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Advice about travel to and from Italy

Old Aug 29th, 2017, 10:48 AM
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Advice about travel to and from Italy

Hello,
Could you please give me some pointers on best way to travel to a city in Italy like Florence or Rome from the UK that is not by air.
I would love to visit either Florence or Rome but my husband is petrified of flying and I am not so keen either.
We want a direct way to Italy and back if at all possible.
Any ideas please.
Many thanks.
jules74 is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2017, 10:56 AM
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Look on the Guardian website for some great tip reports about people doing train travel into Italy, as far south as Sicily. You can aim for either coast (venice or the Italian Riviera) or go a long ways straight down the middle to Rome & Napoli. Train connections in Northern Italy are particularly good if you fancy place like Mantova or Verona, or seeing lakes. If you head to some place like Florence or Pisa, it can be fun to rent a car and visit the wine country.

Man in Seat 61 is a great website for seeing all of Europe by long distance train, many journeys starting from the uk and ending up in Italy.
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Old Aug 29th, 2017, 11:54 AM
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The earliest Eurostar from London to Paris is at 5:40, getting to Paris (Gare du Nord) at 9:17. There is a fast train from Paris (Gare de Lyon) to Zurich at 10:23, where you can change to another fast train to Milan, and change there for another fast train to Florence, arriving at 9 PM. This would allow you to get there in one day (about 15 hours), with three changes of train.

I think the time allowed to change stations in Paris is reasonable, unless the Eurostar is late. If you buy tickets for all the trains in advance, you can save considerably, but the onward tickets are not refundable if you miss the connection in Paris. I would probably buy the full price, flexible tickets to be able to change at no cost if I were to miss the connection.

You should definitely buy the Eurostar tickets well in advance, as the cost savings are considerable.

If you're willing to spend a night in Paris, you could get a fast train to Torino at 9:41, and change there for Milan, and again for Florence, arriving at around 8 PM. This would avoid the risk of a late Eurostar, and I believe the connection in Torino is guaranteed, meaning they'd give you a ticket on a later train at no cost to you. (The connection in Milan is definitely guaranteed.)

Another possibility is to take the overnight train from Paris to Milan. This would save you one change of train. The overnight train has double cabins, so you'd have privacy overnight. They're not particularly luxurious.

My sister's husband will not fly. They live in the US, but have made three trips to Europe via transatlantic ships. One one of those trips, they came to visit me in Italy, by train.

First they took the Eurostar from London to Paris, where they spent several nights. Then they took a train to Lucerne, where they also spent several nights. Finally they took a train to Milan, where they changed for a train to the Adriatic coast (near which I live). You would instead get a high-speed train from Milan to either Florence or Rome.

On the way back to England, they spent one night in Como, one night in Strasbourg, and one night in Brussels.

The choice of spending time in various cities en route was more based on a desire to see these places than on finding an efficient way to get to Italy and back. Still, even if trying to minimize travel time, you should probably plan to spend at least one night en route.
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Old Aug 29th, 2017, 12:09 PM
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Yes bvlenci says it all - www.seat61.com specializes in rail links UK-Continent and discounted tickets.

Paris-Milan overnight train - www.thello.com - leave London afternoon and change in Paris and be in Florence around 10am - train also has multi-berth cabins for as little as 69 euros or so p.p. but check site for possible deals on doubles - and bring whatever food or drhttp://www.italotreno.it/enink aboard and make a nice night of it.

In Italy book your own tickets discounted at www.trenitalia.com or www.italotreno.it/en.

For daytime deals Paris to Milan and on www.voyages-sncf.com.

Anyway www.seat61.com is the guru for discounted tickets- for general info like 1st v 2nd class, etc check www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Aug 29th, 2017, 12:22 PM
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As you are presumably new to Continental travel, you might like to look at the Great Rail Journeys website. Their escorted tours include many that are entirely land travel. Although many appeal particularly to rail enthusiasts, they are also very flexible, so you can do your own thing if you wish. Tours are led by experienced managers, and accomodation is of a good, but not extravagant, standard.
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Old Aug 29th, 2017, 10:00 PM
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as P says seat61.com is the place to start, Mark S covers it all.
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