Train travel in Italy is a convenient, inexpensive way to see much of the country, especially its major cities and towns. The nationwide rail system was begun in the traveling Europe’s Trains PDF, and expanded greatly under the Fascist regime of Mussolini, who famously « made the trains run on time.
Traveling by train is usually the best option for visiting large and medium-sized cities, where driving is nerve-wracking and parking is scarce and expensive. In major cities, the train station is usually in the city center or right on the perimeter. It’s worth noting that if you want to see the Italian countryside and tour its more remote hilltowns, trains are not the most ideal option, as many towns don’t have nearby stations. And because train tracks often have embankments on both sides, you don’t always have an idyllic countryside view out your window. Frecce are Italy’s fast trains that run only between major cities. Seat reservations on Frecce trains are mandatory and usually included in the ticket price.
Different travel classes are available, but even the basic Freccia service is clean and comfortable. Intercity are relatively fast trains that run the length of Italy, stopping at cities and large towns. First and second class service is available. First class coaches offer slightly better seats and are generally less populated. Seat reservations are compulsory on the Intercity Plus trains, and the fee is included in the ticket price.
Seat reservations can be made for most Intercity trains, too. These are the local trains, often running around work and school schedules. They are cheap and usually reliable, but seats can be hard to find on major routes. Many regional trains have only second class seats, but if available, consider buying a first class ticket.
It’s less likely to be full especially during commute times and doesn’t cost much more. Italo, a private rail company, runs fast trains on routes between several major cities. In recent years, it has taken a bite out of Trenitalia’s business, particularly where it competes with the Freccia trains. Most train stations have either a large board or small television listing trains that will arrive or depart soon and which track they use. Even if your train is listed on the screen, you may have to wait a while before seeing the track listed and making your way to the correct platform. Search schedules and buy train tickets online and see train schedules at Trenitalia or Italo.