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Train from Rome to Catania - A Reasonable Alternative for Jet Lag?


Oct 16th, 2009, 06:12 PM
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Train from Rome to Catania - A Reasonable Alternative for Jet Lag?

I have been forewarned about wasting my time on the train from Rome to Sicily, but if I want to spend a day sacking out after a long plane ride from the U.S. to Rome with my husband and child rather than trusting a Windjet flight followed by rented car drive to wherever we end up in that area, what is the best strategy for a train ride to Catania from Rome/FCO (flight arrives around 9 a.m Rome time)? Should I book ahead or trust that on 11/17 I will not have to fight for a sleeper (but in any event, how to book now)? What are the practical logistics of this adventure? Horror stories and success stories welcome.
LizTD is offline  
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Oct 16th, 2009, 06:35 PM
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There aren't any sleeper cars on daytime trains. There is a direct train from Rome Termini to Catania that departs around 11:30, which would require you to get the 10:36 train from the airport. If you're checking bags my guess is you have about a 1 in 4 chance of making that train, assuming your flight arrives on time. That train would get you into Catania at 9:07pm.

If you miss that train there are later options but they all require a change enroute.

Taking an all day train after an overnight flight to Italy doesn't sound very attractive to me.

You can check schedules at www.bahn.de, or www.trenitalia.com.
J62 is offline  
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Oct 16th, 2009, 06:52 PM
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At first, I thought you were considering going from the airport directly to Roma Termini Station to take the 11:28 Intercity train to Catania (which would be too tight a connection to count on), but then you speak about reserving a sleeping compartment (hence the night train). If so, I assume you'd be overnighting in Rome, and departing the following evening by train?

There are three direct night trains from Rome to Catania (one out of Termini and two out of Tiburtina). All three trains proceed on to Siracusa. At Siracusa, there are connecting trains to Noto, Modica and Ragusa. There are also bus connections out of Catania to these four Baroque towns in the Province of Siracusa.

The night train out of Termini (the "Bellini") has both "regular" sleeping compartments (w/c at the end of the railcar) as well as luxury "Excelsior class" compartments with private w/c and shower. If you don't mind the extra cost, the "Excelsior class" is really the way to go with the overnight train. But there are only 8 units on this train, so they might be sold out by the time you arrive in Rome.

If you're considering night travel to Sicily, I would recommend the overnight car ferry from Naples to Catania, which would be much, much more comfortable than the overnight train. You would take a late afternoon train to Naples, then connect to the ferry. You would arrive more relaxed, and the trip is more enjoyable.

It is difficult to secure reservations on Trenitalia trains from the United States, using a U.S. credit card. Very few have been successful doing so. If you make the reservations as soon as you arrive in Rome (e.g. at the airport train station), you run a certain risk of not being able to take your first choice of train. If that is the case, you should really consider the car ferry out of Naples.


Here is more info about the overnight car ferry:

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