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by train to and from Florence (Firenze)/Italy

A guide to travelling by train In Italy

An introduction to train travel in Italy, Italian trains, buying rail tickets in Italy and using rail passes in Italy including Eurail and InterRail passes.

Arrived here from the Start Your Journey Page?

1 - Next click the trains link to the left.

2 - Next click the tickets link to the left.

3 - (optional) - next click the name of the city that you will be travelling to/from (if its listed)

4 - IF you've clicked a city go back to the tickets link, you should now know all you need to know before making a booking.

Additonal information for Italian trains, trains to and from Italy and Italian train tickets is available on the links to the left.

Changes to train times/services

Details of major changes to trains services in Italy and to/from Italy are available HERE.

National Rail Operator

State Rail Operator = Trenitalia

Train Travel Words/Phrases

We admit we used Google Translate for these, if they're wrong please contact us and we'll correct them

  • Train = tren
  • Station = estación
  • Track/Platform = plataforma
  • Ticket = billete
  • Single Ticket = billete de ida
  • Return Ticket = su boleto
  • 1st class = Preferente
  • 2nd class = Turista
  • Ticket/Booking desk = taquilla
  • Information Desk = tabla de información
  • Left Luggage office = Depósito de equipaje
  • Arrival = llegada
  • Departure = salida
  • Timetable = horario
  • Reservation = reserva
  • Destination = destino
  • Fridays only = viernes solamente
  • Saturday only = sabato solo
  • Sunday only = domingo sólo
  • Weekend only = Fin de semana solamente
  • Not Saturday = no el sábado
  • Not Sunday = no el domingo
  • Not weekend = No, en fines de semana
  • Public Holiay = día festivo
Travel by train on public holidays

Public Holidays in 2013 = Mar 31st; April 1st/25th; May 1st; June 2nd; Aug 15th; Nov 1st; Dec 8th/25th/26th

On public holidays many train services will not operate, particularly services that usually only operate on specific days of the week such as Mon-Fri. Many routes will also operate to a Sunday timetable.

If you're planning to travel by train on a public holiday double check in advance that you're train service will be available.
When buying a ticket online for a holiday date you may be offered an alternative train service due to the special timetable that is likely to be in place
Italian trains can be particularly crowded around holidays, make reservations on trains that require them a minimum of 2 weeks in advance and avoid REGIO (REG) trains if possible

General Info for travelling by train in Italy

Italy has a comparatively democratic approach to rail travel, if saving time and travelling in comfort are your priorities you can pay the comparatively high prices - that include supplements - to travel on Italy’s newly expanded high speed network ('Freccia' trains) or other express services.
Alternatively if you want to save money, make the most of the landscape and don’t mind frequent changes from one crowded train to another, then Italy’s extensive network of regional (REG) and local trains are available to you.

For in Italy you often have a choice between different types of train when travelling from one destination to another. Services still run on the old main lines that existed before the high speed lines were built and where no high speed services exist, passengers can usually choose between express or local trains, or between through trains and changing trains to reach a destination.

These different types of trains between two destinations have a sliding scale of prices with premium express trains as the most expensive and local/regional trains at (much cheaper!) rates.

If you want to travel long distances while saving time and/or travel in a guaranteed reserved seat in an air conditioned carriage then you need to pay the higher fares/supplements charged for travel on the premium express trains (FB, FA and FR).
However, seats cannot be reserved on local and regional (REG) trains and such trains generally aren’t air conditioned.

How To Save Money when travelling by train in Italy

Substantial savings can be made when purchasing tickets for individual journeys in Italy if you travel by local and regional trains (or by IC trains – when travelling long distances between cities on routes that are also served by high speed 'Freccia' trains).
For example tickets for individual journeys between Verona and Venice are 4x more expensive on the express, ‘FB’ trains, that operate between the two cities in comparison to the slower regional ‘REG trains.

If travelling for the cheapest possible price is a key criteria, some advance planning is essential.
On routes served by both trains on which supplements are charged and which they’re not, the more expensive trains, for which a supplement is charged, generally operate more frequently – particularly between the major cities.

However, when travelling in Italy during the summer consider that the vast majority of local and regional trains don’t have air conditioning (neither do E trains).
Also regional (REG) trains can be prone to overcrowding – for this reason it can be a good idea to purchase a 1st class ticket when travelling on regional trains – the price difference between 1st and 2nd class is often only a couple of €s and your chances of finding a seat will be substantially greater – though still cannot be 100% guaranteed.

High Speed Trains

The 'Italian Trains' guide to the left will will help make sense of this section.

In recent years the high speed rail line In Italy has been extended to cover the length of the primary rail route in the country; Turin/Torino - Milan - Bologna - Florence/Firenze - Rome/Roma - Naples/Napoli.
FR 'Frecciarossa' trains travel the entire length of the route.
FA 'Frecciagento' trains travel on part of this route only, for example, FA trains from Rome to both Venice and Verona. use the high speed line between Rome and Bologna only.

Frecciabianca (FB and IC trains do not travel on the high speed lines.

Top 10 Tips when travelling on Italian trains - NEW

If you're new to train travel in Italy it can be a somewhat chaotic experience.
The confusing rules and regulations are in place to ensure that people can usually choose between expensive (faster) and cheaper (slower trains).
Italians know the rules, but you don't. So here are ThereByTrain's tips for avoiding the less comfortable aspects of Italian train travel:

1 - Avoid travelling in the summer

There are three primary reasons why the summer isn’t the best time of year to appreciate Italian train travel at its best:

  • 1 - The trains that don’t have to be reserved can be full to bursting; particularly on the busiest routes such as those; along the Mediterranean coast; down the central spine of Italy between Milan/Venice - Rome; and in southern Italy/Sicily.
  • 2 - The majority of local and regional trains aren’t air-conditioned, so the overcrowding and outside temperature of 35 degress (+) isn’t the most enticing of combinations.
  • 3 - Those discounted advance tickets on the ’Freccia’ and IC express trains inevitably sell out faster in the summer, so finding the cheapest advertised prices can be a needle in a haystack scenario.

Also if you’ve opted for a slow train, so that you can make the most of the fantastic scenery, your chances of sitting by the window in a prime position seat can be as low as 1 in 10.

These factors also apply all year round on Friday and Sunday evenings and on either side of festivals, religious holidays etc.

2 - Book ahead if you can

Don't rush into booking 'Super Econony tickets - take a look on question No. 12 on our ticketing FAQs to find out why weighing up the balance between cost and convenience can be a good idea!

If you’re happy to forego the flexibility of being able to change your mind regarding your travel plans, the ‘super economy’ tickets offered by Trenitalia for travel on 'Freccia' and IC trains are one of the best travel bargains in all of Europe.

Less good news is that they tend to sell out weeks ahead, months ahead in the summer, and can be particularly hard to track down on the most popular routes such as Venice/Venezia – Rome/Roma.
Better news is that the Tenitalia website is up there on the ‘easier train ticket booking sites to use list’, particularly once you’ve mastered the fact that you need to look for the city names in Italian - even when you’re on the English language version.

More information about using the Trenitalia site is available HERE

3 - Always reserve on IC trains

The fact you don’t have to reserve on Italian IC trains seems like a big tick in the box for using them, particularly if you can’t be bothered with having to reserve on the ‘Freccia’ trains, or want to skip paying the supplement/reservation fees.

Resist this temptation and make the effort to reserve! Here’s why this is a good idea…

The seats on the IC trains aren’t marked as reserved on the train, which can catch out unwary train travellers.
The only upside of this is that you can still make the reservation up to a few minutes before the train departs (if there are any seats left at all)!

The downside is that if you haven’t reserved on the Italian IC train you can easily find yourself in the following manic scenario:

  • 1 - You find a seat on the train, after all there’s nothing to tell you it’s been reserved.
  • 2 - At the next station someone boards the train who has reserved the seat you’re already sitting in so you HAVE to move seats (staying put is not an option, you can be fined or thrown off the train).
  • 3 - At the next station the pattern repeats itself, you have to move seats because somebody produces a reservation for where you are sitting. This can happen again and again, by the time you’ve got off the train you might have changed seats six times.!

And that’s often a best case scenario. You can easily find yourself in the situation below, particularly in the summer months:

  • 1 - You can give up a seat because someone with a reservation claims it, and then find that there are no more seats available on the train.
  • 2 - In this scenario at each station you will then have to wait and then see if a seat becomes free AFTER the train departs.
  • 3 - Keep losing on the IC train seat lottery and you could be stood in the crowded corridor for five hours.

Italians know this, it’s why they make the reservations. Avoid thinking, ‘nobody else will bother’.

However, just because you have a reservation, don’t assume that you have a seat.
You could ask the conductor to move the heavily pregnant woman, or the man that looks like he’s 100. But they didn’t know you had reserved the seat.

If you don’t want a small crowd of impassioned Italians screaming at you for making the old or infirm move, then stepping back and letting them remain sitting in your seat, can be the lesser of two evils.

That’s assuming you know the Italian for , “Excuse me, I’m pretty sure you’re sitting in the seat that I have reserved, it says so on my ticket here”.

However, on balance that €3 reservation fee can be worth every last cent!

4 - Buy 1st class tickets for the REG trains

Some of the faster ‘Regionale’ REG trains have 1st class seats available.
You’ll know if the train does when you see the option on the ticket machine or ask at the ticket office.

The difference between travelling 1st and 2nd class on these trains is often only a couple of €s.

This is one scenario in which paying extra for 1st class is worth every cent because it can make the difference between having a comfortable seat on the train and stood squashed in a corridor.

These 1st class tickets are a particularly good idea if you’ll be joining a crowded REG train in stations along the route, including the likes of Verona and Piacenza.

The gamble is that a 1st class ticket still won’t guarantee you a seat on these trains, they can’t be reserved so finding any seat - even in 1st class can be a lottery, particularly in the summer.

REG trains with 1st class can usually be found on the routes between Milan/Millano and both Venice/Venezia and Bologna and on the Pisa – Roma/Roma route.

If you’re willing to save money by forsaking the IC and ‘Freccia trains’ and taking these REG trains a one country Eurail or InterRail pass for Italy, is much less likely to be a money saver.

5 - If you can, join a REG train at a station at which it starts its journey.

The faster ‘Interegionale’ REG trains can be prone to overcrowding and can’t be reserved so finding a seat can be a lottery.
But not neccessarily if you’re joining one of these trains at the first station it departs from.

If you arrive at the likes of Bologna, Firenze (S M.N.), Milano (Centrale), Roma (Termini) or Venezia (St Lucia) stations a minimum of 20 mins before departure, you should be able to find a seat.

If you time it right when making a journey (in either direction) such as Bologna – Milano; Bologna – Venezia; Firenze – Roma or Milano – Venezia, using these REG trains can save the bother of having to make reservations on the ‘Freccia’ (or IC) trains .

The journey times are often only 20-30 mins slower in comparison to the express (IC) trains, but what you lose in time saving, you can gain in stress saving.

6 - Work out your departure times before heading to the station

Yes this is easier said than done, but if you can access an internet connection you can enter the name of the station that you will be departing from on the D-Bahn website (and no it has no direct connection to Italian railways, but trust us on this one.)

Working out the departure times can make a difference if you’re trying to save money.

Aside from the commuter routes in the main cities, a general rule in Italy, is ‘the more expensive a train is, the more likely it is to operate more frequently’.

On the busiest ‘Freccia’ routes the trains operate at least hourly during the day, but those REG trains that we recommend above only operate every two hours.

When choosing between ‘Freccia’ and IC trains is apparently an option, the ‘Freccia’ trains can be up to 10x more frequent than the IC trains. On some IC routes there are only one or two trains per day.

Italian station waiting rooms are often full of people who didn’t release that the train with the cheapest ticket options, isn’t departing for another two hours.

Try to time it, so that when you arrive at the station and discover that all the discounted tickets for the ‘Freccia’ trains have sold out, you won’t have too long to wait for the train that is less than half the cost!

Also local trains away from the big cities can operate to a sparse timetable, particularly in southern Itlaly, there can be gaps of more than 4 hours between trains on some rural lines.

7 - Make use of the Trenitalia ticket machines

No ticket booking machine is ever perfect, but Trenitalia’s machines at stations are amongst the easiest we’ve used.
The English language option presents the information you need in a way that you don’t need a degree in ICT to comprehend.

It’s particularly easy to work out the different prices/ticket options for your journey and to choose the train that meets your budget. Using the machines can save (a lot) of queuing time at station booking offices.
They also sell reservations separate to tickets and rail pass users can also obtain supplements/reservations from them.

If you can’t find your destination on the machine it may because your destination isn’t served by trains operated by Trenitalia, this is often the case for journeys around Milan including trains to/from Malpensa Airport.

However, in practice Trenitalia ticket machines can be temperamental regarding whether they will accept payment cards. You won't discover whether your debit/credit won't be accepted until the very last stage of the booking process.

In ThereByTrain's experience this occurs on around 40% of attempts to use a machine.
Therefore avoid leaving until immediately boarding the train to use these machines to pay for supplements/reservation fees. Try to make a booking for your next train when you first arrive at a destination.
If you find that the machine does accept your card then it can be a good idea to use it for other future journeys that you'll be taking.

Reservations can sell more than a day in advance for Freccia trains on routes that only have a couple of trains per day, such as journeys between Rome and Bari and Verona.

8 -Check your ticket covers the route you will be taking

This can be a tricky concept to grasp, but it can catch out some unwary travellers – including some friends of mine, who insisted that we include it as one of the tips.

Imagine this scenario.

You’ve a ticket for the REG train from Rome/Roma to Pisa.
It doesn’t have a seat reservation so you think you can use it on any train.
But you just miss the direct train to Pisa.
So you look at the departure board and see that there is a REG train to Florence/Firenze departing in 20 mins*.
You innocently think, ‘why don’t we catch that REG train to Firenze and then another train from there to Pisa, it will be quicker than hanging around in Roma (Termini) for two hours waiting for the next REG train to Pisa'?

This is not an option!

Your ticket will only be valid on the direct train to Pisa and not for the trains via Florence/Firenze, it’s not that obvious, but train tickets in Italy are route specific.

The scenario that tripped up our friends was travelling by train between Udine and Venezia/Venice.
Trains between these two cities travel on two routes, a shorter direct route and a longer route via Trieste.
The ticket they had was only valid for the shorter route, but without even realising that there were two options, they boarded a train that was travelling via Trieste.
They therefore then had to pay extra for the ticket - hence feeling ripped off and vowing to ‘never travel on an Italian train ever again!

*= we haven’t actually looked up these departure times, we were erm, imagining the scenario

9 - Don’t let the graffiti put you off

OK we may now be heading into stating the obvious territory, but many Italian trains can be covered in graffiti on the outside, but are clean and comfortable on the inside.

You’re very unlikely to actually encounter the gang of teenagers, who have been busy with the spray cans of paint, on the train itself.

10 - Don’t be too hasty in dismissing the 'Freccia' high speed trains from your travel plans

If you can find it online, a $29 2nd class ‘Super Economy’ ticket on a ‘Freccia’ train from Milan or Venice to Rome is up there amongst Europe’s best travel bargains - a journey of more than three hours on a state of the art high speed train, for less than the cost of a black taxi cab ride from Heathrow Airport to central London!

The cheapest tickets for a ‘Freccia bianca/gento/rossa’ trains are cheaper than a standard ticket price on the slower IC trains.

Therefore if you look far enough ahead (Freccia train tickets are available 3 months ahead of a travel date) and get lucky with finding a bargain fare, you can take can advantage of the multiple benefits of the Freccia trains:

  • a guaranteed seat throughout the journey, that you won’t be asked to give up and nobody can take away from you – sit back and relax
  • Less overcrowding - go to/from your seat without having to navigate a mass of people
  • Having more time to spend at your final destination because you'll get there faster
  • Air-conditioning that’s more likely to work
  • Using the main city centre stations (nearly always)

If you’re a budget minded rail pass user, don’t dismiss the ‘Freccia’ trains because of the €10 supplements.
Once you’ve factored in the reservation fee for an alternative IC train, (see above why skipping it isn’t a good idea), the price difference is €6 (or less).
Arguably a small price to pay for a comparatively stress free journey with all the benefits outlined above.

Users of 1st class Eurail or InterRail passes should make the most of the ‘Freccia’ trains, the fact that they still pay the supplement at the €10 rate is one of the major benefits of opting for a 1st class pass.

Travelling to Sicily by train

There are two options for travelling to Sicily (by train) from mainland Italy:

(1) take one of the direct day or overnight trains that are loaded on to the special train ferries that travel in both directions between Villa San Giovanni on the

mainland and the Sicilian city of Messina (these are the only trains that provide for direct travel between mainland Italy and Sicilian destinations such as Catania,

Palermo and Siracusa) OR

(2) Take the train to/from Reggio Di Calabria and transfer there to the fast hydrofoil to/from Messina in Sicily (journey time 15 mins) operated

by Ustica Lines, departures from Reggio Di Calabria to Messina are at 14:30; 18:00 and (20:50 - this departure operates during the summer only).

There are two options for travel by direct trains; (1) by day or (2) overnight.

Day trains

If you want to travel during the day you need to take one of the comfortable express IC trains on which seat reservations are highly recommended (if you don't reserve you'll be very fortunate to find a seat for the lengthy journey, particularly in the summer months).

Travelling by day can make for a trip to remember, the scenery for much of the route on both the mainland and Sicily itself is glorious (sit on the right of the train when departing from Italy and on the left when joining a train in Sicily to make the most of the coastal views), and ticket prices will be cheaper than travelling by couchette or sleeping cabins on the overnight train.
However, it's a long journey!

Direct Day trains (IC trains) from Italy TO Sicily

There are two daily direct IC trains per day to Italy.
They divide at Messina so that separate parts of the train serve Catania/Siracusa and Palermo, so check when boarding that you're boarding the correct part of the train.

The first IC train departs from:
Rome/Roma (Termini) at 07:39
Napoli (Centrale) at 09:55
and Salerno at 10:33

It arrives in Messina (Centrale) at 15:30
Catania (Centrale) at 17:28
Siracusa at 18:40
and Palermo (Centrale) at 19:27
(the train divides into two at Messina so make sure you're in the correct part of the train for your final destination).

The second daily IC train departs from:
Rome/Roma (Termini) at 11:39
Napoli (Centrale) at 13:55
and Salerno at 14:33

It arrives in Messina Centrale at 19:30
Catania (Centrale) at 21:13
Siracusa at 22:30
and Palermo Centrale) at 23:00.

These are the only direct daytime trains between Italy and Sicily.

Direct Day trains (IC trains) from Sicily TO Italy

The first daily IC train departs from:
Palermo (Centrale) at 07:00
Siracusa at 07:33
Catania (Centrale) at 08:43
and Messina (Centrale) at 10:15

It arrives in Salerno at 15:27
Napoli (Centrale) at 16:00
and Rome/Roma (Termini) at 18:21 .

The second daily IC train departs from:
Palermo (Centrale) at 10:07
Siracusa at 10:30
Catania (Centrale) at 11:43
and Messina (Centrale) at 13:15

It arrives in Salerno at 18:38
Napoli (Centrale) at 19:15
and Rome/Roma (Termini) at 21:30

These are the only direct daytime trains from Sicily to mainland Italy.

Direct Overnight trains from Italy TO Sicily

The alternative to the day trains are the nightly ICN overnight trains between Rome/Roma/Naples and Sicily.

These ICN trains are more comfortable and modern (and therefore more expensive) than the Espresso trains that they have recently replaced.

They are therefore more expensive than the daytime IC trains as travellers have to pay 'reservation fees' for a berth in a sleeping cabin or couchette, in addition to the ticket cost for the journey.

These overnight E trains depart from Rome/Roma (Termini) nightly at 21:20 and 22:30, and the 21:20 train also departs from Napoli (Centrale) at 23:40.

The 21:20 train from Roma (Termini) arrives in Messina (Centrale) at 06:10; Catania at 08:22; Siracusa at 09:35 and Palermo (Centrale) at 09:35.
The 22:30 train from Roma (Termini) arrives in Messina (Centrale) at 07:10; Catania at 09:07; Sircausa at 10:30 and Palermo (Centrale) at 10:35.

There is also a newly restored overnight train direct from northern Italy to Sicily.
It is an ICN 'hotel' train that departs nightly from:
Milan/Milano (Centrale) at 15:45
Piacenza at 16:30
Parma at 17:07
Modena at 17:40
Florence/Firenze (Campo di Marte) at 19:37.

It arrives in
Messina (Centrale) at 12:45
Catania at 14:18
Siracusa at 15:40
Palermo at 10:35

Direct Overnight trains from Sicily TO Italy

There are two nightly Espresso (E) trains that convey 1st and 2nd class sleeping cabins and (2nd class) couchettes (they do not convey ordinary 'daytime' seats) from Sicily to Rome/Roma

(1) - from Palermo (Centrale) at 18:30; Siracusa at 19:10; Catania (Centrale) at 20:22; and Messina (Centrale) at 22:10
It arrives in Rome/Roma (Termini) at 07:10

(2) - from Palermo (Centrale) at 21:10; Siracusa at 21:45; Catania (Centrale) at 22:52; and Messina (Centrale) at 00:35
It arrives in Salerno at 06:40, Napoli (Centrale) at 07:18 and Rome/Roma (Termini) at 09:50

There is also now a newly introduced direct ICN 'hotel' train from Sicily to northern Italy.

It departs from;
Palermo (Centrale) at 12:39
Siracusa at 13:40
Catania (Centrale) at 14:57
Messina (Centrale) at 16:40

It arrives in:
Bologna (Centrale) at 07:50
Modena at 08:24
Parma at 09:20
Piacennza at 09:48
Milan/Milano (Centrale) at 10:45.

Train Connections to/from Ragusa

The southern Sicilian province of Ragusa is popular with visitors due to the cluster of towns that are U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage Sites.

The stunning landscape and architecture of Ragusa is the setting of the popular Inspector MontalbanoTV series.

There is a sparse, but useful railway route through Ragusa that operates Mon-Sat only between Siracusa - that has direct trains to/from Catania, Messsia, Naples/Napoli, Rome/Roma and Salerno
and Caltanissetta - that is served by trains to/from Palermo.

The highly scenic railway route has stations at Modica and Ragusa; both of which are listed as U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage sites.
However, to travel the length of the route changes of train are often required at Gela and/or Modica.

At Sircausa the daytime IC train from Rome/Roma and Naples/Napoli connects into a train to Modica, though you have to wait in Siracusa for more than two hours, so time to have dinner between trains.

The 21:20 overnight train from Rome should arrive in Siracusa at 09:35, in time to connect into the 10:10 train to Modica, Ragusa, Vittoria and Gela.

The overnight train from northern Italy is due to arrive in Sircausa at 15:40, there is a 17:45 train from Siracusa to Modica.

Alternatively spend some in Siracusa/Syracuse the stunning city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
You can explore Ragusa province by taking the trains listed below (arrival times are in brackets) on Mon-Sat only
(1) The 10:10 train from Siracusa to Modica (11:50)
(2) The 13:52 train from Modica to Ragusa (14:17)
(3) The 18:43 train from Ragusa to Siracusa (20:45).

To travel FROM Palermo (Centrale) TO Ragusa take the following trains (that operate on Mon-Sat only):
(1) The 11:49 train from Palermo (Centrale) to Roccapalumba - Alia (12:45)
(2) The 12:49 train from Roccapalumba - Alia to Caltanissetta (Centrale) (14:03)
(3) The 14:19 train from Caltanissetta (Centrale) to Gela (16:24)
(4) The 17:21 train from Gela to Ragusa (18:43) and Modica (19:04).

To travel TO Palermo (Centrale) FROM Ragusa take the following trains (that operate on Mon-Sat only):
(1) The 13:53 train from Modica and 14:18 train from Ragusa to Caltanissetta (Centrale) (17:40)
(2) The 17:51 train from Caltanissetta (Centrale to Roccapalumba - Alia (19:11) (
(3) The 19:21 train from Roccapalumba - Alia to Palermo (Central) (20:16)

Alternative connections using the hydrofoil service between Reggio di Calabria and Messina

Alterative connections between both Rome and Naples and Messina are available by taking the tilting express 'Eurostar Italia' (ES) trains branded

FrecciagentoUstica Lines.

These ES trains depart from Rome/Roma (Termini) at 10:45*/13:45; Napoli

(Centrale) at 12:42*/15:40 and arrive in Reggio di Calabria at at 17:05*/20:05 (*= train does not operate on Sundays).

Connecting hydrofoils depart from Reggio di Calabria at 18:00 and (20:50 this service operates in the summer only - check the Ustica lines website for more information).
The station at Reggio di Calabria is less than 5mins walk from the hydrofoil terminal.

The journey time from Rome to Messina by the combination of the ES train and hydrofoil is approximately 7hr 45mins, so is very similar to that by

the direct IC trains.

The ES (Frecciagento) train tickets are more expensive in comparison to the IC trains (rail pass users need to pay a €10

supplement to travel by the ES trains) and travellers also need to factor in the additional cost of the hydrofoil (approx €4).

Neither the fastest AV (high speed) 'Frecciagento' train from Rome to Reggio di Calabria, or the ICN overnight train from Milan, Bologna and Florence to

Reggio di Calabria have connections that day to a hydrofoil, you need to overnight in Reggio di Calabria and the first hydrofoil of the day to Messina doesn't depart until 14:30.

The heel of Italy to Sicily by train/bus

When looking at a map of Italy a common assumption is that it must be straightforward to travel from the 'heel' of Italy to Sicily, but in actuality it's not the easiest of journeys.

On Mondays-Saturdays a bus departs from Taranto station at 09:25 for Metaponto.
Travellers can connect there for a train to Cantanzaro Lido, which has a connection into a train from Cantanzaro Lido that arrives in Reggio Di Calabria at 16:55, in time for the 18:00 hydrofoil.
It's not possible to make these connections on Sundays.

A daily alternative from Taranto is to travel north on the 07:50 IC train to Battipaglia and transfer there to the 12:50 IC train to Messina/Catania/Siracusa/Palermo, the connection time in Battipaglia is 1hr and 40mins.

International rail routes to/from Italy summary:

Direct day time trains have been withdrawn on several routes in recent years including from Venice to Ljubljana and Vienna, as well as the trains from

Nice to Milan.
If you want to enter Italy by DAYTIME train there are now seven routes available to passengers, all of which are amongst the most scenic

rail journeys in Europe.

1. Munich – Innsbruck – Verona:

The through EC trains on this route now provide the only direct daytime connections between Germany/Austria

and Italy. Supplements are no longer compulsory on these trains for holders of Eurail and InterRail pass. EC trains continue beyond Verona to (1)Bologna (for connections to/from Florence and Rome)and (2) Venice.

These through trains are no longer operated by Trenitalia when travelling in Italy, they are operated by Le Nord.
It is therefore not possible to

purchase tickets for these trains from the automatic ‘Trenitalia’ ticket machines at Italian stations.

For passengers who wish to economise and aren’t in a hurry, fairly frequent Italian local trains run to/from the border station of Brennero (some of which

originate in Bologna) from where fairly straightforward connections are available in either direction to/from Innsbruck in Austria.
Local trains also

link Innsbruck and Munich, so it’s possible to travel in a day on this spectacular route from Bologna through to Munich (and vice versa), without making reservations - you'll also save money.

Until September 25th 2012 engineering work is being carried out out on this route

Until September 25th the CNL trains have been retimed so that the train to Florence/Firenze and Rome/Roma departs from from Munich/Munchen hbf at 18:57
In the other direction the train TO Munich/Munchen will depart from Rome/Roma (Termini) at 19:05, Florence/Firenze at 21:37 and Bologna at 22:58.

Details of how the day trains including the EC trains will be affected are still apparently being finalised, but journeys are much more likely to be affected at weekends, when it is likely that buses will be substituted for trains for at least part of the journey in either direction between Bolzano and Innsbruck.
Our advice is to check details of your onward travel locally on arrival in Munich, Innsbruck, Bologna, Venice or Verona, particularly if you're planning to connect into other trains on which reservations are compulsory.
There is no practical alternative route, travelling by bus for part of the journey will be a LOT less hassle than attempting to travel between Munich/Innsbruck and Italy via Switzerland.
There will still be no daytime trains on the other rail route between Austria and Italy via Tarviso (that used to be taken by Venice - Vienna trains).

2. Zurich – Bellinzona – Milan (The Gotthard Route):

The tilting EC* trains that provide the direct long distance trains on this route used

to be branded ‘Cisalpino’.

Reliability of these trains has improved (marginally) recently and they now provide a service every two hours throughout

the day. So it’s the most frequent international rail route between Switzerland and Italy.

One train per day in each direction has now been re-introduced

on the Gotthard route between Milan and Basel, so the Swiss city of Lucerne now once again has direct trains to/from Italy.

Supplements are payable

for travel on the EC* services between Zurich and Milan and seat reservations are compulsory, but alternatives are available for those prepared to change

trains.
Regular trains operate to/from Basel and Zurich and the town of Bellinzona where connections are available on local trains across the border to

Chiasso in Italy. Frequent local trains run between Chiasso and Milan, but they run into the city’s Porta Garibaldi station rather than Milan Centrale.

3. Geneva/Basel – Brig – Domodossola – Milan (The Simplon Route):

The tilting EC* trains that provide the direct long distance trains on

this route used to be branded ‘Cisalpino’. Reliability of these trains has to some extent improved recently, which is good news for those making connections

at either of the route.

with one train per day in each direction to/from Geneva operating beyond Milan to Verona and Venice.

It’s also possible to travel on this route

without paying the supplements and making the reservations on the EC trains, but the local trains that run between Brig and Domodossola on either side of the

Swiss/Italian border don’t run particularly frequently, so checking connections in advance is recommended.
If you want to travel between Basel and Italy

without paying a supplement it’s generally easier to take the Gotthard route and make connections in Bellinzona

4. Chambery – Modane – Turin:

The only passenger trains that now take this route across the border between France and Italy are the TGVFI services that operate direct between Paris and Turin – Milan. There are no cross border local rains to provide an alternative.

5. Nice – Ventimiglia – Genoa:

The EC trains between Milan and Nice, which provided the only through trains between Italy and the Cote D’

Azur have now been withdrawn.
All passengers now have to change trains in Ventimiglia on the Italian side of the border.

Fairly frequent local

trains operate along the Italian Riviera between Genoa and Ventimiglia and regular IC trains operate between Ventimiglia and Milan and there is also a daily

IC train that runs to/from Ventimiglia and Rome via Pisa and La Spezia.

During the day French local trains run every 30 mins across the border to/from

Ventimiglia and Monte-Carlo, Nice and Cannes while Antibes is reached by hourly services.
There is also a daily TGV service in both directions between

Paris and Ventimiglia.

6. St Moritz – Tirano – Milan:

For those that have the time available, arguably the most spectacular route between Italy and Switzerland is

the route via the Alpine resort of Tirano, which has two of the highest stations in Europe.
Passengers have to change trains in Tirano for the trains

which run to Milan along the shores to Lake Garda.

The ordinary trains which operate from Tirano into Switzerland terminate at St Moritz where

connections can be made on to Chur and beyond.

Eurail and Inter-Rail pass holders can spend the day travelling between Milan and Zurich (in one direction only) by this route

without having to pay a supplement.

7. Locarno – Domodossola;

A highly recommended route for travel between Switzerland and Italy, if you have time available is to take a

F.A.R.T. train (no jokes please) between Locarno and Domodossola.

Locarno is served by direct trains from Basel, Lucerne and Zurich with connections available at Bellinzona from Lugano.

The trains are operated by

Ferrovie Autolinée Regionali Ticinesi (hence F.A.R.T.) and Eurail, InterRail and Swiss Passes are all valid.
The trains travel through the spectacular

mountain passes and gorges to the Italian border town of Domodossola, however there can be gaps of more than two hours between trains in either direction, so

check connections.
The trains can become crowded in the summer and no reservations are possible.

At Domodossola regional (REG) trains operate to/from Milan, but many of the trains between Domodossola and Milan arrive at/depart from Porta Garibaldi

station in Milan and not the primary station, Centrale. Porta Garibaldi and Centrale are linked by Metro.
The EC trains between Geneva or Basle and Milan/Milano also call at Domodossola.

Infrequent local trains operate between Domodossola and the Swiss town, Brig (Brigue). Swiss Passes are valid on these local trains, but check connections

in advance to avoid long waits at Domodossola,
For this reason it's also much easier to travel between Switzerland and Italy on this route using the northern part of 'The Gotthard Line' between

Basel/Lucerne/Zurich and Locarno and the southern part of the 'The Simplon Route' between Domodossola and Milan, than it is to use the northern part of the

Simplon Route between Geneva/Basel/Bern and Domodossola and the southern part of The Gotthard Route between Bellinzona and Zurich.