Italy Roundtable: 6 Reasons to Travel by Train in Italy

Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)? ‘http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id))js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

It’s probably not necessary to tell you how much I love traveling Italy via train. It was the subject of my book. This month’s Italy Roundtable topic, however, is PUBLIC TRADING. I couldn’t resist.

Although I don’t want to drive in Italy, and I believe that train travel is the best way to travel around the country, it is not something I would do. To be able to spend more time at train stations, I go to them earlier than I should. It’s like going back to a time when European travel was considered prestigious and travel could be described as magical. Although it’s sleek and modern, train travel in Italy is still romantic.

However, not everyone is as enthusiastic about trains as me. Here are six reasons to travel by train in Italy.


Please scroll down to the bottom for an announcement from the Roundtable!

Get More Ground

Italy’s high speed trains make it possible to travel between cities faster than a car. Although flying may seem faster than driving, when you consider the time it takes to get there, go through security and check your bags, the speed of flight becomes irrelevant. You can reach the station in just a few minutes with train travel.

High-speed trains make it possible to travel from one place to the next in a matter of minutes. It’s possible to travel from Rome to Florence, Naples, or Milan in a day by high-speed train. This is almost an invitation for you to explore more. As if you really needed one.

Although I don’t think I can get good sleep on an overnight train train, it’s possible to travel further if you’re able. You can sleep while you travel long distances and wake up refreshed to explore new cities.

Avoid the hassle of driving

Italian drivers have a long-standing reputation for treating things like parking limits, road rules, and traffic signs as suggestions. It’s fine if you are used to it. But, it can lead to stress if not. Foreign visitors are not usually so.

If your itinerary is predominantly Italian, you can avoid having to navigate narrow streets or decipher complicated parking laws by using the country’s extensive rail network. It’s already stressful enough to cross the street in Italy. It’s not worth the stress of trying to drive on these roads.

Relax

You know that feeling of relief you get when you finally settle into your plane seat. All the stress and last-minute planning gone. It’s exactly that feeling when you settle into your seat on an Italian train.

Your responsibilities disappear. There is no need to plan, navigate, find gas stations, or find a place to eat on the way. You can just relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. If you feel like writing or reading postcards, then get excited for the next stop on your Italian tour. If you are like me, and you are always on the go, this might be your only chance to relax. Enjoy it.

Keep Moving

You don’t have to stop the train to get to your destination. The train will continue moving while you are taken care of onboard.

It’s not necessary to locate an exit if someone has to go to the bathroom. If you are on a fast train and have not had the chance to grab snacks before you board, you don’t need to stop your progress to get food – simply wander to the cafecar for a snack. You can multitask without actually having to (which is something humans do not do very well).

Get Comfy

We all know the discomforts of economy class in an airplane. Not least is the cramped seating. Italy’s high speed trains provide a luxurious amount legroom and the slower trains are more comfortable than coach classes in the air.

You don’t have to limit the size of your luggage. It’s still smart not to pack too much, but you can often stow large bags in a cubby at the end of most trains.

You may have to stand if you can’t make a reservation for a slower train or the train is full. But reservations are required for high-speed trains – even second class, you’ll be able to sit comfortably.

Visit Train Stations

When I asked my step-daughter, 10, what she liked about riding the train in Italy, one of her answers was that the stations were filled with “all kinds” of shops that were resourceful. Bonus points if it’s an old-fashioned sign that makes clackity clacking sounds when it updates.

The kid is right, though – there are many great shops and restaurants at train stations. Excellent food can also be found in Italy’s train stations.

People-watching is a great way to enjoy Italy. Train travel is how everyone gets around in Italy so you can see a wide range of people, both Italian and from other countries. This is a nice side benefit to simply moving from one place to another.

Despite their similarity, I find train stations to be more enjoyable than airports. What about you?

Italy Explained: Italian Trains

Want the inside scoop on how to travel Italy by train? My book ITALIA EXPLAINED: ITALIAN TRINS is available on Amazon.com

Although Italy might seem small compared to other countries, getting around in Italy can be difficult if you don’t know how to navigate the rail system. This guide will help you answer all your questions about the Italian rail system. It also covers questions that you may already know answers to.

  • What the difference is between reservations and train tickets, and when you will need them both
  • How to choose between a Rail Pass and point-to-point tickets
  • How to read an Italian train schedule
  • How to book train tickets and reservations before you travel or after you arrive in Italy
  • How to handle Italian train strikes

There are many more!

Italy Train Tickets

Get your tickets from ItaliaRail before you leave the USA. This US-based company partners with Trenitalia in order to provide real-time connectivity to Italy’s rail reservation system. This allows you to get the lowest fares and the most current availability without needing to translate your itinerary into English. ItaliaRail offers online customer support and most tickets can be downloaded instantly.

Italy Explained is an ItaliaRail affiliate partner. This means that if I refer you to ItalyRail for tickets, I will get a small commission. It doesn’t cost anything extra. We appreciate your support.

Italy Roundtable: Other Voices

What public transport options are my fellow cohorts discussing? Follow me along to the links below to read their posts, including Laura of Ciao Amalfi , our new member of the Roundtable! We are thrilled to welcome her aboard, and we hope you will, too. We are delighted to have her join our small group.

Are we connected?

Have you LIKED us on Facebook? Are you following our Twitter? We’re very friendly, so please drop by to say hello. We are always open to suggestions for future topics for the Italy Blogger Roundtable. Drop us a message on Facebook, Twitter, or comment on any of our posts.

Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)? ‘http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id))js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

10 Responses to “Italy Roundtable – 6 Reasons Why You Should Travel by Train In Italy”

  • I like the old clickety-clack train schedule signs. These signs are so interesting and yet seem so logical. You are right about airports vs. stations. Although airports have more amenities, such as free toilets, stations are more personal. Calabria’s train stations are very grim. Most of them don’t have a ticket booth. This is where I spent quite a bit of my time during my 4 year stay there. The beautiful high-speed trains are not available…

    • Jess has the following:

      Frecce trains can now travel to Calabria or Puglia with some exceptions! Progress, piano piano. I’m glad that I’m not alone in preferring train stations over airports.

  • Lee Says:

    Trains in Italy are #1, particularly when you can not tell the bus driver where you are going………..was the last person on the bus and the driver got off to go to lunch………………..never again………

    You could also suggest websites for regional trains that operate only within a certain area. I am familiar with Umbria and Puglia. But what about other regions? I was told that they only occur once or twice per day. That is fine.

    • Jess has the following:

      Lee, thanks for the tip! Although I am aware of some regional train services, I don’t have the websites for them all. It’s an interesting question. Especially if you plan to focus on one or two areas during your trip. Thank you for this idea.

  • The Freccia high-speed trains are a great option. They are very comfortable. My last trip to Italy was a one-day trip. I took my children from Milan to Florence, and then back again.

  • Jessica, thank you so much for your warm welcome to the Italy Roundtable! It is so easy to travel around Italy by train. Thank you for these great tips!

    • Jess has the following:

      We are delighted to welcome you to the table. You can bring the limoncello, no matter where you are located.

  • Christina has the following:

    I am bus- and car sick unless I’m driving. I love the Italian trains, which I have loved since I was 11. It all depends on where you’re going, especially in northern and central Italy. I don’t believe most people need to rent cars. It is difficult to rent a car when I go to Puglia. I love seeing the countryside through the train windows. Buon viaggio Cristina

  • Related Articles