1st vs 2nd class on Italian trains

I'm looking into going from Rome to Naples roundtrip. I noticed that both 1st and 2nd class are reserved seats and there's about a E20 or so difference between the two. What would you seasoned travelers recommend? Of course I'd rather book 2nd and save money but I wanted to see what you guys think.

Posted by JS
Bay Area
2081 posts

I always travel 2nd cl in Italy now becuz the savings are enuf to warrant it. When second class had smoking I always paid xtra for first but no need anymore. However the reserve of a seat is wise espec during peak season or holidays. And you can be assured a window if you wish. Also sometimes there can be a mad rush for seats which leaves you little choice or lugging luggage from car to car looking for a seat that is good. Spring for the reservation, it saves alot of anxiety.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17718 posts

Claudette, I normally use second class, as I don't feel the extra cost really provides that much more comfort. As you mentioned, reservations are compulsory for both first and second class when travelling on the EuroStar Italia / Alta Velocita. Given the short duration of that particular trip, I'd question whether first class is worth the extra money. Every so often, I decide to splurge, but most of the time it's second class. Happy travels!

Posted by Dennis
Redmond, WA
284 posts

If you have only the choice of a second class regionale train and going first class on that train, spring for the difference. The second class on regionales often uses older rolling stock: windows that may not open, or that have curtains that flap around, and the like. The charm wears off after two miles or so.

Posted by Andrea
West Coast
138 posts

Just my personal experience this summer on two Italian trains: I regretted not paying the difference to travel in first class since I found the noise level in second to be annoying. Lots of families and students were traveling and many of the children had video games or some type of iPod - and none of them used personal earphones. Especially in the face-to-face seats with tables it was not the travel experience I imagined.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3576 posts

Claudette, I'm with Dennis and Andrea on this one (unless it's a short trip and the price difference is significant). Many people have said that (paraphrasing) 1st class is dull and too quiet, while in 2nd you can meet people, etc. After the hustle and bustle of 'touring' and the train station itself, I LOVE the boring, super-quiet, business-person-filled 1st class LOL! It's also not usually full, especially if you're riding in non-rush hour. Many of those cars are designated as 'Quiet Cars', so there won't be any cellphone screaming, etc.

Posted by jeff
naches, wa, usa
182 posts

i agree with the above. in italy especially i always travel 1st class. 2nd can be very sketchy at times. if it were germany, holland or france i would answer differently. have fun, be safe.

Posted by Jerry
NLR, Ar USA
92 posts

I have traveled in Italy on both 1st and 2nd class. I prefer 1st cl on the main rail lines when I am covering a lot of distance, ie Bolzano to Florence, Milan to Florence or Florence to Rome. However, when it hasn't been too busy, not a holiday or rush hour, I would go 2nd class on the regional trains, ie Florence to Arezzo, Cortona, Assisi, Pisa and Lucca among others. But if will be a holiday or special event, I would reserve a seat in 1st cl. That way I would have a seat and wouldn't have to rush and look for one, or stand in the isle. Have fun on your trip.