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Travelling by rail is a comfortable and great-value way to explore Italy, enabling you to easily tick off more than one destination in the same trip. High-speed trains can whisk you between cities like Rome, Florence and Venice, while regional trains chug through countryside to smaller towns like Siena and Viareggio. You can travel to and from Italy by rail too, hop on board the Eurostar to Paris, then continue down through the French countryside on a daytime or sleeper service; or for a real treat, you can travel on board the elegant Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

Please note that, due to the nature of rail reservation systems, your rail booking for travel within Italy will be provisionally booked on request and then confirmed 6-8 weeks before departure. In June, when rail schedules change, there is an additional delay and reservations may be confirmed 2-4 weeks before departure. We will endeavour to book the class of travel requested. In the unlikely event, however, that your preferred class of travel is not available when we make your booking, you will be booked in the nearest class available, with a refund given where appropriate. All train journey times are approximate.

From France to Italy

SNCF Day Service

The Voyages-SNCF day service takes you from Paris Gare de Lyon through to Milan Garibaldi, departing twice daily and taking approximately seven hours; alternatively there is also a frequent high-speed service which travels through the Swiss Alps to Lake Como or Lake Maggiore. This journey is becoming more popular due to the spectacular scenery along the way, and there is also the option for an overnight stopover in either Zurich or Geneva.

On board you will find facilities including a buffet bar, where a selection of food and drink can be purchased, or upgrade to First Class where you will have the benefit of power points at your seats, more legroom, free newspapers and magazines and a minibar service offering snacks and drinks. We will provide you with paper tickets for you to take on board the train and show to the conductor, there is no need to validate the tickets.

If you are continuing your rail journey further into Italy you will need to take the Metro service from Milan Garibaldi to Milan Centrale (on the M2 Green Line). Milan Centrale is Italy's hub train station, and from there you can continue to your chosen destination using the high-speed internal rail network.

Thello sleeper service

This overnight Thello sleeper service allows you to travel straight from Paris Gare du Lyon to Italy. After arriving on the Eurostar in Paris, you can either spend the night and following day in the city, or catch the train straight after stepping off the Eurostar. You will arrive early in the morning into Italy giving you plenty of time to catch a connecting internal train, transfer to your chosen accommodation, or collect car hire for your onward journey. 

You can book a two berth, three berth or a single cabin which includes a wash basin and bunk beds; toilets are located at the end of each carriage. There is also a cheaper option of booking 'couchettes', an area where you have a seat that pulls down into a bed (this has no wash basin). Couchettes sleep six people so if there are only two of you there could be another four people in the same compartment, and these could be a mixture of males and females. These couchettes are therefore ideal for large families or couples on a budget. 

Facilities on board include a buffet bar where you can purchase a selection of hot and cold food and drink.

These train tickets are e-tickets. We will provide you with the details and PNR number on your travel documentation and all you need to do is board the train and show your documentation to the conductor.

Getting around Italy

Internal rail in Italy

Trenitalia has a fleet of high-speed trains which travel up to speeds of 350 kilometres per hour, making them the quickest way to get from A to B, and link all the major Italian cities such as Milan, Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice, Verona and Bologna. These trains consist of Frecciargento (Silver Arrow), Frecciabianca (White Arrow) and Frecciarosso (Red Arrow). 

These high speed Arrow trains are equipped with modern comforts including climate control, soundproofing and excellent lighting, with power sockets at the seats. Other internal train companies include Intercity and Eurocity, all of which guarantee high service and safety standards.

Detailed on your Citalia documents will be a seat and coach number reserved for you. You do not need to print off any tickets as these are E-Tickets, you just need to board the train and show the PNR number to the conductor, which again can be found on your travel documentation (along with the booked train time, seat number and coach number).

Unfortunately you cannot choose your seats at the time of booking; these are system allocated by the train company. When seats are purchased at the same time there is a 99% chance that your seats will be grouped together. In other instances, you will be seated in the same carriage as close as possible.

These tickets cannot be amended once booked and you must travel on the specified train.

Different classes

There is an option to book Standard Class or First Class tickets (these may be called something different depending on the train company). First Class tickets provide better quality seating with more room and less crowded carriages, normally offering a free welcome drink such as fruit juice or sparkling wine, and a newspaper or magazine (subject to availability). 

Buffet cars can be found on all of the internal rail trains where a selection of drinks and food are available to purchase.

Regional trains in Italy

The Regional trains are older and run between the smaller towns in Italy such as Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano and Viarreggio, making more stops along the way and travelling at a slower speed. There is no option to book First Class, all tickets are Second Class making them very reasonable in price and excellent value for money. 

There are no seat reservations or allocations so when boarding the train you can sit anywhere you like. We will give you a PNR number on your travel documentation and you will need to go to the station ticket machine to print off your tickets (you can print off all you train tickets from one machine for all your future journeys). To do this you will need the PNR number and surname, spelt exactly the same as on your travel documentation. If you do have trouble using the machines you can go to any ticket office at the train station and they will print off your tickets for you. 

Once you have printed your tickets, you must validate them at one of the yellow or green validation machines on the platform before you board the train. Failure to do so may result in a fine as well as having to pay for a new ticket. Only validate the train ticket that you are about to use. Once validated the ticket must be used within six hours, which means you are not tied to travel on any particular train and can come and go as you please giving you lots of freedom and flexibility. Information boards at the station will indicate the train number, departure time (not the stops en route) and platform from which the train is departing; you may therefore not see your destination indicated on the board unless it happens to be the final destination.