Italy trains system are one of the more unique ones in the region! There are technically 2 rails companies in the country for the high speed trains industry. One of them is Trenitalia which is the national rail company and the other is Italo, a private rail company set up in 2006. With only a short history it had turned up to be one of the leading companies in Europe. In fact it is also the first private operator of high speed trains in the region! I strongly encourage this in all countries since it prevents the monopoly of the industry! Not only does it let to lower priced tickets since it also kind of cut out the arrogance of national rail companies with all their stupid strikes and over powerful unions! Italo trains are a direct competitor to the Frecciarossa!
I was really keen to try out the private rail product to see how it differs from all the usual national rails companies! I will do a comparison of all the high speed train products that I have tried at a later point. For this post, I will focus on sharing on the Italo trains, where I am sited in the Prima Class. While I will not go into details, for a little background, the Italy trains are slightly different since there is more than 2 classes. For Trenitalia it is categorized in 4 different levels, Standard, Premium, Business and Executive! Premium are like second class with only slightly better seats while Premium are like First Class, Executive offers another level of exclusivity. While for Italo it is Smart, Comfort, Prima and Club Executive. Smart is the typical Second Class seats while Comfort are like First Class in other countries but without lounge access. Prima are a step higher with better seats, more space, fast track services and a drink service, while Club Executive provides exclusiveness and are the only category with lounge access.
I had the chance to try the Prima class on Italo since it is around the same price as the Second Class on Trenitalia. Which is perfect for me. I wanted to try the Italo in comparison to the national rail and totally lucked out in getting the Prima class. Do compare the prices when taking the rail since you might get better prices with two competing companies. It is usually cheaper to buy in advance! While it sucks to not have lounge access since I was way too early at the station are seeing too much of the dirty Naples. Italo trains are sleek and chic, decked out in a deep burgundy red color. I love that Italy trains companies have these screens on the platform that shows the cabin that correspond to the doors since it help so much!
The Prima seats are comfortable and cosy. They were leather seats with a good back support. As per the usual it comes with the typical power sockets, hanger and foot rest. I also find it to be slightly better than the First Class that I experiences in the German ICE and Austria Railjet! Something really stands out are the table which is larger than the industry and also the recline of the seats. They really recline very well!
The leg space was also good. It is comparable to a first class seat in domestic US.
Another great aspect of the Prima class is the aisle which is much more spacious than the rest given that there is service in the Prima. This help when you are boarding. A light drink and snack service is provided in the Prima where the attendant will roll a cart down the aisle. Something like a flight. The service is something like a good old domestic flight in the states!
If I am travelling for long hours, the comfort of a Prima class might be worth the little margin since you can rest much more comfortable. However do note that Italo only operates high speed trains that serves the huge cities. But to get to the rural areas and small towns you are still only left with the national rails. This is sure a nice way to get back to Rome after a tiring day of walking!