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Purchasing Train Tickets from Venice to Siena -- question!

Purchasing Train Tickets from Venice to Siena -- question!

Old Sep 6th, 2012, 10:17 AM
  #1  
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Purchasing Train Tickets from Venice to Siena -- question!

Hi all --
Although they're not available yet, I hope to purchase our train tickets from Venice to Siena in advance. Trenitalia, however, says that this is not an option. The train leaves Venice (St Lucia) and goes to Ve Mestre (local), then to Firenze, then to Siena. Because of the local/metro stop in Mestre, apparently the tickets can't be purchased in advance.

Does anyone know if it's possible to get tickets in advance if you have to go through Mestre due to travel times? We're going to be traveling on 12/24 (Christmas Eve day) so I'd really like to get tickets in advance to make sure we get to Siena before the car rental shops close (at about 1:00 on 12/24).

Any help is greatly appreciated!
JH1926 is offline  
Old Sep 6th, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Try to purchase Venice to Florence - from Florence to Siena is a regional train that often it seems does not appear or being able to book on trenitalia.com - it is a flat fare ticket that you could purchase in Venice (Florence to Siena) but better head to the bus station next to S M Novella station in Florence and hop the 3 or more per hour buses to Siena - much cheaper than train I think and quicker - trains due to mountains in between take a round about way via Empoli.

So try Venice to Florence and see what pops up.

And keep topping your post until kybourbon responds because she/he is THE resident expert on trenitalia.com ticketing - not that she/he is the only expert here but seems to be the one to always respond, expertly, to such queries and help countless folks work these nitty-gritty details of an all-too-often fickle IMO www.trenitalia.com site for novice users.

And for lots of great info on Italian trains in general check out these superb IMO sites - www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

I do not think Mestre has anything to do with this unless the train you are pinpointing only serves Mestre as some high-speed trains coming from say Trieste or Udine do - they do not go into the deadend Venice S Lucia station but keep on going - then you just take a few euro shuttle train over to Mestre - again a ticket you can buy once there.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Sep 6th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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You might not want train tickets to Siena. You might be better off with a combo of train/bus. What is your final destination in Siena?

>>>Because of the local/metro stop in Mestre, apparently the tickets can't be purchased in advance.
kybourbon is online now  
Old Sep 6th, 2012, 11:35 AM
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There is a Ve Mestre AV train an hour earlier so you would get to Florence at 9:40. You would buy an R ticket for Ve SL to Ve Mestre when you are in Venice. You can buy the Florence/Siena R ticket at the same time, but you would have to make the train that departs at 10:10 or you will miss your rental time.

The car rentals at the Florence airport should have longer pick up hours even on a holiday.
kybourbon is online now  
Old Sep 6th, 2012, 12:37 PM
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The regionals to Siena from Florence are easy tickets to get once you are there. The bus between those two cities lets you off at a more convenient location than the train.
Dukey1 is offline  
Old Sep 6th, 2012, 01:13 PM
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Thanks so much! Still trying to digest this all.

You're right -- I assumed that Mestre was the problem and it may not be. We planned on renting our car from Hertz in Siena, so I do think that a train might be the best option, but we haven't actually reserved that car yet so that's changeable. And yes, sadly, we were planning to take a 5:00 a.m. train from Venice to get there by 9:30 (giving us leeway).

Keep the ideas coming -- I'll have time to mull all this over the weekend. And thanks!
JH1926 is offline  
Old Sep 6th, 2012, 01:37 PM
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There are NO mountains in between Florence and Siena..a few hills maybe. The train ride runs through a lot of pretty flat farming territory. The biggest problem is, as I have already stated, the location of the Siena train station. It is down the hill from the main part of the city (the part you are going to want to see) and you have to take a public bus or a cab from there unless you want to hike it.

the bus lets you off in town.

If you do take the train try to get a timing that is direct, i.e., that does not require a change in Empoli which will further slow you down.
Dukey1 is offline  
Old Sep 6th, 2012, 01:46 PM
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if you decide on the train to Florence/bus to Siena option, the bus station is right next door to Florence SMN station, but a bit difficult to find - you turn right out of the train station, and the bus station is over a tiny little road, on the right.

buses go hourly to Siena I think.

where are you picking up your car in Siena?
annhig is offline  
Old Sep 6th, 2012, 02:52 PM
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renting our car from Hertz in Siena, so I do think that a train might be the best option>

The buses may well go by and stop at the Siena train station? Anyway buses are quicker and cheaper if they do and you go thru the Chiani wine district en route I believe (not sure).
PalenQ is offline  
Old Sep 6th, 2012, 03:09 PM
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Pal - the buses stop in the centre of siena, whereas the train station is at the bottom of a hill about 2 kms away.

The reason I asked about the location of the car hire office is that the train station may be more convenient for the OP's plans in Siena - or not.
annhig is offline  
Old Sep 6th, 2012, 04:10 PM
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The Hertz office is within walking distance of the train station so you would want to train. I would just pick up the car at the Florence airport and you want have to worry about an early train. The airport location will be open much later.

What is your destination in Siena? Do you have a set arrival time?
kybourbon is online now  
Old Sep 7th, 2012, 12:04 AM
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Just book Venezia Santa Lucia to Firenze SMN (Santa Maria Novella, in the centre of Florence) at www.lefrecce.it, Trenitalia's main 'fast train' website.

These trains run every hour, reservation compulsory, booking opens 90 days ahead, super-economy fares from just €9 if you pre-book, no refunds, no changes.

Florence SMN to Siena by train also runs every hour, fixed price, no reservation necessary, cannt be bought onine more than 7 days ahead, I suggest just buying at the station from one of the touch-screen machines with English language facility.

Yes, the station is a short walk uphill to the town in Siena, but better than slumming it in a mere bus, easy to find and board the train at Florence SMN, saves wandering round Florence trying to find the right bus stop disguised as a lamp post, and you can always take a taxi from station direct to your hotel if you have bags.
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2012, 09:07 AM
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Thanks so much, everyone. We're actually not staying in Siena, but a short distance outside. So the plan was to rent a car out of Siena and we'll be using an apartment as a base for about 5 days.

We're very worried about the timing. At this point, we think we'll probably rent the car out of Venice and just drive to the Siena area. This seems like it might be the best option given the timing. If it weren't Christmas Eve day, we'd have more options and wouldn't be so tied to the timing.
JH1926 is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Yes, the station is a short walk uphill to the town in Siena>

You have obviously not schelpped up from the Siena train station like I have - a long long twisting uphill walk - nothing short about it - my theory about the bus is that it may before climbing the hill to Siena proper stop at the train station (and thus Hertz office opposite it - may well not - but yeh take the train even though these regional trains can be rather uncomfortable and at times way too crowded (at other times sparsely crowded).
PalenQ is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2012, 01:02 PM
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Enjoy your stay in Siena regardless.
Dukey1 is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2012, 01:16 PM
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"You have obviously not schelpped up from the Siena train station like I have - a long long twisting uphill walk - nothing short about it "

Correct - or partly correct these days. When I was back in Siena in May, I found that the new supermarket/shopping centre opposite the station contains a series of escalators up to Siena proper. It takes a great deal of the Schlepp out of the equation.

However, I would still get off the train and get onto the bus at the bus station directly opposite the SMN train station. The likelihood is that you will still save time over the change at Empoli.
willit is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2012, 02:31 PM
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To correct a few things above:

You can't easily walk from the Siena train station to the historic center. It's a good distance and all uphill.

You can purchase tickets for the faster trains on Trenitalia 120 days in advance, not 90. December will still be a problem though because of the Dec. winter schedules being loaded.

It's obvious some people on this thread have never been on the Sita bus. The Sita bus between Florence and Siena is more comfortable and nicer than the trains on this route which are slow, old R trains. The Sita bus is like tour buses (although not quite as nice), not city buses. Your luggage is stored underneath so you don't have to worry about it. The bus has AC. The old R trains that serve this route usually don't. The bus is faster (1:15) than the train (1:30 + you would still have to factor time to the historic center - another 15-30 minutes at least). This bus doesn't stop at the train station. The bus and train cost the same (about 7€).

The last time I was in Siena (last fall - 2011) they were still working on the underground connections/remodel from the train station to the underground mall garage across the street to catch city buses. willit - Did you take the escalators all the way up? They weren't available last fall, but there were new escalators going down to the garage from the mall (they weren't there at all when I was there in 2010). Escalators from the mall up to the center would be a great improvement.

>>>but better than slumming it in a mere bus, easy to find and board the train at Florence SMN, saves wandering round Florence trying to find the right bus stop disguised as a lamp post, and you can always take a taxi from station direct to your hotel if you have bags.
kybourbon is online now  
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