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Italy to launch Ferrari-style high-speed train

Making its debut next week, the Italo has a top speed of 186 mph and will connect Milan, Rome, and Naples in high style.

NTV borrows its look, and its chairman, from Ferrari.

Next time you're stuck in traffic on the highway, consider those lucky Italians. Some will get to ride in style next week when services on the slick Italo high-speed train kick off.

Operated by Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV), the Italo debuts April 28 and will connect Milan, Rome, and Naples. It's being billed as the most advanced train in Europe.

It has a top speed of 186 mph -- not the fastest in the world but still respectable. The record for fastest commercial service depends on several factors, but Shanghai's Maglev Train can run at 268 mph.

Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemoto is a major shareholder in (and chairman of) NTV, as is French National Railways (SNCF). The cars are painted Ferrari-style red and feature a stylized hare on the side.

The 25 trains in the fleet are being manufactured by France's Alstom based on its AGV model (Automotrice Grande Vitesse). They'll use the same traction system as the AGV-TGV train that set a speed record of 574.8 kph (357 mph) in 2007, as seen in this video.

Italo trains will have 11 cars with a capacity of 460 passengers. The first, business, and economy classes -- called Club, Prima, and Smart -- will feature leather seats, free Wi-Fi, and ceiling-mounted screens in some cars. The cheapest ticket from Milan to Rome (about 300 miles) will cost about $60.

Services will compete with Trenitalia, which has held a monopoly on high-speed rail in Italy until now, as well as airlines. NTV hopes to attract 9 million annual passengers by the end of 2014.

Check out more pics of the Italo in our gallery.