If you can’t afford a Ferrari, Italy’s new high-speed trains are the next best thing. They are called FrecciaRossa – Red Arrow – and currently serve the major cities of Milan, Turin, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples. On a test run in the new train tunnel that connects Bologna and Florence, they may have had a Ferrari driver at the helm, as the Italian train broke the world “indoor” speed record at 362 kilometers an hour (225 mph).
Trains designated AV, for Alta Velocità or high-speed, offer non-stop service from Milan to Rome that takes just 3 hours 30 minutes. Slightly slower trains make a few interim stops, then make up for lost time as they zip down the peninsula.
Sleek and streamlined, Italy’s new high-speed train carriages feature comfortable seats, electric outlets for a computer or ipod, and separate restrooms for men and women. First class passengers receive a welcome beverage from a drinks trolley or an Italian newspaper, and all trains have bar and snack service. If you can’t give up your midday dose of pasta, enjoy a sit-down lunch in the dining car, served in civilized Italian style, with top quality DOP food products and a selection of fine Italian wines.
Details: Train tickets in Italy can be booked online through www.trenitalia.com, and by booking your high-speed train tickets in advance, you can often find substantial discounts.
UPDATE: Since this post was written, NTV, the new privately-owned high speed train service in Italy, has begun service with a Ferrari red train called Italo. Amenites such as a cinema car, uninterrupted cell phone and wif-fi connection, will be stiff competition for the state-owned Trenialia Frecciarossa.
Prefer slow travel? Read Slow and Scenic in Sicily