CT to Venice -train clarification

We're traveling from Vernazza to Venice in July, on a Sunday. We would like to arrive in Venice mid-afternoon. I've read many posts – old and new- on this issue, but still need a bit of advice. We're hoping to book ahead when the summer schedule comes online. I've read the different posts on routes we can take and it sounds like there might be less train changes if we take the Florence route (please correct me if I'm wrong). Ideally, we'd like to arrive in Venice mid-afternoon and the easiest route would be my preference. When booking ahead, do I just book the train from Florence to Venice, and figure on going with a regional train from Vernazza-La Spezia to Florence? . . . or can we book La Spezia to Florence ahead of time also? On the Trenitalia website, what should we input as our departure city? (Vernazza?, La Spezia?). In the summer, are the trains running regularly through the Cinque Terre to La Spezia and pretty regularly from La Spezia to Florence? Is it reasonable to assume we can be in Florence by noonish? My head is spinning. Thanks!

Posted by Margo
baltimore, MD, USA
9 posts

Thank you Bob, Roberto and Ken. This is very helpful.
I will keep my options open (Milan, Parma) and try not to stress. Here's hoping the new schedules/fares are up soon.

Posted by Bob
Gettysburg, PA
1364 posts

" In the summer, are the trains running regularly through the Cinque Terre to La Spezia and pretty regularly from La Spezia to Florence? Is it reasonable to assume we can be in Florence by noonish?" IMO, yes to both questions if you leave by 8am from any of the CT towns. Don't bother about reserving seats.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3342 posts

Actually the route that will involve fewer train changes is likely not through Florence, but rather through Genoa>Milan>Venezia. However the route through Florence, although involving more train changes, is generally faster (but sometimes via Milan is just as fast). Also another option is through the Cisa Pass (La Spezia-Parma), however those options are few throughout the day (but there is one at 9:34 am). The travel time from CT to Venezia is at least 6 hours. Although the schedule for Summer is not out, however you can get an idea of the trains options by going to www.trenitalia.com and choosing as travel date, Sunday this week. The timetable changes in summer, but not dramatically, most trains remain exactly the same. Generally in summer there might be slightly fewer commuter (Urbano and Regionale) trains in the mornings (since schools are closed) and more weekends options especially to vacation spots (to accommodate more vacationers), but changes are truly minor. So go to: www.trenitalia.com and enter the following: from: VERNAZZA to: VENEZIA SANTA LUCIA date: This Sunday's date time: 00:00 (so that you see all trains since early morning.
Click on search. The output of this search will show you all train options starting from early morning (go to the next page for later trains).

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Margo, One of the "easiest" trips on that route is a departure from Vernazza at 10:26, arriving Venezia Santa Lucia at 16:40 (time 6H:14M, 2 changes at Monterosso and Milano Centrale). Most of the other trains have at least 3 changes. If the arrival time is too late, a departure at 08:14 will get you to Venice by 14:20. As that route will involve a combination of Regionale / Intercity / Freccia, you won't be able to pre-book the entire route. You could pre-book segments using Freccia trains which have compulsory reservations, but it's probably just as easy to buy Regionale tickets when you arrive in Vernazza, either from the Kiosks or at the ticket office. Note that YOU MUST validate Regionale tickets on the day of travel prior to boarding the train or face hefty fines! One other point to mention is that in the C.T., the tickets they issue for Regionale trains are often quite small, almost like an old theatre ticket. As I recall, those must be in-serted in the validation machine on the left side. "Regular" tickets are larger and printed on card stock. Although it may cost a bit more, it would also be very easy to simply buy your Vernazza - Milan tickets when you arrive in Vernazza, rather than pre-booking. That's the method I usually use. Happy travels!