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Train Travel Tips

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Hoping for local help. Four of us will travel by train from Rome to Venice on Apr 18. We are on way to Europe now.
1. Can I book online and get e tickets or pick up at train station day of travel? If not must we go to train station in Rome to purchase? Must/should we do this in advance?
2. Any difference between booking between Trenitalia vs RailEurope sites - that is any reason we should use one vs. the other?
3. Is there only one train station in each city? If there are multiple stations, we are moving from Westin Excelsior to Westin Europa if that makes a difference please advise which station to use.
4. We are not experienced train travelers. Can anyone explain difference between first and second class?
5. Bonus. Once at train station in Venice, is it advisable to take water taxi to hotel? Is it easy to get to this taxi?

Appreciate your help!

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