Advice requested for this 1st time Italy traveler. Will be traveling by Bus from Rome to Siena, then by Bus from Siena to Florence, then by Train from Florence back to Rome. Do I need tickets for these trips well in advance, or can I simply go to the stations and purchase them there. 3 people traveling on a very tight schedule, so I don't want to be delayed if the Buses or Trains don't have availabilty for us. Any other thoughts on this travel schedule would also be appreciated.
Reason I was thinking bus was because it appears to be a slighter shorter time than the train, is direct to Siena, and the bus terminal is within walking distance of the town (and my hotel is only 2 blocks away from the bus terminal). Many postings say it's more difficult to get to town from the train station.
Thanks for the response. I'll look into the train option.
The bus tickets Rome to Siena will be cheaper if bought in advance see http://www.sena.it/
Siena to Florence it won't matter.
Train from Florence to Rome should probably be bought a day or two in advance. This can be done at almost any station or at a travel agency, look for the FS in the window.
I'm curious to know why you want to bus from Rome to Siena rather than train. (By train it would take 3 to 3.5 hrs, with one transfer.)
JFK, your research is correct in that the closest the train will get you to Siena is Poggibonsi where you will need to transfer to a bus or taxi. The bus does go right up to the entrance to the city. For the trip from Siena to Florence, look into the SITA bus system which has express buses between the two cities. The main SITA bus terminal is a long block from the main Florence train station. www.sitabus.it is the website. I tried the English button but it doesn't seem to work. However, here's a SAMPLE SCHEDULE LINK. The bus runs are frequent.
JFK, using Coach to and from Siena is a good idea, as long as the slightly longer time frame isn't a problem. The rail station in Siena is at the bottom of the hill, so getting to the town centre will involve a Taxi ride or whatever. However, the Bus station is virtually right in town, and an easy walk to many Hotels.
As someone else mentioned, the Bus station in Florence is virtually right next door to the Firenze S.M.N. rail station, and also within walking distance to many Hotels.
Good luck and happy travels!
Take the bus. Less time and less money. Like some one else said, it drops you off right inside the walls o the centro storico. The train you have to walk about 1.5 km to get insdie the walls. The bus from Rome to Siena doesn't leaves from Fiumicino or from Termini train station but from Tiburtina train station.
The bus station in Siena is located underground on the Piazza Gramsci, right next to the Jolly Hotel and the La Lizza gardens.
Oh and the train from Florence to Siena changes in Empoli not Poggibonsi, and ther are directs occasionally. If you're doing the train from Florence to Rome buy your tickets online at the FS website and then just pick them up from one of the automated machines. Unlike in France the Italians take US credit cards.Buon viaggio!
Also, be aware of what day you're traveling -- We did Florence to Siena on a Sunday (with more limited bus service) and the FIGHT to get on the bus was ridiculous. This is because you just buy a ticket for Florence/Siena -- no time, so there's no way to regulate how many people are going to be on any one particular route.
About 20 minutes before the bus comes into the terminal, people start lining up. My wife and I were first in line and still somehow had trouble getting on board. When the bus' door opens it is a free-for-all mad-dash to get on board. If you have a suitcase to put under the bus, you'd better have someone saving you a seat or you'll have to get off the bus and get your bag and try again later. Most amusing scene of our whole trip -- 75 year old woman grabbing 20 year old girl by the arm and yanking her out of the way so she could get on the bus! Only amusing because we were already on board - i'm sure it wasnt funny for the girl who had to wait for the next bus.
just some friendly advice here, JFK. You realize you're going to Italy, right? Just so you're prepared in advance, sometimes things don't go according to plan. There are strikes, for one thing. In France they strike at the drop of a hat, in Italy perhaps not as much but it DOES happen. And hotels lose reservations, restaurant experiences aren't always memorable, and so on.
Odds are good that if you've done your research the plans you make will work out as for the buses and trains, but when you write "I don't want to be delayed" I really get the image of someone who's going to blow a fuse if it doesn't work out. If this is you, Italy may not be your best vacation choice ...