Need to pre purchase train tix Italy?

Sep 26th, 2007, 05:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 28
Need to pre purchase train tix Italy?

Hi everyone,

We will be travelling in around 4 weeks in Italy. Will it be necessary to pre purchase our train tickets for Venice-Florence and Florence-Rome? It is easy to buy at station, will these trains be full? It is on weekdays we will travel in the morning?
Jetmel is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 05:57 AM
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My suggestion is when you get to your first city go to a local travel agency with a Trenitalia sticker in the window. Purchase all your train tickets. They will not only NOT charge you anything extra, but will be better at assigned seats than you will be yourself on the website, and you may end up with some special pricing you didn't know about.

Sadly train station lines for advance tickets can be nightmarish. And from your post I assume you are starting in Venice which is often the worst. I've been in that station and witnessed people crying because they missed their trains while standing in the ticket line for an hour or more.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 06:03 AM
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Ditto, NP
ira is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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Three things...first, NeoPatrick's way will work and while I DO understand that that ticket lines can be daunting, this is much less so at the time of your trip (late-October) so you may have that option as well.

Second, there is an alternative to that line, if you are able to use an ATM at home, you already have the techno-savvy to use the computerized ticket purchase kiosks in every large station.

Third, this is a question that gets asked frequently on this forum and if you do a search on advance tickets, Italy, you will see vehement debates on this subject.

Have a great trip!
LJ is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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These are some of the busiest railway lines in Italy so there are lots of trains and no chance that they will all be full. Even if all the through trains from Venezia to Firenze were fully booked, there are hourly trains from Venezia to Bologna with no seat reservations, and lots of trains from Bologna to Firenze (all trains from Venezia to Firenze go via Bologna).
To avoid a long wait for the station ticket office, use a travel agency, a ticket machine, or go to the ticket office at a quiet time, such as in the early evening.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 06:44 AM
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You need not stand in any ticket lines in Italian stations - in January i played around extensively with the automatic ticketing machines in several Italian stations

and they are idiot proof and all in English and take American credit cards.

In a matter of minutes you have your ticket and there are rafts of these machines in stations IME

that said a travel agent who does not charge can be a help, i agree - but there seems no reason to stand in lines at ticket windows.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 06:47 AM
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It's a hard call.

To prepare for our last trip, we purchased all tickets on-line on Trenetalia's website as soon as we could (you can't buy them way in advance)

Bad news: Then we had to cancel the trip. (sigh)
Good news: Everything was refunded to our credit card, less a service charge.

We purchased in advance because we had some trouble in Naples on a previous trip - ended up with the wrong ticket - had to run for the train. Never did find our reserved seats and it was hectic. So I was trying to have everything run smoothly and not have any hassles. (It was easy in Rome and there are people there with jackets on(red?)who helped us.)

If you decide to buy as you go, I agree with Patrick. When you arrive, find a place that speaks your language and purchase the tickets and reservations for when you are leaving. If done in advance you will eliminate that stress!

Good luck and have a wonderful trip.
Brahmama is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 05:04 AM
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Thank you all for your help. I will take your advice and spurce tix on arrival. Not long to go!!!
Jetmel is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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Just wondering if anyone is knowledgeable about Trenitalia's web site to purchase train tickets and can help me with this question. I'll be travelling to Italy in late October and looked into pre-purchasing tickets from Florence to Cortona. Several of the departure times had "no" next to the purchase tickets area. Does this mean these trains are full or that advance tickets are not sold?
travellinwill is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 11:09 AM
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Is the train an R? If so, advanced tickets are not sold.
ellenem is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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probably because many of these are regional trains without any reservations possible - no reason to buy these tickets in advance IMO as they will be the same price there and dirt cheap.

Well if was not so fickle you could buy ahead but the automatic ticket machines in Florence' train station are idiot-prove - at least i had no problem using them in January for such tickets.

Ira is one expert on Fodors who seems to have a firm grasp on the machinations of
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 11:26 AM
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Thank you both.
Here's another question: I'm looking for a reeeeallly romantic place in Tuscany (I chose cortona but wonder if there'll be enough to do) This will be a follow up to two nights in Florence. I'll be staying in that area for two nights. Thanks in advance for anyone's thoughts.
travellinwill is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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I've only heard to Cortona is one of the nicest old towns in tuscany-Umbria but for things to do - Perugia, Assisi and many smaller hill towns are a short train or bus ride away.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Actually, the Trenitalia site is easy to use. The problem is when you pay. Make sure you tell your credit card company you will be purchasing train tickets from the site and they shouldn't reject your payment. If they reject your payment and you try several times or use two different cards, your registration with the site is canceled.
BarbaraJ is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 11:41 AM
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Thanks PalenQ and BarbaraJ
travellinwill is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 11:47 AM
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Are you thinking of going to Cortona for the day or to stay there? You should be aware that the train station is a long way down very steep hills from the town. We arrived by train and found the next bus would be well over an hour from then. We tried calling the "only" taxi in town but there was no answer. We started walking, and walking, and walking. It took us about an hour to get up to the town. No bus or taxi ever passed us. Fortunately we were later able to get a bus back to the train station.

NeoPatrick is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 12:20 PM
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I was thinking of staying in Cortona for two nights and maybe using that as a base for some other day trips within short distance
travellinwill is offline  
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