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Trains in Italy - Reservations Necessary?

Trains in Italy - Reservations Necessary?

Old Jan 25th, 2003, 06:21 AM
  #1  
wondering
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Trains in Italy - Reservations Necessary?

Greetings!<BR>Are reserved tickets needed for trains in Italy? Or can we just buy them an hour before travel? Is the pendolino (fast train?) availble for all routes? And does that need advance reservations?<BR>We will be travelling from Milan to Venice on a Friday, and Venice to Florence on a Sunday.<BR>Thanks in advance for your help!<BR>
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 06:27 AM
  #2  
Rob
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We've traveled via Italian trains twice in recent years : Rome - Florence - Venice - Rome and also Rome - Caserta &amp; Naples - Rome .<BR><BR>In all instances , I made train AND seat reservations with DER Travel BEFORE leaving USA..only way I'll travel !!<BR><BR>Rob
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 06:34 AM
  #3  
wondering
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Sorry to sound stupid, but what's DER?<BR>And is it mandatory to save the seat if you want to get from A to B on a certain date? Or are there generally seats available - just maybe you won't get your preference of window or aisle or whatever... <BR>Just thought of this too: Is there a non-smoking section?<BR>
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 06:50 AM
  #4  
wondering
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Okay - Went to trenitalia.com - More Ques:<BR>When arriving in Venice, do I want to go to &quot;VE S.L.&quot; or &quot;Mestre?&quot;<BR>In Florence, I'm guessing I want &quot;FI.SMN&quot; as opposed to &quot;FI.CM.&quot; Correct?<BR>
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 06:52 AM
  #5  
Anon
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We just came back from Italy and traveled on the Eurostar between cities. We never made advance train reservations. We just showed up at the station and bought tickets from the automated machines. Sometimes we arrived at the station 10 minutes before a train was going to depart and still we had no trouble finding a seat. This was our experience for Eurostar first class tickets between the major cities only.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 07:09 AM
  #6  
Steve James
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You want Venice S.L (Santa Lucia).<BR><BR>In Florence you want SMN.<BR><BR>It's best to book the pendolino (ES) in advance for Friday and Sunday travel. A day or two in advance is fine - book your tickets once you arrive in Italy, not before (-or you will pay a hefty commission).<BR><BR>Steve<BR><BR>
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 07:23 AM
  #7  
Alice Twain
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Wondering:<BR><BR>In Italy there are some cathegories of trains that REQUIRE reservations, some that do not require it but a reservation is hihgly recommendable, some that do not allow reservations. My suggestion is to reserve seat on Intercity or Eurostar (Pendolino is an old type of ETR carriage used for Eurostars) abnd from Venice to Firenze on another Eurostar. Do not buy your tickets in advance, buy them (and rserve seats) as you arrive here in Milano, you can do it at the airport. This is cheaper and safer tha do it on-line of from the Usa through an agency. you are not lilely to have any problem in doing so. Eurostra require reservation, Intercity do not require it, but if you do not reserve you may end up travelling for at lest part of the trip standing in the corridor. Also, you will need these stations: Milano Centrale, Venezia Santa Lucia and Firenze Santa Maria Novella. One last thing: on Eurostar trains you do not need to book a first class seat: it costs 30% more but the second class is already comfortable enough, with a level of comfor that is more or less equal to that of a touristc class seat on an airplane plus a restaurant and bar carriage available (costly but offering but very cheap quality).<BR>Rob:<BR><BR>There is no such thing as a train reservation. On italian trains any ticket will allow you to get on the right train, as long as the ticket is valid, but the ticket is not a reservation. On most trains reservation is extra. This means that if you can't get a resrved seat you can still travel on that train, but you will ahve to stand in the corrior for the whole trip or for part of the trip.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 08:17 AM
  #8  
wondering
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Wow, that's a lot of great information. Thanks so much. Can I further impose with a couple more questions:<BR>Is there a difference in the trains themselves whether you go Eurostar, inter-city, or inter-regional? Or is it just the number of stops along the route?<BR>Also, many routes are designated with an asterisk, and have an explanation in Italian, even though I'm in the English version. It's something about daily schedules and ends with &quot;a quello della richiesta.&quot; Anybody know what this means?
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 08:36 AM
  #9  
Alice Twain
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Obviously the different cathegories of trins have differences that go beyond the number of stops.<BR><BR>Eurostar trains: These are the fastest and most comfortable trains, they only connect the main cities. They ar also the most costly. You are required to book a seat for this cathegory of trains, you may do the same day of your departure, but in particular on the week-ends (including Friday) it is better to do it a couple of days in advance. Milan-Rome in 4 and a half hours.<BR>Intercity, Eurocity, Intercity Notte, Eurociity Notte. Long distance trains, neither as fast nor as comfortable as Eurostars, but still with a decent level of comfort. These trains connect all decetly.sized cities of Italy and some (Eurocity and Eurocity Notte) travel to other European countries. Booking is not required, but it is highly advisable on week-ends (including Friday). Trains with &quot;Notte&quot; added to the cathegopry have sleeping cars and travel at night. Prices are lower than Es trains. Milan-Rome 6 hours.<BR>Espresso. These trains travel mainly at night, connecting the main cities of Italy. They are the cheapest way to travel between the big cities, but also the least comfortable. Prices are half the prices of Eurostars. Seat booking is not required, but it is possible to book, in particular if you want to travel overnight in a couchette. Milan-Rome 9 hours.<BR>Interregionale, Diretto, Regionale and Urbano. These are short distance trains, very cheap, most of them do not even have a first class, but in most cases you do not travel on these trains for more than one hour between a couple villages or one city and a village. No booking allowed. Not very comfortable. It is impossible to reach Rome from Milano (or Milano from Rome) with one of these trains, but getting to Bologna takes 1h15 by Eurostar and twice as much by Interregionale.<BR><BR>As for the asterisk, it means that the train arrives the day next to the one you have requested informations about.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 08:59 AM
  #10  
Anon
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Alice, I respectfully disagree about first class seats not worth the extra money on EuroStar. The seats in first class are far roomier, there are fewer of them per aisle and the compartments are much less crowded. Perhaps this is also the reason why I had no problem buying first class tickets at the station, the cars were only half full. Second class looked jam packed. I didn't think the price difference was really that much either.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 09:49 AM
  #11  
Alice Twain
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The reason for the first class cars were only half full is that most Italians think, just like I do, that a first class in a Eurostar is not worth the price, even those that on lower cathegory trains alway travel on first class, when it's available ^___^
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 01:15 PM
  #12  
joe
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I would never purchase/reserve my rail tickets in America prior to going to Italy. It is cheaper to do it in Italy AND you will get better information. You can book/reserve at train stations however we have always found it to be faster and more convenient to use travel agencies. They charge a small fee. You may have to hunt for one as fewer and fewer travel agents are handling rail. I think they charge 1E. We sometimes change our itinerary on the fly so normally we only book one city in advance. We also use the Kilometric Pass, it is a pass that you purchase that is good for 3000KM of transportation in Italy. Now, there will be a surcharge if you use this to book on the Eurostar. I think we saved about 20 percent by using this. Up to five people can SHARE this pass, ie you do not need one pass per person. The only exception to this is sleeper cars. I would book these a few weeks in advance during the summer months only.
 
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