Trenitalia, Italo and Thello: these are the names of the main train operators in Italy. Trenitalia, part of the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, is the historical train operator in the country and operates a train network across the whole of Italy. With Trenitalia running a reliable service from north to south of the peninsula, they also provide train services across Italy's islands as well. Italo, the high-speed train operator, was created by the Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori group and connects the major cities in Italy, such as Rome, Milan, Turin, Naples, Florence and Venice. Thello, the Italian-French operator offers long-distance trains between Italy and France. Interested in getting all the information you need about Italian trains, onboard services, fares, offers and promotions available for you? Then continue reading.
Trenitalia Train Types
Frecciarossa is known by many Italians as the "diamond" railway service. With a maximum speed of 400 km/h (248 mph) the Frecciarossa connects the main cities of the Italian peninsula, including Rome, Milan, Naples and Florence.
Frecciarossa offers four different passenger classes: Executive, Business, Premium and Standard. The train service also offers WiFi, courtesy lights and power sockets at each seat, helping passengers travel in comfort and for those travelling on business to keep working or prepare for meetings. Each coach also has air conditioning, a bar-restaurant coach and seats dedicated to people with disabilities.
Equally fast and efficient and with 44 connections per day, Frecciargento achieves a maximum speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), linking large and medium-sized urban centres such as Rome, Venice, Verona and Genoa.
On board, passengers can enjoy reclining seats in both First and Second class along with a whole host of other amenities. These include a bar-bistro service, air conditioning, WiFi, courtesy lights and power outlets at each place as well as seats dedicated to people with disabilities.
The third and final part of the Frecce fleet is Frecciabianca. With top speeds of 200 km/h (124 mph) Frecciabianca connects large and medium-sized cities including Milan, Ravenna and Lecce.
Frecciabianca guarantees 42 daily connections and offers on-board services such as spacious seats, air conditioning, courtesy lights and power sockets at each place, as well as reserved seating for people with disabilities.
Trenitalia offers two other types of trains. Intercity, similar to Frecciabianca, for long and medium distances which offers two classes of tickets: first and second class. Both come with spacious seats, air conditioning, courtesy lights and power sockets at each place, as well as seats reserved to people with disabilities. Intercity trains provide 90 connections per day. Trenitalia also operates the regional trains throughout Italy, which connect big cities to small urban centres. During peak times in the mornings and evenings these services are often used by commuters travelling to and from work, but offer tourists the chance to visit some of Italy's best kept secrets just outside of the main attractions.
Children on Trenitalia trains
Children under 4 years of age travel free of charge, however without entitlement to a seat and on an adult's lap, on all national routes, both in First and Second class, as well as in the Executive, Business, Standard and Premium levels.
Children from 4 years of age up to their 15th birthday can avail of a 50% discount off the Base fare on all national routes, both in First and Second class, as well as in the Executive, Business, Standard and Premium levels. On regional trains, the 50% discount is reserved to children from 4 years of age up to their 12th birthday.
Animals, luggage and bikes on Trenitalia trains
The convenience of travelling by train in Italy doesn't just include fast, reliable services. Passengers can also take pets, bikes and luggage on board with minimal fuss.
Small dogs, cats and other small pets are allowed free of charge on all Trenitalia trains as long as they are kept in special animal transporters which are no larger than 70 cm x 30 cm x 50 cm. Larger dogs are allowed on Intercity, Frecciabianca, Freecciargento, Frecciarossa (excluding Executive and Premium classes) and regional trains (but are not permitted to travel during peak hours which are 7 am to 9 am, Monday to Friday). Larger dogs must also be kept on a leash with a muzzle and have a valid ticket. On these services, this must be a second class or standard class ticket which comes at a 50% discount. Guide dogs for the blind are allowed free of charge on all Trenitalia trains without any obligation.
Luggage is allowed free of charge on all Trenitalia trains. Dedicated wide spaces are provided on Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca and Intercity trains; spaces for bags and suitcases are present also on regional trains.
Foldable bikes are allowed on any Trenitalia train as long as they are placed in the dedicated luggage area. Traditional bikes are allowed provided that they are dismantled and placed in special bags (80 x 110 x 40 cm maximum); if assembled, they are not allowed on Intercity, Frecciabianca, Frecciargento and Frecciarossa. Their transport is only permitted on some regional trains, however, you will need to pay an additional charge or a second class ticket.
Fares and when to book your Trenitalia tickets
Regional trains have a unique fare, called Ordinaria. It is based on the distance in kilometres between origin and destination station, and on the selected class (first or second). Prices here remain the same over time so that you can relax and book your tickets even at the very last minute - there will be no price difference. These tickets can be modified free of charge until 11:59 pm on the day before departure. Ticket reimbursement is possible with a 20% deduction until 11:59 pm on the day before departure.
With regards to national trains (Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca and Intercity) there are three different fares:
- Base: enables a great deal of flexibility before departure, accepting unlimited and free of charge changes regarding your booking (date and time), as well as your ticket (route, class and number of passengers). Unlike departure date and time changes, route and class can be exchanged but you may have to make additional payment on any possible price difference.
- Economy: allows only one booking change (date and time) before departure upon payment of a possible price difference compared to a Base ticket.
- Super Economy: convenient in terms of price (you can book your tickets for Frecce and Intercity from 9,90 Euro) but doesn't allow any changes.
Ticket prices here vary based on the fare and class selected (Standard, Premium, Business and Executive for Frecciarossa; First and Second for Frecciargento, Frecciabianca and Intercity). The train operators also factor in demand by taking into account the number of places already sold, availability and the proximity to the date of departure.
The advice is therefore to book your tickets in advance to get the biggest saving. Keep in mind that Trenitalia tickets are available up to three months in advance of your departure date. Normally, booking your tickets 30 days before brings the most substantial savings. Below is an illustrative table of the lowest rates:
On Frecciarossa the four ticket fares start from:
Executive - 23 Euro
Business - 16 Euro
Premium - 15 Euro
Standard - 13 Euro
For Frecciargento, Frecciabianca and Intercity there are two classes available, First and Second class. The prices for these tickets start from:
First class - 16 Euro
Second class - 13 Euro
First class - 11.50 Euro
Second class - 10 Euro
First class - 9 Euro
Second class - 8.50 Euro
Offers and promotions by Trenitalia
Trenitalia often has several offers and promotions running that enable travellers to save even more on their train journey. Here are just a few of them:
• Andata e ritorno (same day return), for a same day return trip on Frecciarossa, Frecciargento or Frecciabianca routes they all offer set prices: 69 Euro to travel in Second and Standard class, 89 Euro in First and Business class; 109 Euro to travel in Second and Standard class, 149 Euro in First and Business class; 79 Euro and 129 Euro to travel in Premium class; 159 Euro and 259 Euro to travel in Executive class.
• A/R weekend (weekend return), leaving on Saturday and returning on Sunday on Frecciarossa, Frecciargento or Frecciabianca offer the following set prices: 69 Euro to travel in Second and Standard class, 89 Euro in First and Business class; 109 Euro to travel in Second and Standard class, 149 Euro in First and Business class; 79 Euro and 129 Euro to travel in Premium class; 159 Euro and 259 Euro to travel in Executive class.
• Bimbi gratis (children free of charge), this offer is for families of two to five people (with at least one adult and a child under 15), which allows kids under 15 years of age to travel free of charge. It also allows the other members of the group to book their tickets at the Base fare.
• Speciale 2x1 (special 2 for 1), to travel together on Saturdays at the price of one ticket at the Base fare.
• Speciale 3x2 (special 3 for 2), to book a ticket for 3 people at the price of 2 Base tickets.
Part of the Italian high-speed system, Italo links large and medium-sized cities in Italy with trains travelling at a maximum speed of 350 km/h (217 mph). With four ticket classes (Smart, Comfort, First, Club Executive) Italo offers travellers: WiFi, power sockets at each place, seats dedicated to people with disabilities, reclining leather seats and even a cinema coach to experience maximum comfort and relaxation whilst travelling.
Fares and when to book your Italo tickets
Italo offers three different fares:
- Flex: the most flexible fare which allows ticket changes (date, time and passenger names) free of charge before departure, as well as refunds upon payment of 20% of the ticket price in case of cancellation. If arrived late on departure, Flex also allows 2 hours of 'extra time' to access the first useful train by speaking with Italo staff or by contacting Italo Assistance at 892020.
- Economy: non-refundable but allows you to change the name of the passengers free of charge, as well as the date and time before departure upon payment of 20% of the ticket price and any possible price difference. In case of cancellation, this fare requires the payment of 40% of the ticket price.
- Low Cost: convenient in terms of price, Low Cost allows you to change the name of the passengers free of charge but no refunds. This fare also requires the payment of 50% of the ticket price as well as a possible price difference to modify date and time of the trip up to three days after the departure.
Ticket prices vary depending on the fare and class selected (Smart, Comfort, Prima and Club Executive), the number of seats already sold and still available, as well as the proximity to departure date. The advice is therefore to plan your trips in advance – tickets are available up to six months before the date of departure.
Offers and promotions by Italo
A smart way to save on your train tickets is to take advantage of offers and promotions provided by Italo, this includes:
• A/R in Giornata (day return), for a same-day return trip with a 50% discount.
• Italo Famiglia (Italo Family), which allows children under 14 years of age to travel with their family free of charge (in Smart class).
• Italo Senior -40%, which allows passengers over 60 to travel with a 40% discount off the Flex fare (in Prima class).
• Italo Special -50%, to travel on Tuesdays or Wednesdays between 10:30 and 14:30 with a 50% discount off the Flex fare.
• Italo Special Sabato -50% (Italo Special Saturday -50%), to travel on Saturdays with a 50% discount off the Flex fare.
Children on Italo trains
Children under 36 months of age travel free of charge on all Italo trains, without an assigned seat and on an adult's lap. If the adult travels with more than one child under 36 months of age, it is mandatory to book a seat.
Animals, luggage and bikes on Italo trains
Bulky luggage, bikes and even your four-legged friend: feel free to take with you nearly everything you want on Italo trains.
Small pets (below 10 kg) are allowed free of charge on all Italo trains provided that they are kept in special pet transport containers and no more than one per passenger. Dogs above 10 kg are allowed on board as long as they are kept on a leash, with a muzzle and upon payment of an additional charge of 50 Euro. Guide dogs for the blind are allowed free of charge and without any obligation.
Luggage is allowed free of charge on all Italo trains. Luggage-racks and glove compartments in Smart coaches, practical lockers and special CCTV-monitored luggage spaces in the Smart, Comfort and Prima coach vestibules will suit all your needs. If you travel in Smart class, your luggage can not be larger than 75 x 53 x 30 cm.
Foldable bikes are allowed on any Italo train as long as they are fitted in special bags and placed in the dedicated luggage area.
Main train stations in Italy
Top Italian Destinations
Top Train Routes in Italy
From Italy to France, precisely from Venice (through Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Brescia and Milan) to Paris, and from Milan (via Pavia, Genoa, Savona and Imperia) to Marseille: here are the two itineraries proposed by Thello. But what are the on-board services and offers provided by the train operator?
Venice-Paris on Thello overnight trains
On the route Venice-Paris, Thello presents its comfortable night trains, with two classes: cabins (1-3 beds) and couchette compartments (4-6 berths). Every train provides a bar-restaurant coach and spaces dedicated to luggage (each passenger is allowed to bring up to two suitcases free of charge if they're no bigger than 160 cm in total). Any bicycles (dismantled and placed in special bags of 160 cm maximum) must be fitted in the same area reserved to baggage.
Pets are also allowed to travel on Thello trains: pets under 5 kg travel free of charge and without reservation, as long as they are kept in special containers; dogs larger than 5 kg are admitted provided that they are on a leash, with a muzzle and upon payment of an additional charge of 50 euro. Guide dogs for the blind travel free of charge and without any obligation.
Milan-Marseille on Thello trains
Reclining seats, places dedicated to people with disabilities, air conditioning, courtesy lights and power sockets at each place, spaces dedicated to luggage (each passenger is allowed to bring on board free of charge up to two suitcases for a total of 160 cm maximum) and a bar coach are the amenities you can find on all Thello trains on the Milan-Marseille route, both in First and Second class. As for the Venice-Paris route, bikes (dismantled and placed in special bags of 160 cm maximum) must be fitted in the same area reserved to baggage.
Pets under 5 kg travel free of charge and without reservation, as long as they are kept in special containers; dogs larger than 5 kg are admitted provided that they are on a leash, with a muzzle and upon payment of an additional charge of 50% of the ticket price for that specific itinerary. Guide dogs for the blind travel free of charge and without any obligation.
Offers and when to book your Thello tickets
To save money on your journey keep in mind that Thello tickets are available up to 4 months in advance of the departure date.
Another way to travel with Thello and save, especially if you frequently travel on the same route, is given by Carnet 5 pour 4, the offer which allows you to buy 5 tickets at the price of 4. You just need to choose the origin and destination stations, and the requested class. Date and time can be decided later, within 90 days from the date of purchase of the Carnet. And if you change your mind or plans, no problem: you can modify your booking free of charge once before departure.