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Milano to Lecce for as little as 29 Euros

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One of Trenitalia's longest direct routes from north to south connects Milano with Lecce (1050 kilometers), the remotest provincial capital in Puglia, located at the bottom of Italy's "heel".

New Schedules:

With the new train schedules effective 12/11/2011, there will be four direct Eurostar-City (ES-City) trains per day between Milano Centrale and Lecce. Travel by the earliest of the four ES-City trains, which departs from Milano Centrale at 7:35, allows travellers to experience the full length of the Italian Peninsula, and arrives in Lecce at the very convenient time of 16:37. It's a NINE HOUR trip in total.

The train's itinerary:

The ES-City trains on this route make a total of 12 stops: five within the Emilia-Romagna Region (Piacenza, Parma, Modena, Bologna, Rimini), Ancona (Le Marche), Pescara (Abruzzo) and Termoli (Molise) along the Adriatic Coast, and four stops in the Puglia Region (Foggia, Barletta, Bari and Brindisi).

Fares:

The regular, undiscounted "base" fare of 94 Euros in second class is not cheap, but an extremely low "MINI" fare as low as 29 Euros (capacity controlled) is offered with an advance purchase of no greater than four months. Other "MINI" fares give discounts ranging between 10% and 60% of the "base" fare. The earlier you book, the greater the odds of getting one of the lower "MINI" fares. Once you book at one of the "MINI" fares, there are restrictions and penalties for requesting booking changes or partial refunds.

Train layout and features:

The ES-City train typically has two first class and seven second class railcars with 52 and 72 seats per railcar, respectively. Seats in both classes are laid out very similar to those on traditional ES trains: open-railcar seating (no compartments); three-across in first class and four-across in second class. Bottom seat cushions pivot forward to provide a modest recline. The seats are very similar in comfort to those on ES trains (which means that first class represents an upgrade which is nice but hardly necessary). The seats are also supposed to have outlets for electrical gear such as PCs and portable DVD players. There is no restaurant car, but only snack and beverage service on a rolling cart, so travellers should definitively plan to bring their own lunch on board. As with most other Trenitalia trains, all railcars are air conditioned, and smoking is not allowed anywhere on the convoy.

The ES-City train is a hybrid between the traditional ES train and the traditional IC train. The locomotive is an upgrade from that of the IC, but passenger railcars are essentially those of the IC, but without the separate compartments with sliding glass doors, making the "look and feel" more like that of the ES. While the ES-City train is not the same as the ES, it is nevertheless a very good train (and indeed the best train in service along the Adriatic Coastline).

Air Alternatives:

Travellers in a hurry should not take the train, since there are non-stop flights between Milano Linate and Brindisi on Alitalia, as well as low-cost flights between Milano Malpensa and Brindisi on Easy Jet and Air One . One must add the transportation costs of getting to the Milan airport and from the Brindisi airport to Lecce (approx. 40 kms) by local transport. Ryanair also flies from Bergamo/Orio al Serio Airport to Brindisi.

Here is a description of the ES-City train:

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=5db309296b85a110VgnVCM10000080a3e90aRCRD

Restrictions of the promotional "MINI" fares:

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=38a304ae4f9ec210VgnVCM1000003f16f90aRCRD

How electronic tickets work:

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=38ae99e8e609a110VgnVCM1000003f16f90aRCRD

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