Travelling by train to Italy starts by taking the Eurostar from the UK to Paris. From here, you travel to Italy on a night-time Thello Service or a daytime TGV service. Alternatively, it is possible to go via Switzerland, travelling by TGV then Eurocity into Italy. Train travel within Italy is on board the Eurostar Italia service. Below is a short guide to each of these rail services.EurostarThe Eurostar is a direct service that links the UK and continental Europe. The main UK station is London St Pancras, although there are also 2 Kent stations with large parking facilities, at Ebbsfleet and Ashford. Trains run to Paris Gare du Nord as well as other destinations in France.
The trains themselves have 18 coaches, of which 10 are standard class, 2 are cafeterias and the remaining 6 are Standard Premier (First Class) and Business Premier. Standard Premier customers are served a light cold meal and a basic at-seat service, and enjoy a more spacious and quieter travelling environment than Standard Class. Business Premier is the top service, offering lounge access, a hot meal and unlimited beverages at your seat. Power sockets are available in all Standard Premier/Business Premier coaches as well as coaches 5 and 14 of Standard Class.
Most holidaying clients are happy with Standard Premier, as the supplements for Business Premier are somewhat higher. All stations have a waiting area, with basic shops, boutiques and catering.
Check-in is 30 minutes prior to departure and customs formalities are completed before boarding, although clients may experience additional checks at UK stations on their return journey. There is no baggage limit in any class of travel, and liquids etc can be taken on board the train.ThelloThello is a basic overnight service linking Paris with key Italian cities, namely Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome. It has couchettes and sleeper compartments that can be configured as single, double or triple. Each sleeper compartment comes with washbasin and a small complimentary toiletries pack.
The on-board restaurant is of poor-quality, with microwaved food, plastic cutlery and high prices. We recommend allowing enough time at your departure station for a meal. It is a convenient overnight service, but we believe your holiday can be enhanced by taking the daytime services via Switzerland or Germany, to avoid this overnight train.TGV – Train à Grand VitesseThese are high-speed domestic French trains that serve most of the country and make some incursions into neighbouring countries such as Italy. TGV trains regularly travel at very high speeds, allowing them to cover large amounts of line in a short space of time. Some trains are double-decker thus increasing capacity.
First Class tickets include a larger, more spacious seating environment with increased legroom. There are no lounge facilities for First Class ticket-holders and there are no meals included.
There are usually 2 cafeterias offering basic food and drinks, although many consider this overpriced and of poor quality. We recommend eating before you travel or stocking up with a picnic beforehand (there are no restrictions on this!). Train announcements are usually only in French, and English is spoken by some staff.EuroCityEuroCity trains run across Central and Eastern Europe, as well as from Switzerland into Italy, with routes including Zurich-Milan and Lausanne-Venice.
They are usually collaborations between the national train operators of the countries through which each train is travelling. Most EuroCity trains have a restaurant car, although this sometimes only operates whilst the train is running through certain countries. Seating can either be in an open-coach or in 6-seater compartments. Requests can be made for your preferred seating arrangements.
First Class entitles you to more space, more storage and a quieter travelling environment. It also entitles you to use the First Class lounge at your origin station, if there is one.Eurostar ItaliaEurostar Italia Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) trains link the major cities of Italy, and do not cross any borders into neighbouring countries. They can reach 186mph on the main high-speed line, which runs from the northern cities of Turin and Milan, down the spine of Italy through Florence, Rome and eventually Salerno, next to the Amalfi Coast.
Frecciarossa trains have standard class, with comfortable seating and tables for 4. There are three different levels of First Class: Premium, Business and Executive. Premium has the same layout as Standard Class, but with leather seating and a welcome drink when you board. Business has more space than Premium or Standard and there are tables for 2 as well as “Solo” seat on one side of the aisle. Again, there is a welcome drink on boarding. Executive Class is the top option, with a cold meal, complimentary drinks and a dedicated steward for only 8 seats per carriage. Executive tickets are aimed at business travellers, and are fully-flexible – prices are therefore high and we tend to recommend Business or Premium Classes.
There is a restaurant car on all trains, serving a variety of hot and cold options and waiter service. There is also a café-bar serving more basic fare for you to take back to your seat.
There are lounges at Italian stations but these are for the use of Executive ticket holders only.
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