On Your Trips to Italy Travel by Train
There is a large variety of trains for your trips to Italy.
If you need to catch a flight or a transfer train, you would be better off to pay extra for the Eurostar Italia, as the Interregionale and Regionale trains stop at many more stations along the way.
Be advised that on the Eurostar Italia Le Frecce, Intercity Plus and Intercity services, to have the best seating, reservation is compulsory, where every passenger has a seat reserved in advance.
This means that in order to ensure you have a seat in case the train is overbooked, you will need to purchase tickets in advance.
Keep in mind for your trips to Itlay that the cheaper train types can become extremely full, to the point where it gets very uncomfortable.
You could find yourself sitting on a tiny fold out flap in the hallway or on your luggage, where you’ll have to move for everyone passing by.
The main difference between the high speed trains is the number of stops made along the same routes.
Use the above Rail Europe planner to map your train travel options from any European destination.
On some routes, the Eurostar will cut the travel time in half, but if your train is making a lot of stops, taking the Eurostar Italia could be a waste of money.
Check here for Rail Europe Eurostar Italia fares, schedules and travel options.
You can also view printed schedules when you are in the train station, on the bulletin board, usually located near the entrance to each platform (or midway on the platform), to see how long the trip will take, but if you want to know in advance, check online and print a copy for your convenience.
On long distance travel, seats are cheapest, and even sleeper cabins are not too expensive and are a very relaxing way to travel.
Keep in mind that some cheaper and lower class trains do not provide air conditioning so bring your own portable mini fan and bottle of water during the hot summer months.
A View of Como Italy from the Romantic Mountain Top Village of Brunate
On the train schedules displayed at each station, every train is listed in different colours (i.e. blue, red, green). Note, some trains only operate seasonally, or for certain times such as holidays.
Trains for Your Trips to Italy
Here is a basic list in order of class with Eurostar trains being the classiest:
- EurostarItalia – TrenItalia operates high-speed trains connecting different parts of the country: Frecciarossa for the main Italian cities north to south, Frecciargento from Rome to the main cities in the northeast and south of Italy and Frecciabianca from Turin and Milan to Italian cities in the northeast of Italy
- Eurostar Italia AV (Alta velocita means high speed and the trains have the ESAV logo)
- Eurostar City Italia
- IntercityPlus – InterCity (IC) or EuroCity (EC) not as fast as high speed but make fewer stops
- Intercity Espresso
- Interregionale Regionale
Purchase your Rail Europe Trenitalia Pass online for your trips to Italy to avoid the extremely long and slow lineups at the train stations. If you plan to buy your tickets at the train stations, get there early and be prepared for a bit of a language barrier and don’t get frustrated with the ticket agents. They are doing their best.
You can buy tickets online on the Trenitalia website and you will either receive a printable ticket and confirmation, or a code that is used to pick up the ticket from a (“Self Service”) ticket machine in the station.
The two main benefits of buying online is that you get on the train you want at the time you want to travel without having to stand in the extremely long line-ups to get your tickets.
Eurostar trains can fill up quickly, so if you’re on a tight schedule, you will want to get those tickets in advance. I recommend that buying the tickets far in advance before boarding the train would be wise when planning your vacations in Italy.
Because seat can fill up quickly for both domestic and international express trains, reservations are sometimes required or recommended.
Local regional trains do not require reservations and on many trains this option is not even possible. Note that many regional trains only have 2nd class cars.
Remember that if you have purchased regular tickets from the ticket agent in the train station, you must validate the ticket before boarding by stamping it in one of the yellow boxes on the platform.
If you forget to stamp your ticket, your ticket becomes invalid. Do not to forget to validate your ticket as the conductors are generally not tolerant in this particular matter.
Useful Tips for Your Trips to Italy if You are Travelling a Lot:
Travel smart and get a EuroRail Pass – The Best way to Travel in Europe.
- The benefit of a EuroRail Pass is that you do not need to validate your pass in the yellow box.
- You can get on and off the trains as many times as you please in each 24 hour period.
- The EuroRail Pass provides you with a number of days of travel to be used within 2 months or more, but you still have to pay a supplement on the compulsory reservation seating, such as Eurostar Italia Le Frecce, Intercity Plus and Intercity.
Always arrive at the train station early as platforms get filled with travellers and you don’t want to get stuck in the crowds and miss your ride.
Trips to Italy – Travel Italy by Train and Car
Italy has a great system of highways, especially in the northern part of the country. The highways are fantastic with plenty of wonderful restaurant and refuelling stops.
For a great combination of train and car travel, consider Italy Rail n’ Drive.
In the southern part of Italy, the quality and extent of highways is a bit less developed.
Most of the highways (autostrade) are toll roads.
Do not lose your entrance ticket, as you will be charged for the longest part of your journey.
Another word of advice; when entering with a car into a city, avoid restricted areas or you could be fined about €100. There are certain parts of Italian cities that are inaccessible by car for tourists. The reason is simply because of too much traffic.
Do your homework in advance to see if you can drive to your hotel, apartment, BB, or villa.
Trips to Italy – Travel by Boat
In Italy, all coastal, seaside or lakeside towns, villages and cities have superb water transportation services.
You will usually have the option of taking slower moving ferries, some which provide transportation for your rental vehicles, or the high speed hydrofoils which are more costly, but more efficient if you have limited time on your trips to Italy.
One of the Many Spectacular Grottos of the Island of Capri – A Boat Ride Around Capri is a Great Experience to Include in Your Italian Holidays
There are also boat tours for your favourite family trips to Italy.
You can find a list of schedules and prices at the ticket offices located in the harbours, or from your hotel.
The Famous Faraglioni Rocks of Capri
Be aware that the ferries or hydrofoils may not be running during stormy weather. Also, try not to take the last boat in the evening as they sometimes get cancelled.
Trips to Italy – Travel Italy by Bus
Italy has a comprehensive public bus system and bus tickets can be purchased from corner stores, tabaccio (tobacconist), newsstands, ticket booths and other shops before boarding:
The payment system for most mass transit in Italy (trains, city buses, subway) is based on voluntary payment combined with random enforcement.
Depending on the varying frequency and the mode of transportation, occasionally a transit official will ask you for your ticket and if you don’t have one, you will get a fine. You may find the ticket inspectors to be very unsympathetic.
If on your trips to Italy you are using public transportation several times a day, it may be more convenient to buy a daily pass or multi-day tickets that allow you to travel as much as you want in a single or more days.
On your trips to Italy purchase City Cards, fixed-fee cards allow you to travel on local public transportation, visit a number of museums and give you discounts in shops, hotels and restaurants.
For airport and hotel shuttle transfers here are great options provided by Viator.
Discover trips to Italy easily with Fantastic Day Trips and Excellent Excursions you will love.
Trips to Italy – Travel Italy by International Flights
Arrive to the Following Cities:
- Milan – has several airports. The main airports are Malpensa (MXP) and Linate (LIN). In addition, Bergamo (BGY – Orio al Serio) is sometimes referred to as “Milan Bergamo”
- Rome has two major airports: Fiumicino (FCO – Leonardo Da Vinci) and Ciampino (CIA) which accommodates budget airlines.
- Bologna (BLQ – Guglielmo Marconi)
- Naples (NAP – Capodichino)
- Pisa (PSA – Galileo Galilei)
- Venice (VCE – Marco Polo)
- Turin (TRN – Sandro Pertini)
- Catania (CTA – Vincenzo Bellini)
- Bari (BRI – Karol Wojtyla or Palese)
- Genoa (GOA – Cristoforo Colombo)
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