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wendyrobin Apr 3rd, 2009 06:25 AM

trenitalia won't let me book online
I've tried to book 1st class eurostar from Venice to Rome on trenitalia website. At the end of the transaction it is denied - The site won't let me do that ... I get a request to mail in ID, copy of charge card, etc. We are flying into rome and plan to buy tickets at train station for travel to florence, then on to venice, but for the longest train trip -- our return trip from venice to rome -- we want to make sure we can get first class seats and I understand these book up in advance. Any advice?

Palenque Apr 3rd, 2009 06:54 AM

No 1st class seats are the least likely to book up in advance IMO of years of riding first class Italian trains - there are so many trains - simply buy your ticket when landing at the Rome Airport for the Venice to Rome if worried. The only reason to hassle with the nearly impossible to work site is to save money by the cheaper advance online fares. But if Amica tickets remain you can get the same 20% for those by booking at Rome Airport station - if they remain - you can get them up to some hours before the train if they remain.

simply quit fretting and wait to Italy. I have a first class railpass and have always got first class tickets booking the day before my travel on ES and any route. this simply will not be a problem.

If bent on doing trenitalia (and you could get more than a 20% discount i think) keep topping and Ira or some other trenitalia expert will walk you thru it as Ira has graciously done umpteen times before. should hire Ira as a consultant IME - and there are others like him but he is usually lurking around more than others.

ellenem Apr 3rd, 2009 07:49 AM

If you were trying to book tickets more than 60 days in advance, the system will not allow it.

ira Apr 3rd, 2009 08:09 AM

Hi WR,

You are registered with Trenitalia?
You are trying to book tickets less than 60 days in advance?
You have called your CC company to let them know you are buying tickets from Italy?

If the answer is "yes" to all, follow Pal's advice.

Trenitalia charges go through a European clearing house that is very picky about accepting US CCs.


LJ Apr 3rd, 2009 10:36 AM

As the amount you save (IF you save it) amounts to less than 20 E., I'd wait until you get there, too. The hassles on Trenitalia pre-books are legendary (do a search and share the angst). We never book ahead and have never been left without a seat and only once failed to get the Amica discount.

TimS Apr 3rd, 2009 01:35 PM

For the record, if any of the allotted seats are still available, you can get Amica fares up to midnight of the day before departure. They are only offered on fast trains, not cheap regional trains. If you buy your Venice-Rome tickets when you arrive in Rome, you should have no trouble getting Amica fares.

gatorbill Apr 3rd, 2009 01:40 PM

Huh, this is a new one on me.
What are Amica fares, and what are the requirements to get them ?

J62 Apr 3rd, 2009 01:47 PM

Venice to Rome is 4.5hrs. The 2nd class seats on Eurostar trains are quite comfortable and there's plenty of room to get up and stretch your legs should you wish. In my opinion the only reasons for booking 1st class are if money is no object or your girth requires a bigger seat.

Otherwise save your money for other things.

scrb Apr 3rd, 2009 02:36 PM

Well, I tried to book before I left for Rome and it wouldn't take my credit card, a well-known problem for those with credit cards not issued by an Italian bank. I've heard of some Italians having problems using cards from say Barclays

So by the time I had a chance to get to the Termini, the Amica fare on the faster trains to Napoli were gone, meaning instead of 28 Euro, it was more like 42 Euro for second-class fare.

But IC trains on the same dates had Amica fares for 15 Euro.

Anyone use travel agencies in the centro storico to book train tickets? Just curious what kind of commission or fee they tack on.

TimS Apr 3rd, 2009 03:12 PM


An Amica fare is 20% less than the standard fare. It's only offered on fast trains that require seat reservations.

gatorbill Apr 3rd, 2009 03:20 PM

OK thanks, so when you purchase a point-to-point ticket in Italy you need to ask for the Amica fare, otherwise they'll hit you with the full fare ? Is it only available in Italy ?

I assume it has nothing to do with railpasses, correct ?

ellenem Apr 3rd, 2009 07:17 PM

Trenitalia has recently revamped al their fare promotions. The Amica fare may be purchased online or in Italy, but it may no loger be available for the routes you need. Here's a link to the full list of promotions. Note especially the icons at right.

ira Apr 4th, 2009 05:57 AM

Hi gb,

>when you purchase a point-to-point ticket in Italy you need to ask for the Amica fare, otherwise they'll hit you with the full fare ? Is it only available in Italy ?

I assume it has nothing to do with railpasses, correct ?<

Go to the trenitalia site. You will see that, depending on the train, they have Amica or Smart Price discounts

You should ask for these discounts.

They are not connected with Railpasses at all.

Are you sure you need a railpass? Italian trains are quite inexpensive.


gatorbill Apr 4th, 2009 07:38 AM

Thanks ira,
I'm just asking for future reference. On most of my trips to Italy I've used point-to-point tickets as you state. However, I have found railpasses to be a good value when traveling thru multiple countries and also when taking long overnight train routes in which case I remember that they worked out a little bit better than buying the individual tickets.


kybourbon Apr 4th, 2009 11:01 AM

gatorbill - No, you don't get hit with full fare unless that's what you desire to book. There are multiple fare choices on Trenitalia depending on type of train. The faster trains (AV/ES/ICPlus)will usually give you a choice of Flexi (assume that's what you are calling full fare), Standard (what most people that walkup book), Amica (20% off when available, but must be booked at least 24 hours in advance), Family (20% off), etc. Flexi is like booking full fare on an airline. It means you can change and cancel easier and costs more (20% higher than a Standard) to give you this benefit. Standard has some restrictions about booking changes. Amica is a 20% discount, but can sell out and must be purchased in advance.

I'm confused by your railpass statement. When taking overnight trains with a railpass, you still have to buy a reservation which adds to the cost of a pass. How does that work out better? A railpass for Italy is almost never economical. Even when not taking overnight trains in Italy, you must pay additional fees to ride any of the AV/ES/ICPlus trains since you can't ride these trains without seat reservations (15-20€ each).

gatorbill Apr 4th, 2009 12:35 PM

Thanks kybourbon,
Yes, I've paid for the reservation on the overnight trains from Venice-Paris and Venice-Vienna which adds to the pass. But I've used the pass when traveling thru Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and France. For me, it was a good deal as I could travel as much as I wanted the days I activated the pass without having to worry about purchasing tickets at the station (other than making seat reservations). So I've always been a fan of flexi-passes.

Sometimes, the additional convenience and peace of mind of a pass is worth the additional money you have to pay. I feel the same away about the London Travel Card, the Paris Museum Card, the daily vaporetto passes in Venice, the daily bus passes in Roma, etc. The freedom you get to be able to hop on and off when you want allows me to more easily explore and also allows me to change my trip as I go along is worth the added expense to me.


kybourbon Apr 4th, 2009 01:29 PM

I don't understand the convenience and peace of mind either. What's the difference in having to stand in line to purchase seat reservations than standing in line to purchase tickets? None that I can see since it would take the same amount of standing in line time. Neither of which anyone would do these days anyway with rows of touch screen ticket machines available. You can't hop on and off the fast trains in Italy, even with a pass since they are reserved seats only. The only trains you could hop on and off are the really slow trains. If the fast trains are fully booked, you can't ride them at all just because you have a railpass. So no, a pass in Italy does not allow freedom or flexibility because you must purchase seat reservations for exact trains and times unless traveling on the slow trains. There is no "flexi" pass for Italy, only 1st or 2nd class pass and neither include seats. What pertains to railpasses for other countries really doesn't apply to Italy.

gatorbill Apr 4th, 2009 01:32 PM

Hey to each his own, if you don't like passes then it's your opinion. I prefer to use them, and that's just my opinion. I never try to force my views on others, so I do not like it when others try to force there's on me. So as far as I'm concerned I'm done with this conversation.


orangetravelcat Apr 4th, 2009 01:42 PM

If the OP wants to travel in first class, what business is it of anyone else? To say that there is no reason for it unless you want to waste money or you need a larger seat because of your girth is absurd. (Directed to J62).

orangetravelcat Apr 4th, 2009 01:44 PM

Wendyrobin, I made many attempts to book on Trenitalia online and each time had the same experience as you. Went thru the whole process only to get a message that my credit card was denied. I followed all the steps Ira mentioned. I decided to just wait til we get to Italy to get our tickets.

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