Italy train Travel

The Basics:

Train travel is an efficient method for exploring italy. There are high speed trains - the Alta Velocita (AV), the InterCity trains (IC), the EuroCity trains (EC) and trains designated as Regional or Interregional. Eurostar (ES) is one of the fastest Alta Velocita trains connecting Milan with Rome and Milan with Naples. At times, this train achieves speeds of 220 miles per hour, making the trip from Rome to Milan in as little as 3 hours. (The Italian "Eurostars" should not be confused with the Eurostar trains running between the UK, France and Belgium.) IC and EC trains by pass less popular destinations and only stop at major train stations.


More Information on Europe Train Travel:

Spain Train Travel

Traveling by Train in Germany

England Train Travel

High speed trains, the Intercity trains and the Euro city trains are more expensive than the Regional or Interregional trains but they will get you to the major destinations faster. Eurostar and InterCity tickets are usually issued for a specific date and time, and as such should not require the pre-boarding ticket validation as described below.

Italy’s train system is operated primarily by the state run Trenitalia. There are also privately operated rail lines. For the most part, ticketing networks handle both the private and public train systems so public or private ownership of the train/rails is not usually a concern for the traveler.

Planning your rail trip:

You can use the RailEurope form above to check train travel duration, train schedules and price train tickets to most major destinations (see relationship disclosure).  If you are thinking of buying a rail pass RailEurope also provides a handy cost evaluation tool (See rail pass list below).

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Important - Ticket Validation

A confusing aspect of using a train ticket in Italy is ticket validation. Many Italy train tickets are sold so they can be used any time in a specific period (up to 2 months). When you use one of these ‘open-ended” tickets it is important to “self” validate the ticket a few minutes prior to boarding the train. Validation is done by inserting your ticket in one of the yellow time-stamp machine located at the entrance to the train platforms. Failure to validate a ticket of this type can result in a fine.

To validate an open ended ticket insert the end of the ticket with the arrow marked “convalida” in to the slot of the yellow time-stamp machine (photo right). Time stamp machines are usually located at the entrance to the train platforms.

Buying a Italy Train Ticket or Pass:

You can buy your train ticket before you leave for italy or buy it at the train station in italy.  EU citizens can book directly from the Trenitalia website. USA citizens may prefer booking with Rail Europe.


At the train stations we used in Italy, ticket dispensing machines were present and more assessable then live ticket agents. Able to accept cash and credit cards you can select instructions in 6 different languages, including English.  It is also possible to book seat reservations through these ticketing kiosk machines.

First train trip in Italy?

If you arrive in Rome at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport, and opt not to take a taxi to your hotel, very likely your very first train trip will be on the Leonardo Express. The Leonardo Express will deliver you to central Rome. You will need to validate the Leonardo Express ticket prior to boarding.

Last Train Travel Tips: 

When booking your train tickets at the train station you will need to know the name of your destination as it is written in Italian.

If you do not speak Italian have a train schedule ready. While Ticket agents usually speak at lease a little English you may need to point at your destination and desired travel time to clarify your intentions. Or use the Ticketing Kiosks, they communicate in very good English (but destinations are still in italian).