First trip to Italy, Hows this look?

Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 09:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Crowded, not crossed.
cathies is online now  
Old Jul 4th, 2014, 03:54 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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I do ride first class on Italian trains, Palenq, for instance when I find a first-class price that's nearly the same as second class, or sometimes even cheaper. I haven't seen anything that would induce me to pay 18% more for the Premium class tickets than for the Standard tickets, which is the approximate base price difference on Frecciarossa trains.

It's not just that I'm a cheapskate, either. I'm willing to pay more if the price difference is justifiable. The one type of train I really don't like is the old-style InterCity train with the 6-passenger compartments. I'd pay more to avoid one of those trains. In fact, I recently got tickets to Rome, and I had a choice of an IC super-economy ticket at 9 euros or a Frecciabianca economy ticket at 19 euros. I chose the Frecciabianca at nearly double the price.

On the Frecciarossa trains they now have four classes rather than two. which means that they have to have a minimum of three higher-class cars. The fact that they still have discounts so close to the travel date means that they're having trouble filling the seats.

I've also taken first class on some other trains, including in the UK, where I would say that a bigger price difference was justified than in Italy, but I still wouldn't travel first class even there if the price difference were more than about 10%.

I've had problems with loud people on cell phones in first class; there's no guarantee you'll have peace and quiet unless you choose the silent car, and even that isn't fool-proof, because they forbid cell phone calls, but not loud conversations. By the way, the silent car is often the first to sell out, even though it costs about 30% more than second class. No rail pass would cover it, so you'd have to pay a supplement in addition to the reservations, and you might not be able to get a seat in a silent car at the last minute, anyway.

For me the train isn't meant to be fun or luxurious. It's a way to get from one place to another. Second class on a fast train in Italy is far more comfortable than economy class on a plane, and I've never suffered any discomfort. I don't mind at all having a stranger sitting next to me or across from me. There aren't anywhere near as many crying babies on a train as on a plane. Virtually all Italian families have cars, and they usually drive when traveling with babies. The main noise risk is cell phone conversations, and they may even be more common in first class, which is used often by business travelers.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2014, 09:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Yes bvlenci - locals who take trains a lot would go the cheapest way - I understand that but tourist carrying a lot of luggage is a whole different story - something you fail to appreciate - folks regularly paying $200-300 a night for hotels consider 18 euro chump change. And note the following from someone above:

<We caught a train in 2nd class from Venice to Rome - never again. It was crossed and re seating was tight. Next time I'll pay for 1st class for the comfort and extra space.>

The extra space is key to me - even if both compartments are full the extra space in 1st class means easier stowing of luggage as both class train cars are the same size and with 25% or fewer folks fending for space in perhaps already crowded overhead luggage racks or those by the doors - it is obviously easier in first class. Cathies experience is the same as me on many many Italian trains - 2nd class incredibly tight and often in first class empty seats.

You have to appreciate carrying perhaps too much luggage to realize this - not a small bag as bvlenci and locals at most probably cart around. Try to wrap your head around that as a major difference for folks in different situations - carrying around a ton of bags unlike I think you ever do.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2014, 08:38 PM
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Flpab - we contemplated staying near the airport the last night in Rome but decided the extra time IN Rome was worth the extra early taxi ride. Otherwise we felt we would miss out on our last day in Rome having to do check out and haul our bags around half the day. What do you think?
taralnathan is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2014, 07:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Staying in Rome always beats staying at a sterile airport hotel in a sterile atmosphere.
PalenQ is offline  
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