Luggage on public transport in Italy


Apr 17th, 2012, 04:53 AM
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Luggage on public transport in Italy

Hi Fodor Forum
I am travelling with my wife in Italy in May 2012 - we are planning to visit Rome, Florence, 1 night in Modena and then Venice. I am a panicky fellow when it comes to ensuring that we can get from point A to B ensuring that our luggage is safe!

We are planning to travel by train between all these places.

My questions are:
1.Travelling from Fiumcino airport to Termini and then metro train - is it safe / able to carry roller suitcase along with us
2. Same question regarding local trains from Rome to Florence train / FLorence to Modena / Modena to Venice
3. Arriving in Florence or the other places, we might have to catch a bus to the hotel / other train stations - is it possible to carry our luggage on the local buses

THis is probably a silly and pedantic topic, but I just want to ensure that it all goes smoothly!
killersmurf2000 is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2012, 05:17 AM
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I suggest you take a taxi from Termini station to your hotel. You might even consider getting someone to pick you up at the airport. By the time you pay for two airport-train tickets, plus a taxi ride, you are close to paying what it would have cost to take a taxi all the way -- and less stress.

When you are in Rome, take the metro while you are touristing and see if you feel comfortable using it to get back to Termini to take the train to Florence.

On all the rest of your trains you shouldn't have any concerns for your luggage. It is of no interest to theives. You should always keep with you cameras, laptops, etc. When you are transiting through train station, you should keep valuables like passport and credit cards in money belt, and only carry your tickets and a bit of money in your pockets.

If you are traveling in peak tourist season, you might find getting yourself and your luggage onto a local bus in a city like Florence is not easy (and here you really need to watch out for pickpockets). But the train station in Florence has many buses that stop at the train station. Likewise, the vaporetti in Venice stop at the train station.

Overall, you really shouldn't let yourself be distracted by the thought that anyone will steal your luggage. If you are going to obsess, then obsess about being very smart about wallets, purses and passports. Follow all the good advice about wearing a money belt, not taking your driver's license with you, not bringing anything it would ruin your trip to lose and if you must bring it, securing it in places that are not back pockets or purses.

Italy does not have the worst pickpocket record in Europe, but tourists in busy areas are tempting targets and make sure you are the least tempting one of all.
zeppole is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2012, 06:44 AM
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I pretty much agree with what was just said above. I travel to Europe (especially Italy) at least a couple times a year, often as a solo female traveler, and have never feared for my luggage. I always travel with one 19" rolling bag plus a totebag or day size backpack. I do always have the valuable stuff (computer, cameras, etc) in the backpack/tote bag. I also ALWAYS wear a money belt with passport, credit cards and excess cash so the only thing in my pocket or bag is one credit card and a small amount of cash.

With that amount of luggage you can keep it with you on trains. Very large bags you have to place at the end of the cars so that can make people nervous but you rarely hear about people taking off with someones suitcase. On long distance buses you need to put any luggage (including the 19" rolling bag) in the luggage area under the bus. That can make me a little nervous that someone getting off at a stop before mine might accidentally take my bag out. But it doesn't sound like you are taking long distance buses. And if so just make sure you have the really valuable stuff in the backpack/totebags.
isabel is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2012, 06:56 AM
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Your likely risk on buses and commuter type trains is a pickpocket. Here is a recent thread:

You get divergent views depend on posters' experiences. Those who have only been to safer locations feel comfortable with lesser measures while those who have traveled through more aggressive situations would advocate more defensive measures.

Unless you are really tight for funds and want to save a few Euros, take taxi for short distances with luggage. One pickpocket would probably negate all savings you thought you might have achieved using buses with luggage. You have to avoid scam taxis, however. These are not usually stationed at official taxi depot and they would not tell you how much it would cost before the trip. I do not allow taxi drivers to take my luggage unless he utters an estimate that is about what I got from the hotel, guide books, etc.
greg is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2012, 07:07 AM
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Well, zeppole and I are agreeing again, not always the case

Isabel's advice is spot on. Take the smallest number of the smallest suitcases you can manage with. Hers sound just about perfect. You will have to lift them up three steps to get on the trains, and there will be no one to help you. A rollaboard that will fit the overhead on a plane will fit the overhead on a train, but again, you will have to lift it.

It is a courtesy to stand on a bus when you have luggage rather than take up a seat and part of the aisle. Most buses have a wide spot for strollers etc that is perfect. Even more so on the vaporetti in Venice.
Ackislander is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2012, 07:16 AM
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The Leonardo Express from Fiumicino is safe, but you do have to carry your luggage up the narrow train stairs unless you enter the first car (engine car doesn't have steps). You will probably keep your luggage with you or within sight. There are also buses to Termini where your luggage would be stored underneath. Terravision was running a 4€ special and Sit Bus Shuttle is 8€. Where is your hotel in Rome?

It's possible your hotel in Florence will be in walking distance of the train station. Most hotels/b&b's have directions how to arrive on their websites.
kybourbon is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2012, 07:29 AM
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Here is a funny little travel story - my daughter and I were on the Circumvensia train, Naples to Sorrento. We had put our bags near the front of the car so as not to take up a seat with them. We began chatting with another couple (Germans) as we traveled along but we kept glancing nervously towards our bags as we had heard some scary tales about the Circumvensia. At one point we asked the other couple, do you think our bags are safe, it's Italy. The Germans answered, yes of course they are safe, it's Italy!

Well I'm not sure I am quite as confident as the Germans were about the lack of theft possibilities in Italy but you can always take a luggage lock if you want to lock your bags in the front of the train cars. I have had some bad experiences with taxis at Termini, even in the designated taxi queue. Having someone "help" with bags, then wanting a E or five, and then the driver not using a meter. I usually stay within walking distance of Termini now. Have also had taxi problem going to port of Naples - have an idea of what the price should be and check to see if meter is on and not on any kind of "special" rate. But none of these experiences have turned me off of Italy!
suec1 is online now  
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Apr 17th, 2012, 08:58 AM
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People are unlikely to try to take a suitcase (although it can happen) but IMHO trekkig around on local public transit with one is a PIA - given how crowded buses often are (all seats takena and many standing). Although we routinely use public transit in large cities once we arrive - coming and going to the airport we always use a cab - ti's just somuch less hassle - and less to keep track of.

Only you know if the few extra euros is worth the anxiety of hauling your luggage on and off buses or subways.
nytraveler is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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I've done it, gone on regular buses in Rome, on various trains.

And that's with a big suitcase too big to be checked in.

Often, when you board a train, there's no room on the provided luggage racks or you have to put your big case between the trains. If it's not too long a trip, I will stand with it there.

Otherwise, you are rolling the dice that if someone takes a bag which isn't in the same train as the owner, it won't be yours.

I've only taken the Rome metro a couple of times and it was jam packed, Couldn't imagine taking luggage on as you would with other systems. Imagine how popular that metro would be if they ever expanded it enough to cover most of the city.
scrb11 is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2012, 03:02 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the overwhelming response - I think I might just take a Taxi from Fiumcino (as suggested by zeppole with thanks!) and use the trains as needed with taxi's in lieu of buses but trains otherwise
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