The Nitty Gritty: Obscure but Vital Train FAQs

on Nov 2, 12 • by • with 1 Comment

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We’ve covered the basics, we’ve covered the travel tips, and now we’re here to answer the less common, but still significant questions, that you might have regarding Italian train travel. Worried about taking the train from the airport? Want to travel with your pet? Below you will find the answers to your needs.

Q. I recently landed in Rome and took the airport train to Roma Termini train station for a train trip to Bologna. The train was a super fast, red-colored La Freccia train, la FrecciaRossa. Can you tell me something about this train – such as its major routes and if the tickets cost more than on other trains?

frecciarossa 300x216 The Nitty Gritty: Obscure but Vital Train FAQs A. The fast-trains in Italy are called the Frecce; each is labeled a different color (rosso/red, argento/silver, bianco/white), based on the geographic areas of Italy that it covers. (Frecciarossa: run between Turin and Salerno. Frecciabianca: connect Milan to Venice, Udine to Trieste, Genova to Rome, and Bari to Lecce. Frecciargento travel between Rome and Venice, Verona and Bolzano, Bari and Lecce, Lamezia Terme and Reggio Calabria). Frecce tickets are the most expensive, but these trains are the most comfortable, include reserved seating, and are high-speed, meaning that travelers reach their destinations in almost half the time.

Q. What about the airport trains in Rome and Milan – do they operate on a 24/7 schedule? And is it possible to get those tickets in advance?

A. The trains from Milan and Rome’s airport to the city center do not run on a 24-hour schedule, but do offer service for the majority of the day. Milan’s Malpensa Express train departs every 30 minutes from Terminal 1 beginning at 5:26am with the last train leaving at 11:56pm. The journey is about 45 minutes long. Rome’s Leonardo Express runs every 30 minutes from Fiumicino airport to the Termini train station. The first departure from Roma Termini is at 5:52am and from Fiumicino at 6:38am. The last train departs from Termini at 10:52pm and from the airport at 11:38pm. These trains are both regional and can be booked in advance.

Q. On some Italian trains there is a food and drink trolley but it tends to go by very quickly – the people pushing it walk down the corridors so fast that you might miss it. Do Italian trains also have bar/dining cars?

A. At the center of the Frecce trains there is a restaurant car, which offers, drinks, snacks, and simple foods like sandwiches. Other trains might offer a food cart, but it might not always pass your seat during your journey. If you are riding an Intercity or Regional train, we recommend bringing your own snacks and food if you are sure you will want to eat.

Q. Are the trains in Italy pet-friendly?

A. Small dogs or cats are allowed on all types of trains in first and second-class for free. They must be carried in containers of no larger than 70x30x50 cm (27.5x12x20 in). Large dogs can travel with a leash or muzzle on certain other trains but the owner must buy their pet a second-class ticket, reduced 50%. All dog owners must have a dog registration certificate or dog “passport”; if not, the owner will be subject to heavy fines. Italy, in conjunction with other EU countries, participates in the Pets Travel Schemes (PETS) program, whose passports can be obtained by visiting a veterinarian certified by the US Department of Agriculture.

Q. In some stations I noticed dedicated counters for the Italo train. What is the difference between the fast La Freccia trains and the Italo train? Which one should I book in advance?

A. The Italo Train is the high-speed train offered by Italy’s new, privately-run train supplier, Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, while Trenitalia’s is the traditional train supplier and state-run. Italo is a state-of-the art train with enhanced technology and four classes of services and tops with private compartments and a cinema car. Trip durations of both high-speed trains are essentially the same on main routes. However, at the moment Italo Train routes are still limited as the company continues to expand its territorial coverage.

What other interesting details have you learned on your train trips to Italy? Share them with us below!

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