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booking trains in Italy - Should I book in advance?

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Jun 17th, 2011, 09:15 PM
  #1
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booking trains in Italy - Should I book in advance?

Hi ,

I am a bit confused whether I should book my train tickets in advance for my travel in Italy.
My itinerary is as follows
Jul 24 & 25 - Venice

I plan to take a train from Venice on Jul 26 in the afternoon
Jul 26- 29 - Florence

I plan to take a train in the morning on Jul 30
Jul 30 - Aug 2 - Rome

Can I book my train journeys in Italy or should I book them now?

Appreciate suggestions on what is the best option?
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Jun 17th, 2011, 09:27 PM
  #2
 
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Just book them when you get there. You can book them all at the same time at any train station.
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Jun 17th, 2011, 10:47 PM
  #3
 
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We didnt book one in advance after looking online at the schedule and seeing how many options there were. We did the same legs you did plus more and had no problem. Have fun!
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Jun 17th, 2011, 10:55 PM
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If you can get the Mini fare on trenitalia.com, you can save some money by prebooking. (We saved €15 per ticket from Rome to Venice that way.) But if the Mini fares are sold out, there's no advantage to booking online, except saving a little time when you get there. It doesn't take long at all, though.
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Jun 17th, 2011, 11:34 PM
  #5
 
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I'd agree with jent103. If your routes, times, and dates are "fixed" **AND** you can get a discount using the MINI fares ( http://tinyurl.com/MINI-fare ), then YES, I would book in advance. You will give up some flexibility, but you can save up to 60%.

You can still buy the MINI fares up till midnight before you travel - if they are available - so that may provide you flexibility AND savings. But the supply of MINI fares is controlled by Trenitalia... so if you wait, you'll not be sure what discounted tickets are available. So SAVINGS vs. FLEXIBILITY!

Both your routes have many, many trains running each day, so you have plenty of options.
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Jun 17th, 2011, 11:42 PM
  #6
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Thank you all for your suggestions.
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Jun 18th, 2011, 03:56 AM
  #7
 
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By the time u pay for shipping and hassle for me never worth it to book in advance

Cheapest to hop on at station

Regional train each leg for your route under 15 euros

Fast train double that

Just did it easy they took my credit card booked from machines at station

Chepaest train of my journey from small machine like a local 4 euro Ovieto to Florence

The small machines allow u to buy Cambio class with sconto like a local

Can get your cost down below 2 euro per hour if u can figure out those small machines

Seat61.com best info
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Jun 18th, 2011, 06:07 AM
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qwovadis, you don't have to pay for shipping, and if Trenitalia takes your credit card, there's very little hassle. Trenitalia has ticketless options. I printed emails for one trip and picked up my tickets at the station for another.
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Jun 18th, 2011, 08:22 AM
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By the time u pay for shipping and hassle for me never worth it to book in advance>

Wow this bloke's sheer misinformation continues from thread to thread (booking online you either get an e-ticket or retrieve your ticket from machines in Italian stations - no booking fees at all!) - believe nothing this poster says as though some are good tips there is habitually advice that is simply false and does a disservice to readers. He talks about taking regional trains - well Venice to Florence by the fastest trains is just under 3 hours - regional trains literally take ALL day with a few changes of train en route - just forget about regional trains for long distances. For accurate info on Italian trains check out these sites - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com
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Jun 18th, 2011, 08:23 AM
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I don't know where qwovadis comes up with those prices, but certainly not Trenitalia. There is no train from Rome to Orvieto for 4€. There is a 4.95€ fare for invalids (it states war, handicapped, blind and companion). You will be taking a big risk if you purchase one of those tickets and get caught. The discounted fares for locals mean you are supposed to have a loyalty card and it's for Italian residents only.

If you plan to book the faster trains, you can save a lot buying in advance on Trenitalia. Use the Le Frecce link instead of the regular link and it will let you see what train car you are booking and you can see all the seats to select which ones you want. The long ovals dividing most seats are the tables. If you want a seat with a table, be sure to select one of these. The seats at the end typically having fold down trays from the seat in front (like airlines)instead of tables. You can do a walk through without booking. Just select your train. It will autofill and you must select one of these or type in the exact name of town as they spell it. Be sure to check select seat after you select train as autoselect is preselected by Trenitalia. Click buy without registration if you just want to see seat availability.
http://www.ferroviedellostato.it/cms...003f16f90aRCRD
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Jun 20th, 2011, 01:48 PM
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I don't know where qwovadis comes up with those prices, but certainly not Trenitalia. There is no train from Rome to Orvieto for 4€>

Qovadis said Orieito to Florence not Rome to Orvieto for 4 euros.
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Jun 20th, 2011, 04:44 PM
  #12
JBX
 
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~
And in response to the query you have not yet posted (1st or 2nd class?) .... "segundo classe" is fine for the routes you'll be traveling. Worthwhile paying higher price when opting for the quicker, more reliable trains .... (NOT regionale or diretto). On the Eurostar and other fast trains, the difference between first/second class accomadations are minor.

If you want specifics, it's a frequently discussed topic and can run a search to pull up previous threads providing nitty gritty.

And yes, as several others advise, easy enough to purchase tix once in Italy @ train station.
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Jun 20th, 2011, 05:01 PM
  #13
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Okay ..... I did a quick search, and tho threads go back several yrs, debate on 1 vs. 2 is current.

Trains in Italy, First vs Second Class >>>
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...cond-class.cfm



Italy--Trenitalia Trains 1st/2nd Class >>>
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-2nd-class.cfm
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Jun 20th, 2011, 05:02 PM
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As a precaution, I would book Venice to Florence when you get to Venice.

I followed advice last year about not pre-booking, and waited a number of hours at the Venice station. 9:30 am was booked, 10:30 was booked, no train at 11:30, finally got on the 12:30 to Florence. To make matters worse, I had a fever of 39.5, there wasn't a single available seat in the station, and I sat on the floor. Not fun, but lesson learned.

So Florence to Naples, and Naples to Rome we popped into travel agents while out and about and got tickets ahead. No sweat. Easy peasy.

We brought food with us and enjoyed 2nd class all the way. Lovely fast trains and a great way to see the countryside. Have a wonderful trip!
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Jun 20th, 2011, 05:57 PM
  #15
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I have booked my tickets for Florence to Rome and actually managed to get a good deal - 2 first class tickets for 63 euros. I'll probably book my tickest for Venice to Florence once I get there as I am not sure on when I want to leave.Thanks again for the suggestions.
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Jun 20th, 2011, 10:24 PM
  #16
 
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>>>Qovadis said Orieito to Florence not Rome to Orvieto for 4 euros<<<

Doesn't matter. There are no trains Orvieto/Florence for that price either. None of the prices he lists for trains or hotels exist when you look.
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Jun 21st, 2011, 06:07 AM
  #17
 
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If you buy MINI fare tickets in advance at a discount, is that considered 2nd class or 1st? Can you pick a seat in advance?
(im not trying to hijack this thread, just a follow up question for you train knowledgable people...) thanks in advance
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Jun 21st, 2011, 06:49 AM
  #18
 
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monkeybutt - we got second class seats with our Mini fares, but I never tried the first class option, so I don't know if you can get discounts on first class seats that way (though second is perfectly fine). On the main reservations page, you can choose window or aisle, but kybourbon posted this on my trip report:

Trenitalia doesn't make it easy to find, but you can actually select your seats from a seating chart for the fast trains if you book on the right area of their website (just like selecting seats on planes online). Do a walk through and be sure to click the box "select your seat". It's a bit quirky so you must spell the cities exactly the way they want (watch the autofill and copy the one you want).

http://www.ferroviedellostato.it/cms...003f16f90aRCRD
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Jun 21st, 2011, 08:08 AM
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IMO anyone who says there is little difference between first and second class on Italian trains simply has never ridden in first class - my decades of incessant riding of Italian trains makes me adamantly recommend first class to the average traveler on the trip of a lifetime and especially for folks hauling luggage around - lots more easy places to store luggage in first class - seats are bigger and many are often empty so you can spread out - 2nd class can be sardine city at time, especially on regional trains with no seat reservations - like the time coming back to Rome from Viterbo when about a hundred high school kids clamored aboard a regional train that also serves as a school bus - I was glad I had a first class ticket rather than being surrounded by high school kids who were acting loud and boisterous, like any group of such kids anywhere.
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Jun 21st, 2011, 10:35 AM
  #20
 
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Than you Jent103 for the info!
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