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Train travel in Italy is easy and it is the best way to travel between cities. The efficient services will drop you in the heart of the major cities quickly, ensuring you have plenty of time to explore and enjoy them without having to contend with the famous Italian traffic and driving challenges.
We love to travel Italy by train but booking your trips can be confusing. In this article we tell you when and how to make your Italy train reservations, the best sites to buy Italy train tickets online before and during your trip and what to consider when buying tickets.
What's in this article
Best sites to buy Italy train tickets
There are several sites where you can buy train tickets for Italy and they all have advantages and disadvantages. We prefer Omio because you can check all available schedules and compare prices – click to browse schedules on Omio
|Company||All options available||English language||App||Booking fee||Tickets|
|Trenitalia||No - Trenitalia only||Translation||Yes||No||Click here|
|Italo||No - Italo only||Translation||Yes||No||Click here|
|Omio [preferred]||Yes + buses and flights||Yes||Yes||Yes||Click here|
|ItaliaRail||No - Trenitalia only||Yes||No||Yes||Click here|
About the Italian train companies
Trenitalia, Italy’s government owned train operator is also its biggest. Trenitalia runs high speed intercity services as well as regional trains. Frecciarossa or Red Arrow trains, are the fastest on the network and passengers in all classes of travel enjoy free WiFi, plug sockets at each seat, a food carriage and air conditioning.
Prices are set by travel class and level of flexibility. The cheapest train tickets are Super Economy offered in advance – no refunds or exchanges are offered on these tickets. Prices increase depending on the level of flexibility required and class of travel.
You can book direct with Trenitalia but it can be frustrating with difficult translations and sometimes international credit cards are not accepted.
Italo is a private company that runs high speed trains on popular intercity routes. They offer a very similar service to Trenitalia at matching price points so the choice to travel with either company usually comes down to scheduling and availability.
You can book direct with Italo but expect similar issues in terms of website usability to Trenitalia.
Ticket booking sites for travel in Italy
Omio (formerly GoEuro) is a website and smart phone app that allows you to find the fastest, cheapest and best travel options by train, bus and flight to cities, towns and villages across Italy and Europe.
They are partnered with both Trenitalia and Italo (as well as bus and airline companies) so you can compare and book the best option for your trip. Book your tickets in advance and keep all the details on their app. If you need to buy last minute train tickets in Italy it is easy to do, leaving you with one less step to think about when you arrive at the station.
An American based partner of Trenitalia, Italiarail is an easy to use web booking platform for Trenitalia trains. There are also some advantages for booking on Italiarail if you are travelling as a large group. You can book up to 20 people at a time while the Trenitalia site will only allow up to 7.
Planning your train travel in Italy
Most visitors to Italy follow several classic routes across the country starting in Rome and then travelling to either Naples or Florence first before continuing their journeys.
Main train routes in Italy
Main Trenitalia train line stops
- Venice – Padua – Bologna – Florence – Rome – Naples – Salerno
- Turin – Milan – Bologna – Florence – Rome – Naples – Salerno
- Milan – Brescia – Verona – Vincenza – Padua – Venice
Main Italo train line stops
- Turin – Milan – Reggio Emilia – Bologna – Florence – Rome – Naples – Salerno
The table below shows expected travel times and costs between the major cities for the fast intercity trains
|Routes||Average time taken||Trains per day||Advance ticket price||Same day price||More info|
|Rome to Naples|
Naples to Rome
|1 hour 10 minutes||92||From €17||From €40||Click to book on Omio|
|Venice to Rome|
Rome to Venice
|3 hours 45 minutes||21||From €32||From €85||Click to book on Omio|
|Rome to Florence|
Florence to Rome
|1 hour 30 minutes||78||From €20||From €43||Click to book on Omio|
|Milan to Venice|
Venice to Milan
|2 hours 25 minutes||26||From €10||From €45||Click to book on Omio|
|Florence to Venice |
Venice to Florence
|2 hours 5 minutes||22||From €20||From €45||Click to book on Omio|
If you want to view a map all the major train lines in Italy click here
Popular Italian train routes for visitors
These Italian train journeys take place on regional and local trains but are worth noting as they are very popular.
Florence to Cinque Terre [La Spezia Centrale]
- Fastest train is from Florence Campo di Marte station to La Spezia departing at 07:36 and arriving at 09:11 [1 hour 35 minutes]
- Advance price from €13.
- At La Spezia transfer to the local Cinque Terre trains for the 5 villages
Florence to Pisa
- Fastest train is 50 minutes from Florence Santa Maria Novella
- Advance price from €9
- 3-5 departures an hour between 07:00am and 21:00pm
Rome to Sorrento [Amalfi Coast] via Naples
- Fastest train to Naples is 1 hour 10 minutes from Roma Termini
- Advance price from €17
- Change to the local Circumsvesuviana train in Naples
Rome to Salerno [Amalfi Coast]
- Fastest train to Naples is 1 hour 30 minutes from Roma Termini
- Advance price from €28
Italian train timetables and schedules
The best way to see a combined view of train timetables in Italy is on Omio because it includes both Trenitalia and Italo departures. You can then sort by price, departure time and length of travel.
If you are booking in advance and can’t see the dates that you want to travel please note that train bookings usually open 120 days in advance for high speed trains. Note that in the period after the two annual Europe-wide timetable changes, on the 2nd Saturday in June and 2nd Saturday in December, it can be as little as 30 days.
Main train stations in Italy
Even if you are not going on these major routes, no doubt your journey will start at one of these stations. If you plant to buy your tickets on the Italian sites or at the ticket machines you will need to know the Italian names of the stations.
|City||English name||Italian name||Address||Left luggage hours||More station info|
|Rome||Rome Termini||Roma Stazione Termini||00185 Roma RM||06:00-23:00||Click here|
|Florence||Florence S. M. Novella||Firenze Santa Maria Novella / Firenze SMN||50129 Firenze FI||06:00-23:00||Click here|
|Naples||Naples Central||Napoli Centrale||Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, 80142 Napoli||07:00-23:00||Click here|
|Venice||Venice Santa Lucia||Venezia Santa Lucia||30100 Venezia VE||08:00-20:00||Click here|
|Milan||Milan Central||Milano Centrale||Piazza Duca d'Aosta, 1, 20124||07:00-23:00||Click here|
Generally speaking, the faster train services are the most convenient, have fewer stops and are also the most expensive. Always check the departure, arrival and travel times when choosing your tickets as well as the booking conditions. If you see a really cheap fare it often means the train is very slow and makes many stops.
In the table below we compare the different fare types on Trenitalia and Italo. Terms and conditions do vary depending on when you book and whether promotions apply so remember to check the terms and conditions fully.
|Trenitalia||Super Economy: date and time of travel cannot be changed.||Economy: Tickets can be purchased up to two days before departure. One change to change the time and date of travel is allowed. Fees apply||Base: Tickets can be changed as many times as needed|
|Italo||Low cost: changes can be made with a 50% additional fee up to 3 days before departure||Economy: Unlimited changes are allowed - a 20% additional fee applies. There is a refund of 60% if you are unable to travel and you have 2 hours to find a seat on another train if you miss your booking||Flex: changes can be made free of charge prior to departure. You will be refunded 80% of the ticket cost if you are unable to travel, plus|
2 hours to get another train if you miss your original one
|2nd class||1st class||Business||Executive||Family facilities|
|Trenitalia fast intercity trains||Standard class: your ticket includes: WiFi, tables, food service and cafe bar, power sockets, entertainment portal, air-conditioning||Premium class: all the amenities of standard class plus large leather seats and a complimentary welcome drink and newspapers||Business class: inclusions as premium class with more leg and elbow room and restaurant style table service||Executive club: inclusions as per business class plus gourmet meals, only 10 seats per carriage,access to a 6-seater meeting room and club lounges at stations.||Changing room, bathrooms in every carriage|
|Italo||Smart: your ticket includes WiFi, leather seats, power sockets, air-conditioning , snack area and table service||Comfort: same amenities as Smart but with more space||Prima: per Comfort but has minimal seating in each carriage, access to the lounge, fast track entry, in-seat catering, a personal screen and newspapers.||Club Executive: per Prima and with complimentary entry to club lounges at major train stations, and dedicated catering service||Changing rooms and cinema carriage|
|Trenitalia slower intercity and regional trains||Standard class: your ticket includes: tables, cafe bar, power sockets||Premium class: per standard class with more room and reserved seats|
What is the difference between 1st and 2nd class?
In reality not that much. You can expect a some extra space and leg room and a small snack and newspaper. Most people travel in 2nd class comfortably.
Should I buy tickets in advance?
Intercity trains – yes advance bookings are recommended. You can make substantial savings when buying your Italy train tickets in advance however note that when doing this you need to be specific about the dates and times you wish to travel and assume that you will not get a refund if you cannot travel at those times.
On most fast intercity routes you will be able to buy a ticket on the day of travel however may not be able to travel at the time you wish to if you buy your ticket on the day. During holiday periods and peak travel times we recommend buying tickets in advance if possible to secure your seat.
Busy times are between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays and the Easter, Christmas and summer holiday period in mid August.
Regional trains – advance bookings are rarely necessary unless you have planned travel on significant holidays.
When can I buy train tickets for my trip?
Ticketing release periods vary from 3 – 6 months in advance depending on the operator. Unfortunately there is no set schedule when the companies open bookings for advance reservations.
Refunds and exchanges
Before completing your purchase on any of the online train ticket sites for Italy make sure to check the terms and conditions for rules on cancelations and changes.
In general, many train tickets are non-refundable and do not allow changes. Some train tickets are 75%-80% refundable if canceled within 72 hours after booking but check the terms and conditions that apply to your specific booking.
Always buy travel insurance for your trip to Italy. You may be able to claim for missed trains and delays depending on your circumstances.
Do I need an Italy rail pass?
In our opinion, rail passes for Italy are not useful or cost effective. You need to pay an additional €10 fee to reserve your seat on each trip which cancels out any upfront savings.
If your travel plans include trips into other parts of Europe a Eurail pass is worth investigating, especially if you are under 26 when discounts apply.
Can I buy tickets at the station?
Yes you can. All Italian train stations have ticket office or machines with a (somewhat clunky) English language option. You will need to know the station you wish to travel to, your preferred operator and class of travel.
There are different ticket machines for Trenitalia and Italo. Choose the English language option (usually a Union Jack flag) and the machine will provide you with options. As the translations are a little bit awkward this can be frustrating and for some reason international credit cards are often rejected. Build in some time at the train station if you want to buy tickets using a machine.
If you don’t want to have to worry about using the ticket machines you can download the Omio, Trenitalia or Italo apps before you go. We prefer the ease of use of the Omio app and that it includes both Trenitalia and Italo services.
Best times to travel
Inter city train services in Italy are also commuter routes. Expect these trains to be busier than those towards the middle of the day and in the evening. Ticket prices increase during peak business travel hours and are often cheaper outside these times.
Peak business travel hours are between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays
Weekends and public holidays
Italians like to catch up with their family and friends on the weekend and especially in summer and on public holidays. Expect trains to be busy on these dates and plan ahead. Train timetables operate to a reduced timetable so you should book your tickets in advance.
Check here for all the public holidays in Italy.
FAQ and must knows when travelling by train in Italy
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about train travel in Italy from members of our Italy Travel Planning Facebook group – click here to join (it’s free!)
What information do I need to provide when making a booking?
When booking train tickets online for Italy you will be asked for your full name, email address and country of birth. The name on the reservation must match the ID document of the person who is travelling. You might also be asked for a mobile number for the purposes of travel updates.
Do I need to print the tickets that I booked online?
Not for intercity trains – you will need to show your booking reference number so keep that handy when boarding the train. You can do this via your email confirmation or phone app if you downloaded one – the Omio app is recommended.
You do not need to validate tickets bought online for regional trains that you have printed out. These tickets are valid for the train selected and any later train in the next 4 hours.
Can I choose my seat when making my reservation?
On the fast intercity trains you can choose your seat allocation when you book direct with Trenitalia and Italo or with Italiarail. Otherwise if you are booking train tickets on Omio you can choose your preference – aisle or window etc.
Seat allocations are made at time of booking so if you are travelling as a couple or group make sure to book on the same transaction if you wish to sit together or close to one another.
Seat allocations are not available on regional trains. Simply sit in an available seat.
Are the trains safe in Italy?
The fast intercity trains in Italy are very safe, but take your usual precautions. You can leave your luggage in the areas provided or in the overhead compartments. Make sure they are securely locked to deter opportunists.
Take some additional precautions on regional trains. In particular the Naples to Sorrento Circumsvesuviana train is known to be targeted by thieves. Do not leave your luggage unattended.
Are there discounts available for children?
Yes. Children under 4 years of age travel free if they sit on your lap or you pay 50% of the base fare if you want them to have their own seat. On Trenitalia children aged 4 to 15 (12 years on regional trains) pay 50% of the base fare. On Italo infants under 36 months travel free when sitting on your lap and between 3 and 14 years
Trenitalia promotes a Bimbi Gratis offer. Meaning “Children for Free” it applies to family groups of 2 to 5 people with at least one adult and one child under the age of 15. Children travel for free if the other members of the group pay the base fare. This offer is applied automatically by Italiarail and Omio. Italo has a similar offer if you buy the Smart class fare.
Are there discounts available for seniors?
For seniors, Trenitalia has the Carta d’Argento (Silver Card) for travellers over the age of 60. The card costs 30 Euros (free for travellers over 75) and is valid for one year. You save 15% on most Italian train tickets and 10 percent on couchette tickets (second-class sleeper berths) with the Carta d’Argento.
Italo offers 40% discount on the flex fare in Smart class.
How much luggage can I bring on board?
Generally you can take as much as you can carry although we don’t recommend that due to limited amount of room on the trains and it can be quite difficult to move it around when you arrive at your destination.
If you need guidance with your packing for Italy you can read our full guide here.
Can I buy tickets on board the train?
Generally no this is not possible. If you board from a train station that is unattended or where the ticket machine is broken, approach the staff on board the train immediately and explain the situation. You may be required to pay an additional fee on top of the standard fare.
Can I use an app to buy and manage tickets?
Can I travel on an overnight train?
If you are travelling a long distance, such as from Milan to Sicily, or from Venice to Naples, you might like to consider going on an overnight sleeper train. You can save the cost of a hotel room on the way.
Italian overnight trains have different types of couchette and sleeper arrangements as well as seats. We recommend a couchette or sleeper because you can lie flat and sleep in a safely-locked compartment. For more information on night trains in Italy click here
Ready to tour Italy by train?
We hope so! You should now feel confident to book your Italy train travel using one of the sites we mentioned in this article. Travelling by train in Italy is a breeze and saves so much time and effort navigating the big cities. Most of our trips include at least one train trip. We save our trips by car in Italy for exploring rural areas.
Italy travel resources
If you need inspiration or practical information for planning your trip to Italy you will find a full list of our articles on this page. We have city guides and itineraries, best travel tips for Italy and arrival and departure information. Click on the quick links below to take you straight there.
- Rome plus best tours
- Florence plus accommodation guide and best day trips
- Milan plus accommodation guide
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