Train travel in Italy is very entertaining. You could spend your whole time reading your book with you MP3 player plugged into your ears. If you do this every trip you will be missing one of your best travel experiences.
So, look up from your book and unplug yourself from your music. Listen to the chatter on the train. Italians love to talk and this is no more obvious than on the trains.
You wonder what in the world they can talk about for 4 solid hours. They talk not only to their traveling companions, but to people on their cell phones, often all at the same time. Look at what people are wearing. Italian women wear high heels everywhere and you are left to wonder how they can navigate their luggage and kids all while walking in heels. People are reading newspapers from all over the world and books of every kind.
Try to catch some of the English titles on books – it is interesting to see what bestsellers make it to European countries. Look at what people are eating, what they are drinking, what games they are playing. Train travel in Italy allows you to do some great people watching.