1st. or 2nd. class train travel??

Aug 23rd, 2000, 01:10 PM
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1st. or 2nd. class train travel??

we will be traveling by train from florence to rome and back. is first class travel worth the price difference? also, all fares are quoted one way, is there a round trip fare? thanks
Aug 23rd, 2000, 01:44 PM
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The question of 1st. & 2nd. Class train travel is very subjective, and you'll get lots of differing opinions.
From my observation posters on this forum favour 2nd.Class by a ratio of around 60-40.
Personally I prefer 1st.Class - wider seats, more leg room, better drinks service, and usually more empty seats.
Often quieter too if thats what you want.
Aug 23rd, 2000, 01:50 PM
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The main thing is to look at the schedule and pick a train that is the fastest. The first time I took the trip you describe, I didn't know it and took the Direct (sounds fast, doesn't it?) which turned out to stop at every little town and city. It took about 4 hours. Coming back we took the EuroStar and it only took about 1 1/2 hours.

The difference between 1st and 2nd on the EuroStar is not that great. They do come around and offer you a free drink and newspaper, but all the seats on that train are reserved, so it isn't like you won't have a seat, either way. To get the prices for round trip, just double the one-way fare.

I just checked and the first class on the ES is 81,500 or about $42 and 51,500 or about $26 for second class. Hope this helps.

The web-site for the trains is: http://orario.fs-on-line.com/fsbinx/fsqueryx?lang=en

You put in the from and to cities and it will give you all the options you need. Make sure you spell the cities correctly or you won't get an answer. Roma for Rome and Firenze for Florence.

Ciao and buon viaggio!
Aug 23rd, 2000, 02:01 PM
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My recent experience is on French trains rather than Italian, but I like first class. However, I'm not usually looking to start conversations-- I tend to like privacy when I'm on the road. People who like second class often cite the great people they meet, so if that's a pleasure for you, that's probably the way to go.

I mentioned this on another post, but it's worth bringing up again. If your train does not have reserved seats, consider first class for less-crowded cars. Not finding a seat at all, or not being able to sit with friends can be a headache on a longer trip.

But, as Tony said, it's really subjective. I don't think the question should be is it worth it, so much as what kind of experience do you want.
Aug 25th, 2000, 06:15 PM
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Would you travel 2nd class if you were taking the Intercity trains or any train other than the ES? Do you need reservations on the IC trains in late September/October. How much faster is ES than IC trains. Grazie!!
Aug 25th, 2000, 06:16 PM
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To the top>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Aug 25th, 2000, 07:40 PM
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I've taken the Eurostar train from Rome to Florence (& back) and from Rome to Naples. Definitely the way to travel on these routes - I was in first class, but have been told by my friend who lives in Italy that it's not a significant difference. But then again, it's barely a $20 more, so why not. We're used to thinking in terms of airfares in which a roundtrip is usually more economical than 2 one way fares - not quite the same with the train system. The fares are structured on a simple point-to-point basis.

As to the choice between first and second class on trains other than EuroStar, I'd defer to Rick Steves' book on Italy. His style/approach to travel is fairly budget minded and he suggests that "Italy is one country where I would consider the splurge of first class". Also he lists a phone no., an all-Italy telephone number for train information --- 1478-88088 (don't forget to dial appropriate long dist code & country code).

Aug 25th, 2000, 10:43 PM
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No you will not need reservations on trains in late Sept/early October. On ES and TGV and AVE reservations are compulsory, but can be made shortly before travel. I don't know why they are compulsory, especially off season, as they are never full, in fact quite often almost empty, partly, I believe, because of their stupid seat reservation requirement.
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