Getting around Italy by train
On my latest train trip, I was headed to Bologna and was lucky enough to catch all of Italy under the snow. In March! Crazy right? I was actually freaking out a bit, because the days prior to my departure, lots and lots of trains had been cancelled. I was so afraid they were going to cancel mine as well. But I was SERIOUSLY lucky because my train was one of the last ones not to get cancelled, and unfortunately, due to heavy snowfall many others did.
But I’m not here to tell you how lucky I am, I’m here to tell you the beauty of traveling Italy by train. As I sat on my window seat, I just couldn’t help but look out the window. I mean, sure, this time Italy was all sprinkled in snow, which made the views extra special. But in reality, every time I’m on a train in Italy, I can’t help but look out the window. The views are spectacular. From picturesque ancient hamlets to heavenly countryside and beautiful seaside views, there’s seriously lots of scenic views to take in if you travel by train.
If you’re planning your trip to Italy any time soon, and you’re thinking of visiting more than one city, definitely travel by train! Here’s a few reasons why you should travel Italy by train and a few tips to make your journey wonderful.
Italy’s railway network is fantastic
Seriously. Italy has a fantastic railway network that will pretty much take you to any city or town. If you’re planning on visiting other Italian cities during your time in Italy, definitely move by train. Some of the major advantages include:
- Price: you can find trains from €9.90, €19.90, €29.90 and upwards.
- Discounts: For those that are resident in Italy, you should definitely apply to the Carta Freccia program. It’s simply a member card of Trenitalia, in which you are offered discounts and promotions. There are different types of Carta Freccia Programs, including Carta Freccia Young, for people under 30 years of age, who can get from 30% to 50% discounts on train tickets! There is also a Senior program for those who are 60 and above, and other special programs as well! Unfortunately this part of the website is only in Italian, but maybe if you’re resident in Italy you’ll know how to speak Italian: trenitalia.com
- No check-in: Just head to the train station, find your platform and get on the train. It’s fast and efficient. No need to go to remote airports with baggage limits either.
- The views: You will definitely appreciate the views of the Italian countryside/seaside. One of my favorite ones is when you arrive to Santa Maria Novella, and it passes by a street where you can see the Duomo di Firenze! How cool is that?
Always depart and arrive from the city’s central train station
Unless you’re living in Italy, and don’t mind going to the less central train station (for example Roma Tiburtina is great), I advise you to depart and arrive to central train stations, and to make sure you’re heading to the right one! You can’t imagine how many times people mess up and end up in the suburbs instead of in the center. I wouldn’t want that to happen to you, so let me list some of the most important central train stations in Italy, so you can be extra sure!
Roma: Roma Termini
Florence: Firenze Santa Maria Novella
Naples: Napoli Centrale
Venice: Venezia Santa Lucia
Bologna: Bologna Centrale
Milan: Milano Centrale
Verona: Verona Porta Nuova
Turin: Torino Porta Nuova
Palermo: Palermo Centrale
Different types of trains you can take
High-speed trains in Italy
There are two high-speed train companies in Italy: Trenitalia and Italo. High-speed trains are called Frecce for Trenitalia. You will find the Frecciarossa (fastest), Frecciarento (second fastest), and Frecciabianca. These are all high-speed trains that can take you to central stations of major Italian cities. Personally, I only take the Frecciarossa or the Frecciargento, because the Frecciabianca takes longer to reach cities (i.e. Roma – Milano takes 5 hours instead of 3). Italo trains are also great. You should check their websites and compare prices.trenitalia.com italotreno.it
InterCity trains in Italy
InterCity trains are trains that connect you to major Italian cities as well, as well as lesser known towns. They are fast, and can reach a speed of 200km/hour. Most trains are new and comfortable, but you may also get the occasional old train.
Regional trains in Italy
Regional trains, called Regionali, are trains that stop in different cities and towns within a region, or regions that are bordering one another. For example, if you were planning on going from Florence (Tuscany) to Pisa (Tuscany) for the day, this is the train you should take as they’re in the same region. Also, they are very cheap and there is no seat reservation, unlike the trains listed above.