Italy’s two largest cities offer a stark contrast in character. Rome, the Eternal City, and Milan, the chic and modern metropolis. Together, they represent Italy’s past and present. Both are captivating destinations.
Rail travel in Italy is excellent, and the Rome to Milan trains make it easy to travel between the two cities. We’ve captured all the essential details. We’ve also included an enticing detour via magical Florence, for an unforgettable trifecta of Italian cities.
Rome to Milan by Train
Despite the popularity, fares are consistently low. Partly because there are two national rail operators to choose from — Italo and Trenitalia — helping keep prices competitive and giving travelers a wide choice of departure options.
Italo is a private rail company that operates high-speed trains between major Italian cities. Trenitalia is the national public rail service, connecting just about every town and city in the country.
For Rome to Milan high-speed trains, the two rail operators offer similar journey times. On headline prices, Italo is cheaper. But availability affects prices, and you may find cheaper fares on the same day of travel with Trenitalia.
Between the two operators, there are up to 8 high-speed trains from Rome to Milan running between different stations in each city.
Fast Trenitalia trains mostly travel between the leading rail hubs, Roma Termini and Milano Centrale. There are also frequent indirect services, which can double the journey time or more. Indirect services are often cheaper but otherwise offer little incentive to choose them.
Italo runs fewer services but offers more variety in departure and arrival stations, covering the main rail hubs and smaller stations in Rome and Milan.
The Rome to Milan train time is 3-4 hours with both rail providers. Journey times are affected by the number of stops on the route.
If you enjoy taking a nap on trains, Italo runs several “no-stop” services. They are a pleasant way to travel, with fewer public announcements. And if the seat next to you is empty upon departure, you’ve just won the public transport lottery as it’ll stay empty all the way.
Most Trenitalia Rome to Milan high-speed trains typically makes just 1 or 2 stops along the route. Some services stop in alternative Milan stations before reaching the central station, which may be more convenient for reaching your hotel.
A clear positive with two competing services is that prices are, predictably, competitive. It is possible to snag very low fares by booking long in advance. A train ticket from Rome to Milan can cost as little as €29.90 (Italo) or €37.90 (Trenitalia.)
Unsurprisingly, the two operators don’t advertise their competitor’s prices. If you don’t want multiple tabs open, use a website like TheTrainline.com for easy comparison. With just a little flexibility you can make sizeable savings on the overall cost.
With little to differentiate the competing services, the question is which is better, Italo or Trenitalia?
Our unexciting answer is to focus on a price and departure time that fits your itinerary and budget. If we had to choose, Italo shades it because their fares are generally cheaper.
Another consideration may sway your decision: the comfort levels on the different trains from Rome to Milan.
Italo only operates comfortable high-speed trains on busy routes. Their Rome to Milan trains are bright, airy, and impeccably clean. They all provide free Wi-Fi and luggage space and have two snack areas with vending machines serving snacks and drinks. There are no restaurant facilities.
There are four travel classes on the Italo trains from Rome to Milan:
- Smart (aka budget) – This is Italo’s no-frills ticket, but perfectly comfortable.
- Prima – reclining seats with fewer passengers per carriage, for more space and quieter journeys. Travelers are welcomed with complimentary drinks and snacks.
- Club Executive – Even fewer and roomier seats and continual access to drinks and snacks. Some trains include a personal screen to watch films and other entertainment. Tickets provide access to the Italo Club Lounge (there’s one in Roma Termini and Milano Centrale), with complimentary drinks, snacks, and Wi-Fi.
- Salotto – Salotto means salon, and the name captures the level of service. It’s basically Club Executive plus, with fast-track and even more spacious seating.
Italo Prima tickets are often just €8.00 more than Smart tickets (offered when completing your booking), and you can recoup that money in complimentary snacks and drinks. The extra space is just a bonus!
Trenitalia operates a less transparent mix of services on its entire network. However, their direct high-speed Rome to Milan trains are always on the impressive Frecciarossa trains, including twice-hourly services on the crème de la crème Frecciarossa 1000. However, the difference in comfort once again comes down to ticket classes.
Frecciarossa trains offer four classes, including silent carriages in higher classes. All carriages include Wi-Fi and luggage space. Unlike Italo trains, there is a full café-bar on board, which will deliver directly to your seat. You can check out the menu online.
The difference in the four classes on Trenitalia Rome to Milan trains depends on whether it’s a Frecciarossa or Frecciarossa 1000, yet broadly similar.
- Standard – Faux-leather seats arranged 2×2 or 4 seats around a table. Power sockets at every seat.
- Premium – Reclining seats, power sockets (plus USB ports on Frecciarossa 1000s), and welcome drinks and snacks.
- Business – Like premium, but with fewer seats per carriage.
- Executive – High prices for high-fliers, with 8-10 luxurious reclining seats per carriage, drinks, snacks, and a power socket.
Premium tickets are often just €5.00 more than standard tickets. They are worth every cent when you find them at that price.
If onboard vending machine coffee doesn’t excite you, there are plenty of dining options in and around Roma Termini. There’s even a McDonald’s built around a section of the 4th century BC Servian Wall. A good excuse for a Big Mac in one of the culinary world capitals!
If you’re wondering what you might see out of the windows as you flash through northern Italy, it’s a mix of small towns and open countryside. The highlight is the beautiful Emilia Romagna region, home to medieval cities and venerable Bologna.
The headline was a touch hyperbolic, but there’s no denying that millions have switched from flying to rail travel in Italy. It is easy to see why. Airlines simply can’t compete with the comfort, convenience, and low fares offered by Italian rail operators.
Rome to Milan by Train Details
- Prices: With two rail operators and many daily services, it pays to compare prices and be flexible. In all cases, booking ahead saves money on the Rome to Milan train cost. Both operators are ticketless – either print the reference or show the booking on your phone.
- Italo trains are typically cheaper. Prices vary by class and ticket type, with three tiers of flexibility. The least expensive Italo Rome to Milan trains cost €29.90 for eXtra MAGIC fares or €45.90 in Smart (economy) class. Book via Italotreno or thetrainline.com.
- Trenitalia fares also vary by class and flexibility options. At the time of writing, Trenitalia offered a non-refundable ticket in standard class for €49.90. Standard economy fares start at €37.90. Book on Trenitalia or thetrainline.com.
- Frequency: 1-2 Italo services every hour from Roma Termini to Milano Centrale. This includes non-stop services and services that stop in other Milan stations (Rho Fiera or Rogoredo.) There are approximately 20 daily Italo services. 3-4 Trenitalia trains depart hourly from Roma Termini to Milano Centrale. Services are more frequent during weekdays. There are around 40 daily Trenitalia departures.
- Duration: Traveling direct from Rome to Milan by trains takes 3-4 hours with Italo or Trenitalia. The fastest Rome to Milan train time is on a Trenitalia Frecciarossa 1000, which clocks in at 2 hours 59 minutes.
Milan to Rome by Train
The Milan to Rome high-speed train journey mirrors the reverse journey in all aspects. You will find the same fares and frequency, and the Milan to Rome train time is identical.
One consideration when booking a Milan to Rome high-speed train is your departure station. If it is more convenient, look for direct services from other stations in Milan. Italo, for example, offers departures from Milano Rogoredo and Milano Rho Fiera. While Trenitalia operates infrequent services from Milano Porta Garibaldi.
If you leave from Milano Centrale, set aside a few minutes to wander around the cavernous station. It’s architecturally impressive, with a dubious origin as one of Benito Mussolini’s statement buildings. There’s even a mural featuring the dictator meeting the King of Italy tucked away on platform 21.
Milan to Rome by Train Details
- Prices: The cheapest Italo Milan to Rome train tickets cost €29.90 in Smart (economy) class. Tickets at that price are non-refundable. Upgrades and flexibility options push prices up. ‘Low-cost’ fares are slightly more flexible and start from €45.90. Book with Italo or Thetrainline.com. Milan to Rome train cost with Trenitalia starts from €37.90 for promo (PROMO SUPER AUTUNNO FRECCE) tickets in standard class. Standard super-economy tickets start at €49.90. Upgrades cost as little as €5.00. Book with Trenitalia or thetrainline.com.
- Frequency: 1-2 Italo trains every hour from Milano Centrale to Roma Termini. This includes non-stop services and services that stop in other Milan stations (Rho Fiera or Rogoredo.) There are about 20 daily services. 3-4 Trenitalia trains depart hourly from Milano Centrale (or occasionally Milano Porta Garibaldi) to Roma Termini. Services are more frequent during weekdays. There are around 40 daily departures.
- Duration: The Milan to Rome train time is 3-4 hours on high-speed services.
Rome to Milan with a Stopover in Florence
There is a wealth of alluring and easily accessible destinations north of Rome for rail explorers. Florence is perhaps the most enticing.
Florence sits almost equidistant between Roma and Milan. It is barely a detour.
To make the journey means booking separate tickets. Remarkably, it might even save you money. Our research showed that tickets from Rome to Florence and Florence to Milan can be cheaper than a single direct booking!
As Florence sits squarely on the route from Milan to Rome, it is viable to stop for a day trip. Trains take less than two hours for each leg, leaving ample time to explore the Tuscan capital.
All trains lead to Firenze S.M. Novella in the center of Florence. Within walking distance is the UNESCO-protected historic center of Florence. There you’ll find the breathtaking Piazza del Duomo and Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. In fact, the entire medieval center is jaw-droppingly beautiful and worth every additional minute of the stopover.
Italo and Trenitalia trains depart Florence until late evening, affording time to sample Tuscan cuisine. There are decent trattoria and restaurants dotted along the streets leading from Florence train station to the historic center. For top-tier Tuscan dining, Cantinetta Antinori is just a 5-minute walk from the station.
You’ll find a variety of train classes with Trenitalia if you stop in Florence, from ordinary regional trains to the sparkling Frecciarossa 1000 trains. Prices are just as variable, so there’s a good reason to book directly with Trenitalia so you can filter the options.
Italo operates two types of trains, but classes and comfort don’t change wherever you travel with them. As Italo can be cheaper, we recommend checking their services first.
Popping a pin in Florence is easy and cost-effective when traveling from Rome to Milan by train. If you have a day (or more) to spare, it’s a great way to fit one of Italy’s most captivating and beloved cities into your vacation plans.
Rome to Milan with Florence Stopover Details
- Prices: Two single tickets are required to travel by train from Rome to Milan and stop in Florence. Prices are highly variable, and there can be savings made by combining tickets with Italo and Trenitalia. Put aside a few minutes to compare the prices to create a journey that works for you. Here are the best prices you can expect to pay:
- Italo: Roma Termini or Roma Tiburtinato Firenze S.M. Novella from €9.90 (eXtra MAGIC) or €16.90 (low-cost). Firenze S.M. Novella to Milano Centrale from €15.90 (eXtra MAGIC) or €27.90 (low-cost). Ticketless booking via Italo online.
- Trenitalia: Roma Termini to Firenze S.M. Novella high-speed trains from €19.90 (Promo) or €27.90 (super-economy). Firenze S.M. Novella to Milano Centrale from €21.90 (Promo) or €34.90 (super-economy). Indirect, slower routes are cheaper. Ticketless booking with Trenitalia online.
- Frequency: 3-5 Italo trains leave every hour from Roma Termini or Roma Tiburtina to Firenze S.M. Novella. Fast trains from Florence to Milan are less frequent, departing roughly once per hour. Up to 4 Trenitalia high-speed services run from Roma Termini to Firenze S.M. Novella hourly. Trains from Florence to Milan are less frequent, with 1-2 fast hourly services.
- Duration: The total journey time when traveling from Rome to Milan via Florence is 3 ½ to 4 hours.
Rome to Milan Trains FAQ
Can you travel from Rome to Milan by train?
Yes. Trains are frequent and the fastest way to travel between the cities.
How do I buy Rome to Milan train tickets?
Both Italian rail operators are ticketless, so you can print your booking reference or simply show your booking on your phone.
How far is Rome to Milan by train?
The journey time is 3-4 hours and covers 297 miles (477 km).
When should I book a train ticket from Rome to Milan?
Book as early as possible. Italo accepts bookings up to 2 months ahead. Trenitalia accepts bookings 90-120 days in advance.
Which Rome to Milan train route should I choose?
There are many daily departures with a huge variance in prices. Choose the route and price that works for you by comparing Italo and Trenitalia. On balance, Italo is usually the cheaper service.
Is there an overnight train from Rome to Milan?
No. It takes 3-4 hours on the Rome to Milan fast train, so there is no demand for sleeper trains.
How much do Rome to Milan train tickets cost?
Milan to Rome train fares starts at €29.90 (Italo) and €37.90 (Trenitalia) for economy class. Fares rise by class and whether you need flexible tickets.