour. It has most of the same features as its faster counterpart.

Frecciabianca – While it’s not technically a fast train, this service still hits a top speed of 200 kilometers an hour and connects Milan to Venice, Udine and Trieste, Genoa to Rome, and the main cities of the Adriatic coast: Ancona/Pescara/Bari/Lecce/Taranto.

The advantages of Frecce trains are assigned seating and guaranteed departures in case of a strike. If you want to ensure a fast, safe and comfortable trip, this is it.

For all Frecciarossa and Frecciargento passengers, Trenitalia has partnered with TNT delivery service in case you’d like to have your bags delivered at the door. You just need to reserve this service 24 hours in advance and they’ll take care of the rest. In major train stations, there are porter services available for an additional fee.

Frecce trains are pretty easy to book online and big discounts are available if you book early. Do the homework months in advance and have a well-defined travel plan. This will help you to save money not only on transportation but also on accommodation.

If you are traveling to smaller towns and looking for the most affordable options, Intercity and Regionale trains are the right choice. These are regular trains that are not equipped with modern amenities. They were the only options in Italy before the fastest trains took over.

Please be aware that the regular trains are slower, they make more stops and online booking gets difficult. Also, these routes are not guaranteed in case of a strike. When you are boarding an Intercity or a Regionale train, always make sure to validate the ticket. You can easily do that with the help of machines that are installed on the platform.

Italo

Italo-Train | Tour Italy Now

The brand new and swanky Italo trains are the most stylish way to travel around Italy. This high-speed rail company was started by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, former Chairman of Ferrari. These trains connect Turin-Venice-Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples-Salerno. Hefty discounts are available if you reserve in advance.

There are three classes of service – Smart, Prima and Club. All of them offer free Wi-Fi and electrical outlets. The reclining seats feature Poltrona Frau Leather and adequate leg space that adds to the comfort. The train is equipped with vending machines for snacks, coffee, and cold drinks. However, in Prima and Club, the passengers can purchase packed lunch boxes served at their seats.

The train also boasts a special cinema coach that combines privacy and entertainment. If you do not want to deal with your luggage, that’s completely fine. Italo has partnered with DHL that allows passengers to have their stuff picked up and delivered door to door for an additional fee.

Here is a rundown of the major railway stations that will help you to tour around Italy in the best possible way.

Rome

Roma Termini

Roma Tiburtina (on B metro line 3 metro stops from Termini station)

Roma Ostiense (on B metro line 3 metro stops to Termini station)

Florence

Firenze S.M Santa Maria Novella

Firenze Campo di Marta

Naples

Napoli Centrale (Central Station)

Venice

Venezia S.L. (Santa Lucia) on the Grand Canal

Mestre (one train stop away from pedestrian access to the city of Venice)

Milan

Milano Centrale

When touring Italy, if you have a strict budget and a limited time, trains are usually the best way to get around. They are reliable and never lacking in quality, so hop on and make your journey memorable. Happy travels!

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By Priscila Siano (266 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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One Comment

  1. lauren jonczak
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

    This is perfect. My friends and I are renting a few villas in Tuscany for the summer and we plan on traveling all of Italy by train. This was very helpful, thanks for sharing.

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