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Several questions re: Rome train/airport and Luggage

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Jul 2nd, 2005, 02:50 AM
  #1
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Several questions re: Rome train/airport and Luggage

We will be travelling from the US to Europe for the 1st time in Sept. I'm very nervous about all the train travelling we'll be doing since we've always flown everywhere. 1st question: In order to book my reserved 1st class tickets on ES from Rome to Florence, how much time should I allow between landing at Int'l terminal and actually boarding the train. We will arrive at 7:15am on AA/from the US. I was thinking of booking the 10:05am ES to Florence - Does this sound like plenty of time to go through customs and take commuter train? We are not checking any luggage any where we go.

2nd question: How exactly does the commuter train work from Rome airport to train station? Do I book tickets in advance? I know it leaves every 30 min., so if we arrive like 5 mins till we will still be able to board or have to wait for the next one? Can we take our 2 pieces of carry on luggage on the commuter train - both 22 inchs?
3rd question: After reading such good advice from this board, we are only taking 2 - 22inch suitcases. Stupid question: Do you count the length including the wheels (rollaboard)? If so ours would be maybe 23-24 inchs. I'm worried, I do not want to check luggage on the plane or trains - I want it with me at all times.

Thanks in advance for all the advice! Kelly
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Jul 2nd, 2005, 03:13 AM
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ira
 
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Hi K,

>I was thinking of booking the 10:05am ES to Florence.<

Without luggage, you will probaly make the 10:05.

You are more likely to make the 10:30.

You will definitely make the 10:55.

The worst that will happen, if you take the 10:55, is that you will have some time to have a light brunch at the self-serve cafeteria at the Rome TE station and get into the mood for Italy.

After you clear customs at FCO, follow the signs to the train station. You buy your tickets for the next Leonardo da Vinci Express there.

If you wish, you can buy your ticket to Florence at the same time. They will put you on the next available ES*.

You can take your luggage on the train.

Some airlines count the wheels some don't. Check with your airline.

Enjoy your visit.



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Jul 2nd, 2005, 03:42 AM
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I can understand your nervousness as we travelled on the trains in Italy a few years ago and we never use public transport at home so were not used to buying tickets, finding the right platform etc etc. And in a foreign language! But after the first few trains trips it became quite easy.
If you are buying all your tickets once you arrive in Italy, I would recommend buying them all at once. We did this and it saved lots of time. I wrote down where we wanted to go and the days and rough times (also non-smoking) and it helped with the ticket agent. If you have tickets for a train that you miss, you can still use the tickets for the next train but you may lose you reserved seats. That happened to us and we just jumped on the next train and looked quickly for seats that were not reserved.
On the ticket it will have the track number where the train will arrive and depart, also your carriage number and seat number. If you're not sure, just ask someone. Most people are happy to help.
You won't have any trouble taking your suitacase on the train but there is not usually much room to store them. If you can lift it over your head, you can put in the luggage rack.
Relax and enjoy the experiences of train travel, if you have any disasters, think of telling all your friends about in a year's time and having a good laugh.
Happy travelling, Kay
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Jul 2nd, 2005, 05:18 AM
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We just got back and I obsessed over buying train tickets, making trains, etc. and it was a wasted worry. It is easy and not a big problem. Just look around and find the signs to where you want to go, i.e. ticket booth. It is also very easy to book tickets at the kiosks in the stations without having to talk to anyone in Italian. As far as clearing customs in FCO, we didn't clear any customs. We just grabbed the luggage that actually arrived (long story) and walked out the door. We were surprised. The little card they give you in the plane is still in my purse!
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Jul 2nd, 2005, 06:36 AM
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For size of suitcase allowable on planes, check with your airlines because rules vary by carrier.

For size on the train, as long as you can get it on and off the train car, up and down the aisles, possibly lift on to a shelf or fit between seats, then it's OK. They don't weigh or measure your suitcase for a train ride.
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Jul 2nd, 2005, 06:41 AM
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Also check with each of your airlines for *weight* restrictions (as well as size). Some transatlantic carriers & budget ones within Europe are very strict about the weight, even if the size is acceptable.

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Jul 2nd, 2005, 08:04 AM
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Ira's assessment is about right on.

8:55 train: nearly impossible
9:30 train: no luggage, everyting runs nearly on time.
10:05 train: practically the earliest, allow short delays, time to get cash at ATM.

Our last trip, the plane arrived 70min late, short delay getting to the main terminal using one of those unmanned train, zipped thru the passport control, had to wait in a short line to get EURO at ATM, another short line to get a phonecard, walked up, perhaps two stories worth of stairs to the train platform level because of the broken escalators, missed the first Leonardo express to Rome Termini because most of the train ticket validating machines were broken.

Over all, we caught the ES train leaving Rome about 3 hrs after the scheduled FCO arrival, 2hrs after actual arrival.

You have either 17 or 22min to change the train at Rome Termini. Either case, you should study the Rome Termini layout beforehand so you don't get lost. We ended up having 15min change over and had to use a underground platform short cut passage (which I studied carefully beforehand) to make it to the ES on time. There is a ramp down to the passage, but I think only the stairs to get you back to the platform level.

You want to ride in the first car leaving the FCO, the one furthest away from the ticket office, since in Rome, that car gets you closest to the ES platform.

Finally, when you look up the ES train track number at Termini digital display (displays are in the underground short cut passage also), you are looking for the same train number on your ticket, but the destination is most likely VENEZIA, which is the final destination of the ES train that stops in FIRENZE.
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Jul 2nd, 2005, 10:38 AM
  #8
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Thank you all for the good advice. I'm definately less worried now but still have 1 decision to make. I am for sure not going to book any earlier than the 10:05am train, since we land at 7:15am. Do you think this is a good choice or should I take the 10:30 or 10:55am - I would think almost 3 hours after landing should be sufficient, thus booking the 10:05am - again we're not checking luggage and will only have to purchase our commuter tickets and visit ATM. How much is the commuter and why does ticket have to be validate?
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Jul 3rd, 2005, 05:24 AM
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Please read my last question: Which train (time) should I book? I do not want to wait and buy ticket in Rome. Thanks
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Jul 3rd, 2005, 07:08 AM
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I think an hour of difference doesn't deserve to risk losing the train, so I will do a booking for the 10:55 train.
If you have some spare time because everything ran smoothly, just sit on a cafe on the station and relax But if you have some trouble..you have time enough not to rush and get on your nerves the first day you are on vacation
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Jul 3rd, 2005, 07:36 AM
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You probably can't purchase your tickets yet anyway. It has to be within 60 days. I personally would not buy 1st class for a 90 minute train ride. 1st cl ES is 42.35E and 2nd cl is 29.44E and there really isn't that much difference between the classes. I disagree with

The Leonardo Express is 9.50E.
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Jul 3rd, 2005, 07:50 AM
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Is there a cost saving by booking online before your trip? Or some other reason you don't want to buy tickets at the train station? If you waited until you got there, you'd simply buy your ticket for the next train departing, right?
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Jul 3rd, 2005, 08:00 AM
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Part of my post disappeared.

I don't think you can just jump on the next ES train if you have purchased tickets and missed yours as all ES tickets are sold reserved seat only. There is always a chance that the train will be sold out although not likely. I believe you are supposed to get your ticket changed not just jump on and look for empty seats. I also think you could probably be fined for riding a train that you don't have a ticket for as your ticket will have time, date, seats, etc. listed on it for an earlier train - not the later one.

Do a search for GAC as he seems to be the board expert for Italian trains. He has several excellent posts about rules and regulations for Trenitalia.

The reason you have to punch your ticket is you will be fined if you don't.

Trenitalia is smoke free so you don't need to worry about that either.
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Jul 3rd, 2005, 08:00 AM
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Kelly, I'm a avid planner, some call it being anal. But even I wouldn't bother to book the Termini train from FCO in advance. If the plane arrives early, it would kill me to be standing there while an earlier train departed because I booked a later one. By the same token if delayed, I'd be worried sick about missing the one I have booked. A lot of things can happen to prevent you from your choice being the best train to take. I've never seen the line to buy tickets as being much of anything.

If you have time, I agree, relax and maybe get a coffee. Just be sure not to order a "latte" unless you like a glass of hot milk. I guess I'm a slow learner because I keep forgetting on arrival that if you want coffee or espresso in your milk -- you must ask for a cafe latte! I think I finally have that set in my head!
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Jul 3rd, 2005, 08:17 AM
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Kelly A - I see you have 4 similar train posts and as a result are getting scattered replies on each one. If you want to find your previous posts just click on your own screen name and all your posts will appear in the lefthand column.
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Jul 3rd, 2005, 08:19 AM
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Kelly A - I certainly understand your angst about anticipating your arrival. Just like the others who have responded, we did the exact same route you're planning. I, too, was worried about missing the train to Florence. We allowed extra time so that I could relax about the whole transfer. It's a long walk (I didn't know about the "short-cut" but I'd like to know more!) from the arrival track of the Leonardo Express and the main terminal. When we've arrived each time it has either been on a Saturday or a Sunday and it's very, very busy. We always use the time to purchase snacks for the train to Florence, stop at the restroom (for which you need change) as it's cleaner than the one on the train, purchase train tickets for other portions of the vacations, and then watch the board for our track number. The time passes quickly. While our AA flight from the US has never been late, I'd rather wait another 30 minutes than be nervous. Hope this helps. September is a perfect time to be there!
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