This post was sponsored by Trenitalia

With the new High Speed rail services, due for completion on 13th December, the largest Italian cities will be as closer than ever before – with the train becoming the absolute protagonist of travel in Italy. Today more than ever, rail is the best and more convenient option for tourists visiting Italy, the “Bel Paese”.

In the latest years, Torino, Milano, Bologna, Firenze, Roma, Napoli and Salerno have become closer and closer, with the progressive activation of the new High Speed (AV) lines. In December 2009, with the High Speed system completed by the Italian National Railway Company “Ferrovie dello Stato”, running time is 2 hours and 45 minutes between Milano and Roma, 4 hours and 10 minutes between Torino and Roma, 4 hours and 10 minutes between Milano and Napoli, just to mention a few examples.
The 1,000 km High Speed tracks are adding up to the conventional lines, so that total capacity of transport by rail is more than doubled, with strong advantages for local services as well, that will be more frequent.

Transport on High Speed lines is operated by the new “Frecciarossa” (Red Arrow) trains, that can reach 360 km p/h in full security and respecting the environment, offering top comfort on board for an extraordinary travel experience. In first class, passengers are offered a welcome drink, quality snacks and a daily newspaper.

On board, all passengers can take advantage of a wide range of facilities in the bar-restaurant car: from the opportunity to have a good Italian coffee or a light lunch, to the possibility of sitting down for a 3 course meal cooked on the spot.
Catering services have been recently improved and they are now run by world famous Carlson Wagon Lits (Accor Group), and partnership agreements have been finalized with primary Italian brands such as “caffè Illy”.
All products served on board have Protected Designation of Origin mark, and guarantee of origin is given for foods produced in specific areas of Italy.

During 2009 ‘Frecciarossa’ has already achieved large popularity, seeing a 30% increase in passengers on previous year. Each month, one million customers chose the High Speed services of Trenitalia (the transportation company of the Group “Ferrovie dello Stato”) that are indeed competitive also in running times: on the Rome-Milan route, 2 hours and 45 minutes or 2 hours and 59 minutes (depending on the departure/arrival station chosen) running time by train, compared to 4 hours by airplane (1 hour and 10 minutes flying time, plus transfers to/from the airport and check in time), 5 hours and a half by car.
A real success for rail technology and for the Made in Italy know-how, that allowed for market shares to be gained on airlines and transport by road.

Since December 2008, fast connections on conventional tracks were introduced, alongside High Speed services, under the brand “Frecciargento” (Siver Arrow) between Roma and the main towns in the North and in the South of Italy, on some routes managing to reduce the running time by up to 1 hour on previous connections.
As from 13th December 2009, this offer will improve: ‘Frecciargento’ will be taking only 3 hours and 30 minutes from Roma to Venezia, Verona or Rimini; and in 3 hours and 59 minutes will travel between Roma and Genova, Bari or Lamezia Terme.
‘Frecciargento’ services are operated by the brand new ETR 600, the latest generation Pendolino train - a train able to perform very well on conventional tracks (as well as on High Speed lines), where it can run faster than other trains. The interiors have been designed by the world-famous Italian Designer Giugiaro, and they offer top comfort on board, with ergonomic seats and an innovative bar car.

The advantage of travelling by train is not only saving time. Trains take you from city centre to city centre and let you relax and enjoy the beautiful Italian landscapes during the journey. Stress related to travel will be a thing of the past, with services running at frequent interval (i.e. 70 services per day will be connecting Milano and Roma) and the possibility to change your reservation free of charge. And with more than 16,000 km of tracks, no small town or smaller tourist interest destination will be out of reach!

Last but not least, Italian trains have very convenient prices & promotions: Italian High Speed has the lowest prices in Europe! Promotional offers valid for traveling from 13th December 2009 and on sales until 28th February 2009, are now on sale, like the Promo 48 €uro, a set price on all the High Speed routes in second class travel, or the Promo Torino-Milano, allowing two passengers to travel for the price of one.

So, when planning on your next trip to Italy remember the train!

For more information and to buy your tickets in the UK please contact International Rail Limited: e-mail italiarail@internationalrail.com;
Tel. 0871 2310797 (cost 10p per minute from UK landlines).

This post was sponsored by Trenitalia