The aim of this guide is to give anyone considering travelling by train in Italy a solid understanding of rail travel in the country. We’ve covered the basics, including the types of Italian train tickets available and how to book them online with us, so that anyone who reads this page from beginning to end can travel by train in Italy with confidence.
This information is intended for anyone and everyone – not just rail geeks! Planning a holiday with the family? Check out our Top Destinations section. Student on an Erasmus year? Learn what discounts are available with railcards and loyalty cards. Business traveller? See what Business Class looks like in our Train Classes section. While the best way to learn is by experiencing Italian trains for yourself, reading this guide from beginning to end is a pretty good place to start.
Here's a quick summary of what’s below – simply click on one of the topics you’re most interested in to jump straight to the relevant section. Plan your journey ahead and book your Italy train tickets with us.
There are three types of train tickets in Italy – the cheapest, the semi-flexible and the most flexible one. We’ve broken down the different ticket types for you below.
You can buy your train tickets in advance if you’re travelling on an Intercity or high-speed train in Italy (e.g. Frecciarossa, Italo, Frecciargento) for routes like Rome to Florence, Milan to Rome or Milan to Venice and want to save money. In general, the earlier you book, the more you’ll save – the cheapest ticket fares tend to sell out much faster than the more expensive ones, plus these trains require seat reservation, so make sure you book in advance before all seats are filled up.
You can book in advance one of the tickets below, depending on the train you’ll be boarding:
You can buy tickets on the day for the regional trains operated by Trenitalia. The ticket price is fixed so there’s no price advantage when you book them in advance. The ticket fare is called Ordinaria and its price is based on the distance between the departure and arrival points and the class you travel on, when available.
For example, a one-way ticket to travel on the Leonardo express – the regional train which connects Roma Termini to Rome Fiumicino Airport – always costs €14. For this reason, you don’t need to book your Ordinaria ticket too far in advance, unless you want peace of mind.
If you’re not 100% sure about your travel date and time and don’t mind spending a little more, you can buy one of the following train tickets:
Have a look at our step-by-step guide to how to book Italian train tickets online with us, it’s super simple!
Want to know how to save money when buying your train tickets? Read our guide to cheap train tickets in Italy, including when the best time to buy is and other savings tips.
There are two types of rail pass you can use to travel around Italy: the Interrail Pass, which is only available for European citizens, and the Eurail Pass, which is for everyone else. Both passes allow unlimited travel within one country (One Country Pass) or multiple countries (Global Pass).
You can travel with an Interrail or Eurail on Trenitalia, Trenord, and Leonardo express (only if you have a First Class Pass). You can also get discounted fares on different ferries, including Grimaldi Lines, Superfast Ferries, Blue Star Ferries, and Minoan Lines.
Remember that you need to book your seat at an additional cost if you’re travelling on a high-speed or night train.
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 are going to travel on many more expensive high-speed trains. You may also save money if you’re under 27 as these rail passes offer discounts of up to 25% on unlimited train travel in both First and Second Class.
Just a glance at our Italy train map will show you how easy it is to get around by rail. You could wake up in Milan and enjoy a traditional pastry for breakfast, and, before you know it, be in Rome in time for lunch and some sightseeing. No planes needed!
High-speed - Red routes
Cross-border - Blue routes
Regional - Green routes
The Italian train network is so extensive and modern that it connects all the major cities, so you can easily travel to and around the country. The main trains in Italy are operated by Trenitalia, Italo and Trenord, which provide high-speed and regional trains.
Choose any route in the map above and follow the links to see ticket prices and journey times, you’ll also be able to see which routes have high-speed trains (they're in red).
Staying in France, Switzerland or Germany and want to continue your train journey in Italy? We've got you covered. Our map also shows you the most popular routes between Italy and the neighbouring countries (they're in blue).
High-speed to maximise your time sightseeing or regional trains to maximise your savings? The choice is yours.
Train travel in Italy involves travelling on one of the most extensive and sophisticated high-speed networks in the world. For journeys within Italy, there are three main train operating companies – Trenitalia, Italo and Trenord. For cross-border trips into France, you’ll find yourself on TGV trains. This section will give you an overview of each company, including which routes they operate on and the train types they use.
Trenitalia is the main operator of rail services in Italy, formed by the Italian government and entirely state-owned. The types of trains that Trenitalia run can be split broadly into two categories – high-speed trains and regional trains. High-speed trains – knows as ‘Le Frecce’ services in Italy – connect the country’s major cities at speeds of up to 300 km/h (186 mph), alleviating the need to drive or fly across the country for intercity travel. Regional services are slower and make more stops at regional stations.
There are four different types of Trenitalia tickets – Super Economy, Economy, Base and Ordinaria. While the Super Economy, Economy and Base tickets are available to travel in all classes on both high-speed and Intercity trains, the Ordinaria fare is only valid on regional trains. Find out more about Trenitalia trains.
Italo is the name given to the trains run by the private train operating company NTV. Starting service in 2012, Italo trains were designed to compete with Trenitalia in the high-speed rail market. As such, Italo runs exclusively on high-speed routes from Milan to Salerno and from Turin to Venice. They compete with Trenitalia’s flagship high-speed trains for speed and comfort. When you book your tickets, we’ll show you Italo and Trenitalia trains to help you decide.
Italo offers three ticket fares – Low Cost, Economy and Flex. With these tickets you can travel in all classes (Smart, Comfort, Prima and Executive) at any date and time. Ticket prices may vary based on the class, travel date and number of seats available. Learn more about Italo trains.
Established by Trenitalia and Ferrovie Nord Milano (FNM), Trenord run suburban and regional trains in Lombardy – including the Malpensa Express connecting Milan to Milan Malpensa Airport – and from Lombardy to Ticino, the Italian-speaking region in Switzerland. From Milan, you can easily reach the other towns in the region, as well as Chiasso, Bellinzona, Mendrisio and Lugano in Switzerland.
As all regional trains in Italy, Trenord also offer the Ordinaria fare, which has a fixed price based on the distance between origin and destination, and on the class. In the area of Milan and Monza Brianza (or STIBM area), the price is based on the number of zones you’re travelling to, a bit like the London underground system works. Learn more about Trenord trains.
ÖBB is Austria's state-owned railway company and operates different services between Austria and Italy and Germany and Italy, including the high-speed Railjet and Intercity-Express, and the Nightjet sleeper service. Popular ÖBB routes include Vienna to Milan and Munich to Milan.
ÖBB offers four ticket fares: Standard-Ticket, Komfort-Ticket, Sparschiene Komfort-Ticket and Einfach-Raus-Ticket. The Standard-Ticket is the most flexible ticket type – you're free to take any train within your two-day window of travel. The Komfort-Ticket and the Sparschiene Komfort-Ticket are only available to travel on night trains, while the Einfach-Raus-Ticket is a group ticket for groups of 2-5 people travelling on regional trains.
Learn more about ÖBB trains.
Operated by the French national rail operator SNCF, the high-speed TGV train connects Paris to Milan and Turin three times a day, taking you from city centre to city centre through the scenic French Alps. This is an excellent and relaxing way to reach Italy from Paris, without having to worry about airport transfers nor parking.
There are 4 different types of TGV tickets: Prem’s, Seconde (Second Class), Première (First Class) and Business Première. While Prem’s tickets are the cheapest ones and are non-refundable and non-exchangeable, the other ticket types are refundable and exchangeable. Find out more about TGV trains.
A slower form of international train travel than some of the others we’ve mentioned, Eurocity run from Switzerland, Germany and Austria to Italy. Popular Eurocity routes include Zurich to Milan (3h 44m), Geneva to Milan (4h 56m), Munich to Verona (5h 25m) and Innsbruck to Bolzano (1h 58m).
Eurocity tickets are usually available to buy up to six months before the departure date. If you want to snap up the cheapest fares, make sure you buy your ticket in advance as they tend to sell out quickly. Seat reservations are not always compulsory on Eurocity trains, but we recommend you book a seat when travelling on busier and more popular routes. Learn more about Eurocity trains.
As mentioned earlier, there are three main train companies in Italy (Trenitalia, Trenord and Italo), which cover all domestic routes, and three rail operators (ÖBB, TGV and Eurocity), which operate on cross-border routes between France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy. While Trenitalia provides high-speed, Intercity and regional services all over the country, including airport transfers like the Leonardo express and Malpensa Express, Italo mainly offers high-speed services from Milan to Salerno and from Turin to Venice. Keen to learn more about trains in Italy? Keep reading for more details about the different Italian train types, and the main routes they cover.
Frecciarossa trains run along 4 routes in Italy:
The private Italian train company offers high-speed trains running at 360 km/h (223 mph).
Italo trains operate 4 lines in Italy:
Frecciargento are the second-fastest type of the 'Frecce' trains, reaching top speeds of 250 km/h (160 mph).
Frecciargento trains run along 3 routes in Italy:
Frecciabianca are the third-fastest type of the 'Frecce trains' and can reach speeds of up to 200 km/h (120 mph).
Frecciabianca trains serve 3 routes in Italy:
Operated by Trenitalia, Intercity trains connect more than 230 Italian cities that are not covered by high-speed trains, reaching speeds of up to 100 - 125 mph (160 - 200 km/h). Trenitalia’s Intercity trains serve the following routes:
The Malpensa Express is an airport transfer operated by Trenitalia which connects Milan city centre to Malpensa Airport.
Malpensa Express trains run along 2 routes in Italy:
The Leonardo express is an airport transfer operated by Trenitalia which travels between Fiumicino Airport and Rome city centre.
Leonardo express trains cover the following route:
The Cinque Terre Express is a fast regional train operated by Trenitalia and connecting the coastal towns of Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre Express trains serve the following route:
Italy's rail network is made up of both high-speed lines and regional services. But what's the difference between the two? Learn more about each below.
In broad terms, high-speed trains are for fast, city-to-city travel. Run by Trenitalia and Italo, high-speed trains run on special rail lines designed to facilitate speeds of up to 400 km/h. The main high-speed line runs north to south from Milan to Salerno, connecting major cities such as Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples.
The high-speed rail fleet in Italy consists of Trenitalia’s Frecciarossa (“Red Arrow”), Frecciargento (“Silver Arrow”) and Frecciabianca (“White Arrow”) trains, each capable of travelling at 400 and 300 km/h, 250 km/h and 200 km/h respectively. Italo’s fleet includes its AGV and EVO trains, both capable of up to 360 km/h.
High-speed trains are more expensive than regional trains. There are usually three or four classes on high-speed trains, modern interiors, vending machines (occasionally a restaurant carriage) and WiFi. Tickets for high-speed services include a carriage number and seat reservation, meaning you will have to catch the exact train which you have booked. You can’t simply turn up and jump on the first train that arrives.
Regional trains are much slower, stopping much more frequently and serving smaller stations in towns and villages. They are run exclusively by Trenitalia. In the Lombardy region, regional trains are run by Trenord, a subsidiary of Trenitalia.
Tickets are cheaper for regional trains, but the onboard facilities are more basic. There is normally only one class and seat reservations are not mandatory, passengers sit where they want. The price of regional train tickets is fixed, so it will cost the same on the day as it will in advance. Your ticket can also be used for any train within a four-hour window. Whilst the quality of trains can vary quite wildly on regional trains, they are by far the cheapest rail option in Italy.
Air-conditioning is not always guaranteed on older regional trains. In hot weather, make sure you bring a bottle of water with you.
We’ve given you lots of information on Italian trains so far, but what are they actually like? What’s onboard? We can’t show you every train, but below you’ll get a flavour of the interiors of the main trains in Italy, including Trenitalia’s and Italo’s high-speed trains.
Travel in Frecciarossa Standard Class and enjoy the perks of the Italian high-speed train at a competitive price. Enjoy eco-leather reclining seats and free WiFi during your journey.
Find out more about Frecciarossa Standard.
Save money while enjoying more comfortable and wider reclining seats than the Standard ones. Make your train journey even more pleasant with the welcome service offering complimentary drinks and snacks.
Find out more about Frecciarossa Premium.
If you need to work on the go, Frecciarossa Business is the right choice for you! Enjoy greater privacy thanks to the glass divider that separates each row – or if you wish to work undisturbed while travelling, pick the quiet carriage or Area del Silenzio.
Find out more about Frecciarossa Business.
Make your train journey even more unique in Frecciarossa Executive. With only two wide leather seats per row separated far apart, reclining backrests and adjustable footrests, you’ll feel like you’re travelling in your own little world of comfort!
Find out more about Frecciarossa Executive (First Class).
Save money without missing out on the great service on board Italo Smart. Enjoy leather seats in rows of 2+2 with tables and plenty of legroom. There’s even a cinema carriage playing current movies, spicing those long trips up!
Enjoy wider and more comfortable leather armchairs in Italo Prima. All seats come with power sockets, a table, reading lights and a glove compartment in each carriage. You can also select the single-seat option if you feel like you need more privacy.
As in most European countries, you can take your bike on any Italian train if it can be disassembled, put in a case and stored in the luggage storage area and its dimensions are not more than 80 x 110 x 45 cm. If your bike can be disassembled, you can bring it along with you free of charge because it's treated as any other piece of luggage.
If your bike can’t be disassembled, you can take it with you only on regional trains that have a bike icon listed on their timetable. You’ll need to buy a ticket for your bike.
You can travel with your bike on board some Eurocity trains connecting Venice and Milan to Geneva, Basel to Milan and Zurich to Milan, as well as some day trains from Germany and Austria to Italy. You’ll need to book a space for your bike before your departure.
You’re not allowed to take your bike on night trains from Germany and Austria to Italy.
There are loads of ways to save money on train travel in Italy. Each Italian train company offers a variety of deals and discount cards for rail travel on their services. Whether you're travelling as a family, a group or on a budget, we've found the available discounts and loyalty cards for you.
Are you looking for inspiration for your next train journey in Italy? Click on one of our most popular Italian train routes below and check train times and other useful information to plan your journey in advance.
Travelling by 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 drinks on every corner, stunning cathedrals and works of art, Italy is a country that must be savoured. Have a look at our recommended cities for what to see during your visit.
The capital of the country, and historically one of the most important cities in Europe, Rome has it all.
Visit the Colosseum to savour the history of the city that formed the bedrock of the Roman Empire. Head to the Vatican at noon on Sunday to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis while he’s giving the Angelus Prayer. And if you need a bit of luck, throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain and make a wish.
You can easily reach the capital by train from any Italian city thanks to the many high-speed and regional services provided by Trenitalia and Italo daily. If you’re flying to Fiumicino Airport, you can take the Leonardo express – Trenitalia’s fast-regional train – and be in central Rome in about half an hour.
Main train stations
Famous for its canals and Gothic architecture, Venice is perfect for a city break. Known the world over, taking a ride along the canals of Venice and passing under beautifully crafted bridges is the best way to take in the history and culture of the city.
To experience the vibrancy of the city, visit St Mark’s Square with its stunning Renaissance buildings, cafes and restaurants on all four sides. Whether it's the crab dish moleche or shrimp dish scampi alla veneziana, there's plenty of local food and drinks for you to enjoy.
You can easily get to Venice from the main Italian cities – Italo and Frecciarossa provide plenty of high-speed services to Venice every day.
Main train stations
The Cinque Terre consists of the towns of Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare, each of which is best reached by train.
Trenitalia provides a fast-regional service called Cinque Terre Express, which runs frequently between these colourful coastal towns.
During your visit, make sure you hike along the famous Via dell'Amore (‘Road of Love’), a hiking trail popular with climbers and trekkers all over the world – it seems almost carved into the hard rock of the Ligurian coast and winds along the rocky wall overlooking the sea.
Main train stations
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited cities in Italy due to its rich history, art and culture, Florence is a must-see when travelling to Italy.
Getting off at Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Florence’s main train station), you’ll find all the main landmarks within walking distance. Visit Florence Cathedral, which is famous for its iconic brick dome, the largest of its type still built today. Have a walk along Ponte Vecchio and grab a souvenir from one of the local shops. If you love art, don’t forget to go to Galleria dell’Accademia, which hosts the world-renowned sculpture of David by Michelangelo.
If you’re flying to Italy, the best option to get to Florence is to fly to Pisa Airport and take the train – you'll be in the city centre in about 90 minutes with one easy connection at Pisa Centrale.
Main train stations
If you plan to stay in Naples or Rome for a couple of days and are looking for a day trip, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and Sicily are the perfect destinations for you. Learn more about how to get there by train.
Planning to go to the Amalfi Coast and not sure how to get there? Vietri sul Mare is the only city on the Amalfi Coast that has a train station, so you can take a regional train from Naples or Salerno and then get to the rest of the coastal towns by bus – the service is operated by SITA SUD and takes you to Cetara, Maiori (Erchie), Maiori Centro, Minori, Atrani and Amalfi. A one-way ticket to any of these towns costs €2. If you want to get to Sorrento, you can take the Circumvesuviana train from Naples – the journey time is about an hour. From Sorrento you can also get a SITA SUD bus to Positano.
Main train station
If you're travelling from Naples, you can either take the Circumvesuviana train to Pompei Scavi station or the Trenitalia train to Pompei station – the difference being that the Circumvesuviana train takes you right next to Pompeii's ruins and is an older train, while Trenitalia's regional train is a newer service and can be pretty empty even in the tourist season.
If you're travelling from Rome, instead, you can take Italo, Frecciarossa or Frecciabianca from Roma Termini, stop in Napoli Centrale and continue your journey towards Pompeii.
Main train station
The train is a unique and wonderful way to reach Sicily, an experience you wouldn’t want to miss. There are two types of Intercity trains that travel to Sicily:
All these trains are shunted onto a ferry at Villa San Giovanni that will cross the Straits of Messina in about half an hour. After the train is secured in the ship’s hold, steps are added next to the train doors – you can either remain on the train or get off and walk upstairs to the deck and take some fresh sea air.
Once you arrive in Messina, the train will take you all the way to Palermo, Sicily’s capital city, which means that you can travel direct by train from as far as Rome to Palermo – the journey can be quite long (about 11h), but the stunning views over the Italian coast are definitely worth it!
Know your buongiorno’s from your arrivederci’s? Then you’re off to a good start! For your trip to Italy, we thought it might be a good idea to help you brush up a little further so that you never have to get into any difficulty while travelling. See some of the most common and useful-to-know phrases in Italian below!
Hello/Goodbye – Ciao (Chow)
Good morning – Buongiorno (Bwon-jawr-no)
Good evening – Buonasera (Bwona-say-ra)
Thank you – Grazie (Gra-zee-a)
Please – Per favore (Pair fav-aw-ra)
Excuse me – Mi scusi (Me scoo-see)
Where is my train? – Dov'è il mio treno? (Doh-vay eel me-oh treh-noh)
Where are the toilets? – Dove sono i bagni? (Doh-vay soh-noh ee bahn-yee)
Where is the main train station? – Dov'è la stazione centrale? (Doh-vay lah stah-zee-oh-neh chen-trah-lay)
Where is the baggage check area? – Dov'è il deposito bagagli? (Doh-vay eel deh-pah-zee-toh bah-gahl-yee)
Do you speak English? – Parli inglese? (Pahr-lee eng-lah-sah)
I don't speak Italian – Non parlo italiano (Non pahr-loh ee-ta-lya-noh)
Wondering how much in advance you can buy Italian train tickets or how much luggage you can take aboard Italian trains? We've answered some of the most frequently asked questions about train travel in Italy, so you can find the answer you're looking for easily.
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So, you've reached the end of our guide to travelling in and around Italy by train. We've covered the types of train you can travel on, their classes and who operates them. You should now also know how to buy Italian train tickets and which ones are the best for your budget.
We've shown you must-visit destinations, popular routes and even a few handy Italian phrases to help you along the way!
If you feel ready to book, why not start a search in our Journey Planner at the top of the page? If not, we've got plenty more travel guides to inspire your travel in Italy and beyond.