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Freebies & Discounts for Italy Rail Passholders

Anyone who has traveled by train in Europe using a Eurail Pass knows there are perks that come with using a rail pass that go beyond convenience and money savings. There are freebies and discounts that rail passholders can get, depending on what pass you get and what countries you’re traveling in.
When you buy your railpass, you’ll get a packet of information that includes a list of what are called the “travel bonuses” for the pass you bought – and it’s important to refer to this information before you take off on your trip, because the list of bonuses can change periodically. But for reference, here’s a list of the travel bonuses (AKA freebies and discounts) currently available to people who buy an Italy Rail Pass.
>> Learn more about when to buy an Italy Rail Pass and how to read an Italian train schedule

Freebies and Discounts for Italy Rail Passholders

Leonardo Express
If you buy a first-class Italy Rail Pass, that entitles you to a free transfer on the Leonardo Express that connects Rome and Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. You can use it going in either direction, but it does require the use of one of the days on your rail pass.
Since a one-way ticket on the Leonardo Express is only €14, it’s unlikely that using a day of your rail pass on a trip to or from the airport is a money-saving move – but it’s an option if you’re interested. If you plan to take another train journey on that same day, however (if you’re not staying in Rome, for instance, and are immediately taking a Trenitalia trip on to Florence or Naples or elsewhere), it’s a great option because you’d be using a travel day anyway and would essentially be getting the Leonardo Express trip for free.
>> More about taking the Leonardo Express
Ferry between Calabria to Sicily
If you take the train from the mainland of Italy to the island of Sicily, you will – at some point – still need to get across the water. The ferries that are operated by Trenitalia cross the Straits of Messina from Villa San Giovanni in Calabria to Messina in Sicily – and those ferry rides are free to Italy Rail Passholders.
>> More about getting from Italy to Sicily
Ferry between Brindisi to Patras
Italy Rail Passholders get a discount on Hellenic Mediterranean Lines (HML) ferry tickets connecting the Italian port city of Brindisi with the Greek port of Patras. During the high season (mid-June through mid-September), there’s a 30% reduction on the standard passenger fares and cabin fares, and during the rest of the year the discount goes up to 50%. There’s no discount on the deluxe cabins, however.
>> More about getting from Italy to Greece
Ferry between Civitavecchia/Livorno and Barcelona or Salerno/Palermo/Civitavecchi and Tunis
Grimaldi Ferries offers a discount on a couple of routes to anyone with an Italy Rail Pass. If you’re traveling between Civitavecchia or Livorno and Barcelona in Spain, or you’re traveling between Salerno, Palermo, or Civitavecchia and Tunis in Tunisia, you’ll get a 20% discount on both standard passenger fares and cabin fares Grimaldi Ferries with your Italy Rail Pass. That discount applies year-round.
photo by Jessica Spiegel and may not be used without permission