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Trenitalia SpA
State-owned subsidiary
Industry Rail transport
Founded 1905 as Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, 2000 as Trenitalia
Headquarters Rome, Italy
Key people
Vincenzo Soprano (CEO), Marco Zanichelli, (Chairman)
Products Transport
Owner Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (100%)
Number of employees
34,819 (2012)

Trenitalia is the primary train operator in Italy. Trenitalia is owned by Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, itself owned by the Italian Government. It was created in the year 2000 following the EU directive on the deregulation of rail transport even if the company privatisation was only formal because the Italian government owns it for 100%.


The Italian government formed Trenitalia to comply with European regulations. The European Commission's First Railway Directive from 1991 (91/440/EC) prohibited that the same railway company manage the rail infrastructure and provide rail transportation. On 1 June 2000, therefore, Italy created Trenitalia as the primary rail transportation company and on 1 July 2001 established Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) as the company overseeing the rail network.[3] However, the separation was only formal, since both are subsidiaries of the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane holding and are owned wholly by the government.[4]

Passenger transport

Trenitalia offers national rail transport in Italy and international connections to Austria,[citation needed] Belgium,[citation needed] France,[citation needed] Germany,[citation needed] Hungary,[citation needed] Slovenia,[citation needed] Spain,[citation needed] and Switzerland.[citation needed]

The company operates both regional and long-distance trains.

Regional trains

File:Regionale Train.jpg
Trenitalia regional train

Regional trains travel within an Italian region or between neighboring Italian regions. Trains usually stop at all stations, thus connecting small centres to cities. Regionale veloce (fast regional train) are trains stopping at fewer stations.

There are no reservations for regional trains, and for this reason, there is no price advantage to acquiring regional tickets in advance online.[5] Once bought, tickets for regional trains have to be validated at the station before departure.

"Validation" in this case means placing a date/time stamp on the ticket by inserting into a (usually) yellow box either in the station or along the track. This is done because regional tickets are not for a particular date or time but are valid for some months - the date/time stamp is to show that the ticket cannot be reused.

There are no discount schemes available for non-residents (of Italy) on regional trains.

Long-distance trains and High Speed Trains

Frecciabianca High-Speed train

Long-distance trains are of mainly of two types: the Frecce (arrows) and Intercity trains.

Intercity trains also serve medium-sized cities besides the big cities, thus are generally slower but are cheaper than the Frecce.

Night trains (Intercity night) operate mainly between north and south of Italy and between Italy and its neighbouring countries and are comparable to Intercity level.

High-speed rail (managed by RFI) service in Italy commenced in 2008 with about 1,000 km (620 mi) of new track on the Turin-Milan-Bologna-Rome-Naples-Salerno route that allow trains to reach speeds over 360 km/h (220 mph), although current maximum commercial speed is 300 km/h (190 mph). There are currently four generations of ElettroTreno in service on the network.

Trenitalia ordered 50 high speed trainsets in 2010.[6] New trains will be ETR 1000 series.[7] They will be 200 metres (660 ft) long, non-articulated trains, with distributed traction, and capable of up to 400 km/h (250 mph) operation, although current service plans are limited to 360 km/h (220 mph). Mauro Moretti, chief executive of FS group, said FS was considering long-distance international services to France, Germany, or even Spain and the UK.[6] The trains are due to enter service from 2013.[8]

International passenger trains

Several types of international trains in Italy are usually marketed by separate units, who set ticket prices and service standards but do not operate the trains.

  • TILO: 50% owned by Trenord (formerly these shares were owned by Trenitalia), 50% owned by SBB CFF FFS The company runs the regional services between Italy and Switzerland. The staff all change at the border and are either FS Trenitalia or SBB CFF FFS.
  • Trenitalia operates all trains to/from Switzerland in the Italian portion of the route.

Artésia was a company 50% owned by Trenitalia and 50% owned by SNCF, operating trains between France and Italy; however, it stopped operating in November 2011.


Tickets can be bought in the stations, at travel agencies, or online. The Trenitalia website ( permits the display of rail solutions as well as the acquisition of tickets. However, the value of getting tickets online varies based on the type of train. There are two types of trains in the national system:[11]

  • regional trains
  • 'premium' trains

The ItaliaRail website ( was developed in cooperation with Trenitalia in 2004 in order to provide an easy to use booking site for non-Italians. Travelers to Italy can book in either USD, GBP, CAD or EUR currencies (AUD is in development). ItaliaRail booking system offers the same discounted fares and special offers available on Trenitalia's website.

On the other hand, 'premium' trains (i.e., long distance, high speed and other trains) are trains that require reservations: all seats must be reserved in advance. While a ticket with reservation will be sold to the buyer at the last minute at the station - if available - Trenitalia also has a variety of discount schemes wherein buyers who acquire tickets in advance may realize substantial savings. For this reason, buying tickets for 'premium' trains online in advance may be advantageous to the buyer.

All 'premium' trains generally share the same discount schemes, even though their fares may differ.[12] In June 2012, Trenitalia discarded the "Mini" discount fare program and introduced three "new" fare classes:[13]

  • the "new" Base
  • the Economy
  • the Super Economy

A Trenitalia press release described the new fares in this way: "...three new types of tickets have been introduced to the pricing scheme: Supereconomy, Economy, and Base, with the first two offering different levels of discount with respect to the Base fare. The Base fare guarantees free and unlimited reservation changes up until train departure, while its price in second class and in the Standard level will be cut 5% on all the Frecciarossa and Frecciargento routes running on the High Speed Torino - Salerno line."

These two new discount fares can now be bought up to the moment of departure, if any seats in that fare class are still available. This is a major change from the previous Mini fare that required purchase at least two days in advance.

The other reason to buy a ticket online in advance is to reserve a particular class of service on a particular train on a particular day.[14]

All large rail stations have both manned ticket windows as well as self-service ticket machines. Unless the traveler has an unusual request (like changing a ticket or getting a refund), using the self-service ticket machines will likely be faster and easier than going to the ticket window. The prices are the same in both places.

There are two types of self-service ticket machines, but not all stations will have both. There are the standard Trenitalia self-service ticket machines, and there are the self-service machines for the regional trains of that region. The Trenitalia machines will have "Trenitalia" at the top, while the regional machines will have "Rete Regionale" ("regional network") at the top. There are many commuter stations (i.e., where the "premium" trains do not stop) that have only the regional self-service ticket machines.

Trenitalia shows which stations have which type of machine, but it is only in Italian; see this page at the Trenitalia website and click on a region.

Most self-service machines accept currency (bills and coins), and many (but not all) accept "chip-and-pin" cards, which are the standard in Europe. These machines do not accept the magnetic swipe credit and debit cards still common in North America.

Tickets for both "premium" and regional trains in the Trenitalia network are widely sold in travel agencies in Italy, with more than 4,000 points of sale.[15] These agencies will generally have "Trenitalia" or "FS" or "F.S." on their windows, "FS" standing for "Ferrovie dello Stato" (national railways), which is still the mother company of Trenitalia. Also some tabaccherie (tobacconists shops) and news stands sell regional and suburban train tickets particularly those near or in stations and are more commonly sold in smaller stations where there is no ticket desk.

In addition, some travel agencies outside of Italy also sell Trenitalia tickets.[16]



In early 2012, Trenitalia released a web advertisement to promote its change from two classes of train compartments into four classes. Passengers travelling by the fourth, lowest class are not permitted to use the on-board cafeteria or enter the carriages reserved for better-off passengers. This change alone reportedly caused controversy, but more followed with release of the accompanying web advertisement.

The web advertisement showed only white people seated in the upper three classes; and a family of color in the fourth, lowest class, where they are segregated from other passengers on board the train according to the new system.

Italian online media observed this and branded the advertisement as "grotesque", and other complaints of racism discrimination followed in UK newspapers, social media and online. Trenitalia withdrew the web commercial, and quickly substituted it following the allegations of racism.[17][18] Since 13 January 2012 the cafeteria is accessible also for passengers of lower classes.[19]

See also


  1. FS Italiane Group: 2014 Financial Statements Report Gross Profit Growth (PDF), Rome: Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, 24 April 2015, retrieved July 29, 2015<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2013 Report on Operations (PDF) (Report). Rome: Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane. April 2014. p. 106. Retrieved 29 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Di Porto, Fabiana (1 January 2008). La disciplina delle reti nel diritto dell'economia [The regulation of networks in economic law] (in Italian). Rome: CEDAM. p. 103. ISBN 978-8813288785.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Salento, Angelo; Pesare, Giuseppe (4 July 2015). "From Liberalisation to Appropriation: The Trajectory of Italian Railways". London: Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics. Retrieved 31 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Why you validate some rail tickets and not others" Italy Transportation Tip by mccalpin
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Trenitalia awards contract for 50 high speed trains". Railway Gazette International. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Un treno per il futuro 1/6/2010 ,
  8. "Trenitalia signs V300ZEFIRO high speed train contract". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 2010-10-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Thello brings open access to France". Railway Gazette International. 7 October 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Partnership with Trenitalia and Veolia Transdev". AGI SpA. 6 October 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Different Types of Trains on Trenitalia" Italy Transportation Tip by mccalpin
  12. Trenitalia offers - Offers - Trenitalia
  13. (Italian only)
  14. "Types of accommodations on Trenitalia night trains" Italy Transportation Tip by mccalpin
  15. Punti vendita - Informazioni - Trenitalia
  16. Punti vendita all'estero - Informazioni - Trenitalia
  17. Hooper, John (4 January 2012). "Italian rail company lambasted for 'racist' web commercial". The Guardian.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Piuttosto che chiedere scusa – Piovono Rane - Blog - L’Espresso
  19. "Frecciarossa, dopo le proteste Trenitalia riapre il bar per tutti". la Repubblica. 13 January 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links