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 "Frecce" trains or prefer a slower journey on board the local regional trains called "Regionali", 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).
Taking the train in Italy will take you on a journey of culture, history, architecture and endless scenery. The country has played an important role in European history for over a millennium, and you can see that in every city you visit. With plenty of food and drink on every corner, stunning cathedrals and works of art, Italy is a country that must be savoured. Have a look at our recommended cities, what you can do there, and what to see during your visit.
A city full of architecture, culture and history, Milan is one the most famous cities in Europe, if not the world, and there are plenty of things to see and do to show you why. The Duomo di Milano is arguably the most beautiful cathedral in the world, and certainly commands the attention of all visitors to the city. Taking over six centuries to build, no trip to Milan is complete without seeing its most famous site. Situated in the heart of Milan, travelling to and from the Duomo di Milano is easy from any direction. A short walk from the cathedral, you will find Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s oldest shopping mall, and most glamorous. Housing brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada, it is certainly one for those who enjoy the finer things in life. Despite the glamorous brands, this is still a popular tourist hotspot. Make sure to find time to visit this arcade, even if it is just to window shop!
Continuing with the rich culture of Milan, a visit to Pinacoteca di Brera will be one for those with a passion for the arts. Holding paintings from artists such as Mantegna, Bellini and Raphael, this public gallery is a great way to celebrate the renaissance period of the city and country, as well as marvel at these wonderful paintings.
Depending on the time of your visit, there is also the opportunity to visit the San Siro, home to AC and Inter Milan. Two of Italy’s most successful football teams and fierce rivals, a tour of the stadium is an event in itself, but if you have the chance to watch a game, there is no reason to say no. A great atmosphere and exciting football, this is an opportunity that is too good to turn down.
The capital of the country, and historically one of the most important cities in Europe, Rome has it all. If you want to savour the history of the city that formed the bedrock of the Roman Empire, then visiting the Colosseum is a must. One of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions, you can take a step inside and experience what it must have been like to witness the barbaric sports.
Rome is also the home to the Catholic church, the St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican being a pilgrimage for Catholic’s the world over. If you want to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis, then visit on Sunday at noon, as he gives the Angelus prayer. Free to visit and an opportunity to witness the most famous figure in the Christian religion, this is something that is not to be missed.
If you need a bit of luck or looking for some fortune, then a trip to the Trevi Fountain may be in order. There was over € 1 M thrown into the fountain in 2016. However, it is not known how many wishes were granted as a result of the coin throwing! Nevertheless, it is great to take part in one of Rome’s fun tourist traditions, and you never know, your luck might be in.
Famous for its canals and Gothic architecture, Venice is a cultured city that is fantastic for a romantic getaway or just a city break. There is plenty to see and do here, and it starts with a punt along its famous canals.
Known the world over, taking a ride along the canals of Venice is the best way to take in the history and culture of the city. As you pass under beautifully crafted bridges throughout the canal system I the city, you can begin to see why the city is viewed as the cultural and artistic centre of Italy.
Venice is also known for its food, and there are plenty of opportunities to take in some of the local delicacies. A coastal city, there is no better place to try Italian seafood than in Venice. Whether it is the crab dish Mołéche or shrimp dish Scampi alla veneziana, there is plenty of local food and drink for you to enjoy, and an experience you can’t enjoy at home.
To experience the vibrancy of the city, a visit to Piazza San Marco, also known as St Mark’s Square. Napolean once called this square ‘The drawing room of Europe’ and you can see why. The courtyard is expansive and filled with tourists and Venetians alike, with renaissance buildings on all four sides of the square. With bars and cafes surrounding the square, this is somewhere to take in, and take in some history of the city.
During the Renaissance period, Florence was one of the most influential cities in Europe. With many of Europe’s finest pieces of art and sculpture kept in the city, this is somewhere art lovers flock to catch a glimpse. The most famous of these is Michelangelo’s David. A world-renowned sculpture, you can find this piece of art in the Galleria dell’ Accademia, which is just a short walk from Florence train station.
Splitting the city in half is the River Arno, one of the most important historical rivers in central Italy and the largest in the region. Walking along the Arno, stopping off in one of the many cafes or restaurants is something that must be done. Furthermore, a walk along the Ponte Vecchio (the old bridge) is a unique experience. Built during the medieval times, the bridge is also a working high street. There are jewelers, art dealers and more that currently have shops on the bridge. Grab a souvenir from one of the shops on this truly unique bridge.
As with many cities in Italy, no visit can be complete without visiting the cathedral, and Florence is no different. In the heart of the city, Florence Cathedral sits in the centre of the Piazza del Duomo. Built in the 13th Century, Florence Cathedral is iconic for it’s brick dome, the largest of its type still built today. Now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Florence Cathedral is one of the most revered and popular cathedrals in Italy and is something you must visit when in the city.
The city of Turin was the featured on the famous British movie The Italian Job, and the film proved just how vibrant and busy the city really is. Around every corner, you will find something new, with museums, galleries and piazzas to explore and soak in. As shown in the film, the city is known for its car manufacturing, especially FIAT. Whilst the iconic factory has since been redeveloped into a shopping centre, the rooftop test track remains. Travel to the very top and see for yourself just how they tested cars in the early 20th century if you can handle the height!
In the centre of the city is the Royal Palace of Turin, an imposing palace that holds many artefacts from previous royal families, as well as an armoury. Places on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1997, this is one the most visited landmarks in Turin. Make sure to plan your trip around the city with this in mind, as it will be something you won’t forget.
Whether you are a lover of sport or not, a trip to Juventus Stadium, home of Serie A team Juventus, is something we highly recommend. Historically one of the powerhouses of Italian and European football, a visit here would make a trip to Turin complete. Take a walk around the museum, taking in the history of the club, and if you’re lucky, you may even be there for a match day, and listen to the deafening roar of 40,000 fans cheering to La Vecchia Signora (the old lady).
The biggest city in the south of Italy, the coastal city of Naples is packed full of Roman history, fantastic food and wonderful architecture. In the Gulf of Naples, you will immediately be struck by the awe-inspiring Castel dell’Ovo. The oldest standing fortification in Naples from the Roman era, the site sits on the very edge of the coast, providing its occupants over the years of a huge tactical defence site. You can walk the grounds and walls of the amazing castle and see just how important it has been for the city.
Just outside the city is the famous Mount Vesuvius, one of Italy’s largest and most destructive volcano. Vesuvius is known for destroying the city of Pompeii in AD 79, covering the city and the surrounding areas in lava and ash. The ruins of Pompeii are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the southern region of Italy, and is highly recommended as part of your trip to Naples.
If you want to take in the local culture and cuisine of Naples, a stroll along the Mergellina area is one we recommend. The harbour and coastal feel means there is always going to be some fantastic seafood to try at one of the many restaurants in the region. With boats coming and going on a seemingly hourly basis, you can see how the city of Naples works, and what this historic city was built on, the sea trade.
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. 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. 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 tickets offer passengers different rates of flexibility, depending on their travel needs. This allows passengers to have more freedom of when they want to travel. Should there be a reason you need to change ticket, you can do so while not paying high fees to make the change, giving customers peace of mind. There are four ticket types for Trenitalia: Regional, Super Economy, Economy and Base.
Visit our Trenitalia page to find out more about these tickets, and which one is best for you.
Italo train tickets are divided into three ranges of flexibility: Low Cost, Economy and Flex. Much like with Trenitalia, the tickets range in price depending on when you can use the tickets. For the best deals, Low Cost is naturally the right option, however, you then must get that specific train. With Flex, there is greater leeway in when you can travel, but with a higher ticket price.
If you are looking for more information about Italo train tickets, you can visit our Italo trains information page.
To find cheap train tickets in Italy using Trainline 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.
Train travel in Italy includes travelling on one of the most extensive and sophisticated high-speed networks in the world. With high-speed services from Trenitalia and Italo, travelling throughout Italy by train is easier and faster than you think. For more information on the different types of high-speed train and where they can take you, read on below!
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.
Thello trains are owned by Trenitalia, and operates night train services between Paris and Venice on a nightly basis. Leaving from Paris Gare du Lyon, Thello night trains travel down through France and into the heart of Italy. Stops include Milan, Brescia and Vincenza.
There are three different sleeper cabins to choose from when travelling with Thello. There are 4-6 person cabins which you can share with family or other passengers. If you are looking for something a little more private, a 2 person sleeper cabin is available on each journey.
If you are looking to make the journey a more memorable one, then you can sleep in a premium sleeper cabin, which comes with its own toilet and shower.
When travelling to the major cities of Italy by train, you will come across some stunning train stations along the way. A mixture of both modern and historic building depending on where you are travelling to, the trains stations in Italy are a landmark in themselves. Find out more about some of these stations here, and what other landmarks are nearby.
The busiest train station in Italy, Roma Termini has 32 platforms serving both Trenitalia and Italo trains. Roma Termini itself has been open and operating since 1862, and has since grown to become the second largest train station in Europe, behind only Paris Gare du Nord. The station was rebuilt and modernized in 1950, but there are still many parts of the old station that remains today. There are plenty of facilities at Roma Termini. From Bars and Resturants to luggage storage areas and shops. Travelling from Roma Termini to the city centre is also easy. The station is on the metro system, as well as tram lines to help you around the immediate area of the station.
One of the most awe-inspiring train stations you will ever come across, Milan Central station is captivating as soon as you lay eyes on it. Milan Central as it is now was completed in 1931, and to this day is still the largest station in Europe by volume. With 120m passengers a year, it is also the second busiest, as it is a major station in the north of the country for both national and international routes. Milan Central is served by both Trenitalia and Italo trains. The station is also the terminal for the Malpensa Express, which is the airport train link to Milan Airport. Milan Central is located in the North-East part of the main city centre and is just a 30-minute walk to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the fascinating shopping gallery.
Turin train station, known locally as Torino Porta Nuova, Turin train station is an important station for Italy. It not only acts as a terminal for a number of high-speed train journeys within Italy but also as a gateway to France, with SNCF and Thello trains travelling in and out of Turin towards Paris. The station was first opened in 1864, but was not officially inaugurated until 2009! Turin train station serves high-speed routes with both Trenitalia and Italo, with services travelling to Milan, Rome and as far south as Naples. 20 platforms serve the station, as well as the underground metro system and local bus links to the inner city.
The largest train station in southern Italy, Naples train station is also one of the busiest. With 50m passengers using the station a year, the station is seen as an important one for those travelling to the Mediterranean south. It also serves as a stopping point for a number of high-speed trains in Italy for Trenitalia. You can also travel to Naples station on the night train, with services from both Turin and Rome calling at the city. The station itself is comprised of 25 stations and is important for both regional and national travel in Italy. Local transport links include a metro line from the neighbouring Napoli Piazza Garibaldi railway station, as well as buses and taxi ranks outside the station.
Venice train station, known as Venezia Santa Lucia in Italy, is another important train station for the Italian rail network. Working alongside the other major station in the city, Venezia Mestre, the station is a major junction for trains calling to the area, for regional, national and international trains. Venice train station is uniquely placed in the city, with the concourse of the station right on the edge of the Grand Canal, with trains entering and leaving the station over the bridge, giving a fantastic opening or closing view to the journey. There are a number of high-speed train routes for both Trenitalia and Italo, as well as trains that travel north into Switzerland, Austria, Germany and France. Many of these services are done on night trains, so you can start your journey in Paris, and wake up in Venice!
Located in the central region of Italy, Florence train station is a key connecting station between the north and south of the country. Firenze Santa Maria Novella is used by 59m passengers a year, making it one of the busiest in the country. The station was first opened in 1848, before being rebuilt 1934, currently with 19 platforms. The station is served solely by Trenitalia. Florence train station sits on the main line from Bologna to Rome, and therefore all routes call at these stations in both directions.
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 di 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 alla 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.
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.
Trains in Italy are cheap compared with other countries in Europe, therefore, a Eurail or Interrail pass might be worth only if you plan to visit several cities and if you plan to travel on many more expensive high-speed trains. If you've come across the term 'Interrail' and are wondering what the difference between Eurail and Interrail is, it's quite simple: both passes offer the same options. Interrail is simply the name of the rail pass available for European residents, while for travellers from outside Europe, such as the US, it‘s called Eurail. If you'd like to book a Eurail pass, visit our Eurail page to see all the available options. You can book your European rail pass with Trainline - simply choose the best out of the many available options.
Yes. Trains are a very safe option for travelling around. As long as you follow common sense, such as not leaving your luggage unattended and keeping your valuables with you at your seat, you should not run into any problems. Also, keep an eye on your luggage when navigating your way through busy train stations to avoid pickpockets as you would in any large city. Most big train stations are open 24 hours and are monitored by CCTV or onsite security. Should you have any concerns or problems, there is usually a police officer somewhere at the station, and an information desk with English speaking staff to help you out.
One of the benefits of travelling by train versus plane is that there aren't any immediate luggage restrictions. As long as you're taking only what you can carry, you'll be fine on most trains. There's plenty of storage space on Italian trains, both around the entrance of the carriage and under and above your seat. You'll usually find large luggage racks for suitcases near the doors as well as in the middle of the carriages. Hand luggage and coats can be stored on a smaller rack right above your seat or in the footwell.
Seat reservation is required only on high-speed train services; it’s suggested on Intercity trains (especially if you are travelling during public holidays).