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Italy Roma Card, Florence Card Recommended? Train Pass?

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Feb 12th, 2014, 01:20 AM
  #1
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Italy Roma Card, Florence Card Recommended? Train Pass?

DH to meet me in Milan May 3 we fly out of Rome May 17.

Anyone have experience with Roma Card and Florence Card? Where to buy? Is it worth buying?

My DH and I will be in Florence for 3-4 nights, Rome 4 nights. I saw someone mention this somewhere but I never been to Italy and couldn't find information on the site to buy museum tickets. in Rome we know we want to see Vatican (Gardens if possible), Colosseum, Forum,
and I forget what other places that need tix to get in. Also, would having these type of cards avoid waiting on line to enter to these places?

Also, DH and I will be traveling by public transportation mostly trains. Is there a type of rail pass and would it save us money. We will be going by rail from Milan to Venice, Venice to Florence from Florence we will probably look to stay in Sorrento or other recommended city/town for easy access to Pompeii

Thank you!
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Feb 12th, 2014, 03:17 AM
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For trains you are much better off buying individual tickets - advance purchase (up to 90 days) when you are using expresses.

As far as I know the tickets for various internal Vatican tours need to be bought directly from the Vatican.

IMHO these passes rarely pay for themselves, although there are sights you do need to get tickets for in advance - Borghese gardens, Vatican special tours, etc.
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Feb 12th, 2014, 04:36 AM
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I'll let someone else answer questions about the Florence Card, which I've never bought.

As for the rail pass, there is almost never a situation where a rail pass would save you money in Italy. You can get your best bargains by buying tickets for the fast trains well in advance, when there are usually big discounts:

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...005817f90aRCRD

Some routes are not covered by fast trains, and tickets for these trains should be bought at the train station, as there's no advantage to buying them online.

For Rome, I think you mean the Roma Pass. This costs 34 euros and is good for three days. It gives you two free entrances, and a discounted price on any others you manage to visit during the three calendar days. It also gives you unlimited use of public transportation for those three days.

Here is a document that shows all the covered sites, with their full costs and their discounted prices:

http://www.romapass.it/doc/sitiAdere...lietti_eng.pdf

How many you visit, and how much you'll be using public transportation, you may or may not benefit from using the Roma Pass. For purposes of calculating your costs, a ticket for any public transportation costs €1.50 and is good for 100 minutes, including transfers between buses, metro, and trams, but only one entrance to the metro system. If you were to use public transportation twice a day, this would be equivalent to €9 over the three days.

For the purpose of the Roma Pass, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum count as a single entrance if you visit them on two consecutive days. You have to pass between the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill using the internal passage. If you exit and go to the other entrance, you have to pay again. You can also usually avoid the queues at the Colosseum by buying your ticket at the Roman Forum or Palatine Hill entrances; the ticket is good for all three (on two consecutive days).

Another way to avoid the queue is to buy your entrance ticket to the Colosseum online at the offical site:

http://etickets.coopculture.it/index...9-1C2283FF1AF9

However, then it wouldn't make sense to buy the Roma Pass.

The Vatican Museums and Gardens aren't included in the Roma Pass, which only covers state and municipal museums. You can avoid the queues at the Vatican Museums by buying your tickets online at the official Vatican site:

http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/...?weblang=en&do
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Feb 12th, 2014, 06:30 AM
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I don't see how anyone gets the value of the Florence card (72€). It's expensive and the museums there are cheap. Most people don't use transport in the city either as it's easily walkable. The Uffizi and Academia are 6.50€ for entrance (a few euro more if there is a special exhibit when you visit)and quite a few are only 4€. Unless you plan to visit 10+ museums in 3 days, I can't see any value in it.

If you don't want to wait in lines, you can book entrance tickets on the Florence museum website. There is a booking fee of 4€.

http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/en/musei/tutti.php

The Roma Pass doesn't include the Vatican Museums (there is a different pass that does), but to get the value of the Roma Pass, you need to line up your visit to enter the most expensive sites as your first two visits (many choose the Colosseum and Borghese as those tickets are higher). You also need to be using the public transport enough. The Colosseum/Palantine/Forum ticket is normally 12€ and you get one entrance to each area (counts as one entrance only off the pass). The Borghese requires a phone reservation to use the pass (reservations are always mandatory).

If you just want to skip the lines at the Colosseum and aren't planning to visit other things on the pass, just buy tickets from Coopculture.

For the Vatican, the garden tour has only a few English tours per day (perhaps only one or two time choices per day). They only book two months in advance.
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Feb 12th, 2014, 06:41 AM
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>>>For trains you are much better off buying individual tickets - advance purchase (up to 90 days) when you are using expresses.<<<

Trenitalia allows online purchase 120 days in advance for the faster trains. Italo also operates trains between the major cities and they allow purchase 6 months in advance (or through the end of current schedule). Schedules for both change twice a year (2nd weekends in June and Dec.). Trenitalia is always very late loading their schedules (may be first of June before they have them for June through Dec.). You just have to keep checking.

The train between Naples/Sorrento is a commuter line - Circumvesuviana. Depending on how many days you have in Sorrento and what you plan to visit, the Campania ArteCard (32€) might be beneficial. The 3 day Tutta La Regione includes transport from Naples (metro/trams/buses) along the coast (as far as Paestum). Admission to first two sites (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples Archaeology Museum, etc.) and discounts at others. The 7 day card does not include transport.

http://www.campaniartecard.it/arteca...m#.UvuIDPldXMo
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Feb 12th, 2014, 06:45 AM
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Feb 12th, 2014, 07:32 AM
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The real arguments for the Florence Pass are:
- you're supposed to be able to sidestep queues
- you don't have to keep forking cash out.

kybourbon is quite right about the pointlessness (for most people) of the travel element of the card. Missing queues would be fine at the Accademia and Uffizi if that's what the card lets you do: it doesn't.

You just go into a different queue, that's still controlled by the automated crowd limiting systems, so if people inside are dawdling (which those bloody rent-a-guide machines turn into a bigger problem every year), you've still got to stand in the biting Tuscan wind till they leave.

Probably not worth it

The Roma Pass is more likely to work out, since you're going to use the transport element, and it's a law of life in all cities with a decent transport system (except those, like Florence and Oxford, where there's no point in getting round any way except on foot) that once you've got a pass you use it far more often than you thought you were going to.

Some people argue that Rome just makes it into the list of cities with a decent transport system. Even so: cost it up first against the attractions you intend visiting - remembering it doesn't apply to museums and monuments administered by the Vatican.
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Feb 12th, 2014, 09:31 AM
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>>>Missing queues would be fine at the Accademia and Uffizi if that's what the card lets you do: it doesn't. <<<

It lets you miss the purchase line which is the longest line. So does just purchasing an entry ticket from the link I gave.

Many tourists use very little public transport in Rome either. The metro only has 2 lines and skirts the center. Most don't bother to figure out the bus system and the historic center is pretty compact so they just walk (Roman foot!).
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Feb 25th, 2014, 11:53 PM
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Thank you all for your help and great info! Ciao!
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Feb 26th, 2014, 10:52 AM
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Feb 26th, 2014, 12:26 PM
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Ok, so the Roma pass seemed quite complicated and we did not purchase it for our trip, but we did and would again purchase the Firenze card and I'll tell you why. We has 3 days in Florence and a million things we wanted to see. Many places require reservations which you don't need with the Firenze card and we did bypass an enormous line for the Accademia. For us, although it didn't save us money, it gave us much more flexibility with our time.

Flaneruk- in October 2013, we did use the Firenze card for the Accademia, the Uffizi, the Cupola and several other big attractions.

There is a list of about 40 places on their website www.firenzrcard.it including the Accademia and the Uffizi. We also really enjoyed Medici Chapel and Santa Croce using the card. I guess the best thing to do is decide what you would most like to spend your time doing and then see if the passes make sense for you. As I said, it did for us because there wasn't enough time in the day and it allowed us to keep a more flexible schedule. You do have only 72 hours to use the Firenze Card, but it worked for us. I would say we about broke even and again no reservations necessary.
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Feb 26th, 2014, 04:58 PM
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>>>Many places require reservations which you don't need with the Firenze card<<<

Which places require reservations? AFAIK, most museums in Florence don't.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 12:00 AM
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Kybourbon - grrr. Please don't tell me I spent all those euros for no good reason. As I recall, when you go to the Uffizi and Accademia websites to purchase tickets it asks you to select a time. I really thought that like a dinner reservation that meant you had to be present at the selected time. I will be much chagrined to find that is incorrect. Thanks for the heads up for next time.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 06:57 AM
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Making reservations at the Uffizi or Accademia lets you bypass the ticket purchase line (always long at the Uffizi), as does a pass, but reservations aren't mandatory for these museums. The process to retrieve the reserved ticket let's you skip the long ticket purchase line the same as using the card, but you do select a specific time for the reserved ticket. I've never made reservations for the Accademia or waited more than 5 minutes to get in, but I go later in the afternoon (it seems to have longer lines early morning and right after lunch). I did use cash on my visits and people that needed to use credit cards were in a much longer line. That may have changed as it's been two years since my last visit.

Out of the 60 or so sites covered by the Firenze Card, I've only found two (I think one was a synagogue) require a reservation. These are much smaller sites with limited hours. Two others suggest making one and a few say it's required if you want a tour or have a group of ten or more.

Since Florence historical center is so compact (20-30 minute walk side-to-side)and much of it pedestrian only, most people don't use public transport at all if they are there just a few days. That's part of the Firenze Card, but unless you are going to an outlying site, you might not use the transport part so it makes it difficult to get the value of the Firenze Card in 72 hours.

Some people buy the Amici degli Uffizi membership which is good for a year (Jan-Dec) and it says it covers the State Museums, but only lists about 25 compared to the Firenze Card which has about 60. A single membership is 60€ and a family membership is 100€ (2 adults, 2 children). They have a dedicated welcome/info entrance at the Uffizi (door no. 2). Next time I'm in Florence, I will ask if they cover all the museums the Firenze Card does (perhaps they just don't bother to list all on their site).

http://www.amicidegliuffizi.it/diven...php?pg=8&ln=en

http://www.amicidegliuffizi.it/welcome.php?pg=15&ln=en

While entrance fees to most of the museums are 6.50€ or less, in season many have exhibitions (almost always in the busier seasons). You have to pay the exhibition fee (3-5€ typically) in addition to entrance fee (no choice!). When you have a pass or reservations, they don't seem add these exhibit fees on so you will be saving that with your Firenze Card.

Firenze Card allows one entrance to each site, but the Amici should allow you to re-visit sites.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 08:26 PM
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As always thanks for the helpful info with great links.
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 07:42 AM
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We definitely got more value out from the 48 hr. Roma Pass than the Firenze card which is expensive. We hate standing in line for anything so from that vantage point both cards have merit. But if you're not an "art and museum" type of person it will certainly be difficult to get your value out of the Firenze card. My biggest beef with the F. card was at the Duomo sites where you had to line up to get separate tickets anyways before skipping the line at the actual attraction. This is stupid. If you're paying a premium price you should just have to walk up and get your pass scanned. Public transit is not an issue in Florence as most people simply walk. I think the Roma pass has better value particularly if you use metro and bus. I will disagree with some comments on this forum about the walking thing in Rome. Why walk when you can save time and energy particularly under the hot sun of the summer peak tourist season? We used the public transit system in Rome A LOT during our 48 hr. pass and got full value from it with the addition of reduced admission rates to a couple of other attractions.
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 09:07 AM
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sjanik - The historic center of Rome has very little public transport as much if it is designated pedestrian. Additionally, the Rome metro is very limited and only skirts the center (although they are attempting to build Line C). That's why many people see little value in the transport part for Rome. It really depends on your itinerary in Rome. Many people stay within easy walking distance of most thins.

I find the two little electric buses (116 & 117) the most useful along with a couple of the tram lines. Here's the maps for those.

http://www.atac.roma.it/files/doc.asp?r=9

http://www.atac.roma.it/files/doc.asp?r=5

FYI - The Florence museums have a free Sunday (1st Sunday of the month) like the Vatican (last Sunday).
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