Widespread delays and cancellations were expected throughout the day on many local and interregional rail services run by operators Trenitalia, Italo and Trenord.
Trade unions confirmed on Thursday that the nationwide railway strike would last from 9am until 5pm.
Certain services deemed essential remain guaranteed to run, rail operators confirmed on Thursday, though most of these will be at peak times and therefore outside of the main strike hours. (See more about guaranteed services from Italo and Trenitalia.)
Passengers planning to travel on Friday were advised to check the status of their service with the rail operator before setting off.
Trenord said that its airport train service from central Milan to Malpensa airport would be replaced by a bus link during the strike hours on Friday.
The strike was called to demand more security protection for train staff after a series of violent incidents.
Unions slammed the “gravity and intolerability of the numerous and violent attacks” on staff in a joint statement announcing the strike.
What are your rights if your train is delayed or cancelled?
Both Trenitalia and Italo offer compensation if your train is more than an hour late, starting at 25 percent of the ticket price for delays of 60-119 minutes and rising to 50 percent from 120 minutes.
Alternatively, if your train is expected to be an hour or more late and you decide not to travel, you can request a full refund.
For Trenitalia’s high-speed Frecciarossa, Frecciargento and Frecciabianca trains, compensation kicks in from 30 minutes’ delay.
In the case of cancellations, you are entitled to a refund (and in certain circumstances, if you find yourself stranded because of a missed connection, a free transfer back to your starting station). Whether you get all or only part of the ticket price back depends on whether you’ve already begun your journey, whether it’s outward or return leg, and whether you can switch to an alternative train.
If you’d like to travel on a different service, ask the nearest Trenitalia or Italo ticket agents at the station.
Italo credits compensation and refunds automatically in the form of digital vouchers, which customers have the option to convert to money. Passengers on Trenitalia can apply for money back using this form.