In my opinion trains are the best way to get around Italy by far. However, I have been on some very good trains and some very bad trains in Italy. The train I took to go to Pompeii is one of the worst trains I have ever been on. There are a few different train companies in Italy, and here are my experiences traveling with them:
I highly recommend taking Italo trains when in Italy. They have the best prices, the more comfortable trains, and are more reliable. I have traveled between major cities in Italy for less than 10 euros. They also show movies in some train cars for no extra charge, but the movies are usually in Italian. The only time I had much of a delay with Italo, they offered a partial reimbursement for my ticket (and the delay wasn’t even their fault, it was due to a issue with the tracks). The only downside to Italo is their lack of access. The only travel to the more major cities in Italy, but their customer service is above average for a European company.
The state run train company in Italy is Trenitalia. The run trains such as Thello, Frecce, and Intercity trains. The Trenitalia trains are usually more expensive, lower quality, and less reliable than Italo trains. Also, I have never been offered compensation for a delayed train, and a high percentage of my Trenitalia trains have been delayed. The main benefit to Trenitalia trains is their high amount of destinations. In many cases, the only trains offered to smaller cities in Italy are Trenitalia trains. I have taken Trenitalia trains on journeys to smaller cities where I taught English camps such as Volterra, Casalmaggiore, and Cirie. Also, Trenitalia runs some overnight trains, which can be convenient and cost effective. However, both the Intercity Night train I took to Bari and the Thello overnight train I took to Paris were much lower quality than the Renfe-SNCF overnight train I took to get to Barcelona.
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