Italo, Europe’s first privately owned high-speed train, left this morning Rome for Milan from Tiburtina station marking an historical moment for public transport in Italy.
The company NTV, or Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, founded in 2006 by Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and businessmen Diego Della Valle of luxury goods maker Tod’s, finally offers an alternative to Trenitalia, the state-run railway corporation. Italian travelers and tourists can now choose.
Its base in Italy’s capital will be Tiburtina, Rome’s recently renovated train station. NTV aims at having a quarter of Italy’s high-speed train market in a couple of years, attracting 8-9 million passengers a year by 2014.
Cars look pretty much the same as Trenitalia’s, with the only major differences being the big, oversized windows and the leather seats by luxury furniture maker Poltrone Frau.
But onboard services are better: live tv (in Italian), cinema coach with first-run movies, Eataly food served in passenger seats instead of restaurant cars, and free wifi.
The 450-seat Italo, painted red, gold and gray, is the quickest train today, it can go 360 kilometres an hour but is obliged not to go faster than 300 due to the limits of the infrastructure of the Italian rail system. NTV’s trains will make the Rome-Milan run in about three hours, about the same time as Trenitalia’s high-speed trains.
As of now, you can directly reach Rome from Florence, Bologna, Milan and Naples. From August 26, Salerno will also be added. On October 27 Rome will be connected with Padua and Venice, too. Turin will be reached from Rome on December 8.
Until the end of August you can go from Rome to Milan for 30 euros with the Promo Italo fare, 45 with the low cost option. The airline-style fare structure has three choices – Club, Prima and Smart – and includes low-cost offers in the Smart “ambience” for early booked and off-peak times tickets.
May the best customer experience win!