Question about taking trains in Italy.

Old May 23rd, 2006, 11:57 AM
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Question about taking trains in Italy.

My husband and I plan on spending 11 days in Italy in March 2007. We don't plan on renting a car and would like to depend on trains getting to and from our destinations.

We plan on Rome for 3.5 days, florence for 3.5 days and Venice for 3.5 days.

How do the trains work? do you buy the tickets in advance? Do you buy specific tickets or get one 11-day pass?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Lisa
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 12:04 PM
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1- no pass for you! You're not nearly traveling enough by rail to warrant even thinking about the Italian Railpass - trains are very cheap in Italy compared to other European countries.
2- www.trenitalia.com is the site to get schedules and pricing info. The advance purchase fares can be about half of what you'd pay on a walkup basis but even though tickets won't break the bank. Discounted fares come on i think 60 days in advance and often sell out quickly as they are sold in controlled numbers. You often can print out your own ticket or get a code to give the conductor or to retrieve your tickets at an ATM-like machine in stations.
Most long distance trains in Italy require reservations, which comes with the ticket and discounted fares are often non-changeable, non-refundable.
But the trenitalia.com site is notoriously fickle as legions of complaints and problems in Fodors posts point out. Good Luck!
If you don't want to hassle with it just wait till you land at Rome's airport and at the train station there make all your Italian train reservations at once upon landing.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 12:35 PM
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PalQ gives good info. Also be aware though that you can't pre-purchase tickets online more than 60 days out (or is it 90?). You can, however, go to the trenitalia.com website and get an idea of schedules and costs.

We traveled from Orvieto to Florence and return and from Orvieto to Naples and back to Rome by train with quite a bit of luggage (too much!) and pre-purchased our tickets from the trenitalia website and had no problem. Part of the finicky nature of the website is, however, that you may need to alert your credit card company that you're doing this so they don't shut down your account on the trenitalia webiste for "suspicious" activity.

KC
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 12:38 PM
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I have simply bought mine at the train station for point-to-point travel. Those are major routes you are talking about offering plenty of options.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 01:24 PM
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Great - thanks for all the wonderful advice. The tickets sounds better than a pass since we're only using them to get to the cities we're staying!

THANKS SO VERY MUCH!
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 01:54 PM
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Advices you got are right! From Rome to Florence there is a "fast train" called Eurostar at least every hour, usually no problem in getting seats with advance booking either online (there is a "ticketless" choice" or at train station or travel agents.
From Florence to Venice is not so good with direct fast connections every two hours.
TRENITALIA.COM is improving, try it.

Ciao, have a good trip.

Gianni (Milan, Italy)
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