Italo is a privately owned, high-speed rail line in Italy. Italo trains run between major Italian cities, traveling at speeds of up to 360 kilometers an hour. Train cars are modern and designed for comfort. The interior features large windows, air-conditioning, and reclining leather seats.
Three different classes of service are available on Italo trains - Smart (the most economical), Prima (first), and Club which features a spacious coach for only 19 passengers, meals served at your seat, and a personal touch screen with live TV.
Most Trenitalia trains offer first and second class service although the Frecciarossa (fastest train) has 4 classes.
In fall 2013 we took an Italo train between Rome and Florence. I also talked with another couple who traveled from Rome to Milan on a different day. Based on these experiences, this is how we would compare Italo to the frecce (fast) trains on Italy's national rail line, Trenitalia.
- Train Travel Time: Italo trains leave from Ostiense and Tiburtina stations in Rome but not Termini, Rome's main station. Our scheduled travel time from Ostiense to Florence Santa Maria Novella (Florence's central station) was 1 hour, 37 minutes, arriving within 2 minutes of our scheduled time. Rome Tiburtina to Milan's Porta Garibaldi station takes 3 hours, 3 minutes (non-stop route) or 3 hours, 23 minutes.
- Frecciarossa (the fastest Trenitalia train) scheduled travel time from Rome to Florence is 1 hour, 31 minutes. Rome to Milan's Central Station on the Frecciarossa is listed as 2 hours, 55 minutes (non-stop route) or 3 hours, 20 minutes).
Italo offers free wifi on board, however, in both of our experiences it didn't work. Train cars have an Illy espresso machine and a snack machine and during meal times serve food from Eataly.
Italo offers a good alternative to the Italian national rail company. It does not serve all cities in Italy although it serves the top cities visited by tourists.
Italo often does not use the central rail station, however, depending on where you're staying and want to go it could be just as convenient. Italo has dedicated service and ticket areas in the train station, separate from the regular station.
Currently (fall 2015) Italo serves these major cities: Venice (including Mestre), Padua, Milan, Turin, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Salerno, Ancona, and Reggio Emilia. There's also a special non-stop service between Rome and Milan.