Metro in Rome and Train to Florence

Dec 25th, 2004, 06:49 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Metro in Rome and Train to Florence

I'm trying to plan a trip to Italy for a girlfriend and myself in May and would like some advice.
We'd like to visit Rome & Florence but the "open Jaw" flights were out of our price range so I was thinking of flying in and out of Rome. On the day we arrive in Rome Iíd like to take the train to Florence, spend 4 days there and then take the train back to Rome and spend 5 days there. Is that feasible? Iíve done some research and everyone says itís easy to take the train but how does the luggage work? Does it work like the airlines and can we check in luggage?

Also, is the Metro safe in Rome? I havenít reserved a hotel yet (Iím planning to do that within the next couple of weeks) but Iím looking at hotels that are near Metro locations and am planning on using the Metro to get around but I wanted to make sure itís safe and if that is really the best way to get around other than walking?

Thanks for any tips you can give.
mimo36 is offline  
Dec 25th, 2004, 07:37 PM
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Your plan sounds good. From the Rome airport FCO there is an airport-Termini train that will take you to the main train station in Rome and from there you can go on to Florence. Or you could change planes in the airport and fly to Florence.

There is a Helpful Information on Italy thread that has lots of good info

Lots of info about trains in Italy

Some trains require reserved seats; on others reservations are optional, but you could end up standing.
Most seats have overhead racks which will hold small bags. At the end of each car is a large double-decker luggage rack where you can put larger bags assuming there is room. You can bring with you a thin cable with lock to secure your bag if you like. If the train originates in Rome and you board early you should find room for your bag, but keep them manageable.

Rome is not a city where I would be concerned about booking a hotel near a metro stop because the metro stops are relatively few and far between and I didn't find the metro in Rome to be as useful for my sightseeing as it is in other cities. If you stay in a central area, say in the area between and around Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and Campo dei Fiori, you can walk to almost all locations, even to the Vatican which would be the longest walk you might have to take. The Borghese Gallery is also recommended and is farther away, but you could take a taxi there.
Rome has good bus lines but heavy traffic can make the going slow.
Rome is safe, the only caution is about pickpockets, and if you take simple precautions and keep your wits about you, the odds are you will be fine.
Keeping your wits about you again includes having manageable luggage, not letting yourself be approached by strangers offering help or pretending to ask for help, and keeping wallets and credit cards secure.

I have a long file on Rome; if you'd like to see it, email me at
[email protected]
elaine is online now  
Dec 25th, 2004, 07:39 PM
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By the way, are you visiting Italy from the USA, or somewhere else?
Florence doesn't receive direct international flights from North America, I don't think, so this wouldn't really be an open jaw flight in the usual sense.
On my first trip to Italy I visited Florence (flew from Venice), but in order to get home to JFK I still had to go back to the Rome airport.
elaine is online now  
Dec 25th, 2004, 07:41 PM
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Although we have never based our hotel choices in Rome based on proximities to the metro, we have taken the metro in Rome before (and in Paris, London, Munich, Vienna, NYC - our hometown, and the BART in SF - our other hometown) and found it just as safe as any other metro. Just like in any other metro, one has to be street smart.

Getting back to hotel locations in Rome, we usually stay in areas walkable to and around the Centro Historico. We also have taken the buses more than we did the metro, anyway.
ezlivin is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 01:17 PM
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Hi mimo,

As noted, it is very easy to do FCO to Florence SMN.

I suggest that you allow 3 hrs from the time your plane is scheduled to land to get to Rome TE station. That way you won't be disappointed.

You can buy your tickets to Florence online at or at the train station at FCO.

ira is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 01:22 PM
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If you are planning to spend your time in Rome visiting the usual sites that tourists visit, you really won't need the metro that much....perhaps only to go the the Vatican. So, I wouldn't place such a high priority for hotels on their proximity to a metro station.
HowardR is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 03:04 PM
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As others have indicated, the Rome Metro does not in any way "blanket" the city to the extent of other city Metros (Paris comes to mind) do.

Whatever you do, if you DO use it try buying your tickets at the local tobacco stores or the newstands as I have found the ticket machines in the Rome Metro stations to be somewhat unreliable and they can be difficult to use, too. You sometimes need exact change AND the order you put the coins in can make a difference..FORGET that hassle! I've always found the Metro in Rome to be safe but ALWAYS take care with any valuables...moneybelts are useful and the pickpockets are VERY out at Termini, too, and I mean INSIDE the station.

I find Rome to be very walkable including the Borghese Gallery (but I don't mind walking and for many that place is "too far out" but there is a lot of opinion difference as to where you should stay. Some folks cannot seem to get enough of the Spanish Steps area while others insist you stay at the Navonna area. You'll probably end up having to book a hotel in an area you feel is the best for you and after you actually GO there you may change your mind about the "best" location to stay in (which you can act on when you return the next time and you probably will!)...but that's probably what has happened to many of us.

I am not certain but you may be able to buy your train tickets to Florence at the airport station...if not, you can buy them at Termini in Rome itself. Be aware that if you decide to take the Italian Eurostar train(s) to and from Florence that the seat reservation is INCLUDED as part of the ticket since all the seats are reserved.

Wheeled luggage, if you don't already have it, will be a real plus since as someone has already pointed out you have to carry your luggage onto the trains. Sometimes, besides the overhead storage and storage at the end of the coaches there is room behind some of the seats and even under the seats for luggage.

Have a great trip.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 03:26 PM
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For some reason I feel the need to reiterate what others are saying about the Metro. It really isn't very useful for most tourist sites. And while it isn't a den of violence, pickpockets thrive. Finally, I second staying near Piazza Navona or Campo Fiore, with Piazza Navona being my first choice. It is central and a beautiful spot.
McBetsy is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 03:50 PM
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You gotta travel light when doing the trains. There is no baggage check-in service. If you've accumulated baggage along the way such as shopping items, be prepared and bring a catch-all bag with you to throw in things that you haven't had time to pack away, or for things you need to keep handy at a moment's notice. The less number of pieces you have, the less stressful it will be. I met a group of college aged kids from the US traveling by train in Italy. They must've had 30 "pieces" of bags. Mind you, some were small plastic grocery bags, dept. store shopping bags, duffles, bags of snack foods, suitcases, etc., but a lot of pieces. I watched in amazement as they sweated carrying the bags on, then carried them all off at their stop at Lake Como (the train stopped only for 5 minutes, if I recall right). They were smart enough to at least count the number of pieces each time they got on and off, but they were pretty flustered.
offlady is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 04:28 PM
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Yes, the metro in Rome is lame when compared to other European capitals. Only a few lines and far apart stops. The reason is that the Eternal City is filled with ruins beneath the street level. Just about anywhere they dig means relocating or destroying 2000 year old monuments. It's impossible to develop a comprehensive metro system while preserving their underground treasures. It's not uncommon to spot portion of a Roman column or aqueduct through a sidewalk rain gutter!

Walking and local bus is your best bet. We got a multi-day bus pass that also took us to the Vatican. Very convenient.
carcassone is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 08:37 PM
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I have been to Rome 3 times and have some experience with the metro. First of all it is easy, but gets wierd later at night. Going to Florence is fun but go on the fast Eurostar!!! And spend a little extra and go 1st class. The food is great and everyone has a good time on the Eurostar.
Rome will wear you out, but enjoy it all, there is so much to see. Ciao
scotty1023 is offline  

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