An Italo train at Rome Tiburtina

An Italo train at Rome's modern Tiburtina station.  Buy tickets online at www.italotreno.it...

What is Italo?

NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori) is a new private company which started operating it's Italo high-speed trains on the Milan-Florence-Rome-Naples route in April 2012, in competition with State-owned operator Trenitalia.  NTV added a Venice-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples route in October 2012 and from January 2013 they extended some Milan services to start in Turin, and some services to Naples have been extended to Salerno.  NTV are Europe's first private high-speed train operator.

Milan - Bologna - Florence - Rome - Naples

Venice - Bologna - Florence - Rome - Naples

Note that in Rome Italo uses Tiburtina and Ostiense stations, not the main Stazione Termini.  In Milan, they use Porta Garibaldi station, not the main Milan centrale station, but in this case Milan Porta Garibaldi is just as central as Milan Centrale and better for connections with the TGVs to/from Paris as these also use Porta Garibaldi.  If you're making other connections in Milan, Porta Garibaldi is a 6 10-minute taxi ride from Centrale.  In other cities, Italo use the same city centre stations as Trenitalia.

Buy tickets online:  www.italotreno.it...

Anyone from any country can buy Italo tickets online at www.italotreno.it quickly & easily, you simply print your own ticket.  It's one of the clearest and easiest-to-use online train tickets systems I've seen.  Cheap fares are available on a no-refunds, no-changes basis if you pre-book, the choice between these and the flexible fare in each class is clearly shown.  You can choose your exact seat from a seating plan at the end of the booking, a best practice.  In Prima and Club you can even add an Eataly lunchbox to your booking, to be served at your seat.

Italo's four classes explained...     Watch the Italo video guide

Smart = 2nd class

Italo's Smart ambience features Poltrona Frau Leather reclining seats, air-conditioned, ample legroom, free WiFi, power sockets for laptops, cameras or mobiles.  There's a coffee machine & drink/snack vending machine in car 7, but no bar car as such.  Seating is mostly unidirectional, although there are two tables-for-four in each carriage.  One carriage (car 1) is the 'Smart Cinema', with films shown on TV screens suspended from the ceiling.  See Italo seating plan.

Italo train, Smart ambience seating   Smart ambience on an Italo train.

The Man in Seat 61 says:  "A bright interior, leather seats, loads of legroom and with power sockets for laptops, mobiles or cameras, Smart is very classy indeed - but with budget fares.  The tables-for-four are ideal for families or small groups, you can select this when booking at www.italotreno.it by clicking the link to choose your exact seats."

Smart XL = Premium 2nd class

Italo found that whilst Smart class was often well filled, there was often spare capacity in Prima.  So in September 2013 they introduced a new class called Smart XL, in a de-classified Prima class car.  For just 5 extra over the Smart fare, you can travel in Prima class seating (see the Prima photos below), but without the Prima complimentary service.  See Italo seating plan.

Prima = 1st class

Italo's Prima ambience features Poltrona Frau Leather reclining seats and air-conditioning with extra legroom & elbowroom compared to Smart class.  There's free WiFi, power sockets for laptops, cameras or mobiles, complimentary wine or prosecco and snack served from a trolley.  You can order an 'Eataly' meal-in-a-box to be served at your seat (or can pre-order one when booking at at www.italotreno.it), but there's no separate bar or restaurant car.  Seating is mostly unidirectional, with just one table-for-two and one table-for-four in each carriage.  See Italo seating plan.

Italo train, Prima ambience - Just one table for 2 & one table for 4  in each Prima car   Italo train, Prima ambience

The Man in Seat 61 says:  "Prima is significantly more spacious than Smart, and there are budget fares in Prima too if you book well in advance - if you're a couple, I recommend selecting the table for two when booking at www.italotreno.it by clicking the link to choose your exact seats."

Club = Premium 1st

Club class consists of just one carriage, with an open saloon of 11 seats (pictured above left) and two intimate compartments of 4 seats called 'Salottinos' (pictured above right), ideal for small groups or on-board meetings.  Club has Poltrona Frau Leather reclining seats, loads of legroom & elbowroom, free WiFi, power sockets for laptops, cameras or mobiles, complimentary wine or prosecco and snacks served throughout the journey by a steward or stewardess dedicated wholly to the small 'Club' section.  Each seat also has a small fold-out LCD touch-screen television.  You can order an 'Eataly' meal-in-a-box to be served at your seat (or can pre-order one when booking at at www.italotreno.it).  There is a small lounge for Club passengers at Milan Porta Garibaldi with free coffee and soft drinks, at the rear of the Casa Italo.  See Italo seating plan.

Club ambience on the new Italo train   A Club class 'salottino' on an Italo train

The Man in Seat 61 says:  "Club is aimed at top-end business travellers and priced accordingly with flexible tickets but no discounted fares.  Service is excellent and the Club section cosy & civilised - if your company is paying, this is the way to go!"

A new concept at stations:  Casa Italo...

Exterior of the Casa Italo at Milan Porta Garibaldi, lower level   The Casa Italo at Milan Porta Garibaldi

Casa Italo:  At each station served by Italo, there is a Casa Italo, with self-service ticket sales machines, lots of Italo staff on hand, a welcome desk for assistance and information, a waiting area with seats, sofas, information screens and free WiFi (ask at the desk).  This is the Casa Italo at Milan Porta Garibaldi (lower level), where there's also a small separate lounge for Club passengers.  There's no old-fashioned ticket office, tickets are bought from the 'Italo'-branded self-service machines, which have a huge touch screen and an English-language facility.  They are simplicity itself to use, even my six year old can work them!

Italo ticket machine at Milan   Entrance door to Smart class car   Italo train at Rome Tiburtina station
Italo ticket machines: So simple my 6-year-old can use them.   There are plenty of racks for luggage, big & small...   An NTV Italo train at Rome Tiburtina.

Food & drink on board Italo...

Eataly lunch box on an Italo train   Coffee vending machine in Smart class, car 7   Vending machine in Smart class, car 7

In Prima & Club you can buy (or pre-order) an 'Eataly' lunchbox for around 16-19.  Complimentary coffee, soft drinks, wine, or prosecco is served from a trolley.

 

There's no bar or restaurant car on Italo, but passengers in Smart ambience can use the Illy coffee machine and vending machine in car 7.  You're also free to bring your own food and drink on board...

Watch the Italo video guide...

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

Trenitalia have refurbished their Frecciarossa (red arrow) high-speed trains with 4 classes and new leather seats to compete with NTV's 3-class Italo on the premier Milan-Florence-Rome-Naples route.  Journey time is similar, pricing is competitive, so which should you choose?  Both are excellent trains, but this is my personal take...

Sponsored links...

 


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