A few basics on using Italian trains. The national train website, where you can check schedules, prices, and buy tickets in advance http://trenitalia.it/ English version: http://trenitalia.it/homepage_en.html I have run into issues using credit cards on that site. At one time it rejected non-Italian cards, or required an authentication token to use the card. Not sure if that is still the case. They do offer a ticketless option if you don't have a printer to print the receipt, getting a verification number or e-mail to show the conductor. Explore the site for more info. You have to "convalidare" (validate) a paper ticket before boarding. That involves poking it into the slot on one of the yellow validation boxes located on pillars around all the stations. Note that sometimes those boxes are "fuori servizio" (out of service) so allow yourself a few minutes to find a working one. If you don't validate a ticket you could get hit with a very large fine, so when I haven't been able to find a working yellow box (or when I'm running really late to catch the train) I immediately locate a conductor upon boarding and tell them that I couldn't validate the ticket. They are generally quite reliable; they have a reputation for being late, but in my experience it's rarely by more than five or ten minutes. They do sometimes go on strike, but certain trains will keep running during the strikes. Strikes are always listed in advance on a couple of websites, only in Italian. Also, the strikes often get postponed or cancelled. (I guess the strikes go on strike). Here's one of the sites: http://www.mit.gov.it/mit/site.php?p=scioperi The ticket price depends on the type of train- an "intercity" costs more than a "rapido", a "Eurostar" costs even more and requires prenotazione (a reservation). The more expensive trains make less local stops, so they're faster, and they usually have better seats and amenities. Always compare price difference for coach and first class; often the supplement isn't much, but for short runs there isn't any significant advantage. The exception is on holidays and vacation days, when coach is jammed to the gills, and even first class can be standing room only. That is a reason to reserve a seat. To get from FCO (Rome airport) to the city, or from MXP (Milan) to the city, the express train lines are different from the main Trenitalia system, so you'll need to make a connection to get to other places. From MXP, the Malpensa Express: http://www.malpensaexpress.it/en/index.php From FCO you have two choices, the Leonardo Express or the Ferrovia Metropolitana. It depends on where in Rome you're going, or whether you have to link into the main train system. You can find a lot of good info in the Slowtravel Italy forum. http://slowtalk.com/groupee/forums/a/frm/f/862600685 Also look at the FAQ's on that site for much more complete info than what I've presented here.