Train travel in Italy is very efficient, and the new fast intercity trains make traveling in Italy by train pleasurable. However, it is always wise to stay up to date and check on transportation strikes, especially during the spring and summer months.
When traveling short distances or in the summer months when traffic is overwhelming, train travel in Italy is quite pleasurable. The intercity fast trains to Venice, Padua, Bologna, Florence and Rome beat driving hands down.
Discounts of up to 70% can be booked for intercity day trips when booked in advance.
The fast trains are called Frecciarossa (Red arrow), Frecciargento (Silver arrow) and Frecciabianca (White arrow).
For some train trips, you may be able to take a Freccia and transfer to a local train to get to your final destination.
Standard, Business, Executive, & Family Travel
Local trains have standard class and first class. Intercity trains are often used by business travelers and offer Business or Executive (First) class accommodation. When booking a ticket online, you can choose your seat. Some wagons have “silent sections” which means talking on the phone, loud chatter and rambunctious children are discouraged from sitting in this area of the train.
On some intercity trains, there are “Family” sections where children are welcome, and parents won’t have to apologize to strangers the whole trip.
Trains for longer trips may offer the option for a sleeper car (vagone letto).
Train Stations in Milan
The main station is Milan Central Station, (Stazione Centrale Milano) which is the main rail hub of Milan.
There is also Garibaldi Station (Stazione Garibaldi).
Both are centrally located and have intercity, international and commuter trains.
Minor stations such as Cadorna and Lambrate are mostly commuter stations.
The airport train, the Malpensa Express arrives/departs from Milan Central Station and Cadorna. The airport shuttle busses depart from Milan Central Station.
There are no trains to Linate Airport, the metro line 4 is still under construction. To get to Bergamo Airport, there are trains to Bergamo, and then you must get a bus from the Bergamo station to the airport.
Click here to learn more about airports in Milan.
How to Book Train Tickets in Italy
Book tickets online on the Trenitalia website: https://www.trenitalia.com/
Download the “Trenitalia” app which is useful if you will be using the trains often.
NOTE: Tickets can also be bought at the station at the ticket counter or from electronic ticket kiosks. If you need to buy tickets at the station, allow for extra time if you are traveling during high season or commuter hours as the station gets quite busy. Tickets for up to 50 km distance can also be purchased at newsstand kiosks.
Validate Your Ticket
Tickets from the ticket counter or electronic ticket kiosks MUST be validated. Inspectors check tickets on the train. If your printed ticket has not been validated, you risk a fine.
You will see signs for “Stamp your ticket” – it’s just poorly translated; it should read “validate your ticket.” There are yellow punch machines at the end of each track. Some of them look quite antiquated like the one in the photo above. There is a slot to slide the ticket in, and it will print the date and time.
E-tickets purchased from the website or app do not need validation.
Going to Lake Como by Train
If you plan on taking the train to Lake Como, keep in mind that the trains only go to Como on the western branch but go up to the top of the lake on the eastern branch.
Covid Regulations for Train travel in Italy, Updates 2023
As of this last update (January 9, 2023), there are no capacity limitations, and it is no longer obligatory to wear a mask when traveling by train in Italy. However, wearing a mask is recommended when there are large crowds. Travel with a pocket-size hand sanitizer and be prudent.
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