Roma Termini ranks fourth on the Consumer Choice Center's list of the 50 most passenger-friendly train stations in Europe, while Milano Centrale is number eight.
Based on factors from the number of destinations served to cleanliness, accessibility and passenger services, the top spot went to London's St Pancras, home of the Eurostar, though German cities dominated most of the top ten.
In the CCC's European Railway Station Index, Italy's busiest rail hub Termini scored 108 out of a maximum 139 points for its extensive connections to other parts of the country, as well as the many shopping and dining options to keep passengers entertained – even if the number of international connections are limited and services are frequently hit by strikes.
Meanwhile Milan's station is well connected internationally and, like Rome, has plenty of shops and restaurants, earning it a total of 96 points. However, it lost marks for signs that weren't as clear as they could be and lacked translations into languages other than Italian or English.
A sign warning of strike delays at Milan Central. Photo: Damien Meyer/AFP
Termini serves an estimated 480,000 travellers a day, with connections to 45 domestic destinations and six international ones spread over 32 platforms.
Meanwhile 330,000 people pass through Milan Central daily, travelling to 26 destinations in Italy and 12 abroad across 24 platforms.
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With its Mercato Centrale food hall serving dishes from some of the best-known restaurants in Rome, it's little surprise that Termini earned top marks for dining, with a total of 52 options – more than any other European station except Zurich in Switzerland.
Perhaps more surprisingly, both Termini and Milan Central were rated highly for cleanliness, which was measured according to online user reviews (90 and 80 percent positive respectively). Both stations also did well for 'competition' – the number of different train companies operating there – and their connections to the local public transport network.
No other train stations in Italy – or indeed anywhere in southern Europe – made the top ten.
Behind Termini and Milan came Naples, with 84 points, Florence, Bologna and Rome Tiburtina all with 69, and Turin, which with 60 points was in the bottom five.
All Italian stations suffered from frequent strike action – 88 days of it per year, according to the index, more than any other country except France with 118.
Strikes were one of the factors that helped send Swiss and German stations to the top of the ranking, while French stations languished at the bottom.
The Consumer Choice Center, an international consumer advocacy group, ranked Europe's 50 biggest rail stations on a dozen criteria including how crowded the platforms are, overall cleanliness, wheelchair accessibility, the number of domestic and international destinations, shopping and dining venues, and connections to local transport.
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A high-seed train in Milan Central station. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP