In 2018 I had the opportunity to test Italy’s privately operated high-speed train, the NTV Italo – in the highest booking class. So how was my trip with the private train from Milan to Rome?
One if the key ingredients of the Italian railway system is that unlike in many other countries, the state-owned railway company Trenitalia isn’t alone on the railway any more. Instead it competes with private operators with NTV Italo being the only competitor in the high-speed train sector.
For the passenger that comes with a lot of advantages, because competition is always good for the market. People have many trains to choose from and there are many different onboard products that you can book, which are priced very competitively.
So I didn’t hesitate to try the NTV Italo and of course I made a video about my travel experience, which you can find right below:
Now here I will write down some additional thoughts, while I certainly recommend to watch my video :-).
So the first thing I have to mention is Milano Centrale, the central station of Milan. Designed by Ulisse Stacchini and opened in 1931 it is not only a beautiful example of Electicism, but also of functionality. Even today, the station serves its purpose perfectly. It is only a train station, but also a shopping center with many restaurants. Security is very tight, there are heavily armed Carabinieri all over the place. Nevertheless, just as anywhere these days, you better be on your guard and especially right in front of the station there are, well, a lot of shady people from all over the world. Watch out and you’ll be fine.
The Italo Lounge
The second thing is the italo lounge. It has a fantastic view of the station as it is located on the second floor. Inside you can grab some drinks or some sandwiches – in my case there weren’t any because I came to early in the morning.
A great way to increase security is the way the boarding process is organized in Italy’s major train station: If you don’t have a ticket, you are not allowed to enter the platforms. Now you can’t say wave your hands to your loved once any more, but that way you don’t have to worry as much that groups of thieves use the opportunity to grab luggage and run away.
The Cabin on the NTV Italo
When entering the Club Executive cabin you’ll certainly notice the luxurious interior. It isn’t as fancy as the Executive Class in the Frecciarossa trains, but it still looks fantastic. Most other European trains have nothing like it. The biggest surprise is a TV screen in the armrest – like you may know from business class flights. Legroom is okay and please note there’s only one real single seat that doesn’t face another seat. Also it is designated as a seat for senior citizens and people with disabilities, in case somebody needs it.
Service on board is good, the train attendants are very polite – and they serve you coffee, drinks, sandwiches (the same as in the lounge) and cookies. And yes, that is part of the ticket price!
Interestingly there is also a “Salotto” option, which is a separate compartment of four seats. I guess that’s an ideal travel option if you make a trip with your family or friends.
Both times I traveled with the Italo the train was on time. So NTV Italo is a great alternative to the also great Freccarossa trains – and to the plane, of course.