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Travel from Rome to Sicily and back

Old Jan 1st, 2003, 06:58 PM
  #1  
Donna
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Travel from Rome to Sicily and back

We are meeting our relatives in Ribero and Calamonaci, Agrigento Sicily. Our plane lands in Rome at 9:30 PM. My husband and I will be traveling with our 9 y/o and a toddler. There are not flights from Rome into Sicily that late at night.

I want to continue our journey to Sicily that night. I am thinking train to Naples and then ferry, hydroplane (?) to Messina.

My husband, who was in the Navy 20 years ago, does not want to take us in to Naples, does not want to take us on a train at night and thinks we should stay the night in a hotel close to the airport and then catch a flight to Sicily the next morning.

I thought we could sleep on the ferry over rather than get a hotel room?

Also, I see the round trip tickets from Rome to Sicily is almost $300. The 4 of us would pay almost $1000 for the round trip flight.

Also, should we fly into Polarmo or Catania?

Thanks,

Donna
 
Old Jan 1st, 2003, 08:14 PM
  #2  
Ben Haines
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Could your husband be persuaded that sleeper travel is comfortable and convenient ? He will have an idea of what is on offer if he uses http://www.seat61.com/, then Italy, and sees the note on getting the best from sleepers and couchettes at http://www.twenj.com/tipsnighttrains.htm

The reference library of a city near you may have the Thomas Cook European timetable. Table 640 shows that you can carry on to Sicily the night you reach Rome. The trains roll on to ferries that cross to Messina, and then onwards into Sicily: you need not leave your sleeper. Both trains offer a light breakfast in your sleeping car. Both have 3-berth sleepers in second class, and the Trinacria Express has 2 berth sleepers in second class, which gives all four of you a berth each. I shall be surprised if your 9 year old does not want to get up early and climb upstairs 75 minutes before the Messina timing to have an early breakfast and a sea view in the ship's restaurant. In that case you would ask the sleeping car conductor to lock your compartment against thieves while you are out of it.

The Conca d'Oro Express leaves Rome Termini at 2300 and reaches Messina at 0720 and Palermo at 1100.

The Trinacria Express leaves Rome Tiburtina at 2327 and reaches Messina at 0805 and Palermo at 1130. On selected days another section reaches Siracusa at 1120

You can book by phone with CIT Tours, New York, official representative of the Italian rail system. http://www.cit-tours.com

I am afraid that so late at night there are no trains from Rome to Naples.

Please write if I can help further. Welcome back to Europe.

Ben Haines, London
 
Old Jan 1st, 2003, 10:48 PM
  #3  
vic
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Hi,

Firstly, if you are arriving in Rome at 9.30pm, you wouldn't reach Naples in time for the overnight ferries, I believe one leaves at 8.45pm and the other one leaves at 7.30pm (I might be wrong on the exact times, but those are roughly correct.. either way, it is well before 9.30pm!). Those are the winter timetables.. if you go in the summer there is a hydrofoil.

The train could be an option.. I've done it a couple of times, it really depends, I'm not a great fan of overnight train travel, but that;s completely personal. And all the information is above for you, in much more detail than I'd be able to manage! The other thing is that it will probably be cheaper to fly (if that's a consideration!). Alitalia have reduced their prices on internal flights to compete with low price airlines and if you book a couple of weeks in advance you can get the flights for about 120 euro return.. at least, that's what I paid for a palermo-rome return a couple of weeks ago.

(it's a route I do quite often because I live in Palermo and go up to Rome or Naples monthly!)

As for flying into Catania or Palermo, you may not have an option as long as the volcano continues its eruption.. because Fontanarossa (Catania's airport) has, in the past couple of months, been closing at regular intervals because of volcanic ash obstructing the views! Although they open the military airport up from time to time.. depends where the wind is blowing.

Either way though, both airports are quite well connected. Palermo is a prettier town though If you book a flight to Catania and the airport is closed, all that would happen is that the flight would be diverted to Palermo, but it's just something to be aware of.

Hope this helps a bit. If you want to check out the ferries there is www.traghetti.com which lists all the ferry lines in Italy. SNAV and Tirrenia are the companies that do the Naples/Palermo route.

 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 05:57 AM
  #4  
micia
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The train idea that Ben mentioned may be the best thing for you if you are not willing to fly down the next morning.
If you do fly, you would be safe to make your plans of landing in Palermo, don't risk taking the chance of Catania.
What Vic said is very true. Etna is making a big mess down there. Fontanarossa is usually closed when it gets dark and then planes are directed to Palermo. Even though if this were your option and you flew down in the morning, you risk that it would be on a day that Etna makes more smoke.
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 07:46 AM
  #5  
richard j vicek
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Good morning, Donna
Seems that you will be doing a lot of
traveling after arriving in Rome with
two kinder, would strongly suggest you
stay over nite at Rome a hotel near to or in Fumicino and take a flite the next
morning to Palermo... Italia shows a
21:40 flite out to Palermo.. with your
luggage and etc., this would be quite a
challange.. Feel Naples has been given
a bum rap over the years, however can not personally atest to that...

 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 08:38 AM
  #6  
gac
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You don't indicate how many hours you will have been traveling when you touch down in Rome at 21:30. Bear in mind that night rail travel to Palermo takes 12 hours of more!!! I would spend the night at the airport, and take an early morning flight the next day to Palermo. You can find low return fares by booking 14 days in advance (check Alitalia and Air One websites). The best night train option would be the Conca d'Oro Intercity Night (ICN), which leaves Rome Termini at 22:50 and arrives the next day in Palermo at 10:50. But you may not have quite enough time to make that train. The next train (an overnight Espresso) leaves Tiburtina Station at 23:27 and arrives in Palermo at 11:30 the next day. Forget Naples, as the last overnight ferries leave by 21:00.
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 11:03 AM
  #7  
cheap
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Check Meridiana airlines. They are cheaper than Alitalia:
http://www.meridiana.it/english/timetable/index.asp
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 11:39 AM
  #8  
Ben Haines
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Rail travel from Rome to Palermo takes 12 hours, and not more. You spend as long as you like of this in bed, so I doubt it matters how tired you are when you reach Rome. Indeed, the more tired the better, as you will all drop off that much faster. For your party I suggest the Trinacria at 2327, not the Conco d'Oro, as the Trinacria gives you four sleeper berths.

Please write if I can help further.

Ben Haines, London
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 12:07 PM
  #9  
gac
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Ben, I know that you are a maven on rail travel, so I thought to ask you why you believe that the sleeping accommodations on the Trinacria Express are better than those on the Conca d'Oro, which is an Intercity Night train? I assume that both trains offer "Comfort Class" couchettes, which are four per compartment, as well as traditional sleepers in both first and second class. Would it not be convenient for two adults with two small children to reserve a single 4-berth compartment in "Comfort Class", and pay the small supplement of approx. 23 Euros per berth in addition to the price of second class tickets? Or would it be more advantageous to book two traditional sleeping compartments with first or second class tickets?
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 01:16 PM
  #10  
Donna
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Thanks to every one for your suggestions.
We will be flying into Rome from the SE USA. It is a long flight with most of it at night so our kids can sleep.(Our flight leaves from here at 7PM) At the time,I thought that to be a good idea. Since then I have learned that there are few options for accomodations close to the airport. I dread landing at 9:30 PM, getting our luggage, dragging our kids and luggage into a taxi, driving to a hotel (where ever it may be), unpacking the taxi and kids, getting them into bed for one night, etc..... I thought perhaps if we could take the train then we could sleep on it and not worry with a hotel room for the night.

We took this flight from USA to Rome because it was cheap (less than $400 x 3). We had to take the flight they had and now I regret not paying for more expensive seats so that we could have timed the trip better.I guess this is one of those times one lives and learns. We are going to end up paying out the money we saved on the tickets somewhere else down the line.(hotel room,taxi, etc.)

Many thanks for all of your suggestions. Thanks also, for being kind. I know how obvious my inexperience in travel arranging is!

Donna
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 01:33 PM
  #11  
kayd
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Donna, are you sure that is a PM arrival? If you are leaving the eastern US at 7pm on a nonstop flight to Rome, your arrival in Europe would be the following morning.
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 03:33 PM
  #12  
Donna
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We do have a very long lay over in Amsterdam. We lv USA at 9pm, ar AMS next day at 12:50PM. Long lay over. Lv AMS 7:15PM ar Rome 9:35PM.

Yes. We land at 9:35 PM. I apologize for not making that clear before. We will not land in time to take a flight on to Polarmo that night.

The more I look at these flights the more I realize how hard this trip is going to be with 2 kids, especially with a toddler. We did save over $600 and at the time we booked, the lay over did not seem like such a big deal. But now, seeing the big picture, we have the long lay over in Amsterdam plus the late ar in Rome to deal with, all with two kids. Now, I am thinking convenience is worth more than the $600. Maybe next time, I will know better (if I make it through this trip!)

What in the world will we do with 2 kids in Amsterdam during that long lay over?

Donna
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 08:19 PM
  #13  
Gina
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Donna,
If you decide to overnight in Rome, and take a train instead of flying, I have a suggestion. There is a nice, inexpensive hotel just a short walk from the train station (Rome Termini) It is the Hotel Corot. (www.hotelcorot.it.or e-mail [email protected]t.it) You get off the train, turn right, go out of the station and you're almost there, a straight shot up Via Marghera. However, that time of night do mind the area as it's fairly seedy around the station. I walked about at night, but kept alert.
You can take a short trip on the train from the airport to the station cheaper than a taxi, but check on the times it runs. In September, I came into Termini planning to get right on a train out, but there was a railway strike and I discovered this hotel as I was desperate to get still somewhere. It was great to walk just a few minutes and be back in the station the next day, and the fellow running the Corot was kind and helpful.
Good luck. Gina
 
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 05:31 AM
  #14  
kayd
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Donna, my sympathies on that schedule. By nine at night you will probably want the simplest option, which I guess would be a hotel at Fiumicino and a morning flight to Palermo.

On the bright side, Amsterdam is the best European capital for a 6-hour stopover: you'll have plenty of time to take the train in to the city -- 25 minutes from the platform inside the airport-- and enjoy a canal boat tour. That should be enjoyable for all (plane, train, and boat all in one day!!!) and not too taxing. You can probably get details you need from a tourist info desk in the airport; if not, there is one just outside the central train station. And practically everyone in Amsterdam speaks English.
 
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 07:51 AM
  #15  
Donna
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Does anyone know if there are lockers at the airport in Amsterdam? Are they safe? I would like to get out and about while we are there. I think we would all enjoy doing that.

Taking the train into Rome and sleeping near the termini is a good idea too. I could plan for that and just pack a back pack with what we needed for the night. Could I leave the rest of our luggage at the airport in a locker? Would they be safe?

Many Thanks to everyone for all of your suggestions.
Donna
 
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 08:00 AM
  #16  
gac
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You're better off sleeping at one of the hotels very close to Fiumicino airport, and taking an early morning flight to Palermo the next day.
 
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 08:55 AM
  #17  
elizabeth
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We stayed at Hotel Mach 2 - 2 kilometres from the airport with a free shuttle (although your arrival time might be too late for it - but it's a 5 minute cab ride - tops).

Here's the web site

http://fiumicino.italy.allwebhotels.com/hotel.phtml/5063/intl/en

There are other hotels near the airport on that site as well.
 
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