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PurpleNeon Apr 6th, 2008 02:43 PM

Questions about Booking Trains in Advance for Italy
My husband and I will be travelling to Italy this May. We have been there previously but on that trip had a car the whole time and drove everywhere. This time we would like to rely on trains more. I am wondering what is the preferred method for booking trains ahead of time. I have googled "Italy trains" and several websites have popped up. Is one preferable to another? Is it best to book ahead or buy the train tickets when we are there? If I book ahead on the internet do I still need to obtain a "ticket" when we are there?

Our train travel would include:

1. Rome to Positano - currently I am thinking to train to Salerno and ferry the rest of the way.

2. Positano to Venice - I am aware that this will be a long day of travel. I am thinking to hire a driver to Naples and then train the rest of the way?

3. Venice to Florence

We will then pick up a car in Florence to spend 3 days in Siena and then return the car to Rome to go home.

Any advice is appreciated. We took one train on our last trip from Venice to Conegliano but we just bought the ticket from the Venice train station 2 days before we needed it. It seemed to be a fairly straightforward process but some of our trips are a bit more complicated this time!

Thank you!

Zerlina Apr 6th, 2008 02:54 PM

The *only* Web site that does not charge a huge mark-up is, but booking on line is either very, very difficult or downright impossible.

In any case, the only one you might want to book in advance would be Rome-Salerno, but even that is an iffy proposition: Planes have had delays; rebooking a prebought ticket is a real pain. Rome-Salerno trains are relatively frequent; you can buy the tickets at the FCO train station.

For schedules:

And you can buy all your other train tickets at a travel agency in Positano that displays the Trenitalia logo. They are not supposed to charge for the service.

ellenem Apr 6th, 2008 03:50 PM

Aside from knowing yu have your tickets already, the only other real benefit of buying online is that you might be able to get Amica fares (20% discount) for some of your trips. There are a limited number of seats available for the reduced rate. However, you still might get some Amica fares once you arrive in Italy, since they are available until midnight before the day of travel.

On my trip last month, we booked our tickets though a travel agent two days before we planned to travel. We also booked our return tickets for a week later at the sam time. We were able to get the Amica fare for our return.

OnLocation Apr 6th, 2008 07:08 PM

Hi PurpleNeon! I'm posting the following as an alternative. zerlina and ellenem and given you great advice. I'm headed to Italy for the first time and I'm one of those people that likes to have things done ahead of time. Tried to get the TrenItalia site to work - it didn't and I didn't have any luck with Pantheon travel. BUT - I was able to get all of my tickets purchased (real tickets) and delivered to my home through - they evidently have a US office in Mass. and are tied in with the ticketing system. You will pay more and for shipping. I just checked and my 2 tickets - 2nd class from Rome to Florence - they were about $10 more (total cost) than the standard fare plus $15 shipping via DHL. So this is an option. Good Luck and have fun! My wife and I are leaving in 6 days! Can't wait!

ellenem Apr 6th, 2008 07:18 PM

Forgot to be clear--the travel agent I used to book the train tickets was in Italy. In more than 20 trips to Italy--all involving some train travel--I've never booked tickets before arriving in Italy.

ira Apr 7th, 2008 05:47 AM

Hi PN,

Train schedules, prices and tickets are at

You can also buy all of your tickets the day of arrival at the FCO train station or at Rome TE.

You may purchase Amica fares as late as the night before, if they are available.

1. A very good idea.

2. Why not go back to Salerno and train to Venice from there?

During the day you will have to change trains.

The direct night train leaves at 01:30.

Enjoy your visit.

I suggest dropping your car in Orvieto or Chiusi and taking the train into Rome, unless you were planning on driving directly to FCO.


caroltis Apr 7th, 2008 06:13 AM

www.raileurope is what I used last year and I found it was SO much easier than Trenitalia. I purchased all of our tickets ahead of time just because I wanted to have have the assurance of having them "in hand". And be aware that if you get 1st class seats, it seemed like they were always the furtherest cars from where we were waiting.

bobthenavigator Apr 7th, 2008 07:11 AM

Just buy the tickets in Rome. Raileurope is for people who do not care about the cost.

carolemg Apr 7th, 2008 07:23 AM

Yeah I would agree that rail europe it a rip off!! I have been using the english version of trenitalia and its great for timetables etc - to find out the cost of a journey just enter a date to travel this week and it will tell u - all very reasonable rates compared to rail europe.... if ure not confident asking for tickets at the stations then there are self-service machines you can use instead.

Im also going in May with my bf cant wait! :D buon viaggio!!! x x x

fmpden Apr 7th, 2008 07:31 AM

RailEurope is a sucker play -- pay at least 20% and no discount fares are every available. There is no advantage at all to buying tickets in advance for Italy.

PurpleNeon Apr 7th, 2008 04:13 PM

Thank you all very much for your time and advice.

I think that we are comfortable with the actual process of buying the tickets while in Italy - our one (although limited) experience seemed to be fairly straightforward.

I was concerned that trains may "sell out" in the same way that you can lose out on plane seats but it sounds like that has not been the experience of you folks.

To be honest I'm not sure what an Amica fare is? How does one qualify for that?

Ira - the reason that I thought we would do the driver/Naples thing when leaving Positano was just to have to rely on one less mode of public transportation in what will likely be a long day. Would you agree with this thought or is the ferry to Salerno user-friendly, usually on time, etc? I'd like the experience of taking the ferry but thought it would be less anxiety-causing (mine, not my husband's!) to do this on the way there when we really don't care if it takes longer.

I appreciate the continued advice and welcome any more.

Thank you!

snorklesue Apr 7th, 2008 04:47 PM

We are leaving for Italy in 2 weeks-can't wait! Just found out that our flight from Catania to Genoa has been delayed. We plan to take a train from Genoa to Monterosso to meet our daughter and friends and really want to make the 17:48 train which says "mandatory reservation" on the website. Can we buy train tickets in Siciy for the train in Genoa or should we get them online and hope our plane is on time? Thanks.

ellenem Apr 7th, 2008 08:03 PM

If you were ordering your tickets online, there would be a drop-down menu for type of fare. It defaults at "Standard" but "Amica" is another choice on the list. When purchasing in Italy you can also try to get this same discounted fare--it's not for online orders only. The only qualification is that the fare is available up to midnight the day before you travel--cannot be booked for same-day travel.

Seats for this reduced fare are limited, similar to frequent flier seats on airlines. However, you are traveling popular routes that have frequent trains, so you may be able to get some Amica fares, especially if you book a few days in advance.

ira Apr 8th, 2008 04:12 AM

Hi PN,

>Ira - the reason that I thought we would do the driver/Naples thing when leaving Positano was just to have to rely on one less mode of public transportation

A limo is much more convenient. It is also about 100E.

A ferry will be about 10E.
Hi Sue,

>Can we buy train tickets in Siciy for the train in Genoa or should we get them online

You can probably get them in Sicily, if the ticket agent is in the mood.

There are trains at 17:48, 18:11 and 18:41 - no need to worry.

Your 17:48 doesn't offer an Amica fare because it is only 8E.


adlmllr Apr 8th, 2008 07:33 AM

I'm having a great deal of trouble finding schedule information from traisn from Rome to Orvieto, for our trip in June. Specifically, when I check the Rail Europe site, I see lots and lots of trains leaving throughout the day (Sunday, June 29th). When I check the Trenitalia site, however, I can only see one train.....and 7:10 in the evening.

Can anyone give me some tips to figure out when trains are actually running? We were hoping to get to Orvieto by early afternnon.

Many thanks!

Zerlina Apr 8th, 2008 07:41 AM

There are lots of trains from Rome to Orvieto. Put in next Sunday's date, and you will see them all. There is a schedule change for the summer months, but the schedules only vary by a few minutes, if that.

adlmllr Apr 8th, 2008 07:45 AM

Thanks! I was a bit worried about only the one train showing up, but it makes sens that there'll be a shift in times for the summer. Will keep checking as the time grows closer.

snorklesue Apr 9th, 2008 10:37 AM

One more question please. Can we get on the train to Monterosso at the Genoa airport or do we need to take a bus or taxi to the station in the city?

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