Train journeys are memorable. Traveling by train in Italy or other parts of the world are always mesmerizing.
Be it the train journey on one of the world’s best route to St.Moritz in the Bernina Express, or the Shinkansen gliding out in Japan, or the TGV swooshing from Paris to the Provence of France, or the Frecciarossa at the lighting speed from Milan to the olive gardens of Puglia in Italy!
Traveling by train in Italy is not only an easy and affordable but also an excellent way to keep your expenses lighter. Any day, I love those window seats on the train. Watching those numerous trees running back along those countrysides is something I would keep enjoying any day of my travel.
From Italy’s first train between Naples and Portici, a distance of less than 8km railway track, today Italy has grown its rail network to more than 16000 km. A huge accomplishment, indeed.
Not only the distance, but the technology has also changed a lot. From the epic black steam engines pumping its black smoke over its head to today’s clean fuel high-speed Frecciarossa trains.
Even today, the kid in me jumps out seeing the good old steam engines. The rhythmic chik-bhuk and the longhorn sound is always a melody to the ears. If you are one like me, who loves those historic train rides, then you will surely love the Sebina Express from Milan to Lake Iseo.
Unlike Trenitalia, which operates almost across every city in Italy, Italo operates high-speed trains only between a few major cities of Italy like Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence, Turin, Naples, and Bologna.
Here is a secret tip for those visiting Italy for the first time, based on my own interesting experience.
I was waiting at the Malpensa airport to board my flight to Munich. When I looked at the signboard of my gate showing the destination as Monaco, I really got confused. I was in a bit of panic and trying to confirm the gate number on my boarding pass several times.
Later realized that Munich is indeed called Monaco di Bavaria in Italian.
So, knowing the Italian name of the cities you plan to visit in Italy will be helpful. Some cities are easy to figure out, like Venezia vs Venice or Milano vs Milan or Roma vs Rome. But, certain regions like Puglia (Italian) or Apulia (English) could completely seem strange.
So, to make your traveling by train in Italy a pleasant trip, keep your google maps handy.
Read more: Sebino Express – Historic Train to Lake Iseo
Let me tell you other secret tips to save money while traveling in Italy. The hassles to reach the airport, and queues at the check-in, boarding, and baggage, etc will often make your flight journey longer. Not to forget, the cost is also higher.
Now imagine this with today’s high-speed trains! You take less than 4 hours to reach Rome from Milan.
Italy Train Ticket Prices and Offers
Ticket prices depend on the time of booking, which means you are bound to save money if booked in advance. There is a huge advantage of booking online. You will be able to visualize all the offers and prices on the screen yourself at your own comfort.
Take time, choose the best offers and make your vacation cheaper by traveling by train in Italy. Knowing the different trains and facilities is equally important for hassle-free travel in Italy.
Highspeed or Treno Alta Velocita
The Alta Velocità is the premier high-speed trains in Italy. It is the one that makes the dream of day visits to Rome from Milan a reality. It connects the most major cities of Italy with its different fleets of trains.
You can reach Rome from Milan, in just a few minutes above three hours. Now, compare this with the flight – the time to reach the airport, boarding queues, baggage retrieval time, etc. Will you ever think of flying again to Rome?
With more than 200 connections per day, Frecciarossa is the busiest route of high-speed trains in Italy. It can reach a max of 300kmph. Your best bet to reach the heel or boot of Italy, like the Salento.
Frecciargento runs at 250kmph and connects the Adriatic coast and Calabria. Will serve as a good connection for people looking to reach Sicily. A change in the Calabria is a must.
The slowest of the high-speed fleet, but still much higher than the regular trains. Frecciabianca can run a max speed of 200kmph.
Comforts and Facilities
As I always say, Travel is all about the journey more than the destination. So, choosing a good mode of transport that is comfortable is not only important but will also add more pleasant to your vacation.
The high-speed trains are equipped with different levels of comforts depending on the class of the coach. The first class being with excellent comfort, it does cost more than the standard or Premium ones.
For short travels like Milan to Rome etc, I would recommend going for the Premium class rather than the First class – if you are looking for one.
The Premium class passenger gets a free welcome drink with snacks, which you will be missing in the standard class. You will be surprised to know that I once have got Premium class tickets cheaper than standard class tickets. It was when I booked using the Bimbis Gratis (Kids travel free) offer.
So, again, keep your eyes open, look for offers in every pixel of the screen while you make those online booking. This is what makes traveling by train in Italy more economical.
The other alternative to the high-speed trains is the Intercity trains. They cost much less than the Frecciarossa trains. The intercity train operates both day and night trains. With more than 1000 km from north to the south of Italy, it is no surprise to see the country operating such night trains.
Reach your destination without the need to wait in the long traffic on the Autostrada, and in the comfort of your hotel room. In fact, you save both the time from the traffic and money from the hotel booking.
The sleeper coach offers economical and comfortable sleeping beds with 1, 2 or 3 in a row. There are also private coupe available if you prefer one.
The regional trains are well suited for connecting neighbor cities. Many of the trains have the power socket to charge your cell phones. The tickets are mostly standard price across the desk and have a maximum validity of 4 hours from the time of validating the ticket.
If you are looking to return the same day from your trip, it would be more advisable to get the one day pass for the regional trains. This pass is valid in a given region, say in Lombardia.
And the pass can be used in all public transport in the respective region, from the bus, tram, trains, intercity buses, including the boats on Lake Iseo.
How to Buy Italy Train Tickets
The best way to search and book a ticket is online, especially if you are challenged with the Italian language. The Trenitalia website is very user-friendly, and in English too. So, it is a piece of cake. Thus your traveling by train in Italy can be well planned.
Another advantage is, you can browse through the various offers and pick the best one that suits you for the day. Be sure to check both First class & Second class tickets. There are offers from time to time that will get you the First-class tickets cheaper than the Second class one. So watch out.
Trenitalia portal has a single-window to book tickets on all their trains, including the Airport-City trains, regional and also the high-speed trains.
Online booking is a boon when you are planning the travel well ahead of time. But if you are looking to book it last minute, you can always book it at the ticket office or the ticket vending machine at the station.
Fares on Regional Trains
The standard ticket for regional trains depends on the distance of travel. The validity of the ticket depends on the distance too – 3 hours for up to 50 km, 6 hours for between 51 and 200 km, 24 hours for over 200 km. The single-day pass costs 16.50 Euro. And multi-day pass also available at the prices shown below
- 2 days (27,00€)
- 3 days (32,50€)
- 7 days (43,50€)
Read more: Ultimate Guide of Public Transport in Milan
The passes allow you to travel throughout the region (say, Lombardy) using any means of public transport: urban and suburban buses, trams, trolley cars, subways, suburban and regional trains in 1st or 2nd class, boats on Lake Iseo, on-demand services, cable cars and funiculars within the public transport network.
How To Use Your Italy Train Ticket
Tickets when booked online, are always pre-validated, and good to go. So, you just print the ticket or load it on your mobile and start your travel.
Regional tickets, especially the ones you buy from the ticket office or in advance from the ticket vending machines, need to be validated using the time-stamping box before boarding the train.
You can never claim ignorance for not validating the ticket. A passenger with an unvalidated ticket is treated on par with a ticketless passenger. So, please make sure you follow the rules without fail.
Good luck with your next vacation!
|Are you looking for travel ideas? Wondering which place to visit in Italy without burining a hole in your pocket? Let me tell you the secret.|
Stay in Milan, and cover the top tourists places like Lake Como, Venice, in one-day visits.
Utilize the transit time in Milan to cover most amazing must-see places of Milan.
Thanks to the highspeed trains, visit Pisa, the Leaning Tower in a day.
Visit the Land of Ferrari, near Bologna.
Italy is full of beautiful location, and do not miss the fun having a journey on the ferries. Take a ride to Portofino, the picture perfect town in Italy.
Remember, Italy is vast with more than 1000 kms from north to south. The reason why it could take couple of weeks to visit all the places in Italy. Next time you plan your trip, make sure to utilize those night stays for the transit in the comfortable sleeper cach of Italy Intercity trains.
This is what truely makes the traveling by train in Italy great!