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Struggling with buying train tickets for Rome

Struggling with buying train tickets for Rome

Old Jun 27th, 2008, 03:36 PM
  #1  
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Struggling with buying train tickets for Rome

My wife and I and all four of our parents will be arriving in Rome at 8:30 a.m. and we have hotel reservations starting that night in Venice.

Usually I wait to purchase my tickets for the train until I get on the ground but I am struggling this time due to needing to be in Venice that night and wanting to make sure I have first class seats available for all six of us in close proximity to each other.

It looks like the amica fare does allow a change in ticketing with a 20% service fee...that might be acceptable for the comfort of knowing that I have guaranteed seats.

Our trip is in late November, which I know is one of the slower tourist months...but I still don't like the idea of rolling the dice.

I know it sounds like my mind is pretty much made up (to buy in advance) but I'd really appreciate any first hand experiences one way or the other.
mdtravel is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2008, 04:36 PM
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You can buy tickets at www.trenitalia.com.

I had difficulty trying to do so, but I think it may be because I have a Mac and the wrong browser.
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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I think the Amica fare is limited to 5 people travelling together, so you would probably have to do two reservations and coordinate the seats.

I haven't travelled in Italy in late November, so I don't know what train ridership is like at that time. If you waited to purchase tickets when you land at Fiumicino, the Amica fare might not be available but I don't think you'd have any trouble getting six seats in close proximity in first class.

If you do purchase in advance, give yourself lots of time between landing at Fiumicino and departing from Termini. Six people collecting luggage, getting through passport control, using the restrooms (trust me), and making your way to the Leonardo Express will take more time than you and your wife zipping along.
Jean is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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Purchasing online with Trenitalia can be a challenge. If all else fails, have your hotel book it and e-mail you the confirmation/ticket info. Another option is to use a travel agency that several other Fodorites have been using that don't want to wait until they arrive to book. I think they charge a 5€ fee and then e-mail the info to you. Do a search for Pantheon Travel and you should be able to locate the info.

You can't book more than 60 days in advance though, so you need to wait a few months.
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 05:52 PM
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Thanks for the replies. My biggest struggle is bucking the advice that everyone here, including myself, gives to travelers who ask: don't buy in advance. I wouldn't do this if it wasn't so crucial to be in Venice that night and if I didn't need first so our four parents are comfortable.
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 06:20 PM
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mdtravel,

No need for you to apologize for why you want to buy the train tickets ahead of time.

Different strokes for different folks.

I had a hard time prior to my 2008 Italy trip purchasing tickets, but I perservered and was able to buy online. It seems to get harder every year on the finicky Trenitalia web site.

Enjoy your trip to Italia!

As for the regional trains we rode in Italy this past trip, all we did was go into a Tourist Information office and the clerk purchased all the remaining tickets we needed. It was quick and efficient.
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 02:38 AM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi MD,

Stop fretting so much.

There is at least 1 train every hour from Rome to Venice.

They won't all be full in 1 cl.
(I doubt any of them will be full in 1 cl)

Also, if you do decide to buy online, leave yourself at least 3:30 hr from the time you are scheduled to touch down to get to the train tracks. That's how long it took us, because of baggage delays, etc.

This number might be useful for booking your tickets:
39-06-68475475

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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I think the trickier part may be a long train ride immediately after a long plane ride (assuming you are coming from overseas).
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 10:11 AM
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"baggage delays" in Rome.

That is a dramatic understatement.

What in the world are they doing back there? Give yourself a solid hour at least.

Ira is right. Stop fretting. In late November those trains will not be full. Furthermore, I am surprised you can make reservations this far out.
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 10:11 AM
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Try getting tickets at www.raileurope.com I purchased tickets on that website to travel from Rome to Venice. I don't know if the prices are the same as other websites but it is easy to use and it worked for us.
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 10:33 AM
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Mdtravel, have you already purchased the plane tickets? Venice has a great airport. If you flew directly there, you and your family wouldn't have to fuss with luggage and a train ride following a likely long and tiring flight. The Venice airport is relatively small, easy to use, and a short walk from a water taxi to take you to Venice itself. Just an idea. Have a great trip!
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 10:47 AM
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I also purchased my tickets ahead of time through www.raileurope.com last year. I can't remember if I paid a fee for doing it that way, but I couldn't figure out the Trenitalia website and didn't want to purchase tickets on there using my credit card. We were travelling in August with our two youngish children, so I wanted to be sure I had tickets and seat reservations. After comparing the prices of first class tickets to second class tickets, we opted to go with second class all the way, and for us it was a wise move.
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 10:48 AM
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Try getting tickets at www.raileurope.com I purchased tickets on that website to travel from Rome to Venice. I don't know if the prices are the same as other websites but it is easy to use and it worked for us.>

Yes due to the improbability for many of getting trenitalia.com to work i can understand the feeling of wanting hands on those tickets and required reservations before leaving - especially with four presumably elder travels and a party of six that wants to sit together and paying a bit more can be priceless. And as a quick glance at prices it appears RailEurope is not all that much more in some cases. And i always advise eschewing raileurope.com itself and calling BETS 800-441-2387 which IME gives expert personalized service where you actually talk to someone who knows something about Italian trains. And also i believe they do not charge RE's $18 mailing fee. That said i believe you could book these in first class in Venice without problem ordinarily - and of course all six do not have to sit together i'd think.
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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All six won't be sitting exactly together because that's not how the seats are arranged in 1st cl (2 seats on one side of the aisle and 1 on the other side).

With so many trains between Rome/Venice and the time of year you are traveling, I would wait and book there if I couldn't get Trenitalia to work.

FWIW - 2nd cl ES is not really uncomfortable. It's much better than coach on planes.
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 02:06 AM
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Hi folks, and thanks for all of the great (and encouraging) replies. I'm still struggling though! That little voice in my head is saying 'wait until you're on the ground to buy.'

We are arriving into Rome, then hopping the train to Venice, then coming back to Rome after a few days. I am aware of the airport in Venice, but I could get business class tickets (using miles) for all of my parents so into Rome we go.

I am also concerned about the train ride after the plane flight, but I think at least two of our parents will view it as an opportunity to get some more sleep after a long day of air travel. We'll take it easy our first night in Venice and hopefully that will give everyone enough sleep time to be ready for the next seven days in Italy.

I had been looking to take the 12:50 train from Rome to Venice. That seems like it would give us plenty of time, especially considering that (as of now) no one is checking any bags on the way over.

I'll keep struggling with this and part of the reason for my struggle is that this. That last time (and only) I waited to get tickets until I was on the ground for a train on the same day we got in was from Rome to Naples. We couldn't get a EuroStar train, did get assigned (first?) seats, but had mobs of people cramped into our little train compartment and it was a little uncomfortable and unnerving. I don't want this to be our parent's first experience with Italy, nor do I want it to be sitting in a train station for eight hours and rolling into Venice at midnight because we couldn't get tickets.
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 04:34 AM
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Forget the train and fly round trip to Venice. Air Gorilla shows a round trip flight from Fiumicino airport in Rome to Venice Marco Polo at $144 round trip. You won't have to go into Rome.
http://www.airgorilla.com/Engine/Sel...nID=1000315432
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 04:49 AM
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Sorry - that was $144 plus taxes so the fare may add up but may be worth it for the convenience.
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 05:46 AM
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Bratsandbeer,
I'd thought about that but am indeed set on the train. It's a better experience than a new, foreign, discount airline in my book for my first time traveling parents and in-laws. It would save some time, but likely not too much given the connection time and arrival further out from the heart of Venice. Much appreciated though.
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 06:19 AM
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Not sure where you are flying into Rome from but if it is the U.S. I would think your parents would be much happier after a long flight to get to Venice quickly and relax. Catching a train from the airport to the train station and then another train to Venice after a long flight does not sound like a good experience to me. The train ride is not that exciting from Rome to Venice.
Another alternative is fly to Marco Polo Airport which is close to Venice - not to Treviso - and then take the train back to Rome.
Have a good, safe trip. We will be in Italy in October - you can never visit Italy too many times.
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 10:54 AM
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OK you say people will sleep on the train? Are you sure? I can't sleep on planes or trains and get horrible jetlag. If I were doing your proposed itinerary I would be a walking zombie (it would be FAR from a "better new experience" I guarantee you) & beyond what one night's sleep in Venice could make up for.

I'd either fly directly on to Venice or put an overnight in a convenient Rome hotel into the plans.
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