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Pre-Booking Train Tickets

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Dec 1st, 2015, 11:12 AM
  #1
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Pre-Booking Train Tickets

Hey everyone!

My husband and I are travelling through italy for two weeks during the end of June/beginning of July (aka busy season). We are flying into Rome...

-Taking a train into Florence (well, specifically Figline Valdarno....not sure if I have to get off in Florence and switch traings for this, anyone know the answer to this?) for 5 nights. Renting a car in Figline Valdarno for 3 of these days
-Taking a train from Figline Valdarno (may have to travel back to Florence...not sure) to Sorrento (I think we will have to get off in Naples and then take a water taxi or some train over) for 4 days
-Taking a train from Sorrento to Rome to stay a few days before flying out.

So my question is, since it is slightly busier time of the year, should I book these train tickets in advance. I, obviously, know I cant book them this far in advance, but like a month or two.

Thanks for any help! If anyone has any tips on Tuscany or Sorrento, I would love to hear too!
LizDMac2424 is offline  
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Dec 1st, 2015, 11:45 AM
  #2
 
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Well, you can go by regional train for about 27 euros, fixed fare, no transfer. This will be a pretty ride.

Or, save about an hour and a few euros by buying a frecciarosa train to Firenze SMN for 19 euros 120 days in advance, then buying a 5 euro regional train ticket to Figline Valdarno from there. This ride is in tunnels a lot.
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Dec 1st, 2015, 11:47 AM
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Above assumes some time spent in Rome. If going directly from the airport, you may not want to by a non-changeable ticket in advance at all.
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Dec 1st, 2015, 11:58 AM
  #4
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Yeah we would literally be heading to Figline Valdarno straight from the airport because we are hitting up Rome on tail end of the trip. Didn't want to have to stay in Rome twice.
LizDMac2424 is offline  
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Dec 1st, 2015, 02:48 PM
  #5
 
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Buy tickets here 4 months in advance:

http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en
RonZ is offline  
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Dec 1st, 2015, 08:46 PM
  #6
 
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Hey Liz:

So that's easy, buy a one ticket straight thru from FCO to your destination switching at Tibutina. There's no discount for early purchase on regional trains. You catch a commuter train from the airport (not the express train to Termini station) to Tiburtina.
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Dec 2nd, 2015, 04:31 AM
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The regional trains mentioned by Tom_mn have advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage is that you would avoid the change in Florence, and there would be no advantage to reserving the tickets in advance. And, as Tom says, the ride is prettier. The disadvantages are that they don't run very often and the trip will take about an hour longer than taking the fast train to Florence and changing trains there.

The fast trains may still have some discounts left when you get to the airport, but the best discounts have to be bought in advance. I prefer to pay more and buy my tickets at the airport train station, when I know which train will be best to get me there.

In any case, buy your tickets at the airport. There is a travel agent across from the ticket window who will sell tickets to any destination in Italy; the last time I was there, the ticket window was selling tickets only as far as Rome.

Whether you take the fast train or the regional train, you can change at Tiburtina station. The fast train and the regional train both stop at Termini and at Tiburtina. The Leonardo Express train to Termini station costs €6 more per person than the FL1 train (usually to Fara Sabina, but sometimes with a different final destination, although all stop at Tiburtina.) The Leonardo Express, although more expensive, doesn't really save you any time, and goes only to Termini station.
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Dec 2nd, 2015, 05:40 AM
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FWIW: When I checked fares at trenitalia for a date in March, it was 27 euros for the regional train fare whether you started at FCO or Tiburtina. It subtracted 8 euros from the cost of the Tiburtina to Figline Valdarno fare to cover the commuter rail segment from FCO to Tiburtina to make both tickets the same price.

It can pay off to play around with fares and see what comes up when buying online.
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Dec 2nd, 2015, 07:58 AM
  #9
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This is really great information. Thanks for all your advice. In a few months, I'll head onto the Trenitalia website and play around with some of the schedules.

Originally I was thinking of trying to book the fast train. However, if there is a regional train that would take me from FCO to Figline Valdarno without changing trains, I think the time differential of the fast train vs regional may even out.

I have been to Italy once before and took a regional train from Venice to Verona. However, we were able to grab those tickets day of. Just wasnt sure if that was usually an option with the fast trains.
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Dec 2nd, 2015, 08:35 AM
  #10
 
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It's very rare for a train to sell out completely. Sometimes 2nd class (called Standard class on the Frecciarossa trains) sells out, but you can almost always get a seat in the other class(es). The SuperEconomy tickets aren't available on the day of travel, but they would be sold out long before that, anyway. The Economy tickets are available up until the departure of the train, unless they're sold out. I just checked, and there's a train leaving Rome in half an hour from now, for which you can still get economy tickets. I have to say, though, that tickets on the morning trains are in higher demand, and that the discounted tickets sell out when there are still lots of seats left.

Even considering that you wouldn't have to change trains in Florence, the trip on the regional train would still take longer. Still, that would probably be my choice. By the time I got to Florence, after a long flight, I don't think I'd enjoy changing trains.

In fact, later this month, we'll be returning from Malpensa to our home in Le Marche after a visit to the US. We've done this twice before, taking the train to Milano Centrale, then a fast train to Bologna, and the regional train to a station near where we live. I don't mind the change in Milan, because we're still wide awake, but the change in Bologna always seems like a real chore. This next time, we're taking a slower direct train from Milan to avoid that second change of train.
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Dec 2nd, 2015, 04:35 PM
  #11
 
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There may be a regional train or 2 per day that goes all the way from FCO to your destination but I was seeing in the schedules a commuter rail to Tiburtina then a regional train from there.
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Jan 12th, 2016, 01:38 PM
  #12
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So just a quick followup question. Our plans have changed some, as we are now flying into Florence and out of Rome. Our train rides will now be from Florence to Sorrento and then Sorrento to Rome. Would I have any issues with train tickets selling out for these trips? If not, I am just going to buy as we go cause I would prefer to be more flexible with travel days!
LizDMac2424 is offline  
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Jan 12th, 2016, 01:52 PM
  #13
 
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Originally I was thinking of trying to book the fast train. However, if there is a regional train that would take me from FCO to Figline Valdarno without changing trains, I think the time differential of the fast train vs regional may even out.>

and with regional trains you can just wait until the day of travel to buy that ticket - flat fare never changes and very cheap - discounted fast train tickets I think cannot be changed from the specific train they are booked on nor refunded - miss the train and you're out. Regional trains may even be less crowded than fast trains (or at times crowded too) - first class costs a bit less on regional trains and I would go that way - being sure you have lots of empty seats to chose from - especially in first class.

For lots of great info on Italian trains check www.seat61.com - good info on discounted tickets and for general info like difference between first and second class, etc www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

regional trains can never sell out because they do not even accept reservations and you can always board with a valid ticket - there are so so many high-speed trains that they rarely sell out =- the worst case scenario would be to have to go first class and to me that has its perks anyway.

The reason by buying early is to get discounted tickets - NO reason to buy regional trains early.
PalenQ is offline  
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Jan 12th, 2016, 01:56 PM
  #14
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Thank you so much. That is exactly what I needed to know. Just wanted to make sure I could show up day of in Florence and get a train to Sorrento (well, Naples first) and then leave Sorrento and get to Rome by train without pre-booking anything.

Thanks for the tip on first class. We will definitely look into that cost differential....especially for the longer Florence to Sorrento route!
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Jan 13th, 2016, 12:42 PM
  #15
 
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You can only buy tickets to Naples and then you follow the cisgns for CircumVesuviana Trains - the commuter rail line that ends in Sorrento - right at the CircumVusiana station, adjacent to Naples Centrale/Garibaldi- just a few euros - not possible to buy in advance and if they were NO reason to do so - like a metro.
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Jan 13th, 2016, 01:32 PM
  #16
 
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To be valid on regional trains, a ticket has to be date-stamped in a little green, white, and red box near the track. Since these tickets are not sold for a specific date, they need the date stamp to prevent them from being reused. If you board the train without stamping the ticket, it's as if you were traveling without a ticket.
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