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ticket office at florence train station. large letters above it stay BIGLIETTERIA. There are red signs and a small red booth out front.

Train Travel in Italy – Route Map + Tips Straight from Italy

Train travel in Italy – all of your questions answered.  Decide if you should use a train for your trip, learn how to purchase Italian train tickets, and get helpful tips for travel, including traveling by train in Italy with kids!

Traveling by train in Italy is a beautiful way to see the country and understand Italian culture.  Italian trains weren’t created for tourists – they’re used by Italians for commuting and traveling for leisure – but as a visitor, you can take advantage of Italy’s vast network of high-speed and local trains. 

I’m going to walk you through a few major steps for using trains to travel in Italy:

  1. Deciding if you need to or want to use trains in Italy
  2. Buying tickets for trains in Italy
  3. Making your way to and around Italian train stations
  4. Traveling on the train in Italy

Plus, I’ll go through some special topics like train travel with kids and taking the train to and from the airport.  I’ll also answer frequently asked questions that I get about taking the train in Italy.

I’ve been using the train in Italy since 2003, and it’s a beautiful, efficient (most of the time) way to travel around the country.  Even though I have a car, sometimes the train is the best option. 

I’ve written this post with help from a Trenitalia employee / friend.

First time to Italy? 10th? Either way, you’ll want to check out our 200+ Essential Italy Travel Tips!

1.   Deciding if You Need To or Want to Travel by Train in Italy

First off – the major ways to travel in Italy are:

  • Rental car
  • Train
  • Plane
  • Bus
  • Taxi
  • Private driver
  • Tour bus

Train Travel in Italy – Advantages and Disadvantages

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these, but let’s look specifically at trains:

ADVANTAGES of Train Travel in ItalyDISADVANTAGES of Train Travel in Italy
Easy to travel between major citiesCan’t access some destinations (like countryside hotels, small villages)
Fast way to travel long distancesLess flexibility (stops, schedule, destinations)
Can be inexpensive (specials, advance booking)Can be more expensive (last minute, with large groups)
Don’t need to stop for bathrooms or foodMay still need additional transport to get to final destination
All travelers in group can enjoy sceneryCan’t social distance easily
Don’t need to worry about driving in Italy, learning Italian road signs, paying tolls, finding parking, avoiding ZTLs, lugging car seats around, etcPossibility of train delays and strikes
Arrive easily in city centersLess flexible than driving
Soak up Italian culture and daily lifeCan be a pain if with a lot of luggage
Fun for kids, romantic for couplesCan be exhausting with early walkers

Here are some examples:

  • Traveling as a couple with little luggage to the main Italian destinations (Rome, Florence, Venice).  In this situation, traveling by train is ideal.
  • Traveling as a large family (with a stroller and many suitcases) in the Tuscan countryside.  While it’s certainly possible to travel by train, it may be easier (and less expensive) to rent a large vehicle for your group.
  • Traveling as a group of friends to Florence and nearby cities (Pisa & Lucca), followed by a road trip to the Dolomites.  In this situation, you could use trains to travel between Florence, Pisa, and Lucca and then rent a car for your travel in the Dolomites (although you could also get around by bus in the Dolomites).

What I Do:  If I’m with my kids and we’re traveling to a city (like Bologna, Milan, Venice), we take the train.  It’s easy, fun for the kids, and I don’t have to deal with city parking or traffic.  If we’re traveling to a smaller town or somewhere in the countryside, we drive. 

Helpful Tip:  Trying to figure out the cost of train travel vs. renting a car and driving?  Look up the rental car rate, plus gas and tolls for the main routes in your journey.  The total costs may be surprising, depending on the size of your group and how much you’ll be driving, and where you’ll be driving.

Main Train Routes in Italy

Let’s look at some of the main routes used by visitors.  For the most up-to-date routes and maps, see the websites of the main train companies in Italy, Trenitalia (state-run) and Italo Treno (privately-run).  Routes are continually added and upgraded (regional to fast, for example). 

I haven’t included rates because there is a huge range, depending on the period of the year, time of the week, time of the day, age(s) of the traveler(s), and whether or not there is a discount or special available.

ROUTEAPPROXIMATE TIME (Fastest)SERVED BY (Company)
Venice – Florence2 hrTrenitalia, Italo
Florence – Rome1 hr 40 minTrenitalia, Italo
Milan – Florence2 hrTrenitalia, Italo
Rome – Naples1 hr 10 minTrenitalia, Italo
Milan – Torino1 hrTrenitalia, Italo
Milan – Rome3 hrTrenitalia, Italo
Milan – Venice2 hr 30 minTrenitalia, Italo
Naples – Bari3 hr 40 minTrenitalia
Rome – Bari4 hrTrenitalia, Italo
Naples – Reggio Calabria4 hr 30 minTrenitalia, Italo
Florence – Bologna40 minTrenitalia, Italo
Venice – Rome3 hr 50 minTrenitalia, Italo
Florence – Verona1 hr 30 minTrenitalia, Italo
Verona – Bolzano1 hr 30 minTrenitalia, Italo
Venice – Bolzano3 hrTrenitalia
Milan – Bolzano3 hrTrenitalia, Italo
Bologna – Perugia3 hrTrenitalia

Map of Main Train Routes in Italy

You can use this map to help plan your routes. Note that routes sometimes change, so always check train schedules. For a printable PDF version of the map, click HERE or on the map and a new tab with open with the PDF.

2.   Buying Tickets for Trains in Italy

Once you’ve decided you want to take the train, you have a few options for purchasing your train tickets.  But first, let’s look at the options you have for your train travel:

Italian High-Speed Train Companies – Italo Treno vs Trenitalia

Trenitalia is the ‘main’ train company in Italy.  It’s state-run and operates both high-speed routes along with slower regional routes. 

Italo Treno (owned by Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori – NTV) offers high-speed train service.  It arrived on the scene in 2012 and has been shaking things up ever since.  As a train traveler in Italy, I love that Trenitalia has some competition on fast train routes.

What I Do:  I’m often asked which is better – Trenitalia or Italo?  In my experience, Trenitalia’s Frecce and Italo’s trains are very similar when it comes to train travel experience (cleanliness of cabin, amenities, on-time departures, etc).  If both companies offer the route, I compare the prices and train times and make my decision.

Helpful Tip:  Even if your station is on one of the high-speed lines, check to make sure the train you’re looking at stops at it. 

Types of Trains in Italy

Italo train arrives at the train station in Italy.
Italo train arriving at the station

The Frecce (Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianco) – These ‘arrow’ trains (Red Arrow, Silver Arrow, and White Arrow) are Trenitalia’s high-speed (alta velocità) trains (with the Frecciarossa being the fastest.

Intercity (IC) – These high-speed trains aren’t as fast as the Frecce, but they’ll still get you to your destination quickly, and they serve medium-sized cities and smaller destinations as well.  You’ll also see Eurocity (EC) high-speed trains sometimes, which operate across borders (for example, from France to Italy).

Italo – All of Italo’s trains are high-speed (alta velocità).

Regionale (R) and Regionale Veloce (RV) – Trenitalia’s regional are slow (and sometimes sloooooow).  They stop at many small towns and villages, which is great if you need reach one of them, but not so great if you’re in a hurry.  They are plentiful during commuter hours and are busy and toasty in summer months.  Regionale Veloce (‘fast’ regional trains) are similar but make fewer stops.

Other Trains – There are other smaller train lines running, including Trenord (Lombardy regional trains), the Circumetnea (circumnavigating Mt. Etna), the EAV (includes the Campania Express and Circumvesuviana, which connect Naples to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Sorrento), and airport trains like the Leonardo Express (connects Rome to Rome Fiumicino Airport) and the Malpensa Express (connects Milan to the Milan-Malpensa Airport).

Changeable Tickets

You’re probably wondering, “Why do I need to buy a changeable ticket?  I know my itinerary!”  Well, I can tell you, based on personal experience and the experience of many other travelers I’ve worked with, things happen – your museum tour runs late, you forgot something at the hotel, your taxi was stuck in traffic – and it’s possible you’ll need to change your ticket. 

You can also change your ticket to an earlier train – which I’ve done many times.

Changeable tickets don’t cost much more, and they give you peace of mind for your train journeys.

Regional Trains – When you purchase a regional train ticket online, you can use it for the train you purchased it for, or for the same train route within the next four hours.  You may also make one change (for example, if you want to travel a day earlier).  If you purchase your ticket at the train station or the newsstand, you can use it on a qualifying route any time you want. 

High-Speed (Alta Velocità) Trains – If you’re traveling on one of the Frecce trains or Italo trains, you can make changes to your ticket if you’ve purchased a ticket that allows changes.  Take a look at the details for Frecce trains and Italo trains for the most up-to-date info (it can change!). 

For example (at the time of writing), if you purchase a ‘Flex Fare’ on Italo, you can “make free of charge unlimited changes to your travel time/date and passenger’s name up to 3 minutes prior to departure time, for as many times as you like.  If you cancel, you get an 80% refund.  If you miss your train, you have 2 hours of ‘Extra Tempo’ to find a seat on the next train by asking the in-station Italo staff or ticket office or by calling Italo assistance at … (subject to availability).” 

1st Class vs 2nd Class on Italian Trains

You can read about the differences in the classes of trains.  On some trains, there are multiple classes, not just 1st and 2nd

Trenitalia (Frecciarossa) – Classes include Executive, Business, Premium, and Standard.  All classes include air-conditioning, reserved seats, free WI-FI, individual power sockets, and more.  See the details on Trenitalia’s website.

Trenitalia (other Frecce trains and InterCity trains) – Classes include 1st and 2nd class, but sometimes Business/Premium/Standard).  While not as ‘fancy’ as the Frecciarossa trains, they are comfortable and offer amenities like A/C and individual power sockets.  1st class is  a little roomier, but there aren’t major differences.

Trenitalia (Regionale & Regionale Veloce) – On regionale and regionale veloce trains, 2nd class is the standard option, and occasionally you’ll find one with 1st class.  1st class is slightly more expensive, and ends up being a little quieter and calmer.

Italo – Classes include Club Ambience, Prima Ambience, and Smart Ambience.  All classes offer air-conditioning, reserved seats, reclining seats with footrests, individual power sockets (make sure you have an adapter), free WI-FI, and accessible snacks.  More costly classes include roomier seats, personal screens, lounge access, and more. See the details on Italo’s website.

What I Do:  I’ve always found the Standard Trenitalia class and the Smart Italo class to be comfortable and clean.  If you’re looking for a little extra pampering, space, and quiet, the other classes are worth looking into. 

Reserving Seats on Italian Trains

When you buy a ticket for a high-speed train in Italy, you will get a reserved seat.  You have the option of choosing your seat or having one automatically assigned to you.

Knowing the Correct Train Station

Outside of Roma Termini train station in Rome, Italy.

Most larger Italian cities have more than one train station, and usually one is the ‘main’ train station. 

The ‘main’ train stations for commonly visited Italian cities:

  • Rome – Roma Termini
  • Florence – Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Firenze S.M.N.)
  • Venice – Venezia Santa Lucia
  • MilanMilano Centrale
  • Turin – Torino Porta Nuova
  • Naples – Napoli Centrale
  • Palermo – Palermo Centrale
  • Verona – Verona Porta Nuova
  • Bologna – Bologna Centrale
  • Salerno – Stazione di Salerno
  • La Spezia – La Spezia Centrale
  • Bari – Bari Centrale

Tips for When to Buy Italian Train Tickets

You can buy your train tickets any time – up to a few minutes before the train departs. 

Regional Trains – Regional trains have fixed rates and you can’t reserve a seat, so whether you buy them the day of or 6 months before – it doesn’t matter. 

Helpful Tip: If you’re buying your regional ticket at the station, don’t show up 5 minutes before your train expecting to buy your ticket and hop on.  Lines can be long (at ticket counters and self-service machines).  I can’t tell you how many trains I’ve missed this way!

High-Speed Trains – You’ll get better prices on high-speed trains if you purchase tickets in advance.  Note that the train tickets are released for sale 120 days out – so you’ll likely see July tickets for high-speed routes in May.  The schedules also change twice per year (in June and December), but there are actually very few changes.  For example, on a route with 20 trains, there might be 1-2 trains added to or removed from the schedule.  

Train travel in Italy is busy during holidays (especially Christmas, Easter, Ferragosto, and summer vacation) so buy tickets in advance if possible. 

Both Trenitalia and Italo offer discounts and specials for specific destinations, families, friends traveling together, and more.  I almost always purchase our train tickets using one of the discounts or specials on the website – the deals are excellent!  The only catch is you often need to book at least three days out (so, no last-minute bookings). 

Where to Buy Italian Train Tickets

Self-service ticket machine next to the tracks at a train station in Italy.
Self-service ticket machine

Important:  I do NOT recommend buying your train tickets from a 3rd party.  Why?  Because you’ll likely need to change a ticket at some point, and it’s much easier to do so if you have purchased directly from Trenitalia or Italo.  You can work with your tickets on the websites, on the app, at the ticket counter in the station, using the ticket machines at the train station, and at the small, manned booths for either company at train stations in major Italian cities.  Save yourself the headache (and possible lost €s), and purchase directly from the train websites.

  • Online – Use the Trenitalia website or the Italo website to purchase train tickets.  They both have English-language versions. You can print your tickets or have the confirmation on your phone.
  • App – Both Trenitalia and Italo have apps.  I’ve used them both and appreciate the convenience of them.  I’ve heard a lot of people complain about glitches with them.
  • Train Station Ticket Counter – If you’re confused or have questions, head to the ticket counter at a train station.  Be ready for long lines (even in small stations).
  • Train Station Self-Service Machine – These machines are in large and small stations and are easy to use.  Almost always touch-screen, you can choose to complete your purchase in English. 
  • Travel Agent – Pay a slight premium for having a travel agent (at home or in Italy) book your train tickets.
  • Tabacchi & Newsstands – You can purchase regional train tickets at shops and newsstands.  Remember to validate these tickets (punch them in the little machine at the track) before you get on the train!

Good To Know:  For in-person options, you may be asked to enter a PIN number, even for a credit card.  For online options, you may be subject to 2-Factor authentification.  This can be a huge pain if you’re using your phone on airplane mode in Italy or if you’re using your phone but with a different phone number.

Good To Know:  You may need to enter the Italian name for the city.  For example, on Trentialia’s website, you must enter ‘Firenze,’ not ‘Florence.’  Italo uses the English version (Florence, for example).

Buying Trenitalia Train Tickets

1. Go to the official Trenitalia website (trenitalia.com).

2. Choose your departure and arrival station.  Even if you’re using the English-language version of the site, you must use the Italian name (Firenze, not Florence).  Choose your date, time, and number of passengers.  Click ‘search.’

3. You will see the trains available, and you can click on them to see the different fare options available to you.  Some may be sold out.  If you do not see a certain fare, it may not be available for that particular train, day, or time.

Good To Know:  Many special fares require advance booking (often 3 days).

4. Next, choose your seats. 

5. You will be asked to log in, but you can proceed as a guest.  I live here and still often use the site as a guest.

6. Enter your payment details to complete your purchase. When your purchase is complete, you’ll receive an email with your booking code, your itinerary, and a QR code and PNR number.  You will need the QR code or PNR for your train trip when the controller stops by your seat!

Important:  If you’re booking with your credit card while in Italy, you may be subject to 2-factor authentification – a code will be sent to your phone number attached to the credit card. 

Helpful Tip:  If you have access to a printer, print your tickets ‘just in case.’ 

Ticket purchased online for 2 people traveling on the Frecciarossa from Florence to Rome
Ticket purchased online for 2 people traveling on Trenitalia’s Frecciarossa from Florence to Rome

Buying Italo Train Tickets

1. Go to the official Italo website (italotreno.it) to book your Italo train tickets.

2. Choose your departure and arrival station.  If you’re using the English-language version, you can type in the English version of the city (Florence for Firenze).  Choose your date, time, and number of passengers.  Click ‘search.’

3. You will see the trains available, and you can click on them to see the different fare options available to you.  Some may be sold out.  If you do not see a certain fare, it may not be available for that particular train, day, or time. 

Good To Know:  Many special fares require advance booking (often 3 days).

4. Next, choose your seats (if your fare class allows you to choose your own seats – otherwise they’ll be assigned automatically). 

5. You will be asked to log in, but you can proceed as a guest (do not enter any info in the ItaloPiù section.  I live here and still often use the site as a guest.

6. Enter your payment details to complete your purchase.  When your purchase is complete, you’ll receive an email with your booking code, your itinerary, and a QR code/ticket code.  You will need these for your train trip when the ticket controller stops by your seat!

Important:  If you’re booking with your credit card while in Italy, you may be subject to 2-factor authentification – a code will be sent to your phone number attached to the credit card. 

Helpful Tip:  If you have access to a printer, print your tickets ‘just in case.’ 

Italo Treno train ticket purchased online for four people traveling from Florence to Venice
Italo Treno train ticket purchased online for four people traveling from Florence to Venice

3.  Making Your Way to and Around Italian Train Stations

Getting to the Train Station Early

I always try to arrive at the train station 30 minutes early, even if I know the station.  Some are large, there can always be unexpected delays, and it’s better to be early than late!  Plus, you may have time for a cornetto or even a quick aperitivo!

Amenities at the Train Station

Depending on the station, amenities may include:

  • Toilets – pay-to-use, but clean! Read more about Bathrooms in Italy.
  • Shops
  • Newsstands
  • Restaurants
  • Grocery Store – minimarkets or small versions of main Italian grocery store chains
  • Cafes
  • Pharmacy – Read more about Pharmacies in Italy
  • Bank or ATM (bancomat)
  • Left Luggage – less common post-Covid; if needed double-check before you arrive

Finding Your Train

Departures board showing train types, numbers, destinations, scheduled departure time, delay (in minutes), information, and the binario (platform/track).  It's on a wall and it's electronic.
Departures board showing train types, numbers, destinations, scheduled departure time, delay (in minutes), information, and the binario (platform/track)

Look at the departures (partenze) board (electronic or tv screen in smaller stations) and find your binario (track). 

Good To Know:  You can get an idea of what binario your train usually uses by looking at the printed schedule (usually on a wall or free-standing near the tracks).

Helpful Tip:  Taking a high-speed train? Don’t stress if your binario isn’t showing up.  Often high-speed trains have the binario posted just minutes before the train departure.  Don’t have a heart attack running once it’s posted.  All of the other passengers need to get to the train too.  You’ll usually see a big crowd of people waiting and then moving together to the high-speed train’s track.

Depending on the station, you may need to walk through a gate or metal detector.  It’s not a full-on security check.  You just show your ticket and walk through (without getting bags checked).

Important: If you’re traveling on a regional train with a paper ticket you bought at a newsstand or at the station (not printed from home), validate your ticket in the small machines by the tracks.  If you’re on a high-speed train or regional train with a specific day and time, don’t worry about this.

At binario, double check that it’s your train! Then, find your carriage (carrozza). There are sometimes video screens spread along the track that have the associated carriage numbers (for example, if you’re in carriage 9, find the video screen with ‘9’ and wait there).

Helpful Tip:  If you’re running late and worried the train will leave, just get on – you can make the walk through the train to your carriage.  It’s better than missing your train!

4.   Traveling On a Train in Italy

Amenities on Italian Trains

Toilet on a train in Italy.

The amenities on your train depend on the type of train and class (see above).  All trains have toilets, and you’ll usually find:

  • Food – either snacks or a restaurant carriage
  • WI-FI
  • Power sockets
  • Air-conditioning

Luggage on Trains in Italy

Carry on bags are stowed in the overhead compartment on an Italian train.  You can also see a single seat.
Carry-on bags easily fit in the overhead compartment on the train

You are not restricted on luggage for Italian trains (exception – Italo’s Smart Class – it must be within 75x53x30cm), which can be a blessing and a curse!  Keep in mind you’ll be carrying your luggage (including up and down the stairs to enter and exit the train) and will need to find a place for it on the train.

You can store your luggage in the racks above the seats (they’re open and can fit small bags, purses, and backpacks), under the seats, between seatbacks, or in the luggage areas at the end of the carriages.

One of the biggest stresses travelers have is being away from luggage.  How to ease that stress?  Don’t pack valuables inside your large suitcase.  Don’t travel with a fancy suitcase.  Book first-class tickets so you can be closer to luggage.  Or, pack light so you can keep your bag above or next to you.

Good To Know:  Italo train luggage areas have video surveillance.  Trenitalia gives passengers (very) minimal baggage insurance.

Good To Know:  Thieves know you’ll keep your valuables (wallet, phone, iPad, etc) close to you, likely under or above your seat.  So those are actually the places you should be paying close attention to.  If I have my bag on the floor, I put my leg through a strap.

Traveling on Trains in Italy with Kids

Train travel can be a fun experience for little ones (but not always for the parents). I always recommend train travel if you’re moving from city to city in Italy, but things get a bit more complicated if you’re traveling with kids, baby gear (like a stroller), and luggage for the entire family.

Our family travels quite a bit by train, especially if we’re going from Florence to Rome, Venice, or other quick and direct journeys. If the train travel is more complicated (say Florence to the Dolomites, which also involves a bus or two), I tend to favor driving a car.

Take a look at Traveling by Train with Kids in Italy for advice and help deciding train travel is a great choice for your family. And if it is, I’ve got some tips for making your journey smooth, stress-free, and fun for the entire family.

Airport Trains in Italy

View inside the Leonardo Express train, which travels between Rome and the airport.
Traveling on the Leonardo Express

Most major cities offer train shuttles to and from the nearby airport.  If it’s a possibility, I always take the train to the airport because I don’t have to stress about traffic (like with taxis, buses, or private transfers) and they have extended hours.  Some of the main airport trains in Italy include:

  • Leonardo Express – Roma Termini train station to Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO)
  • Malpensa Express – Milano Centrale train station to Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
  • Florence Tramway – Florence Santa Maria Novella train station to Florence Peretola Airport (FLR)
  • PisaMover – Pisa Centrale train station to Pisa Airport (PSA)
  • Marconi Express – Bologna Centrale train station to Bologna Airport (BLQ)
  • Trinacria Express – Palermo Centrale train station to Palermo Airport (PMO

Taking Bicycles on Trains in Italy

Mom and son on a train in the Dolomites, Italy.  The mother is wearing cycling gear and a helmet is on the seat next to her.
We love taking our bikes on the trains in the Dolomites, especially with kids

Italo only accepts folding bicycles and they must be folded and placed in the luggage area. 

Trenitalia accepts bicycles for travel on certain trains and routes

If you’re bike touring, it’s best to use Trenitalia’s regional trains because you can leave your bike assembled and hop on and off, as long as you have a ticket for you and a ticket for your bicycle. 

Good To Know:  Trenitalia staff do have the right to refuse a bicycle if it’s deemed ‘detrimental to the train service’ – usually if it’s extremely crowded.

What I Do: I’ve done quite a bit of bike touring in Italy and almost always use regional trains.  If I’ve needed to hop on a fast train, I’ve used garbage bags as a ‘bike case.’  After all, who bike tours with a bike case or bike bag?!

Rail Passes

I’m not a big fan because they often don’t work out to save much (if any) money.  You’ll need to do the math to find out if a rail pass makes sense for your trip – usually, they don’t.

Overnight Trains in Italy

Overnight trains (InterCity Notte) can be a fun way to travel, and they help you maximize your vacation time by letting you travel during the night.  But they’re not glamorous. 

I recommend traveling with someone else and booking your own cabin (with beds) if possible. 

I do not recommend booking an overnight train with just a seat.  You’ll probably be exhausted the next day (defeating the whole purpose of traveling during the night).

I haven’t personally traveled with my kids on an overnight train, although I think they’d love it. 

Train Strikes in Italy

Transport strikes are common in Italy, but that doesn’t mean they’ll ruin your vacation.

A strike in Italy is a sciopero, pronounced SHOW-peh-roh.

A good thing about Italian strikes – they’re not surprises, so you’ll have advance notice. Major strikes are in the news, and you can see a list of upcoming strikes (in Italian, choose ‘ferroviario’ in the upper-left drop-down menu) published by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. 

Most train strikes affect regional trains, so if you’re traveling by high-speed train, you likely won’t notice the interruption.  If the strike is general and high-speed trains are affected, Italian law states that a minimum level of service must be guaranteed.  Unfortunately, those trains often sell out quickly or are filled to the brim.  You’ll need to change your plans or find alternate transport (taxi, bus, private driver, etc).

Health & Safety in Italian train stations and Trains

Never leave valuables unattended (duh).

Watch for pickpockets, especially in and around the train station and when you may be distracted (like when you’re using the self-service ticket machine).

Don’t accept ‘help’ from someone if you didn’t ask for it.  They will ask for a ‘tip,’ or a partner will be taking the ‘tip’ from you without you knowing.

If you have a health or safety issue, contact the train manager.

Keep your bag in front of you.  It’s easier to keep an eye on your luggage if you don’t have to strain your neck to look back at it.

Don’t leave your luggage (on the train or at the train station).  That includes putting your purse or backpack on the back of your chair at a station café or restaurant.

Avoid walking in the immediate vicinity of train stations at night (especially in larger cities). Take a taxi directly to the entrance of the station.

Italy Train Travel Vocabulary

  • Binario – track
  • Biglietto – ticket
  • Di solo andata – one way only
  • Andata e ritorno – return trip
  • Bagaglio – bag
  • Valigia – suitcase
  • Dov’è…? – Where is…?
  • In ritardo – late
  • In anticipo – early
  • Posto a sedere – seat
  • Sottopassaggio – underpass
  • Carrozza – carriage
  • Stazione – station
  • Ferrovia – railroad, railway
  • Treno – train

You may want to read
Taking the Train from Florence to Milan
Taking the Train from Milan to Florence

Italy Train Travel FAQ

What if I get on the wrong train in Italy?

It happens!  Let the train staff know and they’ll help sort out where you need to get off.  You may also be asked to pay for the journey.  If you’re unsure, you can avoid this situation by showing your ticket to staff at the train station as you get on the train.

What if I miss my train in Italy? 

Always buy a flexible ticket.  If you do, you’ll be able to change your ticket without paying for a new ticket.  If you don’t have a flexible ticket, you’ll need to purchase a new one.

What if I left something on the train in Italy?

Trenitalia has a lost property contact and for Italo, you’ll need to send a general comment.

Should I print my Italian train ticket? 

I like to print out my ticket, but you don’t need to.  You can travel with the QR code on your phone or with the ticket code (Italo) or PNR (Trenitalia). 

Are there senior discounts on Italian trains?

Yes, both Italo and Trenitalia offer senior discounts and specials.

What if my train is late in Italy? 

High-speed trains will give you back a percentage of your ticket: Trenitalia, Italo

What’s the difference between the Circumvesuviana and the Campania Express?

The Campania Express is a newish train line that mirrors the Circumvesuviana.  Both train lines connect Naples with Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Sorrento.  The Campania Express has reserved seats and air-conditioning, which is nice if you’re traveling during the summer or with children.

How much luggage per person is allowed on the train in Italy?

There are no luggage limits, except on Smart Class in Italo.  Always check the Italo and Trenitalia sites for the most up-to-date info.

How do you travel from mainland Italy to Sicily by train?

When you reach the Villa San Giovanni (on the ‘toe’ of the Italian ‘boot’), the train is disassembled for the ferry that crosses the Messina straight.  Then it’s reassembled for the onward journey on the island of Sicily. 
I’ve done it with my parents, and it was fun, but I’m not a huge fan of train travel in Sicily so I probably won’t do it again.  Still, it’s a unique experience!

Is a rail pass worth it in Italy?

I don’t find that rail passes are worth the money.  Still, you may want to add up the costs of your individual train routes and compare them to a rail pass.  Rick Steves has a thorough guide to rail passes in Italy.

What is FrecciaLink? 

FrecciaLink is a way to book a Trenitalia journey that uses trains and buses (where trains don’t go).  For example, you can book the FrecciaLink from Venice to Cortina d’Ampezzo (taking the train from Venice to Calalzo-Pieve di Cadore, and then a bus the rest of the way to Cortina).

Are masks required on trains in Italy?

The mask requirement for trains was lifted on October 1, 2022.  However, you will still see many Italians wearing masks on trains, especially during winter months.