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Three types of trains between Rome and Florence

Three types of trains between Rome and Florence

Old Aug 11th, 2004, 01:05 PM
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Three types of trains between Rome and Florence

Fodorites should be aware that there are three major types of trains currently in service between Rome and Florence during daylight hours, which is the subject of this advisory posting:

Eurostar trains (ES)

These are the fastest, smoothest, quietest and most reliable trains in service in Italy. Open-railcar seating (no individual compartments). Departures every 30 to 60 minutes. All seats sold on a reserved basis, so nobody is standing in the corridor. Airconditioned. Somewhat limited luggage space overhead (won't accommodate huge suitcases), but plenty of room in-between seat rows, and there are smallish luggage racks at the ends of each railcar. First class has much more luggage space and wider, plusher seats. Complimentary beverage, cookies and Italian newspaper (value 3 Euros) in first class only. Seats in second class may be tight for very tall persons. Travel time (nonstop) 1 hr. 36 mins. Fare (2nd class) Euro 29.44.

Intercity trains (IC)

Nearly as smooth and as quiet as the Eurostars, these trains, fully airconditioned, usually make a couple of quick enroute stops (such as Arezzo). Railcars have individual compartments with sliding glass doors and plenty of overhead space for bulky luggage. Seat reservations are merely optional (additional 3 Euros), which means that there can be lots of people w/o confirmed seats, jamming the narrow corridor and blocking easy passage from one car to another, as well as to the restroom. Some of these trains originate south of Rome and north of Florence, which means they may already be full when boarding. Seat reservation deadline: 3 hrs. prior to train departure (from city of train origination). Seat reservations are strongly recommended in second class during busy periods. First class seats not much different, slightly more leg room and usually much less crowded. Travel time approx. 2 hr. 34 mins. Fare (unreserved 2nd class) Euro 21.95.

Diretto trains (D)

These "local" trains depart circa every two hours, and make numerous stops enroute. Not nearly as quiet or as smooth as the Eurostars, but still acceptable. Open railcar seating. No seat reservations are allowed, and railcars are not necessarily airconditioned (a/c is being introduced slowly). Train runs strictly between Rome and Florence, so you always board at the point of origination. First class seats are plusher and wider. Travel time 3 hrs. 37 mins. Fare (2nd class) Euro 14.31, or HALF the cost of the Eurostar in TWICE the travel time.

Recommendations: Always take the Eurostar over the Intercity. It's one hour faster and costs only Euro 4.49 more than the Intercity (reserved seat). The Diretto train is much cheaper and is fine if travelling on a budget (try to avoid the Diretto train mid-day during the summer, when temperature becomes uncomfortable w/o a/c).

www.trenitalia.com
Enter "Roma Termini" and Firenze S. M. Novella"

ES = Eurostar
IC = Intercity
D = Diretto
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Old Aug 11th, 2004, 01:18 PM
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Between Rome and Florence IC Inter-City trains don't always take an hour longer than Eurostar Italia trains:
IC LvFirenze 12:17, ar Rome 14:16,about 2 hours; Eurostar: whereas Eurostars take about 1 hr 40 minutes. Some IC trains take 2.5 hrs, but they are not always that much slower and the value for railpass holders is you need not reserve at all, just hop on of course seats may be all taken at times but I've rarely seen 1st class IC cars without empty seats. But on IC you won't get the world's tiniest cup of coffee and the stale plastic-wrapped pastry or Italian newspaper I've gotten. If going between Rome and Venice, now then the Eurostars are much quicker.
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Old Aug 11th, 2004, 01:45 PM
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There are indeed a very few Intercity trains between Rome and Florence which make the run in about two hours (these runs are nonstop or make only one stop), but the majority of IC trains take 2.5 hours and make more than one enroute stop.

The primary advantage of paying a little bit more money to travel on a Eurostar train is that you have a GUARANTEED seat, and no standing passengers between you and the restroom/exit door (always helpful if you've "gotta go right now"). Also, Eurostar trains tend to be a little more reliable (running on time), and some people prefer their open-railcar look (but others may prefer the privacy of the individual compartments on the Intercity). Intercity trains, which usually originate south of Rome or north of Florence, are more apt to be running late, though usually by not much.

Eurostar tickets can be purchased at any time up to about 10 minutes prior to train departure, so you can show up at the train station and take the first available Eurostar to your destination. The ticket agent won't sell you a ticket for a particular Eurostar train if the computer systems advises that seats are sold out for that train. Not so for Intercity trains (unless you request a reserved seat within the three-hour reservation deadline).

The complimentary refreshments on Eurostar First Class are essentially a marketing gimmick: you can always purchase cookies, snacks and coffee in the restaurant/bar railcar, or from the itinerant trolley cart which slowly makes its way down the long train. Price are very reasonable considering the quality (or lack thereof) of the refreshments. The value of the complimentary goods is about 3 Euros total. BTW, the Italian newspaper is always "fresh", even if the coffee and pastries may at times be stale.
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Old Aug 11th, 2004, 02:04 PM
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It's not always about the price. When I went from Florence to Rome last November, I took the cheap (read slower) train. It had just finished raining, and as we went south, the lowering sun caused a rainbow to form. It "moved" with the train for quite some time. As it passed a hill town, it appeared as though the town was at the end of the rainbow. It was lovely!
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Old Aug 11th, 2004, 02:28 PM
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If you are looking for a SMOKING seat, you MUST take an Intercity train and specifically request accommodation in a smoking railcar (one railcar per class of service). No smoking is allowed anywhere on Eurostar or Diretto trains (or any other type of local train). Smoking on Intercity trains is expected to be banned in 2005.
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 10:48 AM
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Beginning December 12, there will be a "LOW COST" Eurostar Italia train once daily between Rome Tiburtina Station (NOT Termini) and Florence Campo di Marte Station (NOT S.M. Novella) for the fixed rate of 9 Euros, common class. This particular Eurostar train will be designated on the Trenitalia website at "Tok" and tickets will be sold only through the website, at automatic ticket machines at Italian train stations, and thru the Trenitalia national reservations telephone center. Departure from Tiburtina at 6:40 , arrival at Campo di Marte at 8:16. Return at 22:46, arrival Tiburtina at 0:24. See:

"Low Cost Eurostar train between Rome and Florence" posting of 11/30/2004


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