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Train Travel Between Rome and Florence: Don't Worry About Advance Seat Reservations

Train Travel Between Rome and Florence: Don't Worry About Advance Seat Reservations

Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 03:01 PM
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Train Travel Between Rome and Florence: Don't Worry About Advance Seat Reservations

If you're worried about the need to secure advance seat reservations for train travel between Rome and Florence, DON'T WORRY! You really don't need them in advance!

Eurostar Italia (ES) trains run between Rome and Florence every 60 minutes OR LESS. During some time frames, there is another ES train within 30 minutes. Each ES train accommodates up to 590 passengers, and many originate in Rome itself (making the liklihood of finding space virtually assured). Travel time to Florence is only 95 minutes!

When you purchase a ticket for an ES train, your seat reservation comes automatically, so you'll never be left scurrying for an empty seat.

(If you are concerned about the possibility of not finding a seat, avoid the Intercity (IC) and Eurocity (EC) trains between Rome and Florence, where seat reservations are optional (and therefore, there is a chance of not finding a seat, usually if travelling in second class)).

If you are arriving directly from North America or elsewhere by air, and continuing directly to Florence, you won't really know exactly when you'll be able to catch the train, given the unpredictable delays of air travel.

So, when you buy your airporter train ticket at the Rome Fiumicino Airport train station (to go to Rome Termini Station on the non-stop "Leonardo da Vinci" express, which takes 32 minutes and departs every 30 minutes), you should then be able to accurately determine which connecting train you can catch for your onward journey, and you can purchase both tickets at that time, not beforehand. (Be sure to allow 15 minutes connection time at Rome Termini).

That way, you won't be stuck with the hassle of having to CHANGE your ES reservation if you had purchased the ticket in advance, only to determine locally that you won't be able to make the reserved train after all (reservation changes to ES trains are free of charge if made BEFORE the departure time of the train for which the original reservation is held.

You can still change the reservation to a later ES train within 24 hours AFTER the departure time of the originally scheduled train (if you have a paper ticket); but if you have an electronic ticket, the deadline for changes is ONE HOUR AFTER the original train's departure!!!! In either case, the you must pay 3 Euros for a new reservation).

(One reason for purchasing in advance is if you are taking advantage of a promotional fare such as the "Sabato di Trenitalia" fare for Saturday travel on a Eurostar Italia or Intercity train.)

One important reason for NOT purchasing an ES ticket in advance is that there is a 20% penalty for ticket cancellation PRIOR to the scheduled departure time of the train, and a 50% penalty for ticket cancellation within 24 hours (if you have a paper ticket) or within ONE HOUR (if you have an electronic ticket) AFTER train departure. The ES ticket has NO RESIDUAL VALUE if not used or cancelled within these time frames. In other words, the ES ticket is always partially non-refundable, and can become totally non-refundable.

For further information, read my posting: "Three types of trains between Rome and Florence"

Buon proseguimento e buone vacanze!
GAC is offline  
Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 03:07 PM
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Let me clarify that the 20% and 50% penalties described in the previous posting refer to outright CANCELLATION of an ES ticket.

This is separate and distinct from the situation where the ticket is in fact used, but for a different ES train (in which case the seat reservation is changed within the time frames noted in the previous posting). The reservation change is gratis if made BEFORE the departure time of the train for which the original reservation is held.
GAC is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2004, 07:20 AM
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ira is offline  
Old Oct 1st, 2004, 05:21 AM
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I actually did find this to be necessary on my Florence to Venice and Venice to Rome portions, though don't recall much about the Rome to Florence leg. I wanted assigned seats so my wife and I could sit together; good move because the two I referenced above were very full and other trains were completely sold out.

Not to be a contrarian, but if you can afford it and don't want to worry I'd say buy the assigned seats. You won't have to rush aboard that way and are assured of sitting with the one(s) you are traveling with.
mdtravel is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2004, 06:37 AM
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GAC, thanks for the great info.
degas is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2004, 07:00 AM
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We also wish we would have had reservations. Our family (including 2 children) boarded the train and there were no seats...we literally sat on our luggage in the aisle for the entire trip. We learned very quickly though and did reservations for the other legs of the trip. BTW, this was in April, so not even high season.
mms is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2004, 07:37 AM
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Trains are not used solely by people going on holiday, so "mms" is wrong to think April is not "high season". Trains are busiest in the mornings and evenings with people going to and from work, and around weekends when people go to visit families or go out to enjoy themselves. In most European countries, trains are busiest on Friday afternoons and evenings, and on Sunday afternoons and evenings. Public holidays, including Easter which often falls in April, and school holidays make a big difference to rail traffic.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2004, 07:42 AM
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I know that Geoff. However...it was late April...middle of the week around 10:30am. We did that on purpose. We are very familiar with mass transit in various places and how rush hours affect it. I was just stating that sometimes the seat reservations are a good thing to have.
mms is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2004, 08:17 AM
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We found that we did not need seat reservations on the Florence to Rome either, but we were there in March and it just wasn't very crowded. However, we had rail passes so we had first class seats. The seats in 2nd class cabins were much more crowded than the 1st.

Although there are so many trains that go between the two cities, I really do think that seat reservations depend on the time of year you are traveling.
tcreath is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2004, 08:23 AM
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Took the 7:53 a.m. Eurostar Italia train from Florence to Rome on Saturday October 16. There were a total of 12 railcars, 4 of which first class. The railcar where I was seated (2nd class) had 6 passengers and a total of 62 seats. Ditto the next railcar from mine.

I was originally booked on the Eurostar leaving at 8:53 a.m., but switched at the last minute to the Eurostar leaving one hour earlier. As expected, NO CHARGE to change seat reservations PRIOR to departure time of originally scheduled train. You are given a replacement ticket in exchange for the one for the originally scheduled train.

Train personnel told me that the MONDAY morning Eurostars to Rome tend to be quite full, particularly in first class (Italian businessmen and politicians going to work).

So a great deal depends on the day, time and period of travel..........
GAC is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2004, 08:32 AM
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In July we were happy to have had reseravtions and there were no two seats togetre (there were 4 of us) So while you may get seats if you want to sit with your travelling companions get reservations.

davidjac is offline  
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