Italy’s first private high-speed train, launched by Ferrari head Luca di Montezemolo’s company NTV and boasting sleek interiors and a cinema carriage, made its inaugural journey on Friday.
The dark-red 656 foot bullet-shaped train — named “Italo” — set out from Rome’s Termini station, taking just over an hour to reach Naples.
“Italo has arrived, the competition has kicked off… bringing real advantages to all those who travel,” NTV told its first passengers as they admired interiors styled by celebrated design house Italdesign Giugiaro.
The trains have gold edging, panoramic windows, leather seats and wider carriages than the classic French TGV trains. The Italo travels at a top speed of 224 miles per hour.
France’s national rail company SNCF owns a 20-percent stake in NTV, which is led by a group of Italian businessmen including Montezemolo, NTV’s president, and Diego Della Valle, the head of luxury shoemaker Tod’s.

For the first time in Europe and the world, two Italian rail companies will compete on the same high-speed rail track: on April 28 the state-run company Trenitalia will have to come to terms with private-sector Italo. The competition is expected be a good thing for consumers, who should benefit from lower prices. ‘On the Rome-Milan route, there will be a price war between the two rail-service providers. Consumers will reap the benefits until one of the companies gives in,’ predicted Mauro Moretti, president of Trenitalia.
The trains offer three classes, ‘Smart,’ ‘Prima’ and ‘Club,’ with different price tags and amenities. Within each class are two pricing tiers: economy (reservations cannot be changed) and base (reservations can be changed). No matter the class, all seats are leather and Wifi is free. However, there are reclining seats, personal video screens and other amenities only in Prima and Club.

Instead of serving Rome’s Termini station or Milan’s Centrale, Italo will use secondary stations, such as Roma Tiburtina and Milano Rogoreto. For example, Italo will travel from Milano Rogoreto to Roma Tiburtina in 3 hours and 11 minutes, making stops in Florence’s SMN station and Bologna Centrale.

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