Italo Prima Class Review: Is The Upgrade Worth It?

Are you wondering what the difference is between Prima and Smart Class on Italo high-speed trains and whether Prima Class is worth it?

Then you’ve come to the right place. I upgraded to Prima Class on a recent journey between Verona and Rome and can share my first-hand experience.

Ready to find out more? Dive into my Italo Prima Class Review.

exterior of red italo train in italy

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What Classes Does Italo Offer?

Italo offers three classes of service, or ambiences as they are called: Smart, Prima and Club. Free Wi-Fi and individual power points are available in all classes.

Italo Smart Ambience

I booked Italo Smart Ambience when I took the train from Rome to Florence. This is the operator’s least expensive product, its Economy Class so to speak.

It’s comfortable with reclining leather seats and footrests. If you’re feeling peckish, there is a snack area with vending machines serving coffee, cold drinks and snacks.

people sitting in a carriage in smart class on an italo train
Italo Smart Ambience carriage

Italo Prima Ambience

Italo Prima Ambience offers more comfort and inclusions. Think of it as the train equivalent to Premium Economy Class.

Fast-track boarding is available at stations that support this. Seats are wider, there’s more legroom and a welcome drink and snack are served at your seat.

people sitting in a carriage in prima class on an italo train
Italo Prima Class carriage

Italo Club Ambience

Top of the tree is Italo Club Ambience.

Where available, you get free access to the Italo Club Lounge and fast-track boarding. Catering is upgraded and includes alcoholic drinks, and you are offered a personal 9” screen to watch the onboard entertainment on selected services.

Within the Club Ambience carriage, there is a Salotto lounge that offers more privacy for more euros.

Italo Prima vs Smart

To help you decide whether it’s worth upgrading to Italo Prima Class, here’s a quick comparison between Prima and Smart Ambience:

SMART CLASSPRIMA CLASS
Carriage configuration2 + 22 + 1
Catering includedNoYes
Luggage allowanceLuggage larger than 75x53x30 cm is not allowedNo restrictions
Fast-track boardingNoYes
WifiYesYes
Individual power pointsYesYes
Lounge accessNoNo

Italo Prima vs Club

If you are looking to push your travel budget further, this is how Italo Club Ambience stacks up against Prima Class:

PRIMA CLASSCLUB CLASS
Carriage configuration2 + 12 + 1
Catering includedYesYes (upgraded)
Fast-track boardingYesYes
Lounge accessNoYes
red cover saying italotreno.it on the headrest of a grey seat

Italo Prima Class Review

So what was it like to travel in Italo Primo?

I spill the beans in this Italo Prima Class review, based on my journey between Verona Port Nuova and Roma Termini in March 2023.

Boarding the train at Verona Port Nuova

Fast-track boarding was not available at the time I travelled from Verona Porta Nuova station. However, boarding was smooth and uneventful.

Prima train carriage

The carriage in Prima Ambience felt spacious with seats arranged in a 2 + 1 configuration, This is perfect if you are travelling alone or just want to crack on with some work.

people sitting in a carriage in prima class on an italo train

When seated four abreast in Italo Smart Class, the carriage can feel cramped especially if the service is busy.

With just three seats across the carriage, there is a 25% reduction in occupancy in Prima Class. As well as having more room to spread out, there is reduced pressure on luggage storage space.

Luggage could be stored in generous overhead racks and in the dedicated spaces between the carriages.

Large, clear screens in the centre of the carriage showed the progress of the service.

tv screen in a train carriage in italy indicating the next stop

The seat

back of a grey seat in a train carriage with a blue pull down table considered in an italo prima class review

I stretched out in a broad, reclining leather seat with footrest. The leg room was ample.

Each seat had a generous tray table, seat pocket, reading light and coat hook. There was also a small rubbish bin and a USB and power point for each passenger.

Catering in Italo Prima Class

This is where Prima Class took a tumble.

The “welcome drink” and snack were served two hours into the three-hour journey from Verona. For those who disembarked earlier in the journey – at Florence or Bologna, for example – I guess it was tough luck.

That said, it was not worth the wait. The choice was an insipid-looking coffee or cold drink served with a small packet of peanuts or a sweet snack.

I wish I could tell you that it was service with a smile. Alas, I cannot.

Wifi

The Wi-Fi worked fine but you need to enter your email address to log in.

login screen for wifi on an italo train in italy

Video and audio streaming are blocked but you can access Italo’s onboard entertainment system. This offers Italian TV shows, movies and podcasts.

Booking Your Italo Ticket

Make your reservation via Italo’s website here. You will receive an email confirmation with a QR code that the ticket inspector will scan on board.

Unless you purchase a Flex fare ticket or are an Italo Più Privilege or Platinum customer, you will need to pay a supplement to choose your seat.

Most Italo tickets are changeable depending on the fare class.

  • Flex fare – unlimited and free changes up to three minutes before the departure of the train
  • Economy or Low Cost fare – changeable for a supplement

Is Italo Prima Class Worth it?

Italo Prima Class is worth it if you want to travel in a more comfortable carriage with lower occupancy. It is also a good option if you are travelling with large pieces of luggage.

It often doesn’t cost much more than Smart Class and the ability to stretch is worth a small premium, especially on longer journeys. Just don’t expect to dine like a king.

Finally, if you are trying to decide which Italian train company to use, take a look at my comparison of Italo and Trenitalia.