Frecciarossa (Frecce) (Italy)

If you will be taking a journey by these Frecciarossa trains our guide will tell you all you need to know, from boarding, to making the most of the journey experience.

These rather fabulous high speed ‘Red Arrow’ AV trains, which travel up to 300 km/h, were the pinnacle of the services provided by the Italian national rail operator, Trenitalia.

However, they have now been knocked off the top perch of Italian train services, by the newer Frecciarossa 1000 trains - Frecciarossa and Frecciarossa 1000 are different trains.





AV = 'Alta Velocita' - the English translation is 'high speed'.

Frecciarossa trains still operate many of the departures that stick to Italy's main north to south high speed line - particularly the slower trains that call at Bologna AND Firenze.

However, they now also provide the first rank (and usually fastest) trains on these three routes:

(1) Torino - Milano – Brescia – Verona – Vicenza – Padova – Venezia – Trieste

They use the new high speed line between Milano and Brescia and have replaced the Frecciabianca trains on this route.

(2)  (Torino) - Milano – (via the high speed line) -  Bologna – Rimini – Ancona – Pescara – Bari – Lecce 

(3) Venezia – Bologna – Firenze – Roma - Napoli

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ON BOARD - 5 Things worth knowing about Frecciarossa trains

(1) In contrast to their high speed cousins in other countries - in addition to standard/2nd class these Frecciarossa trains offer THREE levels of 1st class/premier service, namely:

(i) Executive – lounges on the train that are akin to 1st class on airlines.

(ii) Business – more typical of the 1st class ambience on non-Italian high speed trains.

If you have a 1st class Eurail or InterRail pass and purchase a reservation to travel on a Frecciarossa train, this is where your seat(s) will be located.

(ii) Premium – more comfortable than standard class, more leg room and smarter seats, but less spacious than typical European 1st class coaches.
Premium is akin to a superior standard class travel experience.

(2) A new service available on these Frecciarossa trains is that 'Quiet Coaches' are now an option  when travelling in Standard Class - they had previously only been an option when travelling Business Class.
So if travelling in these coaches would be your preference, look out for 'Standard Area Silenzio' when booking tickets.

(3) The on board announcements will be Italian followed by English.

(4) The power sockets in Frecciarossa trains are compatible only with Italian 3-pin plugs and NOT standard E.U. plugs.

(5) The Wi-Fi isn't particularly reliable

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Seats will be automatically assigned when booking tickets - but if you book on the Trenitalia website, it will give you an option for choosing a specific seat(s) from a seating plan.
However, there is now a €2 surcharge for using this facility, no matter which class of service you will be choosing to travel by.

Rail pass users will need to reserve prior to boarding - reservations can be booked at ticket counters or by using Trenitalia branded ticket machines OR online on the ItaliaRail website.

More info on how to book these rail pass reservations is available HERE

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(1) Before boarding, check the carrozza/coach number on your ticket, as this will make getting on to the train much easier.

At some stations that Frecciarossa trains call at, there will be information screens on the platform/binario - which indicate where to wait for the doors to a specific coach.

Where there aren’t any such info screens, the best option can be wait in the middle of the binario (platform) and then locate your carrozza/coach when the train arrives.
If need be, board by the nearest door that you can get to before the train departs, and then walk through the train to find your seat.

(2) On the outside of the trains, the carrozza/coach numbers (and the destination information) is displayed on an electronic display - on these Frecciarossa trains this screen is to the right of the door,.

(3) A number 2 on the door indicates a standard/2nd class coach, while all three classes of 1st class accommodation are indicated by a 1 on the door.

(4) As all seats are reserved, there is no need to rush to board (particularly if you are in the zone on the binari/platform where your carrozza/coach will come to a halt).

(5) When you enter the carrozza/coach, what you won’t see is any indication of between which stations the seat is reserved for.

All you have to do is look for the seat number - they have a combination of letters and numbers - seat 16A etc.

What can be confusing is that the numbers are on the wall of the coach, beneath the luggage racks, but the letters are above the seats

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If you need or would prefer to depart and arrive at specific times, then it's best to choose the departure which suits you and not be concerned about the specific type of Frecce train you will be travelling by - these Frecciarossa trains offer a comparatively good travel experience.

When booking tickets online on Trenitalia, depending on the route you will be taking, you may see that some departures will be by Frecciarossa 1000 or Frecciargento trains.

The type of train won’t affect the ticket prices - it is demand per departure that will dictate whether the cheaper discounted tickets are still available.

For most travellers it won’t particularly matter what type of train you choose, though the Frecciargento trains can feel more cramped than Frecciarossa trains.

However, if you can be flexible with your departure time and you will be travelling Business or Executive Class and want to experience the ultimate in high speed train travel, then choose the Frecciarossa 1000 trains.

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If you are travelling in anything but Standard class, there will be a trolley service of complimentary snacks and drinks – prosecco is one of the options.

If you ask for a coffee with milk, you will be served a shot of expresso with a drop of milk in it.

Frecciarossa trains have no restaurant cars, so the only food and drink sold on board is available from the bar coach.

The selection of food (mainly sandwiches and salads) isn’t the best and queues can build up at the counter, so taking your own food/drink on board with you is recommended.

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Folding bikes can be taken on board as hand luggage.

NON- folding bikes must be disassembled and placed in travel cases, that need to be shown to the conductor, or platform staff prior to boarding.

They need to be stowed in a specific part of the train and the conductor/platform staff will show you where.

Trenitalia's guide to travelling on its trains with bikes (It is in Italian so use Google Translate to make sense of it).

An overview of train travel in Italy

How to buy tickets for Italian train journeys

Riding ON Italian trains

Travelling on European daytime trains

Travelling on European overnight trains

International train routes to/from Italy

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Bistro (Hot Food)
Bar (Cold Food)
Double Deck
High Speed
First Class
Executive and Business and Premium
Second Class

Rail passes and reservations

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