Italy Rail Travel Guide
Rail travel inItaly is a fantastic way to see the many attractions in this beautiful country and to connect to luxury Italian villas. More relaxing than buses and certainly less hassle than waiting around for airport security and the general time-wasting that is part of modern air travel these days, a rain trip, like adventure holidays, is as much about the journey as the destination to which you are headed.
The Trenitalia website is very useful fro planning your journey and you can buy tickets up to 60 days in advance using your credit card. The Italian rail system has different train types: TBiz, EurostarItalia (the best way to go with newer carriages), Eurostar Italia AV (with the ESAV logo), Eurostar City Italia, IntercityPlus and Intercity (generally reliable), Espresso, and Interregionale and Regionale (not so reliable and also used as suburban trains). The more expensive trains are generally faster, mainly due to them stopping less along the route.
Booking and Ticketing
The big difference between TBiz, Eurostar Italia, Intercity Plus and Intercity with Interregionale, Regionale and Espresso services is that on the better services offer seating reservation, which is important when you remember that many trains double as travel means for the locals who pack them in peak hours as commuters. If you find your seat occupied, just show your ticket and it should be given up for you.
When booking, you can choose between normal seats, couchette and sleeper cabins of different categories, depending on the service you are planning to travel on. While seats are cheapest, sleeper cabins are not that expensive, and are a more relaxing on long-distance trips. The lines at ticket sale outlets can be very long, but there here are multilingual touch-screen ticket machines as an alternative. Better still, if you can plan your trip ahead, buy tickets online. Note that Eurostar trains are popular, so advance purchases are recommended. Be sure to validate your ticket before boarding.