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Looking for a weekend gateway in Italy? If you want to get the best out of your journey in the “land of love”, then jump on a high-speed train and visit as many cities as possible with one of the fastest rail services in Europe!

Having started its journey towards modernising rail travel decades ago, Italy is now well-prepared to ferry passengers around the country in record time.

Why not try out the fantastic Frecciarossa 1000 (a Trenitalia train), or Italo’s Evo? Both are great options for getting around the country quickly and in style. 

High-speed rail in Italy

Italy’s high-speed rail network (as of October 2018) measures 1,467 km. As mentioned above, your options for high-speed trains in Italy come from the following two train companies — Trenitalia and Italo.

Italy's high-speed train map

Italy high-speed rail network

Conventional line 21,010 km
AV line 1,467 km
Milan - Bologna 182 km 
Bologna - Florence 78.5 km
Florence - Rome (direct) 254 km
Rome - Naples 205 km
Naples - Salerno 29 km
Turin - Milan 125 km
Milan - Treviglio 27 km
Treviglio - Brescia 39.6 km
Brescia - Verona 73 km 
Verona - Vicenza 51.2 km
Vicenza - Padua 27.6 km
Padua - Venice 25 km 

Fastest trains in Italy

High-speed trains in Italy offer travellers one of the most sophisticated and extensive rail networks in the world. For intercity travel in Italy, Trenitalia and Italo are the train companies you want to look out for. While the former is the national system running both high-speed and regional routes, the latter is a recent private competitor offering high-speed train services on several lines.

“Le Frecce”

The “Le Frecce” (meaning The Arrows) are a series of modern high-speed trains, operated by Trenitalia. All “Le Frecce” trains offer a greater level of service and greater comfort compared to the Intercity trains and the regional ones, but they differ in their connections, and the top speed reached. "Le Frecce’’ trains are split into two categories – Frecciarossa and Frecciargento: Frecciarossa trains make 187 daily connections and can reach a top speed of 300 km/h. The Frecciargento trains offer 48 daily connections and can reach a maximum speed of 250 km/h.

Italo treno

All of Italo’s trains are considered high-speed trains. Operated by a second railway company in Italy known as NuovoTrasporto Viaggiatori (NTV), Italo is among the world’s newest high-speed trains, connecting major Italian cities such as Florence, Rome, Milan and Naples. It’s able to reach a top speed of 360 km/h, though it’s often limited to 250 km/h (155 mph) on the Italian railway network. These trains connect Turin – Milan – Venice in just over 3 hours and can cover the Milan – Rome journey in just 2h and 40m.

Bullet trains in Italy

Looking for more information about the different types of high-speed trains you can jump on in Italy? There are four different “bullet trains” that can take you anywhere in the country!

Italo EVO

The fastest among Italo’s high-speed trains, the EVO is a "green" train, built with recyclable materials and designed to be eco-sustainable and to guarantee reduced CO2 emissions. The Italo EVO travels at a maximum speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). EVO trains provide 68 USB ports for each carriage, one per seat, to allow you to continue working or enjoy a film along the way.

 

Frecciarossa 1000

The Frecciarossa 1000 is the most modern train of the Trenitalia fleet. Designed to travel on all high-speed networks in Europe, the Frecciarossa 1000 can reach the maximum speed of 400 km/h (248 mph ). It connects the cities of Turin, Milan, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples and Salerno, also reaching Potenza and Taranto.

Frecciargento

Frecciargento trains reach a maximum speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), arriving directly in the heart of most Italian main cities. These are high-speed trains complete with fantastic amenities – offering almost 190 connections a day. Every day the Frecciargento high-speed trains operate over 100 services between Rome and Milan, 26 between Rome and Venice and 46 between Milan and Venice.

High-speed train routes in Italy

treni in europa

With high-speed services from Italo and Trenitalia, travelling through the country by rail is faster and easier than ever. Below are Italy’s most popular routes.

Route First train Duration Direct service
Rome to Florence 00:15 1h 16m yes
Rome to Milan 00:15 2h 52m yes
Rome to Venice 00:15 3h 12m yes
Florence to Milan 02:47 1h 40m yes
Milan to Venice 05:00 2h 18m yes

How to travel cheaply on high-speed trains

Are you looking for cheap high-speed train tickets? We’re here to show you how to bag yourself a bargain. By using one (or a combination) of the steps below, you could save a bucketload on your train travel!

Book in advance

Train tickets for high-speed trains usually go on sale around 6 months before the date of travel. Book in advance to make sure you get the cheapest options as these tend to sell out, leaving only the more expensive tickets.

Use filters

Select the "Cheapest" filter when searching for the ticket – this allows you to find the lowest available price for your selected route.

Check out our offers page

There are other ways to get cheap train tickets in Italy. Whether it be day returns, family offers or child fares, make sure to take advantage of the best deals.

Good to know

Both Trenitalia and Italo publish discount fares in advance. These tickets are much cheaper, usually non-refundable and come with restrictions or prohibitions upon changes. Both operating companies offer passengers different rates of flexibility depending on their travel needs. On Trenitalia services, there are four ticket types: Regional, Super Economy, Economy and Base. Italo tickets are split into Low Cost, Economy and Flex.

Seat reservation is required on high-speed train services – we recommend you to reserve on Intercity trains (especially if you’re travelling during public holidays).

  • Opened in 1977, the Direttissima was Italy’s first high-speed rail route linking Rome to Florence. With an average speed of 200 km/h, a journey on this route took about 1h 30m. However, the top speed on the line was 250 km/h. The Direttissima used a 3kV DC supply.
  • The Rome to Milan route was the second high-speed service to be introduced in Italy, sometime between 1988 and 1989, with the ETR 450 Pendolino train. As the train had a top speed of 250km/h, it cut the duration of the journey between these two cities from five hours to four.
  • On 25 May 1989, the prototype train ETR X 500 became the first Italian high-speed train to reach 300 km/h. However, projects for the Italian high-speed rail suffered as a result of several delays and cost overruns.
  • There’s no denying the benefits of modern technology on the rail infrastructure in Italy. At present, the maximum operating speed for high-speed trains Italy is set at 300km/h. Necessary updates are underway to allow for trains to reach speeds of up to 360 km/h.

 

Most major train stations in Italy will have English-speaking staff but, in case you can’t find anyone nearby, here are some important words you should look out for on the arrivals/departures board:

On timeIn Orario

Delay – In Ritardo

CancelledCancellato or Soppresso

PlatformBinario

TicketBiglietto

Info PointPunto Informazioni

Leaving fromIn partenza da

Going toDiretto a

ClassesLivelli di Servizio

SeatPosto a sedere

Bear in mind that there’s a +1-hour difference between Italy and the UK (09:00 in the UK will be 10:00 in Italy). In towns and cities in Italy, train stations, maps and information boards show local place names (ex – Firenze instead of Florence).

‘Ready to book your high-speed train tickets? Get started here!’ – with a link to the journey planner at the top of the page.

 

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