.Italo or Trenitalia? On the Train in Italy! Prego.
There are two train companies you can travel with in Italy. The companies are .Italo and Trenitalia, both with trains capable of speeds in excess of 300 KM per hour. With much of the European rail system run by national governments, the two Italian private companies are inexpensive when compared to most of the continent. In fact the privatization of Italian train system has performed so well since 2015, that it has led to a potential expansion of these two companies in other parts of Europe.
Traveling from Naples to Florence recently on .Italo was a very pleasant experience. We went Primo or First Class with flexible (Flex) tickets for just 69 Euros, each. Flex tickets gives you more options should you have to change or cancel your ticket, than you have with an economy ticket. The cost of our first class ticket in Italy was about half that of Germany for a similar duration.
Navigating Napoli Centrale was relatively easy. It is large place, but not overwhelming. There are twenty-four regional tracks upstairs with local trains downstairs at the Garibaldi station.
A great place to wait for your train, is in a small coffee shop or other location within the food court. Here we had two cappuccinos and two brioche or croissant for 5 euros, while sitting in relative peace, watching the departure board for nearly an hour.
A couple of administrative notes. At the time of our travels, we were still required to have a special mask - due to Covid - for security and on the train. The farmacia in the station has the correct mask for 1 Euro each. Second, the bathrooms at the station are located downstairs in the central portion of the train Station across from Gate 13.
Once your train has been assigned a platform on the departure board, you can go through security to your train. First, walk to security, located between platform 12 and 13. Second, walk over to your train’s platform and look for the coach number on your ticket to figure out what car (or coach) you are getting on, and then what seat on that coach.
The distance we traveled between Napoli and Firenze was about 475 KM, arriving in just over 3 hours with three stops - two of which in Rome. Between stops, we reached speeds approaching 250 KM, with a very smooth ride. Traveling through the Tuscan countryside at these speeds is both beautiful and exhilarating.
We received a complimentary drink and snack, and had larger seats than the coach class. I believe the Prima class was well worth the extra 14 Euro cost. Rather than spend the extra on a Flex ticket for Prima class, you can buy an Economy offer for Prima class with additional savings. In fact the the trip to Rome from Florence the following week was about half the cost of the trip to Florence, by purchasing the Economy Prima rather than Flex Prima.
Streaming through the Tuscan countryside, it felt like we reached Florence far sooner than we should. But after looking at my watch, we were right on time! Now let’s go find Michelangelo‘s David!