What trains are available
Italo – fastest trains between big cities
Trenitalia Freccia – Fast trains, multiple types with different speeds, destinations, and luxury
Regional – lots of stops, goes to the small cities and stops
Intercity – between main Italian cities stopping in the larger cities in between
Frecciabianco – “white arrow” fast trains between big cities with a few other stops in between. Offers 1st and 2nd class.
Frecciarosso – top of the line trains offering standard to executive seats and coaches. These trains usually have wifi, reclining seats, entertainment, and food carriages.
When should I buy my ticket?
For the regional or IC trains, whenever is fine. These usually don’t sell out and the price is the same months before and minutes before.
For the fast trains you should buy as soon as possible. These have tiers and the lower tiers are cheaper and sell out sooner
Sometimes train lines will have deals such as 50% off on trips to Milano, or 2×1 Saturday trains, etc etc. There are limited seats for the offer and they also sell out quickly
You’ll have to have an Italian address and contact details, but you can easily sign up for the Italo Più (Italo More) card. You get points for buying tickets and making purchases which can go towards future train tickets.
Cartafreccia – Get loyalty points for riding trains or using your card for purchases. You can redeem the points for train tickets or other items such as magazine subscriptions, toys, electronics, etc.
They also have special “cartafreccia days” where card holders can get extra special discounts on certain train journeys.
To sign up for a Cartafreccia you can go online or go in person to a Trenitalia office, located at main train stations. The difference is in person you don’t need to provide a passport or identity card, just an Italian address.
What are the trains like?
The trains in Italy are fairly nice. Some of the regional trains have really weird headrests, but are still tolerable. The trains tend to run late, but make sure you aren’t late! The one time you are late is going to be the one time that the train is on time. It happened to us, and it’ll probably happen to you.
The trains are WAY nicer than the bus, so if you can, spend a little extra to take the train, it is well worth it. Also take the fast train if it is available.