The middle of May, we are traveling in one day (May 17th) from Cinque Terre to Amalfi. We would like to leave fairly early between 8 -9 am. What are some of the better options of train schedules/ fares? How far in advance can these tickets be purchased?
Debra, The option I'd use is a direct train from La Spezia Centrale to Roma Termini (about 3H:45M) and then Freccia from there to Napoli Centrale. The entire trip will be 5H:48M, and there appears to be a departure at 08:07. When purchasing tickets, some members here have reported a few "issues" with the Trenitalia website. You might want to have a look at the excellent Ron In Rome website, as there's a great tutorial there on how to buy tickets. When you arrive in Naples, you'll transfer to the Circumvesuviana for the trip to Sorrento. Check their website for current schedules and fares. They have several lines, and Sorrento is the last stop on that line. Happy travels!
Thank You Ken! That is so helpful!
The direct train Ken is referring to is a Frecciabianca, departing at LSC at 8:07 and arriving at Roma Termini at 11:50. The next connection is at Termini on a Frecciarossa, departing at 12:45 (plenty of time), arriving Napoli Centrale at 13:55. Check the Trenitalia site FIRST THING IN THE MORNING on January 18. That's when the super economy fares will become available for those two legs. If you're really lucky, you might get the ticket for 18 euros (9 euros each leg). But those are VERY popular routes on a weekday which means they could get snapped up pretty quickly. Once those super economy tickets are gone, there are no more made available at that price. The base fare for that trip (2nd class) is 95 euros, so we're talking some pretty significant savings, if you can snag them. (2nd class is plenty fine for Italian trains. It's what we always choose.) Here's the site you want: Trenitalia. Be sure to choose the number of tickets you want on that initial screen and enter "8" in the little window to the right of the date to choose the hour of departure. Italians switch the month and day, so you'll be picking 17/5/2013. We bought our May tickets from Venice to Brescia yesterday and had no problems. (We chose the "unregistered" option, since we don't buy tickets often at all.) Good for you for planning/thinking ahead!