Getting around to see the lush green rolling countryside or the dynamic cities of this amazing country can be a smooth and straightforward ride if you take an Italy train. Railroad travel is more accessible and more convenient than ever to make your journey enjoyable, comfortable and fun. Italians and tourists have been taking the train ever since it began running in the 1800s. This type of travel is preferred in Italy, in fact - in 2015 there were 64 million passengers on Italian trains.
Traveling by train to large urban centres in Italy like Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, and Milan is a great option. However, many mid-size cities also have central train stations as well. The one exception would be in the mountainous regions where service is not guaranteed. But even in some of those areas, the train station is a short bus ride or walk away. There is an entire network of trains that run north to south in the country and train travel is very economical in Italy as opposed to some other more expensive European countries.
Two Italian railway companies offer service in Italy. The national system is called Trenitalia, and it runs high-speed routes as well as regional ones. It is owned by the Italian government and was created in the year 2000. The other is a private service called NTV-Italo. NTV-Italo runs both regional and high-speed lines. If you are planning on doing a lot of traveling between cities on your vacation to Italy, you will find the train more economical and speedy than flying or driving.
The first high-speed trains started operating in 1970. Today, modern trains can get you to where you want to go to Italy at up to speeds of 369 km per hour! In Italy, you can catch a high-speed train pretty much to every major city in Italy. When booking this type of train they are usually marked by AV (Alta Velocità) meaning "high speed". AV trains are offered by the national system - Trenitalia and the private company called NTV-Italo. The national high-speed trains are called Frecciarossa or "Red Arrow" and the private ones are simply called Italo. You can see the the routes for these types of trains by viewing our Italy train map. For more information about high-speed trains click here.
Regionale or Regional trains are the local trains that are both economical and on time. However, be forewarned. Seats can be hard to come by, and the service can be less than ideal. If possible, consider booking a first class ticket on these types of trains to ensure better service.
These type of trains are still very convenient but they will not be as fast as the high-speed "bullet trains". While mapping out regional train service. Keep an eye out for the following markings IR, R, D, E (Regional) & RV (Regional Veloce). To view regional train routes as well as all the other lines, check out the Italy train map.
Intercity trains are usually marked IC on the mapping routes. NVT-Italo trains run on speedy routes between the major cities in Italy. This line of trains is new and comfortable with several different levels of service. In addition to NVT-Italo, you may encounter some smaller rail companies that serve small towns.
Trenitalia has several types of trains. Their Frecciargento (Silver Arrow) & Frecciabianca (White Arrow) fast trains travel between the major cities in Italy can also be marked AV. You must have reservations for these types of trains and the price tag for these trains is higher, but because of their speed, they will save you lots of time. They also have several classes of tickets available to suit your budget.
The Trenitalia Intercity trains and Intercity Plus trains are also quite fast and run up and down the country. They stop at major cities and larger towns so they may be convenient for your travels. Reservations are needed on the Intercity Plus trains, and you can also make reservations for almost all Intercity trains as well.
Inter-City trains aren't as fast as the Frecciarossa or the high-speed Italo trains but can still reach somewhere between 200-250 km/h. Use the handy and interactive Italy train map to view the routes for these types of trains.
Whichever Italy train you decide to take, make sure your train information is accurate. You can book your tickets ahead if you know where you are going. And the most important part? Have fun on your Italy train travels!