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advance booking needed for trains in Italy?

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Mar 18th, 2014, 07:33 PM
  #1
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advance booking needed for trains in Italy?

We will be traveling (1st time in Italy) from Florence to Venice on Saturday 3/29, and from Venice to Rome on Tuesday 4/1. Is it necessary, or advisable, to book in advance? Flexibility in departure times would be nice but not essential so we could advance book if there is a substantial benefit. Thanks.
WisconsinTed is offline  
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Mar 18th, 2014, 07:52 PM
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You may not have to book in advance, but you will have to have a reservation on any "fast train." With trains coming through Florence very often, if a train is ever full, you just catch the next train. And seldom are they full except on Holidays.
If you purchase your ticket ahead of time @ Trenitalia.com, you can get a substantial discount on a 2nd class ticket.
It's 149 miles from Florence out to Venezia, and I would imagine the time is just over 2 hrs.
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Mar 19th, 2014, 03:52 AM
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Florence-Venice starts at €19 if you pre-book, but is more like €50 on the day.

Venice-Rome starts at €29 in advance, around €90 on the day.

There's little problem getting a place on the day on whatever train you want, the issue is price. No refunds, specific train only, no changes to travel plans if you pre-book.

The decision is yours.
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Mar 19th, 2014, 04:49 AM
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Florence/Venice for your date doesn't have any of the cheapest discount tickets left on Trenitalia, but there are several time choices for 29€ discount tickets late morning/afternoon (regular fare is 45€ as is walk-up fare).

Venice/Rome does have some 40€ fares left (several mid-day choices). Full or walk-up fare is 80€.

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...005817f90aRCRD

Another rail company operates on these routes also (Italo) so they might have discounts at day of travelif still available (Trenitalia discounts aren't available within 24 hours of travel). Italo doesn't have as many time choices as Trenitalia. Italo also uses Rome's Tiburtina station instead of Termini.
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Mar 19th, 2014, 10:36 AM
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It's no longer true that you have to buy discounted tickets the day before travel. (It was never 24 hours, just before midnight of the day before the trip.) In theory you can now buy the discounted tickets on the same day, if there are any left, which is not likely on the popular routes. Very early morning, or early afternoon, are the two times of day when you can still find discounted tickets at the last minute.

It's too late in the day (almost 7 PM in Italy) to try the experiment now, but I tried it recently for a popular route and found several trains that still had discounts available.

Also, there are discounts in all classes. Sometimes the discounts are sold out in "standard" class, but still available in one of the higher classes, bringing their price down to the level of full-price tickets in standard class. I normally travel in standard class, but if I can travel in business class at the same price, I will.
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Mar 19th, 2014, 12:33 PM
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>>>It's no longer true that you have to buy discounted tickets the day before travel. (It was never 24 hours, just before midnight of the day before the trip.)<<<

Trenitalia still lists the 24 hour restriction (and it says 24 hours, not midnight) in multiple places on their website. It's not on the English version, only the Italian.

I nostri prezzi
Il biglietto Super Economy

Vuoi un super risparmio? Acquista il biglietto Super Economy per viaggiare su tutte le Frecce di Trenitalia. Puoi acquistare il Super Economy fino alle ore 24 del giorno precedente la partenza del treno.

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...008916f90aRCRD
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Mar 25th, 2014, 10:05 AM
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What is the difference between the classes? We will be traveling from Cinque Terre to Venice. Thanks!
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Mar 25th, 2014, 11:18 AM
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This is a brilliant site for all things trains in Europe

http://www.seat61.com/Italy-trains.h...0trains%20like

That page explains Italian train classes etc
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Mar 25th, 2014, 02:57 PM
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>>>What is the difference between the classes? We will be traveling from Cinque Terre to Venice. Thanks!<<<

It depends on the type of train. Some routes (like the part of your route between Florence/CT) are only served by regional trains which sometimes only have one class. They have no amenities, no seat reservations. Some regional trains might have two classes, but they still won't have amenities. IC trains are a slight step up (not much) and allow seat reservations. There are still no amenities really. Regional and IC trains make a lot more stops (smaller stations).

This is a pic of 2nd class on a fast train (AV). These trains will have tables, wifi, dining/snack car. They serve the major cities and make few stops.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ssainterno.jpg
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Mar 26th, 2014, 10:36 PM
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Thank you very much, jamikins & kybourbon. That seat61 website was very helpful. We ended up getting the 2 for 1 special - still seemed kind of expensive but I'm just glad we have it taken care of!
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