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Traveling through Italy - Understanding train transportation

Traveling through Italy - Understanding train transportation

Old Mar 12th, 2014, 06:28 PM
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Traveling through Italy - Understanding train transportation

I will be arriving in Rome and want to get directly onto a high speed train to Florence but am having trouble figuring out which station/train company to use. Also it looks as though I have to have a reservation for the high speed trains? My fear is the plane could be delayed and then what? Also, the best transportation from FCO to the train station and how much time to allow once I land, get through customs and to the station.

Thanks for any help !
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 06:56 PM
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You do need a seat reservation for the high-speed trains, but you can buy this with your ticket at the station - from a counter or a machine. Just get to Termini, then buy a ticket for the next Trenitalia train.
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 07:04 PM
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Trenitalia offers a train from the airport to Termini it looks like. Is that the best option for transportation from the airport?
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 07:13 PM
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tlynns, we have done this a few times and are doing it again in two weeks.

At FCO, I like to get the Leonardo Express to Termini; it's very easy and you can follow the signs.

I take a printed schedule of times for trains from Termini to Santa Maria Novella station in Florence with me.

So when I get to the train station at Termini, if a window is open, I buy my tickets for the Leonardo Express AND get tickets for the train that I can make from Termini to Florence.

If you're having trouble deciding, ask the agent at the window which train you can safely make.

It has happened that the train to Florence that I wanted was sold out, but I got First Class tickets because they are rarely sold out.

You may want to study maps and pictures of Termini so that you can easily figure out where to go when your train arrives from Termini, and you have to get the train to Florence.
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 07:23 PM
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Learn all about it here -

http://www.seat61.com/Italy-trains.htm

We also are doing the same thing in 2 weeks. I however, decided to chance it and make reservations for the train to Florence. I allowed 4 hours between arrival at FCO and the train's departure. I am not a big gambler, but the price was so low, if we don't make it, we haven't lost that much.
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 07:25 PM
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Oh, there are cheaper ways to get from FCO to Roma Termini:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1....From.Fco.html
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 08:18 PM
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RonInRome.com has pictures of the ticket vending machines and instructions on how to work them.

The fast trains with reservations are the preferred method of transit Rome-Florence. See Trenitalia.com. Buy ahead of time to save money.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 04:28 AM
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This is just the usual trade-off every airline arriving passenger has to make.

€19 no-refund no changes, book ideal train and risk it?

€19 no refunds, no changes, but reduce risk by allowing 4 hours?

€44 full-price bought on the day for whatever train leaves next?
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 04:44 AM
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I usually buy the €19 tickets on line ahead of time if I am going to travel somewhere the day I land and realize that sometimes I will have to loose that money, but it's only €19. It's a gamble.

You do have to take the train from the airport to Termini and then it's a pretty long walk from where the airport express comes in to the main platforms area so allow at least a half hour to find your train. More obviously if you need to get something to eat etc. The train from the airport to Termini takes a half hour. The idea to buy your ticket to Florence at the airport train station while you are buying your Leonardo Express tickets is a good one - at least by that time you know your flight wasn't late. This is assuming you don't have €19 tickets that will work.

Be aware that you can NOT use the ticket kiosks if you have an American credit card without a chip & pin.You have to go to a manned window.

If time is not an issue, some of the buses listed in trip advisor link Deb provided above would save a few euro.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 05:09 AM
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"Be aware that you can NOT use the ticket kiosks if you have an American credit card without a chip & pin.You have to go to a manned window. "

You can use cash at the machines.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 05:43 AM
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FWIW roninrome.com looks as though Ron has moved on to a professional travel agent and the site seems to be out of date as a result. Looks like it's still stuck in 2012 info. While the majority of no is probably still valid, users should be aware that it it not up to date.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 06:00 AM
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Sorry, iPad issue. S/B "Majority of info"

And I didn't mean to sound as if the site is worthless, it does have lots of useful information
I found it a bit overwhelming and a bit intimidating with so much info, and I consider myself a fairly experienced traveler.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 07:16 AM
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Thanks to everyone for your advice. It is a big help.

My only question now is about the 19€. Looking at the Trenitalia site The fares are showing at 39€. I would gamble on 19€ but not 39€.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 07:36 AM
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Are you traveling in the near future? The 19€ fares are discounts that do sell out. I agree that for 5€ fare difference it's worth having flexibility.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 07:39 AM
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Yes, usually when they have sold their quota of cheaper fares the price goes up. It's tough, but that's how a lot of plane & train companies do it nowadays. The man in seat 61 (above) says the full price is €44, so maybe you're better off just buying when you arrive.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 09:55 AM
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At the airport you should get your tickets all the way to Florence from the travel agent just across from the ticket window at the airport. The Trenitalia ticket agent now sells tickets just as far as central Rome. You can also use the ticket machines. I'm sure I've used them with a card that had no chip, but they may have changed the machines.

I wouldn't buy tickets in advance, even to get a discount, because if your flight is late and you miss the train, your ticket can't be exchanged. Even the full-price tickets can only be exchanged for one hour after the scheduled departure. In my opinion, it's better to buy the tickets when you get there, and know which train you'll be able to catch. Some people say that you can leave several hours cushion to avoid missing your train. I used to do that myself, but the last thing I want to do after a long flight is sit around a train station watching trains leave that I could have caught. It's almost worse than missing the train.

Also, for a few years now, the Leonardo Express train arrives in the main part of Termini station, so it's no longer a long walk to the departure track. It's five minutes maximum. It's worth your while, if the airport train isn't about to leave, to walk down the track for some distance, because last car in at the airport is the first in at Termini. You're also more likely to get a seat.

Trenitalia trains to Florence leave from two of the stations in Rome: Termini and Tiburtina. They're the same trains; they just stop at both stations. However, the train to Tiburtina costs 8 euros, which is 6 euros less than the Leonardo Express to Termini station.

There are also trains to Florence operated by Trenitalia's competitor, Italo. These trains leave from Ostiense station or Tiburtina station. The cheaper train from the airport stops at both stations. I'm sure the travel agent sells Italo tickets as well as Trenitalia tickets, but the ticket machines are all Trenitalia machines, at least when I was last there in January.

I wouldn't consider the cheaper buses to Termini when you're tired and have a train trip ahead of you. They take considerably longer than the train, and you'd have a longer trek to the train from the bus stop.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 02:53 PM
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>>>Be aware that you can NOT use the ticket kiosks if you have an American credit card without a chip & pin.You have to go to a manned window.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 03:02 PM
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Trenitalia no longer requires 24-hour advance purchase for discounted tickets, but as a practical matter, both they and Italo will mostly be sold out of those tickets beforehand.

I would much prefer to get my tickets for the whole trip at the airport rather than trying to buy them at Termini (or Tiburtina) station, when you may be rushing to make your connection. As I said, I don't think there are any Italo ticket machines at the airport train station, but I'm pretty sure the travel agent I mentioned, who also handles all long-distance Trenitalia tickets, will be able to provide them. If she can't sell Italo tickets, I would choose Trenitalia rather than buy tickets at Termini. I once spent over half an hour in a ticket agent queue there. The machines are plagued by men who can be rather insistent about "helping" you use the machines, in a ploy to get tips and any change or tickets that distracted travelers forget to pick up from the machine.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 04:52 PM
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Thank you, thank you! This helps so much.
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