A Frecciarossa train to Florence & Milan at Rome Stazione Termini

A Frecciarossa at Rome's Stazione Termini...

Trenitalia is Italy's national train operator, and their premier ETR500 Frecciarossa high-speed trains operate on the main Turin-Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples route.  Frecciarossa means red arrow, and they can reach 300 km/h (186 mph) on Italy's new high-speed lines.  Nobody flies between these cities any more:  Rome to Milan now takes as little as 2 hours 40 minutes by train, Rome to Florence as little as 1 hour 23 minutes, with a restaurant car and free WiFi.

Buy tickets at www.italiarail.com from €19...

You can buy Frecciarossa tickets online at either www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com.  It's ticketless, you simply quote your PNR number on board the train.  ItaliaRail.com is an agency which links directly to Trenitalia's ticketing system, easy to use with English-language place names.  Their small booking fee will be refunded if you email seat61@italiarail.com with your PNR.  Trenitalia.com is Italian railways own website, English button top right.  It only recognises Italian-language place names, Firenze for Florence, Roma for Rome, Napoli for Naples, Venezia for Venice and so on and it has a few quirks, but there's no booking fee and it allows you to select a specific seat.  Booking opens 120 days ahead, and if you book in advance on a no-refunds, no-changes-to-travel plans basis, super-economy fares start at just €19 from Rome to Florence Naples, or from €29 from Rome to Milan.  Frecciarossa seat numbering plan.

Frecciarossas have been refurbished with 4 classes...    Watch the video guide

Frecciarossas originally had 1st and 2nd class seats.  However, with private operator NTV's Italo trains now competing with Trenitalia on the Milan-Rome-Naples route, Trenitalia has refurbished its Frecciarossas with not two but four classes:  Standard, Premium, Business and Executive.  Which should you choose?  Here's an illustrated guide:

Standard class  (= 2nd class)...

Standard class seats on a Frecciarossa from Rome to Florence & Milan   Typical table with 4 seats on a Frecciarossa

Standard class:  Cloth seats, arranged in bays of 4 around a table either side of the aisle.  Seats are arranged 2+2 across the width of the car.  Power sockets at all seats.  There's plenty of luggage space on overhead racks, which will take anything up to backpack-size, and space between the seat backs, and racks for larger items at the end of each car.  Passengers may use the café-bar & restaurant car.

Premium  class (= premium 2nd class)

Premium class seats on a Frecciarossa   Typical table for four on a Frecciarossa, Premium Class

Premium class:  Exactly the same layout and legroom as Standard class, but with leather seats instead of cloth.  As in Standard class, seats are arranged in bays of 4 around a table either side of the aisle.  Seats are arranged 2+2 across the width of the car.  The fare includes a complimentary 'welcome drink' of coffee, soft drink or prosecco, and there are power sockets at all seats.  There's plenty of luggage space on overhead racks, which will take anything up to backpack-size, and space between the seat backs, and racks for larger items at the end of each car.  Passengers may use the café-bar & restaurant car.

The Man in Seat 61 says:  "It will depend on what prices you're offered, of course, but the leather seats and 'welcome' drink make premium a nice upgrade from Standard."

Business  (= 1st class)

Business class seats on a Frecciarossa   A 4-seat Business class 'salottino' on a Trenitalia Frecciarossa

Business class (above left):  Significantly more elbow room than Standard or Premium (although legroom is the same), with wider leather seats arranged 2+1 across the width of the car, with tables for four on one side of the aisle and tables for two on the other, the latter ideal for couples.  The fare includes a complimentary 'welcome drink' of coffee, soft drink or prosecco, and there are power sockets at all seats.  There's plenty of luggage space on overhead racks, which will take anything up to backpack-size, and space between the seat backs, and racks for larger items at the end of each car.  Passengers may use the café-bar & restaurant car.  One Business class car is designated as a 'quiet car' ('Silenzio').

Business class 'Salottinos' (above right):  Each Frecciarossa has two fully-enclosed four-seat 'Salottinos' (= 'little rooms').  Seats can be booked in this if you are a small group travelling together, ideal for private meetings on the move.

The Man in Seat 61 says:  "There's no need to travel first (Business) class if you're on a budget, as Standard & Premium classes are absolutely fine, and the legroom is exactly the same as in Business class.  But the wider seats, extra elbow room and the ability for couples to choose a table for two, make Business class a nice upgrade."

Executive class (= premium 1st class)

Executive class on a Trenitalia Frecciarossa   Executive class meeting room on a Frecciarossa

Executive class (above left):  Executive class consists of just 8 super-comfortable leather reclining seats at one end of the train, with their own dedicated steward or stewardess.  Power sockets at all seats.  The fare includes a complimentary cold tray meal and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and all Executive passengers can use the Frecciaclub first class lounges at main stations.  Executive meeting room (above right):  Executive class also features a 6-seat meeting room.

The Man in Seat 61 says:  "Executive class is aimed at top executives and priced accordingly, with fully-flexible tickets and no discounted fares. But if your company is paying, Executive is highly recommended, you won't want to get off..."

Food & drink on board the Frecciarossa...

Executive class complimentary meal   An ETR500 Frecciarossa at Milan

Executive class meal:  Executive class includes a complimentary cold tray meal with wine and prosecco....

 

A Frecciarossa at Milan Centrale....

Frecciarossa restaurant car   Frecciarossa cafe-bar area

The restaurant car:  Each Frecciarossa has a proper sit-down waiter-service restaurant car, open to all passengers.  A 3-course set menu costs around €30.

 

The café-bar:  At the other end of the restaurant car in the centre of the train is a café-bar serving real Italian coffee, alcoholic & soft drinks, sandwiches and snacks.

Frecciarossa restaurant car main course   Frecciarossa restaurant car

The set meal...  A typical main course...

 

A table for two in the Frecciarossa restaurant car...

Frecciarossa information screen   Two ETR500 Frecciarossa trains at Milan Centrale

Information screens in each car tell you the train's speed, destination, calling points and next stop...

 

Two ETR500 Frecciarossa trains at Milan Centrale...

Watch the Frecciarossa video...

Trenitalia's Frecciarossa versus NTV's Italo:  Which train to take?

On the Milan-Florence-Rome-Naples route you can now choose between Trenitalia's Frecciarossa and NTV's new 'Italo' train - see the Italo page.  Which should you choose?  Both are excellent trains, but this is my personal take...

Sponsored links...

 


Back to 'Rail travel to Europe' general page

Back to home page