The EC says these measures benefit companies within the incumbent operator Italian State Railways (FS), in particular Trenitalia's railfreight division and FS Logistica.
The investigation will seek to establish whether Trenitalia or other companies in the group have been given an unfair economic advantage over their open-access competitors.
The EC will focus on allegations raised in two separate complaints. The first concerns the transfer of infrastructure assets free-of-charge from Infrastructure manager Italian Railway Networks (RFI) to Trenitalia and FS Logistica between 2007 and 2011.
The second involves state compensation to Trenitalia for public service obligations (PSOs) in the freight market. The Italian government has said that PSOs are necessary to maintain freight services to and from southern Italy and strengthen cohesion between the regions. However, the EC questions whether PSOs are necessary for freight services in a large part of Italy.