Railpasses in Italy

Eurail, Italian railpasses, and other train pass options in Italy

Italy Rail PassesRailpass are one of the original budget tools for European travel. It's like a ticket good for unlimited travel on the trains. You can buy any Eurail pass from most Partnertravel agents, or order it on-line from Rail Europe (www.raileurope.com).

How railpasses work

RailpassesRailpass come in two main flavors: The regular, consecutive day railpass gives you, say, one month in which you can ride the rails as often as you darn well please.

Unlimited Italy - With a Trenitalia rail passThe cheaper flexipass versions grant you a certain number of unlimited-ride days you can use, one-by-one, at any time within a set time period, usually two months.

Luckily, a "day" starts the evening before so you can take advantage of overnight trains (so if you board one after 7pm, you write the next day's date on the pass). 

Adult passes are for those aged 26 and over. Youth passes are valid for ages 12–26. Child passes (for ages 3–11) cost roughly half the price of adult passes.

Italy rail passes

The main national rail passes is the Eurail Italy PassRailpass (a.k.a. the Trenitalia Pass). The pass gives you unlimited train travel on the national rail network of Italy for your choice of 3 to 10 days within a two-month window. If you book it via RailEurope.com, you can save 20% on the Eurail Italy Pass. Here are the 2011 prices:

 Eurail Italy Pass 2011Railpass

1st Class 

2nd Class 

2nd Class 

3 days in 2 months




4 days in 2 months




5 days in 2 months




6 days in 2 months




7 days in 2 months




8 days in 2 months




9 days in 2 months




10 days in 2 months




This pass also gets you free rides on the Fiumicino Airport Express train in Rome, the ferry to Sicily, and discounts on ferries from Brindisi to Patras (Greece), Civitavecchia (Rome) or Livorno (Pisa/Florence) to Barcelona (Spain), and Salerno, Civitavecchia (Rome), or Palermo to Tunis (Tunisia),

You might also consider the Italy Rail n' Drive PassRailpass that mixes your choice of three to five train days plus two days of a Hertz rental car (with additional car days available for $66–$226 each, depending on size/type of car)—ideal for a trip when you want to cover a few long distances but also want a couple of days with a rental car—say one in which you fly to Rome, take a long day trip train down and back to Naples to visit Pompeii, then pick up a rental car to drive through the Tuscan hilltowns to Florence, then take a train to the Cinque Terre, another Venice, and another train to Milan to fly home (that's actually one of our suggested itineraries).

Here's that price breakdown for 2011 for the cheapest model car: a 2-door economy-sized, manual-transmission car (there are 6 car categories to choose from; I always go for this cheapest one):

Italy Rail n' Drive Pass 2011Railpass

1 Adult
1st Class 

1 Adult
2nd Class 

2 Adults
1st Class 

2 Adults
2nd Class 

3 train days/2 car days in 2 months





4 train days/2 car days in 2 months





5 train days/2 car days in 2 months





Again to see whether you a railpassRailpass will save you money on your trip, use the search engines for point-to-point tickets at Rail Europe (www.raileurope.com). Plug in the data for all the train trips you plan to take, jot down the prices for each, add them up, and if the total is close to or greater than the cost of the railpassRailpassthat will do the same job, the choice is clear.

Eurail and other multi-country passes

We should also mention passes that cover more than just Italy—since your trip might range wider than la bella Italia, and railpasses are usually best for wide-ranging vacations on which you'll be covering a lot of ground and bopping between countries.

The granddaddy of them all, of course, is the famed Eurailpass: 17 countries (most of Western Europe, but NOT including the U.K.) for anywhere from 15 days to three months. The Eurail flexipass is good for 10 or 15 days of travel within two months. The Eurail Saver Passes Railpass save money for two to five people traveling together

Then there are flexi Eurail SelectpassesRailpass, allowing you to choose of any three, four, or five adjoining Eurail countries; Multiple Country PassesRailpass (such as the France 'n Italy Pass Railpass, Greece-Italy Rail PassRailpass, or the Eurail Italy-Spain Pass) for more focused trips.

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