Hello- going to Italy for the 1st time and using the rail system a lot. Concerning luggage and securing it on trains- do you have to check it in? Can you carry it on and place it near you- to keep it in sight? I’m taking only one midsize suitcase and a backpack. Any one with experience on Italy’s trains please give your suggestions- thanks!
You’ll be responsible for your own luggage, and can place it on overhead racks, or racks at the end of the carriage.
Some trains also have an “A” shape space between the seats (imagine 2 seats back to back) but this is only for smallish carry-on size bags.
You’ll want to make sure you keep your small personal bag on the seat with you.
Enjoy your trip!
Edited to add:
I’d suggest studying this invaluable website: seat61.com/ItalyTrains
You have to handle all of your luggage all of the time. There is no checking. How big is your midsize suitcase and a backpack? Looks like a fair amount of luggage. You have to be prepared to move fairly quickly with all of luggage at once when the train stops. Generally there are two or three steep steps into the train car so be prepared.
Generally (not always) you can place a small carryon size bag or backpack on the overhead rack above your seat. But it is a small area. Anything bigger goes into the storage area/bins near the entrance to the car. Sometimes the seats are configured with back to back creating a "A" space between the seat back and a bag can be slide into that space. Some people are very nervous about leaving luggage in the center bin. In 20 years of Italian train travel we have never had a problem though infrequent there are reports from time to time of luggage going missing. Probably a greater problem on Regionale trains than the high speeds.
And -- please -- do no place your luggage in your seating area or on the seat. That is rude but seen it frequently done by American tourist. Seats are for sitting.
Concerning luggage and securing it on trains- do you have to check it
Nope, no checking.
Can you carry it on and place it near you- to keep it in sight?
You carry it on yourself but it may or may not be stowed within view depending on the type of train and/or size of the bag. Here's a great primer on Italian trains:
For info on the individual types of Trenitalia trains, including luggage storing:
There's more info for the Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca, and InterCity trains in separate sections of the website so look for those.
And Italo trains:
I'd keep your backpack with you at your seat; either on your lap or on the floor. Neither my husband nor myself let the bags with valuables in them (shoulder bags/small backpacks) out of our immediate control, and we don't nap with them.
In first class there are fewer seats and people allowing more space for luggage. Do yourself a favor and travel as light as you can.
. . . and there's no help getting it on or off the train. You need to be ready to get off with your bags before your stop and not block the door. Its like getting on and off city buses or the subway/metro.
Since you haven’t used the Italian trains, you can save a lot of money by purchasing your tickets a few months ahead of time on www.trenitalia.com. The cheaper tickets go quickly, and they can’t be exchanged - think of them as an airline ticket for a specific flight & seat #.
As you are boarding the train, try to keep the flow moving. If you’re leaving your suitcase on the rack near the door, do it quickly and move to your seat, so everyone else can get on board. The trains are very popular transportation. Also, be sure to board the train car # that’s on your ticket. At the train platform, there’s usually a diagram that will show where your train car # will stop along the platform to help you know where to stand while waiting unless it’s a smaller Regionale train which has no assigned seats.
I travel with a 22" carry-on sized wheeled suitcase, and a big leather shoulder purse. Unless it is a regionale train, which has smaller overhead luggage racks, I am able to usually stow my suitcase on the racks above our heads. Basically, if it will fit in the carry-on bins on a United aircraft, it will fit in the overhead racks on the faster Italian trains (or will fit in the "A" shaped area on the floor between seats, as described above). And sometimes, I'm able to fit the 22" onto the overhead bins in a regionale train, too. I prefer to keep my luggage within sight, if possible... but sometimes have needed to stow it in the bin area near the doors.