You’ve probably heard of the Eurail Pass (or, for Europeans, the equivalent InterRail). There are so many different kinds of rail passes these days, that’s a topic for another book entirely! In this guide, I’m only going to talk about the Italy-specific rail pass, but keep in mind:
In other words, there’s a rail pass for just about every itinerary.
If you’re visiting more countries than just Italy, I’d recommend that you consult the Eurail site’s “Help” section to determine which pass would be best for your trip.
Note that I’m going to focus here on the Eurail Italy Pass, which can be used by everyone except Europeans. European residents can get an InterRail Pass instead, which is similar but not identical. If you’re a European resident, check the InterRail site for all the details.
Get your tickets before you leave home from ItaliaRail, a US-based company that partners with Trenitalia to offer real-time connectivity to the Italian rail reservation system. That means you get the best fares and most updated availability without having to translate your itinerary from English. Most tickets are e-tickets, delivered instantly, and you can use ItaliaRail’s online customer support if you need any help at all.
Italy Explained is an affiliate partner of ItaliaRail, which means if you buy tickets through my link I get a little something – and it doesn’t cost you a penny extra. Thanks for your support.
Narrowing the rail pass options to just Italy doesn’t make your decision-making easier quite yet (stick with me, you’re almost there!), because there are a few choices you can make about your Eurail Italy Pass.
The pass comes in first or second class; “youth,” “adult,” or “family;” and is available for anywhere from 3-10 travel days within a two-month period. You can see all the varieties on Eurail’s Italy Pass page, including the current price for each pass.
All this is to say that you’ve got some flexibility here, and in the next section we’ll figure out which pass would be right for your trip – and also whether a pass or train tickets is your best option.