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train from Milan to Venice

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Nov 5th, 2004, 09:02 AM
  #1
Dee
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train from Milan to Venice

We would like to take the train from Milan to Venice. We have never taken a train in Italy (this will be our second trip) and speak no Italian although we try. Can anyone give me any insight as to what to expect. I was talking to someone about it and they got me a bit concerned that we may have a hard time. I thank you.
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Nov 5th, 2004, 09:12 AM
  #2
 
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We will also be taking the train from Milan to Venice. Though I've never traveled that route before, I've taken trains in Italy before and it's been a snap. We purchased our tickets using an automated machine - there's an English option. People in general are very friendly and will more often than not help you out if necessary. I'm sure train conductors are more than used to foreign travelers.

I think the only hard time you'd have is in a strange circumstance, or if you had a lot of heavy luggage! The less you pack, the easier it will be to get around.
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Nov 5th, 2004, 09:15 AM
  #3
GAC
 
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Read my previous posting on this site:
"Three types of trains between Milan and Venice"
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Nov 5th, 2004, 09:45 AM
  #4
 
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I trained to Venice a couple times and transfered in Milan. The train station is a bit overwhelming (in Milan not Venice) but certainly do-able. It's pretty straight-forward so I did not find my unfortunately lack of language skills to be a big problem.
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Nov 5th, 2004, 09:50 AM
  #5
 
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We took the train from Milan to Venice in September and it was our first train ride in Europe (first trip to Europe, for that matter). Depending on what type of train you take, you may not have assigned seats. We rode on a regional train, so we had to find our own seats. The train was pretty full and we were running late, so it was pure luck that we found 2 seats together.

That leads to my bits of advice, from one novice to another. First, be early if you can. The Milan train station is HUGE. It's also full of lots of people, and can be very intimidating. Being early also gives you a shot at getting a seat if you go 2nd class. Second, if you're really mixed up, go to the information booth. They speak English and can point you to the right track, etc. if you are lost. Third, don't forget to stamp your ticket. There's yellow boxes next to the trains to validate your ticket- just stick it in and you're done. We had no idea we had to do that the first time and got yelled at by the conductor...

All in all, it wasn't bad. We hardly speak any Italian as well and we live in the western US where trains are virtually non-existent, so the whole experience was new to us. You'll do fine and just remember, if you miss your train, there will always be another one. Have a great trip!
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Nov 5th, 2004, 10:05 AM
  #6
 
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Two bits of advice:
1. Make sure you have your ticket "stamped" by a machine on the platform before boarding the train.
2. Be prepared for one of the great visual thrills of your lifetime as you depart the Venice station and gain your first view of the Grand Canal.
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Nov 5th, 2004, 11:59 AM
  #7
 
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The station you'd leave from (Centrale) is a virtual monument, architecturally, to Mussolini. Inside, it is the typical BIG European rail station with lots of platforms, lots of people swirling around, shops and fast food plces, kiosks, pay bathrooms, and so forth.

Intimidating for some but it DOESN'T HAVE TO BE if you plan ahead.

There is a large automated departures board suspended over the head (near) end of the platforms which is constantly being updated. So know your train number and departure time and the final destination in your case will read as Venezia.

Simply go to the platform indicated and get into the particular car shown on your ticket (assuming you are in an assigned car and seat).

Those are the biggest issues..you will NOT "get lost" and you will NOT "miss your train" if you arrive early enough, secure your tickets, and get to the correct platform.

Do it...it is fun and actually easy..you won't have a "hard time."
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Nov 5th, 2004, 12:37 PM
  #8
 
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To make your whole rail affair seamless buy your tickets and reservations ahead of time before leaving the US. You could do this by navigating the often confusing and uncooperative trenitalia.com web site or by going through RailEurope in the US where you can buy a point-point ticket for $67 in first class or $53 in second that includes a seat reservation. Plus a $15 order fee. Now you can save some bucks by buying these in Italy but if you don't want to hassle with having to wait in line, use some often confusing at first ticket machine, etc. and being sure of getting a seat on the train you want, this extra cost will be well worth it for some folks, especially first timers. Plus with tickets issued by RailEurope you need not validate them yourself by sticking them in a cancelling machine before boarding, you just get on the train, the exact car and seat number on your reservation you get from RailEurope. I'm not saying it's not impossible to buy in Europe but the Milan-Venice line is seriously overcrowded times i've been on it. so put angsst to rest by taking the easy way out. I usually reserve trains in Europe but occasionally when i want to be on one for sure, such as an overnight train, I reserve here. I go thru Budget Europe (800-441-2387) who works thru RailEurope but who has, unlike RailEurope, staff that is extremely helpful and knowledgeable; ask them in any case to send you their excellent free European Planning & Rail Guide to learn about the nuts and bolts of European rail travel. With a reserved seat you should find this experience worry-free - the trains are very modern and comfortable, especialy in first class. Note if you ride one of the Eurostar Italia trains on the route you'll pay about $15 more than on other trains, such as InterCity ones also running the route. On Eurostar Italia trains you do get some food and beverages in first class, but on this route InterCity trains are almost as fast.
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Nov 5th, 2004, 12:45 PM
  #9
 
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Although I have never had any trouble with RailEurope staff whatsoever I totally agree with PalQ and the consideration of buying the tickets ahead of time for the sake of convenience, lack of confusion about which ticket window to go to or which ticket machine to use, etc.

Undoubtedly you'll be told about RailEurope's supposedly astronomical mark-up of train tickets. They do charge a $15 shipping and handling fee but bthe so-called whopper mark-up is not necessarily based on substantiated information. Sometimes, paying more is definitely worth it and can ONLY be based on your own priorities.

Again, approach this with the calm assurance that you can do it because you can.
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Nov 5th, 2004, 12:57 PM
  #10
ira
 
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Hi dee,

Make sure that you go to Venice San Lucia, not Venice Mestre.

>You could do this by navigating the often confusing and uncooperative trenitalia.com web site ..<

The web site has been greatly improved.

You can buy your tickets for less than at raileurope at www.trenitalia.com/en
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Nov 5th, 2004, 01:15 PM
  #11
GAC
 
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Another option to consider (and to save money by NOT purchasing from RailEurope) is to buy your rail ticket at one of the travel agencies on the ground floor of the Milano Centrale station. You may find sometimes-long lines at the ticket counters, and the travel agency won't surcharge the ticket, as they earn a small commission from Trenitalia. If you stand in line at one of the many ticket windows of the station, allow yourself enough time to buy the ticket and then to walk calmly to the track upstairs. Don't get caught in a frenzied rush.

Do be careful, however, about taking the Intercity (IC) trains departing from Milano Centrale for Venice Santa Lucia at 9:05, 11:05, 16:05 and 19:05, without a seat reservation, as I explain in my posting identified above: "Three types of trains between Milan and Venice"

The Eurostar Italia (ES) train is the optimal choice on this route, assmuming the schedules are agreeable, as you will be assured of a comfortable, reserved seat on a comfortable, modern and fully air conditioned train.
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Nov 5th, 2004, 01:18 PM
  #12
 
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Frankly, I'm getting so excited about this upcoming trip I wish that I were going WITH you just to go along for the ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whatever you decide I do hope you'll let us know how it all went once you return.
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Nov 5th, 2004, 05:24 PM
  #13
 
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I speak no Italian, other than the requisite tourist phrases, and had no problems buying tickets at the station. I didn't want to buy in advance as I wasn't sure what time we would be leaving.

I would suggest you buy tickets with seat reservations. That way you won't be facing any competitive pressures to find seats together.

The only difficulty we had was in finding the right car. There are a lot of numbers on the cars, and after a while it started to make sense, but for the first time I had to ask a couple of people where our car was. I did one time get on the wrong train (there was no one around, and the conductors hide somewhere until the train is underway), but the conductor came through after we had started and explained I had to get off at the next station and catch the right train. I don't think you would have that problem in Milan, as everything is pretty well marked.
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Nov 5th, 2004, 09:31 PM
  #14
 
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I know you can do this because I was able to do it, and I speak no Italian whatsoever. You'll want to get a first class seat (Primo Classe), which you can buy at Milano Centrale. It's a lot cheaper than going through Rail Europe. Plus, it gives you flexibiliity. If you're plane into Milan is late, for example, and you miss your train, the premium price you paid for the reservation Rail Europe made for you will be wasted. And if you're in Milan first, you can decide when you'd like to leave for Venice.

The easiest way to do this is to go to Trenitalia's website. The address is: http://www.trenitalia.com

You can enter the date you want to go from Milan to Venice and then you will get a schedule of trains for that day. You can select the day of your trip (note that the Italians do it differently than the US ? the first number is the day, the second is the month), and and print out a schedule that shows all trains from Milan to Venice for that date. You can choose between ES (Eurostar -- newer and faster) or IC (Intercity -- a little older and slower). Print out the schedule and take it with you. When you get to the station, circle the train you want to take, and hand it to the person at the ticket counter. Write on it: the number of tickets you want (1, 2, 3, etc) and "Primo Classe, Non Fumatori" (for non-smoking) or "Fumatori" (for smoking). Then just hand it to the person at the ticket booth with your credit card. (Chances are the or she will laugh because they speak English, but what the heck, you never know.)

Back in 2001, the ticket had numbers at the bottom in the center of the ticket. Reading from left to right, the first number will be the car of the train your seats are on (e.g., "001" means the first car.) The next numbers will be your seats (e.g., 41 and 42). Tickets may have changed since then, but I'm sure they'll be much the same in format.

In the station, you'll see an old analog board that shows the schedule trains. Look for the ?binario? or bin that your train will pull into. Then go the car and find your seats. It?s confusing the first time, mainly because it's so hectic and loud, but you can do it. Do plan to get to the station well ahead of the tim eyour train leaves so you can get oriented.

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Nov 7th, 2004, 06:51 PM
  #15
Dee
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WOW ! I am sorry that it took so long for me to respond. I can not thank you all enough for the wealth of knowledge that you have ALL provided me with! I m so grateful and it will all come in very helpful What is the BIG 50h ! birthday that we will be celebrating and there is no other place that I can think of spending it! Thank you ALL again. Dee
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Nov 7th, 2004, 09:58 PM
  #16
 
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Hi

My wife and I went to Italy in June last year and we went to Milan and Venice. We took the train between the cities and we didn't run into any major problems and we don't speak any Italian. I have posted a trip report with some pictures on my homepage gardkarlsen.com. Maybe you can find some useful information there. Have a great trip

Regards
Gard
Stavanger, Norway
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Nov 8th, 2004, 08:30 AM
  #17
Dee
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thank you Gard. I will check out your web site . Diane
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Nov 8th, 2004, 08:52 AM
  #18
GAC
 
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From Milan to Venice, UNLESS you have a seat reservation, try to AVOID the following Intercity (IC) trains, which often are full or nearly so when they pull into Milano Centrale Station:

IC departing at 9:05 (originates in Turin). Instead, take the Eurostar (ES)departing at 8:55.

IC departing at 11:05 (originates in Turin). Instead, take the Interregionale (IR) departing at 11:15.

IC departing at 16:05 (originates in Turin).

IC departing at 17:05 (originates in Genoa). Instead, take the IR departing at 17:15.

IC departing at 19:05 (originates in Turin). Instead, take the ES departing at 18:55.

Fares (second class):

Eurostar: 20.66 Euros;

Intercity: 19.16 Euros, plus optional 3.00 for seat reservation;

Interregionale: 12.34 Euros (or 19.16 Euros in first class).

OBSERVATIONS:

The IR train takes a little longer than the IC and ES, and does not have air conditioning, but you save a bunch of money. Consider first class on this train, as the seats in second class are (depending on the age of the railcar) framed in hard, rubbery plastic which is hard on the thighs and back of the head. Also, the seats don't recline. However, newly restyled second class railcars have more acceptable (softer) seats. There are several more IR trains out of Milano Centrale, but they go only as far as Verona Porta Nuova.

The Eurostar in second class actually costs 1.50 Euros LESS than reserved Intercity!!!!!!

If you want to get off at Desenzano del Garda or at Peschiera del Garda, you MUST take either the IC or the IR, as the ES does NOT stop at these two stations at the bottom of Lake Garda.

Be particularly careful about the 11:05 IC out of Milano Centrale: both this train and the IC train departing at 9:05 originate in Turin, and there is NO TRAIN at 10:05 (except on Sundays), so the 11:05 is likely to very VERY full. Fortunately, the 11:15 IR train originates in Milan, so you're much more likely to find space on the IR.

If you're transiting directly from Malpensa Airport (arriving from North America), you're likely to require a train between 11 a.m. and 12 noon.
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Dec 8th, 2004, 06:34 PM
  #19
Cassandra
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Is there a left-luggage facility (or lockers) in the Milan station, so we can putter around the city for a couple of hours before leaving for Venice?
 
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Dec 8th, 2004, 09:35 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Another train question - what's the deal with stopping in a city that's en route? For example, if I have a ticket from Milan to Venice, can I make a stop in Lecco and spend a few hours there? Do all trains make these "local" stops and do you need an additional ticket?
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