There are differences between First and Second Class on Italian Trains

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As if the many choices that you have to make when planning your Italy trip weren’t enough, you can also choose whether to travel in first or second class on certain trains. I know that all this decision-making will make it seem so simple to answer the next question about “paper or plastic”, but isn’t it?

The main difference between first and second class is obvious before you board a train to Italy. First class costs more. The differences between coach and first class aren’t as obvious once you get onboard, so don’t assume that first class is worth it.

Italy Train Tickets

ItaliaRail is a US-based company which partners with Trenitalia in order to provide real-time connectivity to the Italian rail reservation systems. 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.

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These are some of the main differences that you can expect to see:

First Class on Italian Trains

    • Seats and aisles that are wider
    • Fewer people
    • More luggage storage space
    • On some trains, free newspapers
    • Some trains offer free snacks and beverages
    • Other passengers – mostly Italian business travelers, American tourists and others from Western countries
    • WiFi can sometimes be free or more reliable
    • Sometimes, entertainment is free (movies).
  • Bathrooms that are cleaner and more well-stocked

Second Class on Italian Trains

    • Seats and aisles that are narrower
    • More people
    • You have less personal space
    • You can store less luggage
    • You can get snacks and beverages for a small fee on some trains.
  • Other passengers – More of a mixture, including frugal Italian tourists and travelers

Air conditioning is usually found throughout trains and is not restricted to any particular car class. A dining car does not depend on the train class. People from both classes can use a dining car that is attached to a train. Newer trains have both first- and second-class electrical outlets.

Remember that not all trains have first and second classes – some have only second class cars.

It is worth noting that the AV trains as well as the Italo trains have given new names to the first and second classes. This means that you might see different titles for each. First class on AV trains has been divided into Executive and Business, and second class has been separated into Premium and Standard. Italo trains refer to their first class Club as their business class Prima and their lowest level Smart as their Smart. No matter what the name of the train, you will know which class is “second class”, as it is almost always the cheapest.

Is first class really worth it?

It all depends. Space is the biggest difference between train classes. If space is important to you, then go ahead. The price difference isn’t as significant as that between coach and first class on a plane. If it makes your trip more comfortable, then that’s a good thing. However, first-class tickets might be out of your budget due to the rising cost of the more expensive trains. Don’t be discouraged if this is the case. Second class on high-speed trains can be just as beautiful.

Personally? Every time, I choose second class. This means that I have more money for gelato.

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2 Responses to “Differences between First and Second Class on Italian Trains”.

  • Gene Cisneros says:

    Is the train running between Rome and Bari an AV train or not? Many thanks

    • Jessica says:

      Yes, some AV trains will serve Bari. However, not all trains between Bari-Rome will be AV trains.