Last updated
Trenitalia SpA
Type State-owned subsidiary
Industry Rail transport
Key people
Michele Pompeo Meta (Chairman) and Luigi Corradi (CEO) [1]
RevenueIncrease2.svg €5.3 billion [2]  (2017)
Increase2.svg €276.2 million [2]  (2017)
Owner Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane
Number of employees
Decrease2.svg 27,607 [2]  (2017)

Trenitalia is the primary train operator in Italy. A subsidiary of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, itself owned by the Italian government, the company was established in 2000 following a European Union directive on the deregulation of rail transport.



The Italian government formed Trenitalia to comply with European regulations. The European Commission's First Railway Directive from 1991 (91/440/EC) required separation of accounting between entities which manage the rail infrastructure and entities which provide the actual 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] Trenitalia operated freight rail services under the Trenitalia Cargo brand until 2017, when Mercitalia took over state-owned freight rail and logistics operations. [5]

Passenger transport

Trenitalia offers national rail transport in Italy and international connections to Austria, France, Germany, and Switzerland. [6] The company operates both regional and long-distance trains.

Regional trains

Interior of Trenitalia Leonardo Express regional train Leonardo express interior cabin.jpg
Interior of Trenitalia Leonardo Express regional train
Leonardo Express regional train at Roma Termini's station Rome Termini Trenitalia Leonardo Express ETR 425 042 (35875413605).jpg
Leonardo Express regional train at Roma Termini's station

Regional trains travel within an Italian region or between neighboring Italian regions, and are subsidized by local government at the regional level by "Contratto di servizio". [7] Regional trains stop at more stations than other long-distance trains, and some stop at all stations. Regionale veloce (fast regional train) are trains stopping at about half of stations.

There are no reservations for regional trains, and for this reason, there is no price advantage to acquiring regional tickets in advance online. 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) green and white machine either in the station or along the track. This is because regional tickets are not for a particular date or time but are valid for a period (two months for tickets bought before 1 August 2016). The date/time stamp is to show that the ticket cannot be reused. From 1 August 2016, tickets are valid for the 24 hours chosen by online buyers; the date of use can be changed until the previous 24 hours of the later date. The date of use can be anticipated until the 24 hours following this adjusting operation. The omission about the period of use at paper shops will involve a one-way daily ticket issue. This change aims to hinder fare evasion.

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

Long-distance trains and high-speed trains

FS E 444R Cervo.jpg
Trenitalia D445 1141 with IC 1542 at Bova Marina.jpg
Intercity trains running on the Ligurian Riviera and the Ionian coast
Frecciabianca long distance train Trenitalia Frecciabianca.jpg
Frecciabianca long distance train
Sleeper carriage of an Intercity night train Excelsior-Schlafwagen.jpg
Sleeper carriage of an Intercity night 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.

Frecciarossa 1000 high-speed train Rome Termini Frecciarossa 1000 stel 49 Milano C Le (35050229673).jpg
Frecciarossa 1000 high-speed train

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. [8] The new trains are the ETR 1000 series. [9] They are 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, at the time chief executive of FS group, said FS was considering long-distance international services to France, Germany, or even Spain and the United Kingdom. [8] The trains entered service on the Italian high-speed network in 2015. [10]

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.

Artésia was a company jointly owned by Trenitalia and SNCF, operating trains between France and Italy. It ceased operating in November 2011 after SNCF purchased a stake in Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori. [15]

Operations in the United Kingdom

In January 2017, Trenitalia won a bid from the DfT (Department of Transport) to run train operating company c2c from National Express which has a contract to operate the Essex Thameside franchise until November 2029. [16] [17] In the same month it took a 30% stake in a joint venture with FirstGroup, named First Trenitalia, that was later shortlisted to bid for the East Midlands Railway and West Coast Partnership franchises. [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] It was also shortlisted to bid for the South Eastern franchise in its own right. [23]

In August 2017 Trenitalia withdrew from the South Eastern contest, citing a desire to concentrate its resources on its bid for the West Coast Partnership. [20] [24] Likewise in April 2018, along with FirstGroup, it withdrew from the East Midlands contest citing the same reason. [25]

In August 2019, the First Trenitalia consortium was awarded the West Coast Partnership contract. [26] [27] Avanti West Coast ran its first train between London and Manchester on 8 December. [28]


Railway ticket and seat reservation for EuroNight 441 "Venezia", issued at Milano Centrale Venezia SL-Budapest Kel EN441 101211.jpg
Railway ticket and seat reservation for EuroNight 441 "Venezia", issued at Milano Centrale

Tickets can be bought online, in the stations or from approximately 4,000 travel agencies including those outside Italy. [29] It is common for people to buy tickets from the official website after looking up schedules.

Since long-distance trains, unlike the regional trains, usually require a reservation, it is advantageous to buy tickets in advance. This also gives buyers access to a variety of discount schemes offered by Trenitalia. All "premium" long-distance trains generally share the same discount schemes, even though their fares may differ. [30] Unlike mini fares, which existed before 2012 and required two days of notice, all tickets may be purchased at the last minute if they are still available. All large rail stations have manned ticket windows and self-service ticket machines for this purpose. Such machines, which either say "Trenitalia" or "Rete Regionale" ("regional network"), differ in the types of payment accepted.

The three fare classes that Trenitalia introduced in 2012 were "Base", "Economy" and "Super Economy". A Trenitalia press release described the new fares as "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."



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 class were not permitted to use the on-board cafeteria or enter the carriages reserved for the other three classes. This change alone reportedly caused controversy, but more followed with the release of the accompanying web advertisement. The web advertisement showed only white people seated in the upper three classes, as well as a black family in the fourth.

Italian online media observed this and branded the advertisement as "grotesque". Other complaints of racial discrimination followed in UK newspapers, social media and online. Trenitalia withdrew the web commercial and quickly substituted it following the allegations of racism. [31] [32] Since 13 January 2012 the cafeteria is accessible also for passengers of lower classes. [33]


Currently, there are several series of high-speed trains that run the Trenitalia service:

See also

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  25. First Group and Trenitalia pull out of East Midlands franchise contest International Railway Journal 23 April 2018
  26. FirstGroup and Trenitalia welcome West Coast Partnership Award FirstGroup 14 August 2019
  27. West Coast marks new partnership model for rail Department for Transport 14 August 2019
  28. Avanti starts running West Coast Main Line after Virgin franchise ends
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