Rail or Bus in Italy?

Old Aug 12th, 2008, 07:51 AM
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Rail or Bus in Italy?

I'm looking for some suggestions for traveling between several cities in Italy. I am flying into Rome and staying for 3 days, then off to Florence for 5 days. Nest, I will be going to Assisi for one night and then back to Rome for another 5 days. I'm thinking about traveling by train or bus.


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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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There are frequent trains along all these routes. Check schedules and prices here:

http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 09:30 AM
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Trains are the best on these routes by far IMO. The Assisi station is a few miles below the hill town itself but taxis and shuttle buses meet trains

Just buy tickets as you go along - rarely any problem getting on trains and there are hourly trains or more on your routes. Some require reservations which you get with the ticket. Automatic ticketing machines in stations are idiot proof - i could even use them - and just take a few minutes - all in English and use your credit card - avoiding a usually long wait in line.

Or you can make all your train reservations and ticketing at Rome Airport's rail station ticket windows - all at once for all your journeys

You are not traveling enough to worry about any railpass.
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 09:47 AM
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I agree with the others, take Tren Italia.

I disagree with the others regarding the machines. The big machine is idiot proof but the small machine is only in Italian and is not idiot proof. Fortuantely, there is a nice video here on how to navigate the small machine and the big machine:

http://www.webvisionitaly.com/catego...=&ref_item=375

You can take shuttle bus right in front of train to the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi to see the Giottos etc. at the top of the hill. Don't miss, however, the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli on the plains.

A wonderful restaurant in Assisi on the plains, frequented by the locals, is Trattoria Elide:

http://www.webvisionitaly.com/catego...=&ref_item=235

Assisi, IMO, is one of the most peaceful and pleasant places to be. Enjoy.



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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 09:56 AM
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I would definitely check into buses to and from Assisi. A direct bus can sometimes be shorter (and cheaper), especially if train changes are involved. Sometimes buses can be slightly more reliable because buses seldom have mechanical problems but the trains can be prone to that.



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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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The buses in and out of Assisi are very easy to use even if you speak little or no Italian-they are pretty much foolproof as long as you know enough Italian to read the posted schedules (days of the week). The info kiosk at the bus terminal in Rome, Tiburtina, is usually staffed by at least one person who speaks English. So you have your choice of train or bus.I like the buses because you see more of the country-side, but I do realize this is a minority opinion!
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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If its Florence to Assisi, I'd stick with the train.

Get to Assisi early in the morning, go up the hill and do that sightseeing first, before all the tourists arrive by bus, hopefully b/w 8A and 11A, then as all the tourists do arrive head down the hill to the other Basilica (Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli), and your experience will be much better. You can check your luggage right at the Asssisi train station.

Taking a tour bus into Assisi IMO, is just no fun - just too many people.
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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I am NOT referring to a TOUR bus, and I don't believe the above poster is either. I am referring to public buses that travel between the towns -- the buses that Italians use when they travel in Italy.

In Firenze, I would expect to find the bus for Assisi leaving from the train station depot, but check with your hotel or the tourist office.
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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an advantage to the bus would be that it would, i think, go right up into the town center or near it and not dump you off in the valley a few miles from the top - thus saving maybe a cab fare or potentially crowded shuttle bus ride

i prefer trains but buses can also be more scenic on this route i would think
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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Personally, at the very least for Roma-Firenze, take a Eurostar for the sense of low-level flight. We took it in the other direction and it was exhilerating to be rocketing along at about 260kph/150mph
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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Yes, please, Zeppole is right: the Tiburtina Termini buses are NOT tour buses...I would not reccomend a tour bus for this instance.
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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The bus is at least 2 hours + from Florence to Assisi. Train will get you there early morning. Bus, well that will arrive with all the other TOUR buses, regardless of who is on your bus; tourists, pilgrams or locals.

One accident or other and the day is burnt on Italy's roads. No fun when on vacation.

The Florence bus depot is next door to train station. A bus from there to Assisi will be full of pilgrams and tourists, not many locals on that route, despite what others may think. Getting in and out of Florence could add time to that 2 hours + to Assisi on a perfect day.

I find in Italy best mode of travel is train. We try to stay off the roads because we hate burning the vacation on the highway.

The train will arrive on time, will provide a place to put luggage etc. Not sure why people suggest a bus excpet for seeing the country, which coutnry the trai travels too, but having done both IMO go with the train.
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 10:28 AM
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I love trains too and always take them over buses

i do disagree however that 'the train will always arrive on time' - especially these regional trains that typical do the Florence-Assis route - but yeh buses, due to the traffic clogging Florence, could be more unpredicatable

Regional train windows also can be awfully graffitied up so you may not even be able to see out IMO
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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>>The train will arrive on time<<

Webvision, since I live in Italy, I often take and recommend buses because the trains are so unreliable. You can never tell somone a train is going to arrive on time. It's an old system (with some exceptions) and mechanical problems are common occurences. When train changes are involved on some lines, it can add time to a trip that a direct bus avoids.

I take trains all the time, I definitely would take one between Rom and Firenze, even at the risk of getting "in ritardo."

But:

I suggested to Steve31 that he check out the buses. If the train ride is a one-seat ride than takes less time than a bus to Assisi, I would definitely recommend he take the train. But if the bus is faster and direct, consider taking the bus.

As for the pilgrims, I think they take the trains, too -- right? And more of them fit on those multi-car trains than on coach buses, yes? If the point is to go very early (before what time?), either a train or bus will get you there earlier, ahead of the crowds. So check out both.

As for luggage, on most intercity bus routes in Italy, you can stow your luggage in the hold of the bus. So no problem there.
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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 12:59 PM
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I thank you for your input. I may go with a combination of both, depending on the length and arrival of times. I did check out the web site
www.trenitalia.com and was a bit confused as to what would be my best option. Any suggestions on how to go about that would be appreciated. Perhaps,I should just leave that up to the person who I'm booking my ticket with when I get to Italy?

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Old Aug 12th, 2008, 01:07 PM
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A basic issue about Trenitalia: the full schedule may not be available if your travel dates are more than 60 days in the future. However, the schedule doesn't change that dramatically, so you can input dates for next week--just be sure to choose the same day of the week you plan to travel, since weekday and weekend schedules vary.

Your "best" option might vary depending on your needs. Some might choose the fastest trains, which have the highest ticket prices. Some might choose the slower trains, since they want to save money. Some might choose the train that has the most convenient arrival or departure times. It depends on your needs.

Here's a website that explains all about the Italian train system that you may find helpful:

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/trains/index.htm
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