Frecciarossa 1000 train in Italy

These new Frecciarossa 1000 trains are now running on the Milan-Florence-Rome-Naples route...


Buy train tickets for Italy

Italiarail logo


small bullet point  Buy tickets around Italy from €9.90/€19.90/€29.90 from who connect directly to the Trenitalia ticketing system.

small bullet point  You can also buy in €, £ or $ at or

small bullet point  For buying international train tickets from Italy, see the advice here.

small bullet point  Booking opens 120 days ahead for most long-distance trains in Italy, except when the mid-June & mid-December timetable changes intervene.  Trenitalia are increasing this to 180 days in early 2018.

small bullet point  Works for anyone:  All international credit cards accepted, and you either just quote your booking reference on board the train or collect tickets from the self-service machines at all main Italian stations.

small bullet point  No booking fee!  ItaliaRail's €3.50 booking fee will be refunded if you email them at

small bullet point  Airports:  You can buy tickets from Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa or Pisa airports to anywhere in Italy.

small bullet point  Pompeii & Sorrento are not on the mainline network, so buy a ticket to Naples Centrale then buy a ticket locally for the Circumvesuviana Railway,

small bullet point  Alternatively, you can buy tickets direct from Trenitalia, but see the advice here.


Train tickets for Italy from €9.90...

There's no better way to see the cities of Italy than by train, trains link just about every town or city of any size, centre to centre.  Driving & parking in Italian cities is a nightmare and the high-speed trains are now faster, more convenient & more relaxing than flying - Between 2008 & 2018, the airlines' share of the Milan-Rome market dropped from 50% to just 14%, for example.  Rome to Florence takes just 1h32 at up to 186 mph & costs from €19.90, Rome to Venice 3h45 from €29.90, Rome to Naples 1h10 from €19.90, Rome to Milan 2h55 from €29.90.  No check-in, no need to get to and from remote airports, no baggage fees or weight limits.  Journeys to and from Sicily can be made overnight on a time-effective sleeper train or leisurely daytime InterCity train.

COVID-19 update:  More or less normal service is running on most Italian domestic routes now.  See COVID-19 travel information.

small bullet point  Buy tickets online

All about train travel in Italy...

small bullet point  How to check train schedules & fares

small bullet point  How to buy tickets

small bullet point  Maps of the Italian rail network

small bullet point  Railpasses - usually the gold-plated option

small bullet point  What are Italian trains like?

small bullet point  Frecciarossa, Frecciargento & Frecciabianca,

small bullet point  InterCity, sleeper trains & Italo

small bullet point  Travel tips: ticket validation, food, lounges...

small bullet point  Luggage on Italian trains

small bullet point  Which station to use in which city?

small bullet point  Luggage storage at stations in Italy

small bullet point  How to reach Sicily

small bullet point  How to reach Herculaneum & Sorrento

small bullet point  How to arrange a day trip to Pompeii

small bullet point  How to reach Capri, Ischia & the Amalfi coast

small bullet point  How to reach San Marino

small bullet point  How to reach Sardinia & trains in Sardinia

small bullet point  Airport links: Milan Malpensa, Rome Fiumicino, Pisa

small bullet point  How to use the Italian Railways website

small bullet point  How to use self-service ticket machines

small bullet point  Holidays, vacations & tours around Italy by train

small bullet point  Useful country information - currency, dial code...

small bullet point  Hotels in Italy at

small bullet point  Station guides...

    Milan Centrale station guide

    Florence SMN station guide

    Venice Santa Lucia station guide

    Rome Termini station guide

small bullet point  City maps showing stations...

    Map of Milan   Map of Venice   Map of Florence

    Map of Rome   Map of Naples   Map of Turin

International trains to & from Italy...

small bullet point  Train travel from the UK to Italy

small bullet point  Trains to Italy from other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Rome to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Florence to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Venice to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Milan to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Naples to other European cities

Other useful information...

small bullet point  Eurail passes - the railpass for overseas visitors

small bullet point  Interrail passes - the pass for European residents

small bullet point  An introduction to European train travel

small bullet point  Nice, Cannes & Monaco to Italy by train

small bullet point  TGV high-speed trains from Paris to Italy

Useful country information

 Train operators in Italy:

Trenitalia (Ferrovie dello Stato) (see advice on using it).  NTV Italo:  Some local trains in Northern Italy:




 Buy Italian train tickets: or in €, £, $ - see this advice.

 Other useful links:


Circumvesuviana Railway (Naples-Pompeii-Sorrento):  Bus & metro: Rome  Milan.  Venice waterbuses:



Beginner's guide to European railpasses    Buy a rail pass online



GMT+1  (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October)



£1 = 1.11 euros, $1 = 0.8 euros.  Currency converter

 Tourist information:     Recommended guidebooks

 Hotels & guesthouses:

Finding accommodation in Italy      Escorted tours to Italy by train

 Page last updated:

1 July 2021

How to check train schedules & fares

  A Frecciarossa train at Rome Stazione Termini

There's no check-in, and no hassle. You simply walk straight from the city centre onto the station concourse, look at the indicator board to find your train and hop on, any time up until departure.  Here, passengers arrive in Rome on a sleek, high-speed Frecciarossa train...

  Florence SMN station

The main concourse at Florence's classic SMN station.  The station is walking distance from the famous Duomo or even the Ponte Vecchio...

You can check train times and fares for any journey in Italy at the Trenitalia (Italian Railways) website, or at one of several private agency sites which connect to Trenitalia and which can be easier to use.

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Maps of the Italian rail network

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How to buy tickets

Do you need to buy in advance?

Buy train tickets online,,

Buying international train tickets from Italy...

Buy tickets by phone in the UK on 0844 248 248 3...

Buying tickets at the station the easy way...  Use the self-service machines

Italo high-speed trains, competing with Trenitalia...

Railpasses for Italy...

Custom-made tours of Italy...

Railbookers vacations in Italy

Expert individual trip planning & advice...

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What are Italian trains like?

Frecciarossa - Red Arrows...   See the Frecciarossa information page

Trenitalia's top high-speed trains are the 300 km/h (186 mph) Frecciarossas, operated by the original ETR500 trains shown below and the latest Frecciarossa 1000 trains introduced from 2015, all with free WiFi.  As with all Trenitalia's long-distance trains, tickets always include a seat reservation - in other words, you can't just turn up and hop on, you need to buy a ticket which will include a seat reservation for a specific train, but you can do this right up until departure using the self-service machines or at the ticket office.  Frecciarossa tickets are only valid on the specific date and train you've booked.  All Frecciarossa services are air-conditioned with refreshments, and most have a waiter-service restaurant car open to all passengers, with the set 3-course menu costing around €33, a half bottle of wine €10, credit cards accepted.  All seats have power sockets for laptops & mobiles (2-pin, 220v).  Railpass holders must pay a €10 reservation fee per trip (1st class pass = Business, 2nd class pass = Standard), which given the fares are relatively cheap anyway (for example, €45 Rome-Florence) doesn't make railpasses very good value in Italy.

4 classes of service:  Frecciarossa trains have been refurbished with 4 classes of accommodation, see the Frecciarossa page for a guide to these classes.

Principal Frecciarossa routes:  Turin-Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples-Salerno (Frecciarossas 500 & 1000).  Venice-Florence-Rome-Naples (Frecciarossas 500 & 1000) and most departures Turin-Milan-Verona-Venice.  See seat numbering plans.

Frecciarossa train   Frecciarossa Business class

Frecciarossa 500 train capable of 300 km/h (186 mph) on the new Italian high-speed network.  Above right, business class (1st class).  See photos of all classes on the Frecciarossa page.

Frecciarossa 1000 standard class   A Frecciarossa 1000 train at Milan Centrale

Frecciarossa 1000 train.  These are gradually entering service in 2015, partly replacing some Frecciarossa 500s.  Above left, standard class (2nd class) on a Frecciarossa 1000...  See photos of all classes on the Frecciarossa page.

Watch the Frecciarossa 500 video...  See the Frecciarossa 1000 video

Frecciargento - Silver Arrows...  See the Frecciargento information page

Next down the pecking order are Trenitalia's 250km/h (155mph) Frecciargento tilting trains.  As with the Frecciarossas, tickets always include a seat reservation, you can't just turn up and hop on.  So you need to buy a ticket which will include a seat reservation for a specific train, but you can do this right up until departure using the self-service machines or at the ticket office.  Frecciargento tickets are only valid on the specific date and train you've booked.  Frecciargento services are operated by pendolino tilting trains of either the ETR 450/460/485 or most modern pointy-nosed ETR 600 type.  They are air-conditioned with a refreshment trolley and cafe-bar.  All seats have power sockets for laptops & mobiles (2-pin, 220v).  Railpass holders must pay a €10 reservation fee per trip.  The trains reach 155mph on the high-speed lines and use their tilt to cut journey times through curves when running on classic lines.

Principal Frecciargento routes:  The Venice-Bologna-Florence-Rome route is run with a mixture of Frecciargentos (ETR 600 type), Frecciarossa 500s & Frecciarossa 1000s.  Verona-Bologna-Florence-Rome;  Rome-Bari, plus a few Genoa-La Spezia-Pisa-Rome trains.  See seat numbering plans.

Trenitalia ETR600 'Frecciargento' train at Verona   2nd class seats on a Trenitalia 'Frecciargento' ETR600

Most Rome-Florence-Venice Frecciargentos are bullet-nosed ETR600 tilting trains...

Second class seats on an ETR600 Frecciargento, with bays of 4 and many unidirectional seats.  Larger photo.

1st class seats on a Trenitalia 'Frecciargento' ETR600   Trenitalia ETR485 Frecciargento train at Verona

First class seats on an ETR600 Frecciargento, with bays of 4, bays of 2, and many unidirectional seats.  Larger photo.

Other Frecciargento services are operated by wedge-nosed ETR485 tilting trains...

Frecciabianca - White Arrows...

One step down from Frecciarossa and Frecciargento, most Frecciabianca (FB) services use locomotive-hauled ex-InterCity coaches which have been refurbished to modern standards and run at up to 125 mph, either hauled by a locomotive or sandwiched between first-generation ETR500 power cars.  They are air-conditioned and have a refreshment trolley, some have a bar counter, but no restaurant car.  Watch the official Trenitalia Frecciabianca video.

As with the Frecciarossas and Frecciargentos, tickets always include a seat reservation, so you can't just turn up and hop on, you need to buy a ticket with a seat reservation for a specific train before boarding, although you can do this right up until departure.  Frecciabianca tickets are only valid on the specific date and train you've booked.  Railpass holders must pay a €10 reservation fee per trip.  The Eurostar City branding has been dropped, although you'll still see it on the side of some Frecciabianca trains. 

Some Frecciabianca trains, notably on the Rome-Pisa-La Spezia-Genoa route are operated by older ETR460 tilting trains bumped from Frecciargento service, rather than the refurbished InterCity carriages shown below.

Principal Frecciabianca routes:  Milan-Rimini-Ancona-Pescara-Bari-Brindisi, some Milan-Genoa-La Spezia-Pisa-Rome.

1st class seats on a Frecciabianca   Frecciabianca train at Milan Centrale

1st class = more spacious.  All seats have power sockets and there's a complimentary coffee from the trolley.  Larger photo.


A Frecciabianca to Venice, about to leave Milan.  A strange train - two modern power cars sandwich former intercity carriages.  This shows the latest colour scheme.

Frecciabianca train to Venice, seen at Milan Centrale   2nd class seats on a Frecciabianca

A Frecciabianca train at Milan Centrale...  Frecciabiancas link Milan with Verona & Venice every hour or so, at up to 125 mph.  Many start at Turin...


2nd class seat, most with a power socket for laptops & mobiles.  There's a small bar & a refreshment trolley.  Larger photo.

InterCity trains (IC)...

Next in the pecking order are the InterCity trains, fast trains hauled by locomotives at up to 100mph, sometimes 125mph.  Like Le Frecce, InterCity trains are seat reservation obligatory, so you must make a reservation before boarding, you can't just hop on - although there's a concession for Eurail & Interrail passholders, who can just hop on without a reservation or they can reserve a seat for €3.  Tickets sold online or at stations automatically include the reservation free of charge.  Some InterCity cars are open-plan with a centre aisle, others are classic side-corridor-and-compartment cars with 6-seater compartments.  Though you don't always find both sorts in both classes on a given train.  If you book at and see groups of 6 seats (3 seats facing 3 more seats in each group) with a big grey bar at the bottom, it's a compartment coach where the grey bar is the corridor.  If there's a central aisle with 2-abreast seats one side and 1-abreast (1st class) or 2-abreast (2nd class) on the other, it's an open-plan saloon car.  In 2018-20, Intercity cars are being repainted in the new red & white colour scheme as shown below, and being given refurbished interiors with similar seating to Frecciabianca.

Principal InterCity routes:  Rome-Naples-Sicily;  Rome-Pisa-Cinque Terre-Genoa-Milan;  Milan-Genoa-Ventimiglia (for Nice).

Italian InterCity train

An InterCity train at Milan Centrale in the new red & white colours.  The interiors are now being refurbished with similar seating to the Frecciabianca cars, as shown below...

InterCity train, 2nd class   InterCity train, 1st class

2nd class on a refurbished Intercity train.  Larger photo.


1st class on a refurbished Intercity train.  Larger photo.

Regionale Veloce & Regionale (RV, R)...

No seat reservation is necessary, you just buy a ticket at the station from the counter or the multi-lingual self-service machines, validate it in the little green machine on the platform and hop on, sitting in any free seat.  Luggage goes on the racks or if necessary on the floor.  Remember to validate your ticket at the platform entrance before boarding, your ticket is only valid for 4 or in some cases 6 hours after validation.  There's no supplement for railpass holders, you can just hop on and show your pass.  These trains come in all different shapes and sizes, they operate all over Italy, including Florence-Pisa, Florence-Siena, Florence-Lucca, Venice-Trieste, Rome-Civitavecchia.  Fares for these trains are very cheap, and as there's only one fixed price which you can easily buy at the station on the day (it cannot sell out!), there's no real point in buying online in  advance.

Regional train from Florence to Siena   2nd class seats on a regional train

A typical regional train, in this case Florence to Siena...


2nd class seats on a typical regional train...

Italo high-speed trains, competing with Trenitalia:  See the Italo information page  Italo video

Private operator NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori), started operating its Italo high-speed trains on the Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples route in April 2012, and they started a Venice-Florence-Rome service in October 2012, see for times, fares & online tickets.  Italo trains have four classes, all with free WiFi and Poltrona Frau leather seats:

Smart class 'seats on Italo train   High-speed Italo train at Rome Tiburtina

Leather seats in Smart class (2nd class) on Italo.


An Italo train at Rome Tiburtina.  See the Italo information page...

Italian overnight trains...

An overnight sleeper train is often the best way to travel long distances, for example from Milan or Rome to Sicily, or from Venice or Milan to Naples.  It's an experience in itself that's effectively faster than flying, and saves a hotel bill too.  Italian overnight trains have several types of couchette & sleeper.  Some also have seats, but a couchette or sleeper is recommended, as you can lie flat and sleep in a safely-locked compartment.  Yes, they are perfectly safe!

Standard 1, 2 or 3 berth sleeper...

2-bed sleeper, night mode, on the Paris-Florence/Rome overnight train...   1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper, in evening mode, on the Paris-Venice Thello overnight train...  

Standard sleeping-car on Milan-Sicily train

Sleeper set up as 1st class 2-berth (double or doppio).  Larger photo


Sleeper in day mode, beds folded away, washstand closed.  Larger photo


Standard Italian sleeping-car on the Milan-Sicily train, with 12 compartments, each configurable as 1st class Single, 1st class Double or 2nd class 3-berth. Courtesy Marco Bereth

4-berth C4 Comfort couchettes...

Italian Comfort 4-berth couchette car   Italian 'Comfort' 4-berth couchette

A Comfort couchette car in the new red & blue colour scheme.  The economical choice, ideal for families.  Each car has nine 4-berth compartments.  Courtesy Marco Bereth.


4-berth Comfort couchettes.  Sheets, pillow & blanket are provided.  It converts to seats by day.  Courtesy Suzanne Veerman Larger photo.

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Travel tips...

Choosing your seat...

Luggage on Italian trains & at stations...

Which station in which city?

  Train going onto the ferry to Sicily

Sicily Express!  The sleeper train from Milan to Palermo is shunted off the ferry at Messina.  Yes, the trains to Sicily really are direct, they are put on a ferry to cross the straits from Villa San Giovanni to Messina. Photo courtesy of David Smith.  Watch the video here...

  Naples-Pompeii-Sorrento circumvesuviana train

A Naples-Pompeii-Sorrento train on the Circumvesuviana Railway, every 30 minutes for just a few euros...

How to travel to Sicily...

How to reach Herculaneum, Pompeii & Sorrento...

  Ferry from Naples to Capri

The SNAV fast ferry from Capri to Naples.

How to reach Capri...

How to reach Ischia...

  Bus to Amalfi

SITA bus on the narrow coast road between Amalfi and Sorrento...

How to reach Amalfi, Positano, Praiano...

  Bus to San Marino

The bus from Rimini to San Marino.

How to reach Elba...

How to reach San Marino...

How to reach Sardinia...

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Airport train connections

Milan Malpensa airport...

Rome Fiumicino airport...

Pisa airport...

Tips for buying plane-to-train tickets... 

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How to use


See video tutorial...

Watch me book a simple Florence to Rome train ticket on  (Feedback appreciated, it's the first such video I have made.  Did it help?)


How to use tutorial


Troubleshooting:  The usual mistakes with

1. No trains appear in the search results or only 1 or 2 trains at odd times of day. 

Reason:  Data isn't fully loaded yet for that date, either because you're looking at a date more than 120 days ahead, or at a date after the twice-annual timetable change, on the 2nd Sunday in June and the 2nd Sunday in December, when they are always late loading the data and the 120 days often slips to 60 day or even less.

Solution:  Wait till bookings open!

2. Problem:  It says my arrival and/or departure station is invalid.  On you now need to use the Italian place name, such as 'Roma Termini' for Rome, 'Milano Centrale' for Milan, 'Venezia S. Lucia' for Venice, 'Firenze' for Florence.

3. Problem:  I want a sleeper and it says 'Double seat compartment'.  This is just a poor translation, this does in fact mean a 2-bed sleeper!

4. Problem:  Pompeii or Sorrento not shown.  That's because you need to travel to Naples Centrale with Trenitalia, then switch to a local private railway, the Circumvesuviana,

5. Problem:  I have to register but haven't got an Italian address.  No, you don't need to register, you just need to change the default Registered User to Non Registered User, then you can buy without registering.

Further problem:  There isn't a 'Non Registered User' option!  Reason:  Part of the journey is on a Regional train.  Solution:  Either just book the high-speed part of the journey and leave the regional ticket until you get to Italy, or simply try instead as it doesn't have this problem.

The Italian Railways website is well worth getting to know.  It can sell: used to be notorious for not accepting non-Italian credit cards.  But after a new payment system was introduced in November 2010, it now happily accepts almost all foreign credit cards.

You can use instead...  You may find easier to use than for sleeper trains, international trains and passholder reservations.  ItaliaRail is an agency who connects directly to the Trenitalia ticketing system to sell the same trains at the same prices as Trenitalia, but in plain English using English-language place names.  They charge a booking fee of around €3.50, but this will be refunded if you send them an email at after you book.

How to use

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How to use Trenitalia self-service ticket machines...

It's easy to buy tickets at the station, or to make reservations to go with a railpass, using the self-service ticket machines at all main Italian stations, as long as you have a credit card with a PIN (4-digit personal identification number).  They have an English language facility, and it's faster and easier than using the ticket office!  The machines are pretty self-explanatory, but to give you confidence and so you know what to expect, here's how to use them.

Incidentally, you'll sometimes find annoying types who hang around offering to 'help' foreigners, just be healthily suspicious of them and refuse all help, you don't need it as the machines are self-explanatory and you certainly don't need anyone near your wallet or pockets while you are distracted.  Italian stations are perfectly safe (I've spent literally hours hanging round them out of professional interest, without any problem whatsoever), but it pays to be streetwise!

Trains in Italy:  How to use the self-service ticket machines   Trains in Italy:  Switch the self-service ticket machines to English

There are self-service machines at all main Italian stations, and it's quicker & easier than using the ticket office.  Touch the UK flag on the bottom of the touch-screen for English...

To buy a ticket....

Trains in Italy:  Touch 'buy your ticket' to buy a ticket   Choose a destination

To buy a ticket, touch 'BUY YOUR TICKET'...  You can also collect pre-booked tickets or change an existing booking, if the ticket type allows changes.

Select a destination...  By default, the origin is the station you're at, but you can modify this to buy a ticket for any route in Italy.

Choose a train from the list   Choose a class and price

Choose a departure from the timetable list...  The system defaults to the immediate departures at the current time, but you can change this to book for later today, tomorrow, whenever...


Choose a class & price, and buy.  Touch Promo to see if there are cheaper fares, but for immediate departure it'll only be the standard Base fare (for mainline trains) or Ordinaria for regional trains.  You probably haven't got a Cartafreccia card, so ignore these fares.

Children under 4 go free with no ticket needed, children under 12 can use a child rate ticket on regional trains, children under 14 can use a child ticket on Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca, InterCity & InterCity Notte mainline trains.

To make a reservation to go with a Eurail or Interrail pass...

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  The facility to make passholder reservations was removed from these ticket machines in March 2019 following cases of people using passholder reservations fraudulently without a pass.  This seems to be permanent as it is still the case.  You now have to go to the staffed counter, you cannot make reservations at the self-service machines - or you can make passholder reservations online on a computer, tablet or smartphone with as explained here.

Touch 'buy your ticket - global pass' to make a railpass reservation   Enter yourt pass number, then buy your reservation

To make a reservation to go with a Eurail or Interrail pass, touch 'BUY YOUR TICKET - FRECCIA CARD HOLDERS, SPECIAL DISCOUNTS, GLOBAL PASS'.

Enter your railpass number...  Then go through the timetable screens to select a departure and buy a reservation.  Easy!

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Recommended guidebooks

Paying for a guidebook may seem an unnecessary expense, but it's only a fraction of what you spend on the whole trip.  If you have a decent guidebook, you see so much more and know so much more about what you're looking at.  I think the Lonely Planets or Rough Guides are the best ones out there for the independent traveller.

Amazon logoClick the images to buy at

...Or buy in the USA from

Alternatively, you can download just the chapters or areas you need in .PDF format from the Lonely Planet Website, from around £2.99 or US$4.95 a chapter.

Buy online at Amazon   Lonely Planet Western Europe - click to buy online   Lonely Planet Venice - click to buy online   Lonely Planet Florence - click to buy online   Lonely Planet Rome - click to buy online

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European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online at (UK addresses) or (shipping worldwide).  More information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

Rail Map Europe is the map I recommend, covering all of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  Scenic routes & high-speed lines are highlighted.  See an extract from the map.  Buy online at (shipping worldwide) or for £9.67 at (UK addresses).

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Hotels in Italy

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites: is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on,, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at

AirBnB: began in 2008 when two designers who had space to share hosted three travellers looking for a place to stay.  AirBnB is a platform which connects hosts with guests, so you can now book a room in people's homes, or an apartment, flat or house which people want to rent out.  It can be nicer than a hostel, cheaper than many hotels.

Tripadvisor hotel reviews... is a good place to find independent travellers' reviews of the main hotels.  It also has the low-down on all the sights & attractions too.

Backpacker hostels...  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget the backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld has online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most Italian cities and elsewhere in Europe, at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & VPN


Staysure travel insurance logo

Always take out travel insurance...

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I use an annual policy myself.  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & covers you even if the FCDO advises against non-essential travel.

UK flag

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see - 10% discount with code seat61.

UK flagYou can use to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

 Australian flag New Zealand flag  Irish flag    If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct.

 US flag If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.


Curve card

Get a Curve card to save on foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give a poor exchange rate, then charge a currency conversion fee as well.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I use a Curve Blue card myself - I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card - they'll give you £5 cashback through that link, too.


Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.


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