Italy Rail: 1st class vs. 2nd Class

Oct 19th, 2003, 03:41 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 86
Italy Rail: 1st class vs. 2nd Class

Can anyone give me insight into the true difference between the two classes? I heard they are about the same in Italy is this true? I know the prices vary drastically
ingridshawn is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 03:47 AM
  #2  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,143
Hi Ingrid,

If you are under 30, go 2nd. If you are over 50, go 1st.

In between? First has wider seats, is less crowded, but not as interesting.
ira is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 05:02 AM
  #3  
kvf
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 15
The other problem is, generally, from my train travels in Italy, there are minimal "primo classe" cars. We purchased primo and were in the only "1" car on the train. There were folks standing the whole time, arguing with the irritable conductor about not having seats. Check this out before you buy.
kvf is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 05:06 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,999
There are differences in cleanliness and seats, however you may find the greatest difference in the people you must share the car with.
Myer is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 05:29 AM
  #5  
cmt
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,793
I'm over 50, but have never been in anything but second class. The most important things to me are having a seat--any seat--and not being around smoke.
cmt is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 05:33 AM
  #6  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,143
Hi cmt,

For a very small fee you can get a seat reservation in a nonsmoking car in 1st or 2nd.

On our recent travels we found only 1 1st cl and 1 2nd cl smoking car on the ES* trains.
ira is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 05:54 AM
  #7  
cmt
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,793
I didn't really have a problem with the smoke on trains on this recent trip. In the past, there used to be people smoking in the non-smoking cars, but things are improving. The worst I experienced was smoke drifting in from the standing area between cars, where people weren't supposed to be standing, let alone smoking. But it wasn't too bad. On one type of train (may have been the regionale), there were no smoking cars at all--big difference from the old days when smoking cars outnumbered the non-smoking ones (where people smoked anyway). I think seat assignments are mandatory on the Eurostar. I HAD to take an expensive Eurostar from Milan to Bolgna, because there are apparently no regular trains on that route.
cmt is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 07:06 AM
  #8  
cmt
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,793
In previous post, I meant BOLOGNA, obviously (hate it when I misspell place names, but this was just a typo).
cmt is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 08:43 AM
  #9  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,143
Hi cmt,

They run IR/IC trains now.
ira is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 09:39 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,020
We've only traveled on an IC train once from Venice to Milan. We went first class, no smoking. Our car had a glass sort of swinging door toward the end of the car with about three rows of seats designated for smoking on the other side of the door. Fortunately no one sat there, because above the door was an open space and the smoke would have poured over.

On ES trains, which we have used more extensively, we have always traveled second class and have absolutely no complaints. Walking through the 1st class cars I noticed very little difference (carpeting for one thing) so have never regreted our choice.
Giovanna is offline  
Oct 20th, 2003, 07:28 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,652
Well after years of traveling Italian trains I can say that first class is much much nicer than second class when talking about long-distance trains. Some locals may not even have first class and if they do the difference in comfort is small. Anyone who says there is no difference on main-line trains however, just doesn't know what they're talking about. How many times have i seen second-class cars resemble cattle cars. Now on the EurostarItalia tilting trains the difference is not so dramatic because on these trains seat reservations and a supplement are mandatory, thus you don't have folks standing. Ticket prices in Italy are so cheap that even first class won't cost much. As for smoking, it's hard to get away from the haze, i've seen many Italian conductors puffing away as they check tickets in non-smoking cars. First class seats are not only larger, but there is much more room for luggage as well as having more empty seats.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Oct 20th, 2003, 02:40 PM
  #12  
cmt
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,793
Eurostar is NOT cheap!!! The Regional trains are very cheap, and the Intercity I'd consider medium.
cmt is offline  
Oct 20th, 2003, 04:30 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 92
If it's summer it might matter.

I'm with those who understand that the 2c car arrives the same time as the 1C car, however, we were in Italy during the heat wave and the 2C car was either not airconditioned or the AC was very poor. By the time our journey from Rome to Orvieto was over, we were drenched.

I didn't hesitate to book 1C from Florence to Venice. After counting as many birthdays as I have, I figured I deserved that bit of pampering. The cars were delightfully cool in 1C. (We did observe some unhappy Americans sneak from 2C to 1C during the journey because of the lack of air..)
RosieM is offline  
Oct 20th, 2003, 04:41 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,113
We also recently spent the small extra fee for 1st class on Eurostar from Florence to Venice and were glad we did. We were very comfortable for the trip.

I will add, however, that we've also taken 2nd class on Eurostar from Paris to London and were comfortable there, as well.

The main difference between the classes, in our opinion, was the extra leg room, larger seats and limited passengers in 1st class. The extra service was nice, too. We would splurge for first again on Eurostar....especially in the summer months.
Statia is offline  
Oct 20th, 2003, 08:25 PM
  #15  
dln
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
First class is nicer and the price difference really isn't atronomical, like it is on airplanes. For longer hauls over two hours, spend the extra ten euros or so and go first. The compartments are cleaner and plusher. Both are civilized ways to travel; first is more so.
 
Oct 20th, 2003, 08:53 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 833
GAC wrote a really informative post on this awhile back. Here's the link...

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...searchText=gac
crazymina is offline  
Oct 21st, 2003, 12:21 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,739
Indeed, they are virtually the same now as nearly all the trains in Italy went through a major overhaul in April 2003 when the "no-smoking" cars were abolished and turned into more available seating space. The other cars in 1st and 2nd classes were fixed up too. I only travel 2nd class and am very pleased with the price. I would recommend 2nd class to anyone trying to decide what type of train ticket to buy.
Huitres is offline  
Oct 21st, 2003, 05:27 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,129
The price difference is simple: on most European railways, first class is 50% more than second class. For that, you get more space but not 50% more; if there are four seats abreast in second class, there will be three in first. I'm over fifty, but have never bothered with first class in Italy. Smoke is no longer the problem it used to be: FS have tightened their rules and most short journeys are entirely non-smoking, while smoking areas are much more limited on long journeys. First class is usually less busy, and you can often reserve seats there when second class is full. Apart from some overnight journeys, I've always just bought tickets in Italy and never worried about booking in advance.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 12:52 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,652
First class is almost always 40% higher than second class, not 50%, but still a sizable difference, especially on long trips.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2003, 03:11 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 86
Wow what a wonderful response. Thank you, I think we will go for second class, the difference is $15 per person. Plus we are use to New York Subways! Anyway, anyone have any insight into if it is possible to get from Firenze to Lucca via train and Firenze to Pisa and what the cost is round trip?
ingridshawn is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:02 PM.