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Luggage on Italian Trains - Question from first-timer

Luggage on Italian Trains - Question from first-timer

Sep 17th, 2001, 07:03 PM
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Luggage on Italian Trains - Question from first-timer

Hi folks. I've traveled by train stateside, but never had to deal with a luggage situation because I've always done quick weekend jaunts with just an overnight bag, i.e., nothing big enough to bother checking. When in Italy, I'll be traveling w/2 "pull" suitcases - small pilots bag, one bag slightly larger than that. Question: will I be able to check these bags? Or do they have an area in each car where people put their luggage? What's the luggage drill, if any? Thanks!
Sep 17th, 2001, 07:24 PM
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I've only had one experience with Italian trains. Last year, I took a train from Florence to Venice. It was an express train -- probably one step below a high speed train -- and was very comfortable. There was an overhead bin in the coach but it was not large enough for my 29" suiter or garment bag. It MAY have been big enough for a 20" standard airline carry on bag. There was a closet at the end of each coach, but the exits, to store larger bags. I don't know anything about checking baggage, and I suppose the on-train facilities probably vary by train (I was in first class -- coach may have had less room).
Sep 17th, 2001, 08:08 PM
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With a possible rare exception, there is no checked baggage for train travel in Italy. You have to be able to put it over your seat (much roomier than in an airplane), or in an open compartment (about the size of a telephone booth, and usually out of your direct line of sight).

Here's a similar recent message "thread" - -


and some excerpts from my answer posted there...


May I run through "Rex's rules of luggage" for you again? (as if I actually invented these principles!)

1. Your LARGER bag should be a "standard" roll-aboard (22 by 14 by 10), and it should weigh no more than eight POUNDS empty.

2. Your smaller bag can be almost as large, but weigh no more than eight OUNCES empty (i.e., a small-medium duffel bag). Since it has no structure, it will fit crossways on the extension handle of your roll-aboard, leaving one hand free (when you need it).

3. With either bag, when packed, you should be able to lift completely ABOVE your head, and then walk up one flight of stairs, without touching the walls, or hand rails. And ideally, turn around and walk back down. Can't do it? It's too heavy.

4. With BOTH bags fully loaded, you should be able to carry them simultaneously (over your head not expected) up one flight of steps and then turn around and go back again. Touching walls or hand rails permitted on this test.

You can fail any or all of these tests and still have a good trip to Europe. but you may find yourself dependent on someone else for help. And my goal when I travel is to be able to help such a person who needs it - - not to be the person who needs the help.


Best wishes,

Sep 18th, 2001, 06:45 AM
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We took first class trains to all cities in Italy. There is no room for large suitcases. We were able to store them in the back of the car but when we stopped at a station other than the one we wanted to get off, my husband went back to watch the luggage until the train got moving again. Men came on at each stop asking for money. They got off went the train started to move again, so stand by your luggage at each stop.
Sep 18th, 2001, 06:51 AM
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I don't want to sound paranoid, but if there's only one of you, be careful how you go about loading your luggage on the train. Try to keep it as close to you as possible and in your view. Be at the train platform early so maybe you'll have extra time to get it on board. Be wary of people wanting to help you with your luggage. Watch your wallet because you might look like an easy target if you're distracted and focusing on your luggage.
The drill would be: get your luggage to the train door and try to get it all on the train at once, if possible. Don't leave any of it sitting on the platform while you wander through the car looking for a place to store it.
Sep 18th, 2001, 07:18 AM
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There's just an overhead rack to store your bags on all the Italian trains I've ever travelled on. But why take so much luggage? Last November I spent two weeks touring Northern Italy (ie winter clothing) and managed to pack all I needed into a suitcase on wheels measuring 18"x12"x6" alongwith a small backpack which I used during the day for my money,camera etc
Sep 18th, 2001, 08:18 AM
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Can you check bags on trains in Italy?
In most cases, yes. The bags are >>unlikely<< to travel with you on the same train. You will either want to check them well in advance so they will be there when you arrive, or plan on retrieving them well after your arrival ... perhaps the next day.

In general in Europe, most travelers carry their own bags. Many bags will fit on the overhead racks. Most cars have space of one kind or another at either end where bags may be left. This space is usually not especially fitted for bags ... just extra space, and there's no security.

If you'll be traveling by train you'll want to keep your amount of luggage under control.

You'll find a bit more space available for bags in first class, though this may range from quite a bit to very little additional.
Sep 18th, 2001, 11:52 AM
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My sister and I will in Italy next week and traveling all over by train. We each have one 22" rolling suitcase. I bought a cable lock so we could cable each bag together and perhaps through the overhead bin? Or, in the luggage area at the end of the car? Is there something the cable can be strung through to secure the bag? We don't want to have to watch and worry about our bags the whole time we are on the train.
Sep 23rd, 2001, 02:27 AM
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We've just returned from Italy where we travelled from Florence to Naples 1st Class on the Eurostar. The overhead space for luggage is very small and there is no room for cases between seats. There was a large luggage rack at the end of each carriage but this was not in view from most seats.

I was quite wary of pickpockets in Naples, but just made sure that we had all our bags by our feet and no cash etc in accessible pockets. One thing I did notice in Naples train station was a lot of 'blind' people who made a point of bumping into people or just brushing past a wee bit too close.
Now I could just be being paranoid, and there may well be a high proportion of visually impaired people in Naples, but it seemed a bit suss to me.
Sep 23rd, 2001, 08:29 AM
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I learned the hard way that a lot of luggage is a pain in the neck and not worth it. Now I take one smallish bag on wheels and it is so much easier. You can always do laudry in other countries, so why tie yourself down with all that baggage? Pack black clothes (they don`t show dirt) and everything matches. Black seems to be the big color in Italy anyway.
Sep 23rd, 2001, 02:34 PM
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What about travelling by Bus? Would that be better regarding cumbersome luggage?
Sep 23rd, 2001, 07:17 PM
Phyllis G.
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My daughter and I just returned from touring 5 European countries. I was determined NOT to be a slave to luggage but somehow still took too much. Carrying the luggage up never ending flights of stairs was just the worse! Trying to steer a 24" suitcase down the train aisles was also a challenge. For my next trip I am going to be brutal when deciding how much to take. Too much really is a drag!
Sep 24th, 2001, 05:17 AM
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I've found the only thing that works for me is a rollaboard carryon and a daypack. I can put the pack on my back or on top of the suitcase for pulling through stations, streets, whereever. I can lift the suitcase myself onto trains and carry it down/up the flights of stairs to change platforms at the train stations and I can carry it up the stairs to my hotel room. On the train I cable the suitcase to something, if possible, in the luggage area at the end of the car and carry my pack with me to my seat. Before we reach my station, I get up, uncable my suitcase and am ready to get off the train. We've worn out some wheels and case bottoms on cobblestones and rough terrain over several trips, but I've always been able to carry my own and never been a slave to my luggage. I remember one nice Japanese family we helped in Switzerland a few years ago who were traveling with fullsize wheeled suitcases and trying to change train platforms via the stairs--reinforced my limit for myself.

Now my challenge is this December when I combine a short business trip to Germany with a 10-day vacation--the proper mix of clothing to stay within my self-imposed luggage limit as I will once again be using the trains.
Sep 25th, 2001, 11:23 AM
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repeat earlier posting warning about people coming up and offering to help you with your bags getting on off trains. Talked to one person who said they were boarding in Rome Termini station with luggage and guy in an official-looking uniform came up to help, they refused but then found that one of their bags was gone!
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