I can’t remember the last time I’ve ridden on a train! It’s probably been since I was 10 years old. I was a bit nervous taking the train in Italy since I wasn’t sure how the system worked. I take numerous airplanes every year and everything is printed right on your ticket so you know exactly where to go. The train system doesn’t work quite the same way, but don’t worry, it’s pretty smooth.

When you’re traveling in Europe, trains are very popular to get from one destination to the next. Taking the train is faster than driving and cheaper than flying.

You have options when taking the train!

Just like an airline, you can choose from different companies and trains. During my research, I narrowed it down between ItaliaRail and Trenitalia. In the end I decided to go with ItaliaRail since they had a sale. We got 2 First Class tickets for $72.

After I decided to go with ItaliaRail I noticed a big price difference between 2 trains that only departed 15 minutes apart from each other. After noticing something slightly different in the search results, I found my answer.

The first box said “Frecciarossa” while the second box said “Frecciargento.” Frecciarossa trains are newer, faster and they offer more fare classes. Frecciargento only offers 1st and 2nd class.

ItaliaRail Price

The difference between Frecciarossa and Frecciargento is that Frecciarossa are newer trains and they offer more fare classes.

Since I won’t be going back to Italy for a long time and this was Teddy’s first trip over to Europe, I wanted to make it memorable for him. I decided to go with the Frecciarossa train and I choose Executive class!

How to board a train in Europe

If you’re going long distance (i.e. Rome to Florence) then you’ll want to book your ticket online ahead of time. Once you book your ticket, you’ll know what time your train departs from the train station.

Train stations are not like airports. You do not have to arrive hours in advance. There’s no security lines to go through and you’ll end up standing around. We typically arrived 20 – 30 minutes in advance.

Once you arrive to the train station, you won’t know which platform your train is going to be on until about 5 – 15 minutes before it actually arrives. The train stations have information boards all over. You’ll have to look for your train and if you don’t see it, then try the information boards out in lobby where they sell tickets.

If you try to find your departure information too early, you’ll be out of luck. The information boards are literally updated briefly before your departure time. If you’re uncertain, try to find someone to ask for help! Teddy and I must have asked for help at least 5 times. Towards the end of the trip, we finally learned how the train stations work!

The biggest tip I can give you so you know what train to board: Let’s say you’re going from Rome to Florence, but Florence isn’t the final destination for that train. Milan is. You need to look on the information board for the train that is heading to Milan, NOT Florence! The information boards will only display the FINAL destination, not the stops in-between.

Executive class on ItaliaRail

If you want to ride a train in style, then ItaliaRail’s executive class is for you. There’s only 8 seats in the very first cart of the train and you don’t have to worry about someone sitting next to you since they all have their own space. The seats are leather and they do recline back so you can relax.

ItaliaRail Executive First Class

Richard sitting in Executive class on ItaliaRail from Rome to Florence!

There was only 1 other guy in the Executive class with us. The ride was quite enjoyable and we sat back and watched the Italy countryside from our seat. Italy is quite beautiful when you get outside the major cities. We saw plenty of mountains and other scenery.

Pictures of ItaliaRail’s Executive Class
ItaliaRail Executive Class

Here are what the seats look like in Executive Class.

ItaliaRail Executive Class Meeting Room

There’s also a meeting room if you are traveling on business.

Should you spend the extra money on Executive class?

If money isn’t an issue, then why not? It was quiet and a very nice ride to enjoy the Italian countryside scenery. You’ll still get to your destination if you book a standard ticket, so don’t do it if you need to spend money elsewhere.

I liked the fact that we didn’t have to keep checking on our luggage since there was a dedicated spot. If you book a standard train ticket, it can sometimes be difficult to find a spot for your luggage near you. You’ll want to check on your luggage frequently if you do decide to book a standard ticket to make sure someone hasn’t taken it.

One of the reasons I did book Executive Class with ItaliaRail was because I thought we got a meal with our ticket. Since Teddy is a bodybuilder, he has to eat constantly! I don’t get it, but I thought he would appreciate this. I was a bit disappointed with ItaliaRail, because we were only offered a drink and a snack. There were meals on the menu, but the steward wouldn’t let us order from it.

 

Up next: Our stay in Florence.