Traveling by train is common in Europe. It’s fun and quite relaxing to let someone else take charge of getting you where you need to go. Many times it’s simply more convenient to board the train and head to your destination than to drive by car yourself.
Train travel in Italy is quite an experience. Traveling between destinations throughout this gorgeous country is scenic, fast, comfortable and it’s actually pretty easy once you understand how to go about it. Here I offer a quick guide to train travel in Italy.
A Mini Glossary of Terms/Translations for Train Travel in Italy
Let’s begin with a glossary of the most useful terms in train travel in Italy. These are words which will help you to understand the arrival/departure boards and navigate your way.
Booking Your Ticket
The easiest way to book your ticket is online. It’s simple and you don’t need to wait in line or deal with a machine to purchase. There’s the extra advantage of being able to select your seat in advance. And having your train travel mapped out in advance gives you more time to enjoy your trip. Also, the sooner you book the cheaper the fare, typically.
I prefer using the site ItaliaRail. It’s very user-friendly for English speakers and easy to navigate. Your ticket arrives via email and you can opt to print it out or conveniently upload your ticket to your phone.
Most of the train stations in Italy are located in the center of large cities. Here are some of the main stations in Italy:Rome Termini
Rome Fiumicino Airport
Venice S Lucia Naples Main Station Milano Centrale
Planning for Departure and Navigating Your Stations
Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure. You want to give yourself time to get your bearings and navigate the station.
Look at your train ticket to find the train number. Next look for your train number on the board. Pay attention to the number, not the destination. The city that appears on the board is the final destination. Yours may be one of the intermediate stops along the way.
The train information and platform number won’t appear until about 15-10 minutes prior to departure. Once the platform number appears on the board you may make your way to that specific platform and look for your assigned car number.
Once you settle into your seat, have your phone or printed copy of your ticket available so that when the conductor passes through your car they are able to scan your ticket quickly. And every train car includes luggage racks.
Class of Ticket
The class of ticket you chose determines the class of service/car where you will be seated for the journey. Here are the classes and what they typically include.
A standard class ticket offers reclining seats in an air conditioned car, power outlets as well as the ability to purchase bar, cafe and dining services.
As the name implies, this seat is located in a quiet zone. Like the regular standard ticket you’ll have reclining seats and power outlets in an air conditioned car. Bar, cafe and dining services are available for purchase.
Your premium seat comes with a complimentary welcome drink as well as snacks to enjoy on your journey. Your leather seats have extra room for luggage and there is free WiFi as well as power outlets in your air conditioned car. Additional bar, cafe and dining is available for purchase.
Business class offers wide leather reclining seats and extra leg room to stretch out in your air conditioned surroundings. You’ll be offered a complimentary drink and snack in Business class and there is additional luggage room. Free WiFi and power outlets are handy if you need to check email or charge your phone. And there is bar, cafe and dining service as well. The cost of Business class is usually not that much more than a Standard seat and you do receive the extra amenities like an attendant who comes through to offer hot and cold drinks and snacks.
With a Business Quiet ticket you will be seated in a quiet zone which includes wide, reclining leather seats in an air conditioned car, Extra legroom, additional luggage room and complimentary drink and snacks. You’ll also receive free WiFi, power outlets and an opportunity to purchase beverages, cafe food or full dining.
This class of service is the creme de la creme. If you’re embarking on a long train ride I fully recommend purchasing an Executive class ticket. You’ll experience a comfortable and enjoyable air conditioned ride. This class is most comparable to flying first class. You’ll get a spacious ultra-wide leather seat with more-than-ample legroom. There are single seats on each side of your car/carriage. If you are traveling with a partner you have seats that face each other.
The Executive class seat includes complimentary welcome drinks and snacks as well as access to an on-board meeting space and HD monitor. You’ll have electric outlets and free WiFi as well as USB ports at each seat. There’s extra room for your luggage also.
The purchase of an Executive class ticket includes access to the Freccia Club lounge in all stations.
There it is! Your quick, comprehensive guide to train travel in Italy. Now you can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride as you watch the stunning Italian countryside roll by.
If Join one of our tours we'd be happy to help you with train reservations.
The video shows executive class on trenItalia.