Planning train travel in Italy

Old Aug 11th, 2015, 03:10 PM
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Planning train travel in Italy

I have my hotels now booked for an Italy trip to Rome late Sept to early-mid Oct and I was wondering how the train system worked in Italy.

Like does it take a long time to get to each station and do I need to get there early before departure like airplanes?

We will be flying into Rome and leaving from Rome.

Once we land in Rome we go immediately to Sorrento and then after 4 nights we head to Florence and then another 4 nights we hit Venice and then 3 nights later we finish up in Rome.

Should I build in lead time? Any preference in morning or night travel that will optimize my time in each area? Which trains to book in advance and how long is each leg? Do trains differ in speed or anything?
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 03:33 PM
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You don't land in Rome. You land in Fiumicino. From the airport, you would take the Leonardo Express train to Roma Termini train station (it departs every 30 minutes). There are no discounts for the Leonardo, no reserved seating and all one class. You can buy at the airport train station.

At Termini, you would catch a train to Naples (the fast trains take 70 minutes and they should be hourly, but depending on time of day). You could buy in advance and perhaps get a discount, but if you miss your train you would have to buy more tickets.

Once you arrive at Naples, you take the local commuter train Circumvesuviano to Sorrento (abour 4€ and 75 minutes). It's located down a level from where your Rome/Naples train arrives. It's similar to taking a metro and there isn't online ticket purchases. Just buy in the station.

If you know when you want to depart for Naples/Florence (about 2 1/2-3 hours), Florence/Venice (2 hours) and Venice/Rome (3:45), you could go on and purchase these on Trenitalia and snag some discounts.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 03:34 PM
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You can search timetables here:

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...005817f90aRCRD

Use Italian spellings, i.e., Roma, Napoli, Firenze, Venezia. There are faster trains with fewer stops and slower trains that take much longer, priced accordingly.

You won't find the Napoli-Sorrento train ("Circumvesuviana") on the Trenitalia website as it's a light-rail commuter line. Its platforms are easy to find when you reach Naples; just look for the signage. Make sure you board a train headed to Sorrento and not Salerno or another destination.

You can buy some train tickets in advance to save money (but lose spontaneity). Unless we have a reason to take a train at a specific time, we buy tickets after we get to Italy, sometimes on the same day as travel. You may prefer to save money by booking in advance. Time of day, how early in the morning, etc., are personal preference.

Unless it's a station in a small town, and if I don't have to buy tickets, I like to get to the station about 15 minutes before the scheduled departure. Check the departures board to see which platform (binario) your train will be leaving from and then find where you need to be. If your train is delayed, that will probably already be noted on the board.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 04:38 PM
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For information in ENGLISH re, Italian trains, try www.italiarail.com. Easy and simple to use. For information on ALL rail travel in Europe, www.seat61.com
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 04:43 PM
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Italiarail is a reseller in the US that marks up the ticket price and charges a booking fee. Trenitalia is the official Italian railway system. There is another train company in Italy with limited service between major cities and it is Italo (not to be confused with Italiarail).
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Old Aug 12th, 2015, 07:02 AM
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Italiarail charges a booking fee, but they don't mark up the prices of the tickets. Their exchange rate
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Old Aug 12th, 2015, 07:33 AM
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Also, booking fee or transaction fee on Italiarail is reimbursable on seat61.com.
Much much easier to use Italiarail than Tranitalia!!
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Old Aug 12th, 2015, 08:11 AM
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While others mention about the reimbursable variable transaction fee using Italiarail, there are two other differences between Trenitalia and Italiarail.

1. Italiarail lags Trenitalia in publishing the schedule around the 120 days ahead point. The schedule appears first at Trenitalia, then in Italiarail.

2. For reservation mandatory trains, Trenitalia a) lets you select seats or b) let Trenitalia choose seats. At Italiarail, you don't get to choose the seats. Italiarail assigns you seats without giving you options. While this is from 2013, http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...servations.cfm I have just done a test booking and there is still no provision for selecting the seat before providing the payment details.

For Trenitalia U.S. CC issue, I have found that using Paypal payment option now available, I have had 100% success rate for all the tickets I have purchased at Tenitalia and selected seats I wanted on IC and Freccia trains.
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Old Aug 12th, 2015, 12:49 PM
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I used Italiarail in the past, have just booked for September and will use in the future. Hassle free, easy to use and the small fee is refunded
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 05:52 PM
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Do trains ever sell out or can I always buy at the window?

I'm trying to book our Rome to Naples train stop, it appears it's Roma Termini to Napoli Centrali, right?

Is it worth booking the Naples ticket in advance or could I be risking it since I have no idea what will be of my flight on the day of (delayed or not). How much would I be saving?

From my understanding, I should book:

-Sorrento/Naples to Florence in advance
-Florence to Venice in advance
-Venice to Roma in advance

What about to places like Almafi Coast within Sorrento or Pompeii or Pisa when in Florence?
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 07:19 PM
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>>>Hassle free, easy to use and the small fee is refunded>>there are two other differences between Trenitalia and Italiarail.>>Do trains ever sell out or can I always buy at the window?>>Sorrento/Naples to Florence in advance>>What about to places like Almafi Coast within Sorrento or Pompeii or Pisa when in Florence?
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Old Aug 14th, 2015, 04:52 AM
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Trenitialia is not that hard to use. If you register for the site and are American, you need to pull down Stati Uniti.

As to early arrival at the station: Italians don't seem to post platform departure times until 10 minutes beforehand, creating a bit of a panicked boarding (watch your belongings) as people surge toward the train and onto it before everyone has gotten off. Shades of riding a train in India, and a sharp contrast to Germany where platforms are announced at least 4 months prior. So early arrival at the station won't get you much.

There are are paper schedules posted on a big board that list likely platforms for each train. These seemed accurate from limited experience.
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Old Aug 16th, 2015, 05:34 AM
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I live in Italy, am fluent in Italian, and have an Italian credit card. I'm also a Cartafreccia member. I find Trenitalia a pain in the butt for buying tickets, although it's easy enough to use for consulting timetables and prices. The server is often moribund, and if you don't finish the transaction in a certain number of minutes, it boots you off. It often rejects the same credit card that it accepted the day before. About half the time, I give up and drive to the nearest train station to buy my tickets.

Obviously I've never used Italiarail, but if anyone finds it easier, I'd never try ti discourage them.
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Old Aug 16th, 2015, 07:47 AM
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The time you are alloting to Sorrento suggests you may benefit from the 3 day Artecard, available from the information service at the Naples train station and other places. It covers 3 days of travel on the Circumvesuviana, the buses, and the Naples metro, etc., as well as two free entries to sites such as Pompeii, then half price for any further covered sites. It pays for itself if you are goingto 3 or more sites during the three days.

http://www.campaniartecard.it/artecard_Regione.cfm
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