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Italy train tickets: reserve ahead or buy there?

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Italy train tickets: reserve ahead or buy there?

Old Apr 11th, 2005, 03:31 PM
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Italy train tickets: reserve ahead or buy there?

We will be in Italy May 6 - 18, traveling from Rome to Florence, Florence to Cinque Terre and back to Rome.
Should we book our train ahead via website or wait until we are there and book a couple of days ahead?
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 06:04 PM
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When traveling in Italy, and elsewhere in Europe, we have bought our tickets the day before or day of travel. We have never had any problem with buying our train tickets this way. This way you can also be flexible if your plans change.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 06:10 PM
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I am also traveling to Italy in May and have booked some of my train reservations ahead of time on the Trenitalia web site. The reason for this was to take advatage of the 29 Euro promotion they are having. I saved a lot of money this way as I was concerned that there may not be any promotion tickets left once I arrived. You might want to just check out the price difference and see if it would work to your advantage. Have a great trip!
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 06:21 PM
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I would wait until you are there and just book a day or two ahead...providing you do not want to travel on a Friday or Sunday evening. We usually buy our train tickets from a travel agent in Italy. It is much easier than standing in line. In Rome, we use the Amex. office beside the Spanish Steps. Fewer and fewer Italian travel agents are selling Trenitalia tickets-probably something to do with the commission rates.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 06:59 PM
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Thanks. Do the travel agents charge extra? Is it worth the wait in line? How long are the lines?
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 07:10 PM
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After much debate, we booked all our train travel using the trenitalia site. We were able to take advantage of the 29 euro deal, and splurged for 1st class (only 39 euros) for the longest leg of the trip. With this method you simply board the train and go to your assigned seat, making sure you have your e-mail confirmation print out. Sometime during the trip a conductor comes by and takes it, giving you a receipt in return. I was very glad I did this ahead of time as we could simply arrive at the station and hop on the train. I guess it depends on whether you want the flexibility to change plans or not.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 07:14 PM
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We just traveled in March and had no problem getting the bargain rates on Trenitalia, although March is less busy than May, but it still shouldn't be too bad. As for the lines, we never had to wait long to buy a train ticket, no need to use a travel agent. Just buy all your point to point tickets at the train station.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 06:55 AM
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Just returned from Italy...did Rome, Orvieto, Florence, CT, Venice by train. Bought all tickets (1st class) in station in Rome. Waited in line about 15 minutes.

Advice, research times on Trenitalia website and write it all out. Just give it to the person at the window and you should be all set.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 07:41 AM
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>Bought all tickets (1st class) in station in Rome. Waited in line about 15 minutes.

Advice, research times on Trenitalia website and write it all out.<

Just wondering, if one goes to the trouble to research the train times and write it all out, why not buy the tickets at that point?

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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 07:44 AM
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So that you can change your mind if you want to when you get there. Also, I thought it was just another thing to keep track off on the flight. But good point. I was a first-timer, what did I know. Still would have done it the same way having now lived it.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 10:07 AM
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I don't like to plan my life far into the distance especially when I am on a vacation from duties, schedules and deadlines!

I buy the train tickets a day or so before I want to travel in Italy. The travel agencies just charge around 3 euro more to book a seat for you.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 10:12 AM
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OK.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 09:50 PM
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I also just returned from Italy. We had no problem booking train tickets the day before or the day of travel.

I'd recommend (when in Termini station in Rome) using the self-service computerized ticketing machines. We did not stand in line at all (!!) and this was during the mad rush on the Monday after the Pope died.

The "Fast Ticket" machines offer several languages, including English, are easy to understand, take credit cards or cash (euros, of course), you can book from any city to any city served by TrenItalia, and they provide exact change if you pay in cash. No wait, no fuss, no muss.

But a warning: In some of the smaller stations the self-service machines are only in Italian and the program isn't nearly so slick. I wasn't confident in them so I stood in line (sigh). Should have booked them all in Rome -- but I wanted that spontaneity, darnnit.

Have fun!
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 09:51 PM
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Oh, and you can change your reservations with these gizmos, too. Also reserve a seat and other nifty stuff I didn't use.
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Old Apr 16th, 2005, 04:45 AM
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Thanks everyone. I checked the Trenitalia website but the train station for Rome is listed as Tutte Le Stazione. Is that the SAME as the Termini Station?
Also, for those who have gone to Cinque Terre (MotorCity Girl, I'd love to hear from you), which station do you go through? We're travelling from Florence to Vernazza. The Trenitalia website indicates different train stations in Le Spezia: centrale and main. Which one connects to the milk train? THANKS SO MUCH.
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Old Apr 16th, 2005, 01:34 PM
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We went from Florence to La Spezia and changed to the local "milk trains" to Monterosso. There are two trains from La Spezia. One goes directly to Monterosso and the other stops at all of the towns. That's the one you want. Becareful when you get to La Spezia, we literally had 7 minutes to find our "bin" and get on the train to Monterosso. Not too big of a deal because they run all the time but we didn't know that.

Please, please, please eat at Gamerbo Rosso in Vernazza. It was one of the best meals of our trip.
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Old Apr 18th, 2005, 09:51 PM
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Patiboo,
I don't know much about Italian trains, but I am taking Italian and "tutte le stazione" means "all the stations". Hope that helps.
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 04:23 PM
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I see posts regarding the 29/39Euro promotion for Trenitalia for travel up to April 30. I'm a bit confused as I see some postings from folks who have gotten the rate, but travel is after the cut off date. Anyone want to share how they go this?
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 04:34 PM
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Have been trying to use the Trenitalia website -- can't seem to reserve seats except in Italian. Suggestions?

And here's a problem I've confronted in Spain and France, still at a loss: is there any way at ALL to know ahead of time which seats will face forward (same direction as train's motion) and which backward?
 
Old Apr 22nd, 2005, 02:47 PM
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Cassandra- There should be an English version link on the top of the site. I still haven't been able to find a solution to the promotion fare and it's availability. I did notice on their site that the April 30 travel date has been removed. I'm inquiry with our hotel in Venice (2nd time, first time they said that it wasn't available because it had 4/30 listed) again to see if it's available. Perhaps the ticket has to be purchased in Italy or a authorized agent. I"ll post the answer here when I find out.
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