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Italy Trains: Worth First Class?

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Apr 7th, 2012, 08:39 AM
  #1
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Italy Trains: Worth First Class?

Is it worth it to spend extra for the first class train ticket on Italian trains?

In a three-week trip in Sepetmber-October, I'll be using trains from MIlan to Venice, Venice to Florence and then, later on, Naples to Rome.

Is it worth the extra cost?
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Apr 7th, 2012, 08:45 AM
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Unless you have some disgusting skin allergy I can think of no reason on those trains to ge first class, Italy has a very good high speed service and apart from a certain amount of shouting and waving of hands you will find standard class perfectly good.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 08:47 AM
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I assume you are talking about the fast AV trains. If so, you will pay about 30% more for 1st class over 2nd class. Naples/Rome travel time is only 1 hour. Milan/Venice is 2 1/2 hours and Venice/Florence is 2 hours. You didn't mention getting to Rome, but Florence/Rome is 90 minutes travel time.

In 1st, there are three seats across while 2nd has four. 2nd class on the AV trains has more room than economy on planes. Here is a picture of 2nd class on AV.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ssainterno.jpg

On a few AV trains in Italy, there will be a couple of other class choices (business and premium).
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Apr 7th, 2012, 08:58 AM
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I never opt for 1st class on trains, anywhere. Others will disagree vehemently. As long as I have a seat and someplace to store my luggage, I'm happy.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 09:11 AM
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While your trip is too far off to purchase tickets now, if your itinerary is set, you can save some euro by booking online in advance. Mini Fares as cheap as 9€.
http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...0080a3e90aRCRD
kybourbon is online now  
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Apr 7th, 2012, 09:46 AM
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cdispoto - GAC wrote an excellent article outlining the differences between 1st and 2nd class travel on Trenitalia; see it here: http://tinyurl.com/1st-or-2nd

I would agree with GAC's assessment that unless you are traveling on a 4-5 hour route ... 2nd class on the shorter runs is a great option. All your runs look to be less than that timeframe. 1st class may be less crowded, but with a MINI fare, the 2nd class tickets are so inexpensive. Good Luck!
.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 09:56 AM
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I haven't taken the Naples-Rome train but I have taken the Milan-Venice route twice and was a regular passenger on the Venice - Bologna- Florence - Rome route on both the Frecciargento and Freccirossa lines in both 1st and 2nd class. I only bought 1st class when 2nd class was full. For travel of this distance, 1st class is likely not necessary but if you are buying your ticket from the station immediately before travel, there may not be any choice!
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Apr 7th, 2012, 09:59 AM
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This type of question comes up often without defining the metric of what it means to "worth extra cost."

Consider a similar but more familiar question, "Is it worth renting a bigger car?" You realize there are many factors defining what it worth.

As Kybourbon mentions, there are differences. Whether it makes material difference depends on your personality, how crowded the train may be, whether it is essential to be able to sit together, whether it is important to be able to access the carry-on size luggage near you, etc.

If I expect the train to be very crowded and I want to access the luggage on board, for example if it is the train I need to take right after landing in Italy, I might go for the 1st class. If it an off peak time travel, I would go for the 2nd class and still have all the space I need for my luggage. On very crowded ES trains, I have seen so much luggage in the 2nd class, they were blocking corridors.
greg is offline  
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Apr 7th, 2012, 10:01 AM
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I'm very tall and so is my husband and we like to sit opposite each other on trains. We always buy first class tickets for the extra leg room when they are available. They also tend to be quieter when it comes to cell phone chatter.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 10:23 AM
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rineurope - This sentence under the 2nd class picture needs to be corrected as it's a pic of 2nd class above it, not 1st.

>>>Seats
The seats in 1st class (AV 1st class pictured above) <<<
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Apr 7th, 2012, 10:35 AM
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I think the general rule is 4 seats across = 2nd class, 3 seats across = 1st class. The image in rineurope's link appears to be 2nd class to me.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 11:12 AM
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kybourbon: Thanks for the catch - The caption under the photo was correct and I do believe there was formerly a 1st class photo there?? The blog currently has 170+ posts with 1800+ pages and 4200+ photos uploaded. So proofing, correctly, and constantly updating takes a lot of time!
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Apr 7th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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Those are quite short trips and 2nd class should be fine - UNLESS you have a lot of luggage (will be more room for it in first) or you want larger/more comfy seats (some people find this an advantage).
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Apr 7th, 2012, 12:46 PM
  #15
GAC
 
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The Frecciarossa, Frecciargento and Frecciabianca trains have 8.5 centimeters more seat/shoulder room in first class seats (because first class is 3-across versus 4-across in second class).

Differences in leg room between first and second classes on these trains depends on the specific railcar configuration and number of seat rows. There CAN be up to five centimeters more leg room in first class on these trains, or no additional leg room!

On the Intercity trains with the traditional separate seating compartments, there is a bit more leg room in first class (because there are only 9 compartments per first class railcar versus 11 compartments in second class), but absolutely no extra seat/shoulder room (because seats are always 3-across).

On all of these trains, the seat FABRIC is usually "nicer" in first class.

On the Frecciarossa and Frecciabianca trains, there is a complimentary coffee, soft drink/juice and salty or sweet packaged snack, together with an Italian-language newspaper on morning departures, in first class. You can purchase the beverages/snack items if travelling in second class.

Some solo travellers (and even couples, in facing seat arrangements) have expressed the pleasure of being seated in the solo seat row on the Freccia trains in first class, thereby having nobody with whom to "rub shoulders or elbows".
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Apr 7th, 2012, 12:50 PM
  #16
GAC
 
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CORRECTION: The free beverage/snack service noted above concerns only the Frecciarossa and Frecciargento trains (NOT the Frecciabianca).

LUGGAGE ROOM: On some railcars of the AV fast trains, the oversized luggage racks at the railcar end are larger in first class. On other railcars of the AV trains, there is no appreciable difference in size between classes of service.

There are always fewer seats per railcar in first class, compared to second class.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 12:52 PM
  #17
 
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IMo no. I've laways found standard class absolutely fine, and not crowded - never had a problem getting 4 or 6 seats between two to allow plenty of room for legs & smaller bags.
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