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Is it worth booking Trenitalia tickets online?

Is it worth booking Trenitalia tickets online?

Old Jul 17th, 2009, 08:54 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1
Is it worth booking Trenitalia tickets online?

Hi,
I am a student going to be traveling Italy in September. I am going from Venice to Bologna, Bologna to Florence, Florence to Rome.
Is it worth it to buy tickets ahead of time online? I would like to get the cheapest fare possible (its okay if quality and time is compromised a little).
Would I be able to go to the Venice train station on our first day in Venice and buy the rest of the train tickets for out trip there at the lowest possible price?
Can I get an Amica discout for an "R" train as long as I buy at the train station the day before?
Is there's anywhere online that I can print out a schedule of the trains?

Thanks a lot!
lbara060 is offline  
Old Jul 17th, 2009, 09:16 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
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http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en?

I use the German Rail web site for schedules all over Europe - easier for me than trenitalia.com - Italian rail site

Yes you can snag deep discounted fares on trenitalia.com - look for the Specials box to click on - but you must book these limited seats often as soon as they pop on the site - 30 days advance required for cheapest, etc.

But the problem with trenitalia.com is that few americans can get it to work - there has been a litany of complaints about how frustrating the site is to actually buy a ticket - but there are some very very helpful Fodorites who will walk you thru it if you post about your problems - if you can read Italian i think the Italian version may be easier.

I do not think Amica applies to regional trains, which are dirt cheap anyway.

For normal fares about half of what full fare is try to get on the IC trains that run between all of these cities - and these fares are so cheap you would wait to buy them in Venice i'd think rather than locking yourself into a non-changeable advance online special fare.

So on the bahn.de i reference look for the R (regional) or IC (InterCity) trains and these will be about twice as cheap as the ES (EuroStar Italia) trains.

But you may have to take a shuttle train from Venice Santa Lucia station to Venice-Mestre station, across the lagoon, from where some IC or regional trains may only go and arriving in Florence get off at the Florence-Rifredi station and take a shuttle train the final two miles into the Florence Santa Maria Novella main station.

For example recently i took an IC train between Florence and Venice - and i had to shuttle out to Rifredi to catch the IC train, which did not serve the Florence SMN station and i had to get off at Venice Mestre and take the shuttle train into Santa Lucia, which the IC train did not serve. These are minor conveniences for the money you can save on a starvation budget.

So for ES trains try trenitalia.com but for the cheapest fares just buy your tickets in Venice (and yes you can buy all your tickets for other Italian trains there too)

The automatic ticketing machines in Italian stations are idiot-proof (i could use them) and seem to work well - the exact opposite of trenitalia.com - so do it yourself and save a potentially long wait in line.

There is an Italian railpass but for your plans do not even consider it - point to point much cheaper.

For loads of info on European and Italian trains i always point out these fine sites: www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id12.html

Cheers
Palenque is offline  
Old Jul 17th, 2009, 10:15 AM
  #3  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,630
Hi Ib,

Good advice from Pal.

"R" trains aren't discounted or sold online.

You can get all of your tickets on arrival in Venice.

Don't be surprised to be an hour or so late if you take trains that are not ES* or AV.

ira is offline  
Old Jul 17th, 2009, 10:47 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
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And Ira is one of those genuinely helpful Fodorites who will help you figure out the trenitalia.com morass, but in your case if taking the slower trains just buy ducats in Venice. Yup the IC trains are an hour or so slower - esp the Florence to Venice IC train i took since you have to hop shuttle trains at either end. And regional trains are very slow - often stopping every few minutes - but again really dirt cheap. I took a regional train from Rome Tiburtina to Florence recently and it took nearly 3 hours vs about 90 mins on the fast ES trains - but the fare is about 10 euros or so i believe.
Palenque is offline  
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