Flashing by the one of the many villages the train passes to the north of Rome

Roma / Rome to Bologna by train

How to take the rail journey from Rome/Roma to Bologna

The Frecciarossa and Frecciarossa 1000 trains operated by Trenitalia share the high-speed route between Roma and Bologna, with Italo trains.
They have similar speeds, so the differences between them are to do with the on-board experiences, check out the 'Trains' guides below; and the fact that tickets for the Italo trains and Frecce trains can be purchased from different online booking agents - it's a route on which you can save by booking in advance.

However, some trains from Roma to Bologna still take the older 'classic' route, so they're slower, because they don't travel at high speed and also make more station calls
If ticket price and not speed is your key criteria, you can usually save money by taking these trains and they're a cheaper option for rail pass users, but they are not as frequent as the high speed services.

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Routes

Option 1: taking the high speed trains operated by Trenitalia

Travel Information

The departures with a journey time of 2hr 5mins are non-stop from Roma Termini to Bologna Centrale; though there are fewer of these trains at weekends.
The Frecciarossa 1000 trains are more likely to be used on the faster services.

The departures with a journey time of 2hr 20mins - 2hr 25mins divert off the direct route to call at Firenze S.M. Novella station - where they reverse direction.

Frecciargento trains are used on some departures heading to Verona and beyond, which take the route via Firenze, but that makes no difference to the journey time.

Final Destination: Various including Milano Cle; Venezia. S.L. Verona and Torino P.N.

Some of these trains also call at: Roma Tiburtina

1 - 3  x trains per hour

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings usually open: 4 months ahead of the travel date; though this period of time can be shorter, particularly when searching for journeys more than three months ahead during October and March.

The high speed train (AV) service between Roma and Bologna is provided by:

(1) these Frecce trains operated by Trenitalia
(2) alternative Italo trains

Tickets for the Trenitalia Frecce trains are placed on sale around 4 months in advance, but the Italo train tickets are made available around 5 months ahead.

Trenitalia does not sell tickets for the Italo trains - and Italo does not sell tickets for these Trenitalia trains.

Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.

If you're booking no more than 4 months ahead and have no particular preference for the train that you will be taking, the price and departure times of the Frecce and Italo trains can be directly compared on Trainline or Omio, though look out for the fact that both of these services will charge a booking fee.

Rail Pass Users:

If you will be travelling with a valid Eurail or InterRail pass, you will need to reserve prior to boarding these trains, either at the station (using a Trenitalia ticket machine or ticket desk) OR by booking them online.

How to book the rail pass reservations online is included on our guide to using rail passes in Italy.

If you are happy to pay the €10 reservation fees, it makes sense to target the faster trains, the fee will be consistent, regardless of the journey time.
Though rail pass users can save money by taking the Intercity trains.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Italiarail from €29.90

Italiarail Guide

ItaliaRail lives up to its name by selling tickets for rail journeys within Italy and the core feature of its service is that it is primarily designed to be used by international visitors to Italy.
So the English translations of place names are used when looking up journeys and the terms and conditions for using each type of ticket are clearly explained.
It also clearly points out the additional costs of upgrading to other classes and types of tickets while spelling out the additional benefits of doing so.

Users of InterRail and Eurail passes can also book seat reservations on the Frecce and InterCity trains without paying a booking fee,

Trenitalia from €29.90

Trenitalia Guide

Trenitlalia is the national rail operator in Italy and in addition to its cheaper types of ticket; it also typically offers other discounts available to non-Italians, which include:

  • Group Offers, provides for a discount of up to 50% when 3-5 Adults travel together.
  • Family Offer for when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 11 and under.
  • The Children Free Offer is available for journeys by Frecce trains, when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 15 and under.
    Those aged 15 and under travel for free, but the Adults will need to purchase full price 'Base' tickets.
Trainline from €29.90

Trainline Guide

Omio from €29.90

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

SaveATrain from €29.90

SaveATrain Guide

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - NoHigh Speed

Good to Know

Listen out for the announcements that the train is due to arrive in Bologna.
These trains arrive in the AV (high-speed) station at Bologna Centrale after a lengthy journey through a tunnel; and that part of the station in Bologna is underground, so it will only become visually apparent that the train has arrived in the station at the last minute.

From the right there are distant views of the Apennine foothills From the right there are distant views of the Apennine foothills
Racing over the river Paglia into Umbria Racing over the river Paglia into Umbria
The view from one of the many viaducts on the Rome to Florence high speed line The view from one of the many viaducts on the Rome to Florence high speed line
Flashing through Tuscany as the train nears Florence Flashing through Tuscany as the train nears Florence
The Castello di Sammezzano can be seen on the right as the train nears Florence The Castello di Sammezzano can be seen on the right as the train nears Florence

This is a journey of two parts:

(1) The high speed line between Rome and Florence is more scenic than most other high speed routes, it's not a beautiful journey, but there is a wow factor of travelling across the rolling landscape at more than 240 km/h*.
This video taken from a travelling in the opposite direction showcases the journey experience.

The direttissima between Rome and Florence was the first high speed railway line to be built in Italy, so it has a slower maximum speed than the other Italian high speed lines.

(2) Once the train has passed Florence it will speed up, but nearly all of the high speed line between Florence and Bologna is within tunnels.

Option 2: taking the high speed Italo trains

Travel Information

Final Destination: Various including Milano Cle (most of the faster departures) or Torino P.N or Venezia S.L

Some trains also depart from: Roma Tiburtina

The departures with a journey time of 2hr 5mins are non-stop from Roma Termini to Bologna Centrale,

The departures with a journey time of 2hr 20mins - 2hr 25mins divert off the direct route to call at Firenze S.M. Novella station; where they reverse direction

1 or 2 x trains per hour

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 5 months ahead of the travel date

The high speed (AV) train service between Roma and Bologna is provided by
(1) these Italo trains
(2) Frecce trains operated by Trenitalia

Tickets for the Trenitalia Frecce trains are placed on sale around 4 months in advance, but the Italo train tickets are made available around 5 months ahead.

Trenitalia does not sell tickets for the Italo trains - and Italo does not sell tickets for the Trenitalia trains. ~

Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day - so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.

If you're booking no more than 4 months ahead and have no particular preference for the train that you will be taking, the price and departure times of the Frecce and Italo trains can be directly compared on with Trainline or Omio, though look out for the fact that both of these services will charge a booking fee.

Rail passes are not valid on the Italo trains

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Italo from €23 approx

Italo Guide

Omio from €23 approx

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

Trainline from €23 approx

Trainline Guide

Happyrail from €23 approx

Happyrail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - NoHigh Speed

Good to Know

Listen out for the announcements that the train is due to arrive in Bologna.
These trains arrive in the AV (high-speed) station at Bologna Centrale after a lengthy journey through a tunnel; and that part of the station in Bologna is underground, so it will only become visually apparent that the train has arrived in the station at the last minute.

The view from the right as the train heads north from Rome The view from the right as the train heads north from Rome
Racing over the river Paglia as the train enters Umbria Racing over the river Paglia as the train enters Umbria
The view from one of the many viaducts on the Rome to Florence line The view from one of the many viaducts on the Rome to Florence line
Flashing through Tuscany as the train nears Florence Flashing through Tuscany as the train nears Florence
The Castello di Sammezzano can be seen on the right as the train nears Florence The Castello di Sammezzano can be seen on the right as the train nears Florence

The Italo trains take the same route as the Frecce trains.

Option 3: taking the Intercity trains

Travel Information

Final Destination: Milano

These trains are around 1hr 45 mins slower than the Frecce and Italo trains between Roma and Bologna because they don't use the high speed line between the two cities.
But they can be much cheaper, particularly when the cheapest 'Super Economy' tickets have sold out on the Frecce trains.

If you will be a using a rail pass, you can avoid the €10 rail pass reservation fee payable on the Frecce trains.

2 x trains per day

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 3 months ahead of the travel date

Take these Intercity trains from Roma to Bologna and you can usually save at least €20 in comparison to taking the faster Frecce or Italo trains.
Though if you want to easily compare prices with both of these services, you will need to look up this journey on the Trainline or Omio websites.

Therefore there are two options for booking tickets for these Intercity (IC) trains:

(1) If you will be travelling to Roma Tiburtina on the metro, search for 'Roma Tiburtina' as the departure station on the ticket booking websites - it will make these IC trains easier to find.
These trains are typically scheduled to depart from Roma Tiburtina at around 12:40 and 16:31.

(2) Or book from Roma Termini as your departure station, your tickets(s) will then include both the train from Roma Termini to Roma Tiburtina AND the train on to Bolgna

Using Rail passes:

Target these IC trains if you want to save €10 on rail pass reservation fees.
Though if you'll want the peace of mind of being able to remain in the same seat for the entire journey, paying the optional €3 reservation fee is virtually essential.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trenitalia from €12 approx

Trenitalia Guide

Trenitlalia is the national rail operator in Italy and in addition to its cheaper types of ticket; it also typically offers other discounts available to non-Italians, which include:

  • Group Offers, provides for a discount of up to 50% when 3-5 Adults travel together.
  • Family Offer for when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 11 and under.
  • The Children Free Offer is available for journeys by Frecce trains, when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 15 and under.
    Those aged 15 and under travel for free, but the Adults will need to purchase full price 'Base' tickets.
Italiarail from €12 approx

Italiarail Guide

ItaliaRail lives up to its name by selling tickets for rail journeys within Italy and the core feature of its service is that it is primarily designed to be used by international visitors to Italy.
So the English translations of place names are used when looking up journeys and the terms and conditions for using each type of ticket are clearly explained.
It also clearly points out the additional costs of upgrading to other classes and types of tickets while spelling out the additional benefits of doing so.

Users of InterRail and Eurail passes can also book seat reservations on the Frecce and InterCity trains without paying a booking fee,

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - NoNot High Speed

Good to Know

Departing from Rome

Note that these faster Intercity trains don't depart from Roma Termini, the main station in the Italian capital.
These trains have travelled north from Napoli, so they call at Roma Tiburtina station, which is some distance from the north of the city centre.

Accessing Tiburtina is particularly straightforward if the starting point of your journey is located along line B of the Roma Metro, take trains heading to Rebibbia.
This metro line also serves Termini, but it will typically be a time saver compared to making the transfer at Tiburtina, though the connection isn't step-free.

If you will be travelling with a Eurail or InterRail pass, you can hop on a Regionale train from Termini to Tiburtina station.

There are two daily Intercity trains from Roma Termini to Bologna, but they take a much longer route via Rimini, so have a journey time of more than seven hours!

Take food and drink with you on this journey, there are no on-board catering facilities available on Intercity trains.

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