Rome to Palermo, Intercity Notte Train
Live la dolce vita on a glorious train ride across Italy, departing from Rome and arriving in Palermo, Sicily’s grand coastal capital. Travelling a distance of 920km and operated by the national carrier Trenitalia, the train takes connects the two cities in around 13 hours and comes with the added excitement of crossing the Strait of Messina by ferry. Tickets are affordable and there are a host of sleeping accommodation options to choose from, from private compartments with en-suites to economical shared bunks. Travelling by train is the perfect way to combine two gorgeous Italian city breaks in one holiday, without the fuss of the airport.
Prices from: €39.90
Departing from: Rome Termini
Journey length: 1 night
Rome to Palermo train route
By day the train would be incredible scenic, but that takes the fun away of a night on board. The train departs daily from Rome Termini at 21:31, stopping at 13 stops along the way – including Naples, Salerno, Messina and Milazzo. What makes this journey so special and unique is that it crosses the Straight of Messina by ferry, with the whole train loaded onto the ship and passengers even able to leave the train and have a walk around. After travelling for around 13 hours the train pulls into Palermo at a scheduled time of 10:05.
Rome to Palermo train
The train itself is clean, comfortable, safe and very basic, made up almost entirely of sleeper carriages. There is no dedicated restaurant car, instead a steward pushes a mini-bar and snack trolley through the train, with products available to purchase. Passengers travelling in Excelsior compartments have access to a private shower, but other guests have to make do with just toliets and shared washrooms located in each carriage. There is no wi-fi available but phone reception is good throughout the journey.
Cabins on Rome to Palermo train
All passengers on the Rome to Palermo line have to occupy a sleeper compartment, as there are no seating-only tickets. All cabins on the train are air-conditioned and modern and are equipped with power sockets, laptop and mobile phone chargers and all but couchette class come with a complimentary toiletries kit. The Rome to Palermo train has five levels of compartment to choose from: Excelsior Sleeper, MU Classic Sleeper, Tourist Class Sleeper, Comfort Sleeper and Couchette.
Excelsior Sleeper carriages are the most premium, made up of single, double and suite cabins. All Excelsior compartments have a private shower with towels, wash basin and toilet along with safe and intercom service A bottle of mineral water, wake-up call and continental Italian breakfast with newspaper is also part of the fare.
The MU Classic Sleeper carriages are also premium, offering single, double and triple cabins with bedding included and a wash basin in the compartment (no en-suite facilities). There is an intercom button and safe box for valuables, and customers will receive a complimentary hot morning beverage and newspaper. Tourist Class carriages offer the same amenities as MU Classic Sleepers but are smaller with just single or double berth to choose from.
For those on a budget the most economical options are the Comfort Sleeper and the Couchette carriages. Compart sleepers are compartments of bunk beds where ladies only compartments can be booked. They can be surely locked, have a nightlight, table and personal items storage, guests receive toiletries and a daily Italian newspaper. Finally, couchette carriages house a total of 40-60 passengers in either four or six bunk cabins. These are not separated by gender, but it is possible to reserve a ladies or gentlemen’s only cabin.
Food and drink
There is no dedicated restaurant car on the train, but a steward does do the rounds with a mini-bar and snack trolley. Make sure to have dinner in Rome before getting on the train and bring snacks/a picnic and a bottle of wine with you just in case.
As with most standard European trains there is no dress code, but passengers are advised to travel in comfy clothes and bring pyjamas. If sleeping on couchette or comfort carriages it is advised to sleep in comfortable day wear.
All compartments come with clean linen, and all (bar couchette) have complimentary toiletries and a daily Italian newspaper. Those in Excelsior sleeper receive a continental breakfast and hot drink, and MU Classic and Tourist passengers receive a hot beverage.
Pros and cons
The train is an easy and affordable way to travel, allowing guests to bring their bicycle on for free and offering free tickets to children under the age of four (as long as they share a bed with a paying passenger). It’s reported that the train often arrives late and wi-fi is not available on the train.
How to book
To book night trains in Italy visit italiarail.com