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Rome to Lucca Cheapest Fares

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There are many postings on this and other travel sites inquiring about the best way to travel between Rome and Lucca, and the costs involved.

Leaving entirely aside the option of private transportation (car rental or private transfer), and of plane connections from FCO Airport to Pisa Airport, the only real option is to travel by train.

Here, there are two possible train routes: via Pisa Centrale or Via Firenze SMN.

When you look up the Trenitalia schedules, you'll see that the travel times and fares of these two routes are almost identical (when taking a Freccia train), although there are more solutions via Firenze SMN owing to the higher frequency of Freccia trains between Rome and Florence than between Rome and Pisa. Some people might also prefer the coastal route via Pisa, which skirts parts of the coastline.

Here is the CHEAPEST solution (which often requires a long advance purchase utilizing Trenitalia's new SUPER ECONOMY promotional fare):

1. Take a Frecciabianca OR an Intercity train from Roma Termini to Pisa Centrale. The cheapest SUPER ECONOMY fare is 9 Euros (for either train category). The Frecciabianca is a faster, more modern and nicer train, so give it priority over the Intercity unless the latter's schedules are more convenient. The fastest Frecciabianca train makes the run in 2 hours and 30 minutes.

2. Connect at Pisa Centrale to an unreserved regionale train to Lucca (3 Euros and just under 30 minutes travel time).

3. Your total cost can be as low as 12 Euros!!!

NOTE: Depending on the connection schedules, sometimes it's better to make the connection at Viareggio instead of at Pisa Centrale. The Trenitalia website will indicate when this is the case. The unreserved regionale train from Viareggio to Lucca also costs 3 Euros and takes just under 30 minutes travel time.

THE OTHER SOLUTION:

You can also get to Lucca via Firenze SMN. With a long advance purchase, you can also find a SUPER ECONOMY fare of 9 Euros from Roma Termini to Firenze SMN on the Frecciarossa or Frecciargento train. However, the connecting unreserved regionale train to Lucca costs 6.40 Euros, and takes at least 80 minutes. Consequently, travelling via Firenze SMN will cost a little more, and take about the same amount of time (since the Freccia train from Rome to Florence is one hour faster than the Freccia train from Rome to Pisa).

Connecting through Firenze SMN, your total cost can be as low as 15.40 Euros.

NOTE: The regular "BASE" fare on the Freccia train from Rome to Pisa is 44.50 Euros, and 43 Euros from Rome to Firenze SMN (recently reduced from 45 Euros). It really pays to book in advance and get a SUPER ECONOMY or ECONOMY promotional ticket (if you're in a position to do so). THESE PROMOTIONAL FARES NO LONGER HAVE ADVANCE PURCHASE REQUIREMENTS (although they do sell out quickly in advance, since they are capacity-controlled; you can usually book up to 120 days beforehand).

NOTE: The 9-Euro SUPER ECONOMY fare is cheaper than the "ordinaria" fare of the unreserved regionale train from Rome to Pisa Centrale and from Rome to Firenze SMN (and the Freccia train is much faster and nicer than the regionale).

NOTE: From Florence to Lucca, you also have the option of taking the intercity bus (Monday through Saturday only), which departs hourly from the intersection of Via Nazionale and Via Fiume, 250 meters from the SMN train station. The bus takes 80 minutes and costs about the same as the regionale train, but has reclining seats. As you exit the station on the side of McDonald's and the Pharmacy, cross over the wide busy street to the other McDonald's at the corner, then turn left on Via Nazionale and proceed another 50 meters to the CAP ticket office, where you purchase your bus ticket. The bus currently departs around the corner from here (Via Fiume). Be aware that the departure location may change in the future.

http://www.vaibus.com/pdf/libretto_Extraurbano30giu12.pdf
(see Q01)

BEWARE: The Trenitalia SUPER ECONOMY fare is nonchangeable and nonrefundable. The ECONOMY fare is changeable once up to the departure time of the scheduled train (you must upgrade to the "BASE" fare and pay the difference), but is otherwise nonrefundable. Consequently, you need to be very sure of your travel plans if you choose one of these two promotional fares. If you MISS your reserved train, even by one second (other than due to a missed CONNECTION from another Trenitalia train, with minimum connection times), and have one of the promotional fares, you forfeit the ticket and must buy a brand new ticket for a later-departing train. That's why it's RISKY to travel on a promotional ticket when connecting directly from an arriving plane (unless the promotional fare is so low (e.g. 9 Euros), that you won't care).

NOTE: Children between the ages of 4 years, one day and 12 years, 0 days always qualify for a Child's fare of 50% of the "BASE" fare. In some cases, however, the SUPER ECONOMY or ECONOMY fare will give an even better discount (in which case, you must treat the child as an adult for purposes of booking on the Trenitalia website, and NOT as a Child). Where the Child's fare is EQUAL to the promotional fare, select the Child's fare, which does not have the restrictions of the promotional fare. Children under the age of 4 years, one day ALWAYS travel FREE on ALL Trenitalia trains (including the regionale trains), WITHOUT a ticket and without a guaranteed seat. Don't count them when booking tickets!

CONNECTIONS FROM/TO FCO AIRPORT AND ROMA TERMINI: You can take the Trenitalia nonstop Leonardo da Vinci airport train (14 Euros and 31 minutes, departures every 30 minutes) OR one of the airport bus services (fares as low as 4 Euros; 45-80 minutes travel time).

www.terravision.eu
www.sitbusshuttle.it

TRAIN AMENITIES: Beverage and snacks are available for purchase on the Freccia trains, but not on any of the regionale trains. A few Freccia trains between Roma Termini and Firenze SMN may offer full lunch or dinner service (depending on travel times). All trains are supposed to have air conditioning, and all trains are non-smoking. Seats on the Freccia and Intercity trains are reserved; those on the regionale trains are unreserved.

www.fsitaliane.it
www.trenitalia.com
www.lefrecce.it

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