Rome/Naples Train Choices

Apr 11th, 2011, 09:07 AM
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Rome/Naples Train Choices

This is an update of a previous thread of mine:

Travellers should know that, in Italy, not all trains are created equal, and there are significant fare differences between the various categories of trains, from the fastest, sleekest and most expensive Alta Velocita' (Frecciarossa and Frecciargento "AV") trains, to the slowest and cheapest regionale ("R") trains, which don't take seat reservations and stop at many smaller stations. With some advance planning, it is possible to save quite a bit of money by understanding the differences in fares and travel times when there are several train categories to choose from.

A good example of where there are lots of opportunities to save money is found on the Rome/Naples route, which is covered by six different categories of trains: AV, ES, IC, ICN, EXP and R (in descending order of cost).

Many travellers choose to visit Naples as a daytrip out of Rome. Leaving in the early morning, and returning in the late afternoon or early evening, travellers have many different trains to choose from. Here are HINTS of how to save lots of money by not selecting the fastest and most expensive trains:

Take Intercity (IC) trains when available, rather than AV or ES trains, which cost considerably more. The IC train costs less than half of the AV train. There are early morning IC trains to Naples, and late afternoon IC trains back to Rome. A round-trip Rome/Naples on the IC train costs 44 Euros, versus 90 Euros on the AV train.
The IC trains make three short en-route stops between Rome and Naples, but otherwise are quite acceptable as a cost-saving alternative to the faster AV and ES trains. The IC trains are all supposed to have air conditioning, and are non-smoking (as are the other trains).

On a round-trip daytrip, I do not recommend taking the slowest and cheapest trains, the unreservable and undiscountable "regionale" ("R"), because there is a "time value" of money, and time is better spent touring in Naples than sitting on a train. However, on a one-way trip, taking the "R" train (which has only second class railcars) saves over 50% of the cost of the IC train, and saves nearly 35 Euros compared to the cost of the AV train. The "R" trains don't have reserved seats, but this is usually not a problem, as they originate in Rome and terminate in Naples (and vice-versa), so travellers can almost always find a seat simply by boarding a little early. The “regionale” trains are supposed to have air conditioning, although this may not be true in all cases.

As for the other trains (AV, ES, IC, ICN, EXP), they ALL have reserved seating automatic with ticket purchase, so again, there is no seating problem. (You won't likely be travelling on an ICN or EXP, which are night trains).

Look carefully at the train schedules and find the train which best suits your schedule and budget.

DISCOUNTED PROMOTIONAL FARES: The "AMICA" fare and the “MENO 15” and “MENO 30” promotional fares have been abolished and replaced by the “MINI” advance purchase promotional fares, which must be purchased NO LATER than 11:59 p.m. of the day prior to travel. These fares are available on all trains EXCEPT the unreserved and undiscountable “regionale” trains. As general rule, the sooner you book, the better the odds of getting a lower “MINI” fare, because this promotion is capacity-controlled, and the availability of discounted tickets varies from day to day and from train to train. Note that NO tickets can be purchased more than FOUR MONTHS in advance. The “MINI” fare tickets carry SIGNIFICANT limitations on reservation changes, ticket exchanges, and refunds (among which, no changes after midnight of the day prior to travel, and no refunds if you MISS your train). These rules and restrictions should be carefully understood BEFORE purchasing the “MINI” discounted ticket (they are found on the Trenitalia website). Also check the Trenitalia website for other, periodic promotional fares.


The "hierarchy" of fares between Rome and Naples is currently as follows (all fares are one-way, second class, unrestricted "base" fare):

AV: 45 Euros (70 mins) Takes the high-speed rail line, which is somewhat less scenic than the “old” line used by other trains

ES: 36 Euros (105 mins)

IC/ICN: 22 Euros (120+ mins)

EXP: 16 Euros (150+ mins)

R: 10.50 Euros (150+ mins)

As is evident, there are plenty of train choices between Rome and Naples. Choose carefully and wisely, and you can save LOTS of money. Booking much more than a couple of days in advance is rarely necessary , and seats are often available up to minutes before train departure.


1. Going to Pompei: 35 minutes and 2.80 Euros on the Circumvesuviana commuter line (unreserved train, limited space for luggage).

2. Going to Sorrento: 65 minutes and 4 Euros on the Circumvesuviana commuter line. There is also hydrofoil service from Molo Beverello for 10 Euros. There are also direct buses on Marozzi and Curreri from Rome Tiburtina bus station to Sorrento and (summer only) to Positano, Praiano and Amalfi, which avoid the connection at Napoli Centrale to the Circumvesuviana rail.

3. Circumvesuviana trains run every 30 minutes from 5:11 to 22:44. They depart from the underground station below Napoli Centrale (follow signs and take the stairs or escalator down).

4. Going to Caserta: 40 minutes and 3.40 Euros on the "regionale" train. Note that there are direct trains from Rome to Caserta, which bypass Naples.

5. Going to Salerno: 40+ minutes and 4 Euros on the "regionale" train. Note that some AV/ES/IC trains are through-trains from Rome.

6. Going to Paestum: 90+ minutes and 6.20 Euros on the "regionale" train.
NOTE: The “regionale” trains are all unreserved, and undiscountable (except for children).

7. Going to Capri/Ischia/Procida: get to Molo Beverello by bus, tram or taxi and take a hydrofoil. There are also car ferries from the nearby Calata Porta di Massa ferry dock.

8. Going to the Amalfi Coast: The Metro del Mare hydrofoils reportedly will not be running in 2011. Consequently, connect to the SITA bus in Sorrento or in Salerno. There are also a couple of direct SITA buses from Naples to Amalfi (but not on Sundays). From Rome to Amalfi/Positano (in the absence of the Marozzi summer direct bus), it's best to take Trenitalia all the way to Salerno, then connect to the ferry boat or the SITA bus, but there are several other options as well.

9. 24-hr. Transportation ticket for the City of Naples (buses/subway/funiculars): UNICONAPOLI GIORNALIERO: 3.60 Euros Monday through Friday or 3 Euros on Saturday and Sunday. Single ride tickets cost 1.20 Euros.

10. DISCOUNT BUS TICKETS FOR TRAVEL ALONG AMALFI COAST (Salerno to Sorrento including Ravello):

UNICO COSTIERA 24-hr. ticket: 7.20 Euros

UNICO COSTIERA 3-day ticket: 18 Euros

11. DISCOUNT TICKET FOR BUS/TRAIN TRAVEL THROUGHOUT CAMPANIA REGION (including Amalfi Coast): UNICO CAMPANIA 3-day tourist ticket: 20 Euros (also covers everything covered by the UNICO COSTIERA tickets described above). Covers a multitude of routes, including all Naples/Sorrento/Salerno city buses, Naples subway and funiculars, Trenitalia unreserved REGIONALE trains (not the faster reserved trains) throughout Campania, Circumvesuviana trains, Mt. Vesuvius buses, SITA buses throughout Campania (including along the Amalfi Coast), CSTP buses between Salerno and Paestum, buses on Ischia and Procida, SEPSA buses and trains, ALIBUS between central Naples and NAP Airport. Does NOT cover any ferries or hydrofoils, or buses/funicular on Capri. Usually a better value than the 3-day UNICO COSTIERA ticket described above.

12. ARTECARD: If planning to visit museums or archeological sites within the Campania Region, consider purchasing one of the Campania Arte Cards, some of which include free transportation by bus/train. In particular, consider the 3-day "tutta la regione" artecard (27 Euros) which includes all the transportation benefits of the UNICO CAMPANIA 3-day ticket described above, plus free entrance to TWO museums or archeological sites in the circuit, plus a 50% reduction in the entrance fees to additional museums or archeological sites. Note that there are a multitude of different Artecards, only a few of which include free transportation.

13. Children’s fares on Trenitalia: under 12 years and one day: 50% discount. Under 4 years and one day: totally FREE. Also check the “Familia” fares for travelling parties of up to five people, with at least one adult and one child under 12. You can’t aggregate the “MINI” fares and children’s discounts. On local bus transport, it is customary for children under one meter in height to travel free (but each operator can establish its own rules). On ferries/hydrofoils, check the operator website for children’s fares.

14. Fares quoted above are believed to be accurate as of the date of this posting, but are not guaranteed to be correct, since they are taken from internet sources which are not always current. Travel times are accurate but not guaranteed to be exact, and are always subject to travel conditions and delays. Also, fares, schedules and routings are subject to change and should always be verified prior to start of travel. The foregoing is general information, and should not be relied upon in the absence of individualized travel planning.

Buon viaggio!
GAC is offline  
Apr 11th, 2011, 09:33 AM
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Thank you for this very clear explanation - I am making this trip in June on, I have now decided, an IC train.
tarquin is offline  
Apr 11th, 2011, 10:23 AM
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Unless money is a major issue, I would not decide on an IC train unless the Mini fares for the AV/ES for your date are sold out (summer schedules past June 11 are not loaded yet). The Mini fare for AV/ES can be as cheap as the regular IC fare for some dates/times (some AV as cheap as 32€ and ES as cheap as 18€). Of course, the IC also has Mini fares, but require a bit longer travel time so you have to determine the value of your time.

If there are two of you and you are planning a round trip on a Saturday between April 2 and June 11, you may be able to snag the Sabato Italiano fare.
kybourbon is offline  
Apr 11th, 2011, 02:10 PM
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CLARIFICATION to point 9 above:

The UNICO NAPOLI ticket for 3.60 Euros (3 Euros on the weekend) noted above is a full-day unlimited use ticket within the City of Naples, which expires at midnight of the same day of use. Consequently, it is not necessarily a 24-hr ticket from the first usage.

The UNICO NAPOLI ticket for 1.20 Euros is valid for any combination of buses/subways/funiculars within the City of Naples, for a maximum duration of 90 minutes from first usage.

The UNICO NAPOLI tickets will NOT get you as far as Pozzuoli. You need an UNICO CAMPANIA U1 ticket instead.

The UNICO CAMPANIA zone tickets go from U1 to U11 if departing from or terminating in Naples; otherwise "Extraurbani" zone tickets go from E1 to E11. You can determine which ticket is required for your trip on the Unicocampania website.

The UNICO CAMPANIA 3T Tourist ticket (20 Euros) is valid for 3 consecutive days of travel on all of the operators listed on the Unicocampania website. It expires at midnight of the third consecutive day of use. This ticket is valid throughout the Campania Region (but NOT on Capri, nor on ferries/hydrofoils, nor on the fast Trenitalia trains with seat reservations).

Tourists travelling between Sorrento and Salerno must purchase one of the UNICO COSTIERA tickets, unless using a valid UNICO CAMPANIA 3T Tourist Ticket, or the 3-day "tutta la regione" Campania ARTECARD.

The various UNICO tickets are not valid on Capri, which has its own transportation scheme.

The various UNICO tickets are not valid on ferries or hydrofoils, nor on Trenitalia fast trains with seat reservations
GAC is offline  
Apr 16th, 2011, 04:00 PM
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Wow! This is some great information. A few questions about how we can make the best choices for our upcoming trip. Here is our itinerary which will give you an idea of how we will be spending our time and therefore how we may make the best use of the possibilities of using an Artecard and the Unico Campania tickets.

Day 1: Arrive in Rome FCO and take Leonardo Express train to Termini and then catch a train (slow is OK) to Naples. Two nights in Naples where we will want to do the National Archeology Museum and some churches and maybe a trip to Ercolano or save the viewing of the ruins for Paestum later in the trip (recommendations?).
Day 3: Ferry to Capri for 2 nights in Anacapri.
Day 5: Ferry from Capri to Amalfi and then the bus to Praiano hotel for 3 nights. We plan to use the 3 days on the AC for hiking, sightseeing (including Ravello) and maybe a trip to Paestum for archeology if we have not done it at Ercolano.
Day 8: Bus/train back to Rome for 3 nights. I am not sure what is the best/most direct route to do this return trip. Bus to Sorrento then Circumvesuviana to Naples then train to Rome? Or ferry/bus to Salerno then train direct to Rome? Your recommendation?

So, back to my original questions... Since we are only in Naples for 2 days and it will be the month of May when several museums have free entrance maybe an Artecard is not a good value? What is the admission cost to the National Archeology Museum which is our #1 choice to visit? Then our travel and time in Capri will not be valid for any discounts. Then our 3 days on the AC will be mostly taking the bus a couple of times a day to different locations and hiking around so the 3 Day Unico Campania might not be that much savings either.

It appears that I have talked myself out of any of the discount cards. Or am I missing something?

Sorry for the ramble but I would appreciate any comments you have on our itinerary and also the best travel method back to Rome at the end of our AC time. Also, if you had to pick ONE archeological site would it be Pompeii, Ercolano or Paestum?

Thank you in advance!

SelfishCook is offline  
Apr 16th, 2011, 07:38 PM
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The 3 day Tutta la Regione includes transport, but it doesn't appear you are going to be anywhere long enough or visiting enough sites to get the value of the card. Scroll down to the list of sites and click on whichever museums/sites you are interested in and the page for that site will have the prices/times and transport lines/numbers to reach that site.

I don't think you are visiting enough places to get the value of the 7 day pass (30€)and it doesn't include transport. It gives you 5 free entrances instead of two.

You might get the value of the Napoli e Campi Flegrei pass (16€) which includes transport in Naples (not the coast) and three sites (including the Archeology museum), but probably not unless the other places listed interest you.

Pompeii and Herculaneum are not far apart on the Circumvesuviana train line (15-20 minutes) so it would be possible to visit both the same day. Tickets are 11€ or you can buy a combo ticket for 20€.
kybourbon is offline  
Apr 16th, 2011, 08:00 PM
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Wowsy.... What is going on with the metro del mare not running?
russwuf is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 02:09 AM
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russwuf - this far into 2011 at least, none of the parties concerned are willing to stump up the 4-5 million Euro subsidy that it takes to operate the MdM annually!

You might care to follow the story as it develops, or doesn't, here....

A_Brit_In_Ischia is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 05:33 AM
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As Kybourbon stated above, with only two days in Naples, and only Ercolano/Museo Archeologico to be visited, the 3-day "tutta la regione" artecard is not particularly justified. HOWEVER, add one more site (at a 50% discount), and you start exceeding the break-even point. Or visit both Pompei and Ercolano, and you'll save money with the 3-day "tutta la regione" artecard (since it includes transportation).

For your three days in Praiano, I can recommend either a 24-hr UNICO COSTIERA ticket for 7.20 Euros, or the 3-day ticket for 18 Euros, if you plan on using the SITA buses extensively for one or more days.

If you also plan to visit Paestum from Praiano, then definitely consider the 3-day UNICO CAMPANIA 3T tourist ticket for 20 Euros, in lieu of the 3-day UNICO COSTIERA ticket. Otherwise, a round-trip ticket on the bus or train between Salerno and Paestum will cost you an extra 6.60 Euros (or 5.30 Euros on the weekend).

From Praiano back to Rome, you're correct that it's nearly a toss-up between routing through Naples or Salerno. I suggest that you work out a transportation plan for both options, then choose the one with the better schedules. Don't forget to consider (as a sub-option) taking the ferry boat from Amalfi to Salerno-Concordia Dock rather than the SITA bus.
GAC is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 05:51 AM
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GAC, I have looked through some of your older posts and you are an Italian train genius, IMO. Thanks for the updated info!
Dazedandconfused is offline  
Apr 17th, 2011, 07:50 AM
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Thanks for all the great information!
annw is online now  
Apr 30th, 2011, 04:59 PM
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Naples represents one of the most popular daytrips by train from Rome, even though the city most certainly deserves much more time than just one day.

An extremely common question is whether it's a good idea to pre-book the train travel. Some people by nature feel that they need to book everything in advance; others want the flexibility of making last-minute changes, and are therefore reluctant to book in advance. Here are my observations and suggestions in this regard:

1. On the outbound trip to Naples, choose a departure window that is comfortable for you. Trains start running around 6:30 a.m., and continue thereafter at 30-60 minute intervals. During the hot summer months, many people find it convenient to take earlier trains than during the winter, when sunrise comes later, particularly if they're headed to Pompei.

2. Try to book the advance-purchase promotional "MINI" fare on the AV or ES train to Naples, for as little as 14 or 19 Euros, respectively. This represents a HUGE discount over the regular fare of 36 and 45 Euros, respectively, and really adds up for travel parties. Other "MINI" fares may not give as generous a discount, and you won't always be able to get the lowest fare. Use the "Frecciarossa" icon webpages of the Trenitalia website to more quickly find the "MINI" fares. These webpages list "MINI" fares on the AV and ES trains, but not the IC trains. If your travel dates are flexible, you can even check the box on the webpage which will search for lower "MINI" fares three days before and three days after your selected travel date.

3. Try to book the lowest "MINI" fare as far in advance as possible. Remember that you cannot book more than FOUR MONTHS in advance, or beyond a systemwide schedule change, whichever comes first. Schedule changes typically come in June and in December.

4. Before booking the "MINI" fare, read the restrictive rules and regulations for this fare which are hyperlinked above. Remember that it will not be easy to change your reservation once you've locked in a "MINI" fare, and you'll need to pay the difference to the regular, non-discounted fare. Consequently, once you're locked in, just be prepared to travel on that particular train. If you MISS your train when holding a "MINI" fare, you're DOA and will need to purchase a new, full-fare ticket.

5. Decide whether you also want to lock in a "MINI" fare on the return trip from Naples to Rome. My advice is NOT to do so, because you will likely decide once in Naples that you want the freedom to take some extra time where appropriate and not be compelled to march to the drumbeat of the return train schedule. Remember that return trains are very frequent, and usually NOT completely full (there are exceptional days, of course).

6. On the return trip, think about taking one of the hourly Intercity (IC) trains, at the regular fare of 22 Euros. These trains take twice as long as the twice-as-expensive Frecciarossa AV trains, but after a long day walking around Naples, you may find that having an extra hour sitting on the return train is not so bad after all. You might even take a short snooze.

7. If you're on a tight budget, remember that the slowest train, the unreserved and undiscountable "regionale", costs only 10.50 Euros, and is really not so bad if you're not terribly fussy about having "state of the art" railcars. These trains, however, are not as frequent as the Frecciarossa AV trains.

8. The LAST day train back to Rome leaves Naples at 21:30, but it's an expensive ES train (36 Euros regular fare).

9. If you're doing a daytrip to Pompei or Sorrento, I strongly recommend not pre-booking the return train trip from Naples, unless you're willing to be regimented to following a very strict schedule. There are too many variables involved here (beyond the Circumvesuviana commuter train connection) that might make you regret having locked in a return train. Of course, this is generalized advise, and not appropriate 100% of the time.

10. If you're doing a day trip to Capri or Ischiaor Procida, also don't pre-book your return train, for the same reasons as above, only more so in view of the boat/hydrofoil schedules and surface connections between the port and the train station.

11. Travelling with children under the age of 12: The "MINI" fares can be better than the regular 50% discount for children between 4 and 12. Where the "MINI" fare is less than 50%, choose the lower children's fare. These fares are not combinable. Remember that toddlers under 4 travel free: you DO NOT count them or book a seat for them. If the train is very full, you will need to keep them in your lap. Also consider the "Familia" fares if the "MINI" fares are not available or particularly attractive.

12. "MINI" fares and "Familia" fares are all capacity-controlled. The regular discount for children 4-12 is ALWAYS available independent of the other fare schemes. The "regionale" train fare is not discountable (except for children 4-12), and seats are not reservable.

GAC is offline  
Apr 30th, 2011, 05:11 PM
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2. Try to book the advance-purchase promotional "MINI" fare on the AV or ES train to Naples, for as little as 14 or 19 Euros, respectively. This represents a HUGE discount over the regular fare of 36 and 45 Euros, respectively, and really adds up for travel parties.


2. Try to book the advance-purchase promotional "MINI" fare on the ES or AV train to Naples, for as little as 14 or 19 Euros, respectively. This represents a HUGE discount over the regular fare of 36 and 45 Euros, respectively, and really adds up for travel parties.
GAC is offline  

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