Italy - General Information
- 1 Country Name
- 2 National Railway System
- 3 Language
- 4 Currency
- 5 UIC code
- 6 Timetable
- 7 Maps
- 8 Ticketing
- 9 Gauge
- 10 Electrification
- 11 Rule of the road
- 12 Private Railways
- 13 Tourist lines
- 14 Metro
- 15 Trams
- 16 Recent and Future Changes
- 17 Special notes
- 18 See also
National Railway System
Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane S.p.A. (FS). Companies in the Gruppo Ferrovia dello Stato Italiane include:
National Railway Operator
- Società Trenitalia S.p.A., generally known just as Trenitalia, has operational and commercial responsibility for passenger and freight train operations.
- Most regional services in Lombardia (whether on RFI or FNM-LeNord tracks) are managed by Trenord, a joint venture between Trenitalia and LeNord, which is part of the FNM group (see Private Railways).
- RFI S.p.A., generally known as Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, is responsible for infrastructure.
- TAV S.p.A. tav.ferroviedellostato.it is responsible for development of the high speed routes Torino – Padova and Milano – Napoli. TAV denotes Treno Alta Velocita.
- Italferr, the Italian State Railways Group engineering firm, operates in the Italian and international markets in the field of railway transport engineering.
- Grandi Stazioni S.p.A. is responsible for major stations. 40% of the company is owned by Eurostazioni SpA, a joint venture of SNCF, Pirelli, Benneton and Caltagirone.
- Centostazioni is responsible for medium sized stations.
Italian. Some German is spoken in the Alto Adige (Süd Tirol) region, and some French in the Valle d'Aosta.
- FS: numeric 83; alpha I
- Società del Gruppo FNM: numeric 64; alpha FNM
- FS: No official source identified
- Trenord: > Media & News > Avvisi. Then (as at January 2012) "Orario ferroviario [in vigore dall'11 dicembre 2011]"
The FS official timetable "In Treno" contains FS services and shows some, but not all, private lines. It is published (in Italian only) in a nationwide version (on CD as well) and also in 12 regional versions. It is on sale at bookstalls, but not generally at ticket offices, and includes route diagrams which show major stations only. The "Pozzorario Generale", which was published twice yearly by Pozzo Gros Monti Spa, appears to have ceased publication. However, an alternative publication "L'Orario Generale Veltro Palagi" is published by Librerie Tempolibre and should be available from some bookshops.
Engineering Information and Strikes
Engineering Work (Lavori): www.trenitalia.com and click on the following headings: "Informazioni per chi viaggia" > "Infomobilità" > "I lavori programmati". This gives details of engineering work month by month.
Strikes (Scioperi): www.trenitalia.com and click on the following headings: "Informazioni per chi viaggia" > "In caso di sciopero" to display information on forthcoming strikes. A certain minimum number of trains, essentially for travel to and from work/school and guaranteed by law ("Servizi essenziali in caso di sciopero (legge 12 giugno 1990, n.146)") to run on strike days, are also listed in this section.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport provides basic details of forthcoming strikes.
Note that bus services listed in the timetable may use a nearby bus station or bus stop rather than calling at the FS station. This is not always made clear in the timetable and it is advisable to check at the station. The relevant bus stop can be identified by a "fermata FS" sign.
- “Atlante ferroviaro d'Italia e Slovenia” (ISBN 978-3-89494-129-1) published by Verlag Schweers + Wall GmbH in German and Italian, similar to atlases from the same publisher for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
- European Railway Atlas: Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece by M.G. Ball (1991) (ISBN 0-7110-2087-6)
- European Railway Atlas by M.G. Ball (2008 onwards)
- The Touring Club Italiano publishes extremely attractive 1:200.000 sheet maps and atlases depict railways to a very high standard. They are generally accurate, though some railways that have closed or are still under construction appear as if open. The three-volume road atlas includes 1:80.000 enlargements of the major urban areas, on which railways are depicted well. Touring Club Italiano publications are not sold at many stations, but can be obtained from good bookshops in Italy (or outlets such as Stanfords in London).
- Sporenplan has a small number of on-line schematic track diagrams. Click on "Sporenplannen" on the left hand side for a map showing the countries covered.
- Thorsten Büker's Italy Map, with enlargements for Milano, Roma and Napoli.
- Maps and Plans - Italy
Tickets and reservations issued in Italy must be validated before use by stamping them in "obliteratrici", yellow machines found at stations: it is not possible to buy or stamp them on board a train. Having an unstamped ticket or none at all will require payment of the full ticket price plus a fine. However it is not unusual for these machines to be broken or out of service ("fuori servizio"), so time should be allowed to find alternative machines or contact a member of staff if no working machine can be found.
Many smaller stations no longer have staffed booking offices or may be staffed for only a limited period. Ticket machines are usually provided but these too may be broken or out of service. Some ticket machines give change in coins but others give only a credit slip, printed on a blank ticket. These credits can be exchanged for cash at any FS booking office or used to purchase further tickets. This can be somewhat time consuming as the transaction has to be keyed into the system, evidence of identity (such as a passport) presented and a receipt signed.
Passengers holding international return tickets issued in Italy are required to have them stamped by the train conductor upon re-entering the country. Tickets may be used any time up to two months from date of sale, but are valid for a much shorter period from time of stamping. Those for journeys less than 200 km are valid for 6 hours from the time of stamping; those for 200 km or more for 24 hours.
Reservations are compulsory on National service trains - defined as Eurostar Italia Alta Velocità (AV and AV Fast), Eurostar Italia (ES* and ES* Fast), Eurostar City (ES* City), Intercity (IC), Intercity Notte [night] (ICN) and Express (E). Overnight trains (ICN and E) offer Excelsior Wagon Lit (sleeping) cars and National Couchettes (CC and WL). Boarding these trains without a ticket will incur payment of a surcharge in addition to the ticket price. Reservations are not possible on Regional trains.
A useful regional ticket is available for the Lombardia region www.trasporti.regione.lombardia.it. Select Tariffe e agevolazioni > Biglietti e abbonamenti Io Viaggio > Io viaggio ovunque in Lombardia to obtain details of the ticket. This is available for one month (Abbonamento mensile integrato) and for 1, 2, 3 or 7 (Biglietti integrati per 1, 2, 3 o 7 giorni) days. Information on its validity is found by selecting Tariffe e agevolazioni > Carta Regionale di Trasporto > Mezzi di trasporto e validità della CRT. A PDF map showing the area covered can be found on the Trenord website.
Standard. Some private lines are narrow gauge.
3kV dc. The majority of the Torino – Novara – Milano – Bologna – Firenze and Roma – Napoli high speed lines are electrified at 25 kV 50 Hz, as is Milano – Verona – Padova - still under construction. .
Rule of the road
- ATCM S.p.A. (Azienda Del Trasporti Consorziala di Modena): Modena – Sassuolo (electrified) www.atcm.mo.it
- Circumvesuviana S.r.l.: Local lines south and east of Napoli (950mm gauge, electrified at 1500 V dc) www.vesuviana.it
- Ferrotramviaria S.p.A.: Bari - Bitonto - Barletta (electrified) www.ferrovienordbarese.it
- Ferrovia Adriatico Sangritana S.P.A.: Operates passenger services over its own new railway between Lanciano and San Vito-Lanciano and over the Teramo - Giulianova - Pescara and Pescara - San Vito-Lanciano - Vasto FS lines. Services on its other routes (including the lengthy line to Castel di Sangro) have been replaced by buses or withdrawn entirely. www.sangritana.it
- Ferrovia Centrale Umbra S.r.l.: Terni - Perugia - Sansepolcro; Perugia Ponte S Giovanni - Perugia S Anna (in course of re-electrification) www.fcu.it
- Ferrovia Circumetnea: Catania Borgo - Randazzo - Riposto (950mm gauge). Also operates the Catania Metro (standard gauge, electrified). www.circumetnea.it
- Ferrovia Elettriche ed Autoservizi Riuniti Bolzano: L'Assunta/Maria Himmelfahrt - Soprabolzano/Oberbozen - Collalbo/Klobenstein (metre gauge, electrified 1500V dc) www.sii.bz.it
- Ferrovia del Gargano: San Severo - Peschici (electrified); Foggia - Lucera www.ferroviedelgargano.com
- Ferrovia Genova Casella S.r.l.: Genova Piazza Manin - Casella (metre gauge, electrified) www.ferroviagenovacasella.it
- Ferrovie Appulo-Lucane: Bari Centrale - Gravina in Puglia - Potenza Citta; Avigliano Luciana - Avigliano Citta; Altamura – Matera Sud (950 mm gauge) www.fal-srl.it
- Ferrovie della Calabria S.r.l.: Cosenza - Catanzaro Citta - Catanzaro Lido (includes a rack section); Pedace - Camigliatello; Camigliatello - S Giovanni In Fiore (no passenger service other than excursions between Camigliatello and San Nicola Silvana Mansio, temporarily suspended as at summer 2011); Gioia Tauro - Palmi; Gioia Tauro - Cinquefrondi (950 mm gauge). The services from Gioia Tauro were suspended at short notice on 7 June 2011 owing to the poor condition of some structures. www.ferroviedellacalabria.it
- Ferrovie Emilia Romagna S.r.l.: Bologna Centrale – Portmaggiore, Codigoro - Ferrara - Poggio Rusco – Suzzara – Parma www.fer-online.it
- Ferrovie della Sardegna: Sassari - Sorso; Sassari - Alghero; Sassari - Nulvi; Nulvi - Palau Marina (no passenger service); Nuoro - Macomer; Macomer - Bosa (no passenger service); Cagliari - Isili; Isili - Sorgono (no regular passenger service); Mandas - Arbatax (no regular passenger service) (950mm gauge) www.ferroviesardegna.it
- Ferrovie del Sud Est e Servizi Automobolistici S.r.l.: Bari - Martina-Franca - Taranto; Mungivacca - Casamassima - Putignano; Martina-Franca - Lecce; Novoli - Gallipoli - Casarano; Nardo - Casanaro - Gagliano-Leuca; Lecce - Gagliano-Leuca; Nardo - Zollino; Maglie – Otranto www.fseonline.it
- GTT S.p.A. (Gruppo Torinese Trasporti): Torino Dora - Ceres (electrified); Settimo - Rivarolo Canavese (electrified); Rivarolo Canavese – Pont Canavese; Sassi – Superga (electrified rack railway) www.gtt.to.it
- MetroCampania NordEast S.r.l.: S Maria Capua Vetere - Piedimonte Matese, Cancello - Benevento (electrified) www.metrocampanianordest.it
- Reggio Emilia Azienda Consorziale Trasporti: Reggio Emilia - Guastalla; Reggio Emilia - Sassuolo; Reggio Emilia - Ciano d'Enza www.actre.it
- SAD Trasporto Locale S.p.A: Merano/Meran – Malles Venosta/Mals www.sii.bz.it
- Sistemi Territoriali S.p.A.: Venezia Mestre – Adria www.sistemiterritorialispa.it
- Società per l'Esercizio di Pubblici Servizi S.p.A.: Napoli Montesanto - Torregaveta; Napoli Montesanto - Licola - Torregaveta (electrified) www.sepsa.it
- Società del Gruppo FNM: Milano Nord Cadorno - Asso; Milano Bovisa - Laveno Mombello Nord; Saronno - Como Nord Lago; Saronno - Novara; Busto Arsizio Nord - Malpensa Aeroporto (all electrified); Saronno - Seregno (freight only); Brescia - Edolo; Bornato-Calino - Rovato (freight only). Although FNM owns these lines, the passenger services (together with Trenitalia regional services in Lombardia) are operated by Trenord S.r.l, owned jointly by Trenitalia and FNM.
- Società Ferrovie Udine Cividale s.r.I.: Udine - Cividale del Friuli www.ferrovieudinecividale.it
- Società Subalpina di Imprese Ferroviare S.p.A.: Domodossola - Camedo (metre gauge, electrified 1200V dc) www.vigezzina.com
- Società Suburbana FBV: Casalecchio di Reno - Vignola (electrified; operated by Ferrovie Emilia Romagna) www.suburbanafbv.it
- Trasporto Ferroviario Toscano S.p.A.: Sinalunga - Arezzo - Pratovecchio Stia (electrified) www.trasportoferroviariotoscano.it
- Trentino Trasporti S.p.A: Trento - Marilleva (metre gauge, electrified) www.ttspa.it
Note: services on some of these lines appear in both "In Treno" and "Pozzo", some in one but not the other, and some in neither.
Many private railways operate through services onto FS lines, and there are a few private lines over which FS trains regularly operate.
- Mendrisio to Cantello (partly in Switzerland) www.clubsangottardo.ch
- Palazzolo-sull'Oglio - Paratico-Sarnico www.ferrovieturistiche.it
- Ferrovie della Sardegna: Occasional trains over non-passenger lines www.treninoverde.com
- Asciano - Monte-Antico www.ferrovieturistiche.it
The railway museum at Trieste Campo Marzio www.retecivica.trieste.it/museofer occasionally runs historic trains over freight lines in Trieste.
Catania, Genova, Milano, Napoli, Roma, Torino.
Some Trenitalia suburban services are referred to "Metro" and this may give rise to confusion, particularly in Napoli.
Genova, Milano, Napoli, Roma, Sassari, Torino, Trieste
Recent and Future Changes
Due to the mountainous nature of much of Italy, most lines are very scenic. However, the original railways were very slow, due to sharp curves and steep gradients. For much of the 20th century, cut offs and completely new main lines were built to speed up services. Foremost among these is the Roma - Firenze direttissima. Unlike high-speed lines in France and Germany, this does not have special signalling and can be used by most trains without modification. The high speed trunk line from Torino to Salerno is now complete, with the openings on 13 December 2009 between Novara and Milano, Milano and Bologna, Bologna and Firenze and between Napoli and Salerno, and the extension of the Roma - Napoli line from Gricignano into Napoli. They are electrified for most of their length at 25KV 50Hz and used only by a limited train fleet, apart from Napoli - Salerno which is common user and electrified at 3kV dc. The high speed line from Milano to Padova is still under construction. There is an ambitious plan for a new line, in a long tunnel under Mont Cenis, to link Torino with Lyon and the French high speed network, but this is many years from realisation.
Many other cut-offs and new lines are under construction, but work may proceed slowly and some projects are suspended periodically. Routes that include sections which have been rebuilt and diverted significantly in recent years include: Verona to Brennero, Gemona del Friuli to Tarvisio, Ventimiglia to Genova, Parma to La Spezia, parts of the Adriatic coast line, Bari to Taranto, Messina to Palermo and the railway into Siracusa from the north.
Recent urban developments have been construction of metros in Torino and Catania, a tram system in Sassari and a new railway, the Passante, in tunnel under the centre of Milano. The Passante runs from Certosa to Porta Vittoria and is used by FNM trains, as well as FS ones, by means of a connection from Nord Bovisa Politecnico. Some trains continue to Pioltello Limito and others from Porta Vittoria via a reinstated curve to Milano Rogoredo. Opening of the Passante has been accompanied by a reorganisation of local train services around Milano, including re-introduction of regular trains between Milano S Cristoforo and Milano Lambrate via Porta Romana. Some FNM trains have been extended from Seveso over the link, previously used only for freight, to Camnago-Lentate on the FS main line to Chiasso.
The line from Merano to Malles-Venosta/Mals has been re-opened and the line from Trent to Malé extended to Marilleva. New railways have been built to airports at Milano Malpensa and Palermo. The line from Treviso to Portogruaro Caorle has been electrified and re-opened to passengers. The ATCM line from Sassuolo has been extended to the FS station at Modena and a passenger service to Bologna reinstated on the Vignola branch. The branch from Foggia to Lucera has also re-opened for passengers. A very minor opening on 23 July 2011 was the extension of the Carbonia branch in Sicilia, 0.7 km along the freight line to a former coal mine, to a new station at Carbonia Serbariu, replacing the existing station. Gravina in Puglia - Gioia del Colle reopened on 6 February 2012 Fabriano - Pergola reopened on 16 April 2012 and Cecina - Volterra the following day.
Although many rural lines have a very sparse service, closures have been few in recent years. The most significant was the Sangritana line from S Vito to Castel di Sangro. Although it seems very difficult to withdraw train services in Italy, the pace of closures seems to be accelerating. Castel di Sangro - Carpinone, Avellino - Rocchetta San Antonio Lacedonia and the short Castellammare - Gragnano branch lost their services in December 2010. The 950 mm gauge line from Gioia Tauro to Cinquefrondi was closed at short notice on 7 June 2011 owing to the poor condition of some structures. Gioia Tauro - Palmi has also closed, maybe on the same date although this is uncertain. The Rocchetta S Antonio - Gravina in Puglia - Gioia del Colle line closed in October 2011 (but partially reopened in February 2012) and Sulmona - Castel di Sangro in December 2011. Service on the 950 mm gauge (Cosenza -) Pedace - Spezzano Sila line was suspended on an unknown date. Trains between Rogliano and Colosimi (the middle section of the 950 mm gauge Cosenza - Catanzaro Lido Ferrovie della Calabria ‘main line’) were replaced by bus, probably on 17 December 2010 when a new rail timetable for this line came into force but maybe prior to that.
Problems with infrastructure have also given rise to closures which are supposedly temporary but can be quite long lasting, with the possibility of reopening seeming uncertain: Castagnole delle Lanze - Alba in April 2010; Mortara - Casale Monferrato - Asti from September 2010 and Chivasso - Asti in September 2011. In May 2011 the Caltagirone - Gela section of the Gela - Catania line was closed owing to the collapse of a bridge, apparently due to poor quality of construction. All these lines remain closed as at December 2011.
A contract has been let for a people mover to be built between Pisa Airport and the city, due to open in 2015. The airport branch will presumably then close.
Numerous lines might be considered at risk of closure owing to little use and sparse service, and this process may accelerate as the economic situation worsens in Italy.
The following lines lost their passenger service on and from 17 June 2012:
- 102 Pinerolo - Torre Pellice
- 106 Savigliano – Saluzzo - Cuneo
- 108 Cuneo - Mondovì
- 114 Ceva - Ormea
- 122 Asti - Castagnole delle Lanze
- 124 Alessandria - Nizza Monferrato - Castagnole delle Lanze
- 125 Vercelli - Casale Monferrato
- 127 Santhià - Arona
- 143 Alessandria - Ovada
Chivasso - Asti and Casale Monferrato - Asti, where trains have already been replaced by buses, are due to close on the same date. 145 Novi Ligure - Tortona did not close on this date, but the service was reduced.
Theft is a particular problem at main stations. Luggage should be closely watched at all times and precautions taken against pickpockets. Some thieves are very young and many operate in groups. A common technique is to create a distraction, such as engaging a traveller in conversation, to draw attention from robbery by accomplices. Crime can also be a problem on overnight trains, which may also be very crowded. It is sensible to book a couchette, at modest cost, as these provide more space and greater security.
Railway police will be found at all but local stations. They, or other Trenitalia staff, may raise objections to photography or waiting for trains on platforms, rather than in waiting rooms, and seem particularly keen to prevent anyone crossing the tracks where a subway ("sottopassagio") is provided. At some main stations access to platforms is confined to those with travel tickets, and tickets are sometimes checked at platform barriers.
At places served by private railways and Trenitalia interchange arrangements vary considerably. In certain cases there is significant integration and co-ordination of operations, but at some places connections seem unplanned and merely by chance, so trains may not wait for the other operator’s late running service. Private railways may use the FS station, but often have their own platforms and booking office (often private railway tickets are obtained from the station bar or café). Their services may not be listed on the Trenitalia arrivals and departures posters. There are entirely separate stations at a few places. Through tickets are usually available between private railways and Trenitalia, but some private railways do not issue return tickets for local journeys.
Departure information at stations, especially in the South, can be sparse and incorrect. Services operated by Ferrovie del Sud Est may vary from the published timetable, particularly south of Lecce. Trains depart at the advertised times, but passengers may be required to change trains at junctions where a through service is shown and, conversely, some connections may work as through trains.
Train ferries between Civitavecchia and Golfo Aranci and between Villa S Giovanni and Messina connect the mainland system with railways on the islands of Sardegna and Sicilia respectively. There is no longer any commercial traffic on the Sardegna train ferry which is just used for rolling stock transfers, though foot passengers are carried. Passenger trains are conveyed by ferry to and from Sicilia.
Strikes (scioperi) are quite common, but a guaranteed minimum service is advertised to operate on such occasions. Trenitalia trains supposed to run on strike days are listed in “In Treno” and details are sometimes posted at stations.
The Italian for "motor coach" is "pullman", so any reference to travel by pullman is to a trip by road. Although "carrozza" usually means a railway carriage, a journey advertised to be by carrozza (rather than by train) will use a horse-drawn road vehicle.