Thanks to the extensiveness of the Italian railway network, you can reach iconic cities like Rome and Florence, seaside towns in the south and mountain regions in the north in just a few hours. Whether you want to reach the centre of the main cities with high-speed trains or prefer a slower journey on board the local regional trains, travelling by train in Italy will allow you to cross varied landscapes and experience a comfortable and economical trip.
Trains in Italy are chosen by tourists looking for speed and savings because the connections between the main cities are most of the times faster and cheaper by train than by air and because driving and parking in Italy can be stressful. For example, a train journey from Rome to Milan by train lasts an average of 2 hours and 48 minutes, a duration that is completely comparable to the same journey by air (including travel to and from the airport) and much faster than driving by car (6 hours).
Italy is witnessing a surge in high-speed rail services and is home to one of fastest trains in Europe with an operational speed of 360 km/h. The high-speed network runs from north to south and east to west with some of the most popular routes for tourists being Milan to Rome, Florence to Rome, Milan to Venice and Rome to Naples. The high-speed trains are operated by the state railway company Trenitalia (which calls its high-speed services “Frecce” meaning “Arrows” – see below) and the private operator Italo. All high-speed trains are modern and extremely comfortable with air-conditioning, free WIFI onboard, power sockets at every seat and a restaurant car. Buying in advance is highly recommended because you can buy very cheap advance-purchase tickets (more about the types of tickets below). Reservations are required to travel on high-speed trains
The fastest train with a maximum speed of 360 km/h, Frecciarossa trains are operated by Trenitalia and 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, power sockets at each seat, air conditioning, a bar-restaurant coach and priority seats for people with disabilities.
Frecciargento trains, operated by Trenitalia, achieve a maximum speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), linking large and medium-sized cities such as Rome, Venice, Verona and Genoa. Onboard, 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.
With top speeds of 200 km/h (124 mph) Frecciabianca connects large and medium-sized cities including Milan, Ravenna and Lecce. Frecciabianca trains are operated by Trenitalia and offer onboard services such as spacious seats, air conditioning, courtesy lights and power sockets at each place, as well as reserved seating for people with disabilities.
Italo trains are operated by the private company NTV and link 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.
Intercity trains connect cities that are not served by the high-speed network along the two coasts (Tyrrhenian coast on the left and Adriatic coast on the right) and in Sicily. Some of the most popular routes are Genova to Roma, Napoli to Palermo and Bologna to Bari. Intercity trains are only operated by Trenitalia and are comfortable for medium and long journeys with spacious seats, air conditioning, courtesy lights and power sockets at each place. As for high-speed trains, buying in advance is recommended because you can enjoy cheap advance purchase fares. Reservations are not required to travel on Intercity trains but highly suggested. There are Intercity trains running at night called Intercity Notte from Turin to Reggio di Calabria and from Turin to Sicily. This route is a unique experience as the train is transported by boat across the Strait of Messina.
Very cheap and relatively slow, the regional trains connect the smallest cities along the country; some of the most popular routes you can cover with regional trains are Florence to Pisa, Milan to Como and Florence to Siena. Regional trains are only operated by Trenitalia and have a standard fixed price. There is no reservation on regional trains, you can sit whenever you want.
From northern Italy (Milan, Verona and Venice) and Rome you can reach:
Thanks to the Schengen agreement between Italy and its neighbouring countries, travelling between countries is possible without having to stop for border controls or passport checks. You can book train tickets and board a train without showing your passport, but it is still mandatory to carry a valid form of ID with you while you travel. Officials might board trains near borders to perform spot checks as the train travels onwards.
To save and avoid long lines at the train stations we advise you to plan ahead and book in advance wherever possible; booking windows in Italy opens 6 months in advance for all the train operators (Trenitalia, Italo and Thello).
The easiest way to book train tickets in Italy is online. Check train times and find the best prices available on trainline.eu or via the Trainline App [link]. When using the app, you receive a mobile ticket including a QR-code that ticket inspectors on the train can scan - no need to print out a paper ticket. If you book from your computer, you'll receive a booking confirmation email with instructions on what to do next – usually, that means printing out the ticket at home. You can also enter your age when searching for train times and tickets, and we'll automatically display any available discounts such as child, youth, or senior fares.
Trenitalia fares explained:
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 an 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.
Italo fares explained:
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.
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.
To find the best possible price using Trainline.eu and the Trainline Europe app, you can select the "cheapest" filter when searching for the ticket (this allows you to always find the lowest price available for the selected route) and check the offers of Trenitalia, Italo and Thello available. Remember that if an offer is available for your route, Trainline will automatically apply the offer to your journey.
Here are some of the offers available in Italy:
• Andata e ritorno (same day return), for a same day return trip on Frecciarossa, Frecciargento or Frecciabianca routes they all offer set prices: €69 to travel in Second and Standard class, €89 in First and Business class; €109 to travel in Second and Standard class, €149 in First and Business class; €79 and €129 to travel in Premium class; €159 and €259 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 to travel in Second and Standard class, €89 in First and Business class; €109 to travel in Second and Standard class, €149 in First and Business class; €79 and €129 to travel in Premium class; €159 and €259 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.
• 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.
The main airports in Italy either have their own train station or are well connected to the local rail network. Find more information on airport transfers by train on our Airports page [link]. When looking for airport transfers to city centres, trains are usually the easiest and fastest option. It's worth checking with your flight operator if airport transfers are included in the ticket price - this option is available with many European airlines.
You can book your airport transfers in advance via the Trainline website and app. Enter your airport and destination and select the right option from the suggestions. We'll always show you the best available price - make sure to book a ticket that leaves enough time for you to get from the train station to the right gate at the airport and vice versa.
Rome is served by two airports: the Leonardo da Vinci international airport known as Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino airport, mainly used for low cost airline flights.
If you fly into Rome Fiumicino airport, you can easily reach the city centre with the Leonardo Express, a non-stop train express trains that connects the airport to the central station of Roma Termini in 32 minutes departing every 30 minutes.
If you fly into Rome Ciampino airport you need to take a shuttle bus to Ciampino railway station and from there you can take a regional train to Rome Termini that takes 13 minutes and depart every 20 minutes.
Milan is served by three airports: Milan Malpensa International airport, the central Milan Linate airport and Bergamo airport, used for low cost airline flights.
If you fly into Milan Malpensa airport, you can reach the central stations of Milano Centrale or Milano Cadorna in 50 minutes with the Malpensa Express service, a non-stop train service leaving every 30 minutes.
If you fly into Milan Linate airport you need to take the shuttle bus called Air Bus departing every 30 minutes. The bus takes 25 minutes to reach Milan Centrale station.
If you fly into Milan Bergamo airport you need to take one of the several shuttle buses that connect the airport with Milan Centrale station, the journey by bus takes 60 minutes and the buses depart every 15/20 minutes.
Wondering if you should buy an Interrail/Eurail pass or how much luggage you can take aboard Italian trains? Read on to find answers to all your questions about train travel in Italy.
Regional train journey time: 2h 43min
High-speed train journey time: 1h 30min
Operated by: Trenitalia, Italo
Regional train journey time: 7h 20 min
High-speed train journey time: 3h 45min
Operated by: Trenitalia, Italo
Regional train journey time: 1h
High-speed train journey time: N/A
Operated by: Trenitalia
Regional train journey time: 2h 03min
High-speed train journey time: 52min
Operated by: Trenitalia, Italo
Regional train journey time: 8h 42min
High-speed train journey time: 2h 48min
Operated by: Trenitalia, Italo
There are more UNESCO World Heritage sites in Italy than any other country in the world. While it would simply be impossible to visit them all in one trip, the network of trails that criss-cross the country makes wandering around the Colosseum on one day to taking to gondolas along the scenic waterways in Venice the next totally possible.
Your cultural tour of Italy starts in the northern city of Turin, and what a place to begin. This elegant piazza-laden city is a treasure trove of cultural gems. You could spend a lifetime diving into the wealth of museums and galleries that flank the tree-lined boulevards, but all first-timers really want to see is the Turin Shroud, a linen cloth thought to bear the image of Jesus by millions of devotees. While the jury’s still out on the claim, it’s a sight to behold nonetheless.
Hop aboard the non-stop train for a scenic two-hour journey across Northern Italy and step off in the heart of Verona. After checking into your hotel, head for the Piazza delle Erbe, one of Italy’s most celebrated squares. Pull up a chair, order an espresso and take in the Baroque architecture, frescoed walls and beautiful fountain centrepiece. Just a short walk from the piazza lies Juliet’s Balcony in Casa d Giulietta museum, a place most will know from Shakespeare’s tragic love story.
The next stop tops most traveller’s bucket lists. Take the regional train for just over an hour and you’ll be alighting right next to the waterways of old Venice, a city that needs little introduction. It might be the touristy thing to do and it’s certainly a little wallet-busting, but a peaceful gondola ride along the canals of Venice is a delightful way to take in the city, particularly when you are crossing under the Bridge of Sighs. Of course, it would be unthinkable to leave Venice without crossing the iconic Piazza San Marco to see take in the splendid Saint Mark's Basilica. After all that, if you’ve got some spare time, drop into one of the workshops to see how the colourful Venetian masks are made or just get lost along the narrow backstreets.
Back onboard, take the fast train direct to Bologna, the heart of Italy’s gastronomy. Other than pizza, Italy’s most famed dish is arguably spaghetti Bolognese, but trust us, it’ll have tasted nothing like the real thing. After lingering over a bowl of Parmigiano Reggiano topped pasta and a glass of vino rosso, loosen the belt and shed a few of the calories with a climb up the 500 steps to the Torre degli Asinelli or a walk through the 666 arches to the Sanctuary of San Luca. Try to clear some time to visit the University of Bologna, the oldest in the world.
Just a quick 35-minute journey on board a regional train brings you into central Florence, a city so overwhelmingly beautiful it’s almost like an outdoor museum. It would take a rather long guidebook to list every museum and gallery in the city, but most come to see one man – Michelangelo’s David. Don’t expect to be the only one vying to see the famed Renaissance piece, but the queues at the Galleria dell'Accademia are worth the wait.
Your whistle-stop cultural tour ends in the Eternal City. Here in this ancient 3,000-year-old city, you can almost hear that roars of cheering crowds in the Roman Colosseum, step back in time to The Pantheon and look up at the painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Bellissimo.