need train travel advice through Italy

Jul 5th, 2001, 06:42 PM
Posts: n/a
need train travel advice through Italy

I will be traveling through italy for 2-3 weeks and would like to know if I should get a train pass in the US or is it cheaper to buy tickets in italy? I've read about eurorail passes, flexipasses, multi country and others. I have also read about a pass you can buy which helps you get 30% off tickets. how often do you have to pay a supplement fee? Thanks for any train info you can give me.
Jul 5th, 2001, 07:00 PM
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If you haven't checked Eurrail, take a look at that site. We do passes as we don't speak a lot of Italian, or other foreign language for that matter, so once the pass is validated you can free wheel. If you are good with the language it would probably cheaper to buy point to point tickets. You must buy the passes before you leave the US. We bought our last ones over the internet last summer and they were delivered in days.

Thomas Cooke has a book of train schedules that is very helpful in planning day to day. They run $15 - $20 US and are invaluable.

I know nothing of the 30% off pass, but you might find something on the Eurrail site or check the Italian National Railroad.
Jul 6th, 2001, 03:47 AM
Posts: n/a - this is the site for the Italian Rails, but I'm afraid it's only in italian...
good luck Alex
Jul 6th, 2001, 03:55 AM
Posts: n/a
The best web site that I have found for train schedules in France, Switzerland, Italy, etc is the German train system. Their site allows yuou to move earlier and later from your original request and doesn't just give you a sampling.

There is a difference between having a pass or ticket and then a reservation. A pass or ticket allows you on the train but you may not find a seat. They may be reserved.

Some of the special trains AVE, Cisalpino, etc have a supplement that is not very much. There is a big difference in price to get a reservation before leaving home and after you are there.

The price from US can be $25. each while once there it is very inexpensive (app. $5.). Unless you are on a long distance train or one that doesn't go every hour or so or at the peak of season, a few days in advance is fine.

You don't have to be in the city of departure to book reservations. You can do some or all from your first location if you choose.
Jul 6th, 2001, 05:39 AM
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We just returned from a five country tour mostly on trains which included Italy. I will post later with some of the experiences that I had which went against what others said before I left. We had rail passes which was wonderful and served us well. I made some reservations in the U.S. for two overnight trains because we were traveling with our children and I did not want to risk availability. The majority opinion seemed to be save the money and don't make reservations until you get there. I disagree. RailEurope charged only a $10 booking fee regardless of the number of reservations you needed. Once in Italy I tried to make reservations for a trip from Genova to Nice but couldn't. My family of four along with about 20 other passengers in one car alone rode the three hour trip in the aisles and in between cars. Also, two trains I had selected from Venice to Rome and Rome to Florence only had smoking cars available which I would not tolerate. We had to take different slower trains at times that were not as convenient. If you know when you are leaving a city I would plot out my itinerary and make as many reservations from home as possible. If you get a rail pass it will be first class and it is definitely nicer.
Jul 6th, 2001, 05:52 AM
Posts: n/a
I know this is the fodors site, but you should check out the site for Italian rail information. They currently have a nice summary dealing with the questions you ask. That said, I have to lengthy train trips in Italy in high season coming up shortly after my arrival in that country. I ordered our tickets AND seat reservations in advance from CIT-Tours via phone and had them in hand within a week. That way, we don't have to wonder whether we'll have a seat and whether we'll get the train we want. Yes, it cost a little more, but not outrageous at all. Upon arrival in Italy, we'll buy the remainder of our rail tickets. We'll be travelling (just 2 of us) in Italy about 9 days in late July, early August, and rail passes did not work out to be cheaper than point to point for us. If you are going at a different time of year, and/or if there are more people in your group, passes may work out better for you.

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