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Long wait to buy train tickets at Rome airport?

WHile it seems everyone on this site seems to agree that we should wait until we are in Italy to buy our P2P tickets, I have also seen talk of long lines at the train ticket windows. We are traveling in July. Is there a good chance the line at the airport for train tickets will be long and perhaps we should buy before we leave the U.S. or use a travel agent? Will it cost more to use a travel agent or do they get paid by Trenitalia?

Posted by
22152 posts

I have never seen a line more than two or three deep at the airport. If there is a line go across the waiting area and buy tickets at the tobacco shop. If buying other tickets wait till you get to Termini in Rome. Lots of ticket machines. Buying tickets in the US will be very expensive.

Posted by
1449 posts

Doreen, I've only been there 3 times so maybe I was lucky. However the line for a staffed window was only 4-6 people. In any event, you don't need to buy all your tix at the airport. You just need to get to the Roma Termini station via the Leonardo express, because any trip outside of Rome is going to start from there anyway. There are self-serve machines to buy a ticket to the Termini station in Rome. At Termini, there are at least a dozen self-serve machines that are no harder to use than an ATM.

I have to say, though, I've seen multiple posts from you on the topic of trains and tickets. You seem very nervous about the whole thing. I think you'd be better off buying them before you leave the US; pay more, probably a more limited selection, but you'll have the peace of mind.

Posted by
189 posts

The word thorough comes to mind vs. "nervous." That's what I thought this post was for.

Posted by
2207 posts

Frank is correct. To purchase tickets for the train from FCO to Rome, you can use kiosks that will accept your credit card - or others that take cash also. It's 11E to get into town on the Leonardo Express. The kiosks have an "English" selection.

Once at Termini there are probably a 100+ kiosks in the terminal and English (British Flag) is one of language choices offered. You can buy your P2P tickets there.

As stated, if you're still uncomfortable, then work through your local travel agent and pre-purchase all tickets.

Ciao,
Ron

Posted by
6898 posts

Doreen, I have seen lines in both Florence and Venice but not at most of the other train stations we visited. Even at Florence and Venice, you could wait up to 30 minutes. But as Michael says, use the self-service kiosk. It will prompt you in English and you can pay with your credit card. The machine will even walk you through any required seat assignments. Watch the Italians do it and then give it a try.

Doreen, I seen all of your messages. Relax. Most Americans probably haven't been in a real train station in their entire lifetime. It's a way of life in Italy. It's really easy. Just get over there and jump in.

Posted by
189 posts

Thanks. The machine sounds like, er, just the ticket. PS: Actually, I ride the Long Island Rail road and Amtrak out of Penn Station in New York a lot so train stations don't scare me. I just like to know what I'm doing, especially if I'm on a tight schedule. Thanks again.

Posted by
6898 posts

Here I've been envisioning Doreen from Blackstone and Shaw (Fresno) and sounds like you're hiding in NY. Train passengers out of Penn Station and Grand Central are highly qualified for the Italian train system.

The Leonardo express runs twice an hour to Rome Termini from the airport. There is also a regularly scheduled bus service from the airport to the Rome Tiburtina train station which is 4 stops away from Rome Termini on the Metro B line.

Posted by
189 posts

I'm bicoastal. People from Fresno get around. Though I'm originally from New York and I guess Fresno is where I got around to. Loooooong story.

Posted by
409 posts

Doreen
We just got from Italy on Tuesday. We purchased our tickets at the window at the Airport. We were able to get our tickets for the Leonardo and our tickets for the rapido to Firenze at the same time. The process was quite easy and we spent about five minutes in line if that.

My only warning is to allow enough time between the arrival of the Leonardo at Termini and your scheduled departure from Termini. The Leonardo was 12 minutes late getting into Termini and we had to run like the Griswalds to make our train. If we'd had more than a bag each to carry we would not have made it.

The problem with buying your tickets from the US is that if your plane is delayed then your tickets aren't refundable (at least that is my understanding based on their website).

Posted by
103 posts

This has been a great post. I've learned alot! And I'm also trying to be prepared for the train system as we make our way from Rome to Assisi to Florence and then back to Rome. I'm intrigued by the idea of using a credit card to purchase tickets from an automated machine. The one thing about buying tickets is the language barrier. I've learned some BASIC Italian, but I suspect I'll be better as saying "Good Day" than translating on a ticket machine. Does the machine offer English?

Posted by
1589 posts

Yes, English is an option on the automated ticket machines. Fairly easy to use.

Posted by
423 posts

Hi Doreen, I have purchased point to point tickets at FCO for 2 trips last year. There were maybe 2 people in line ahead of me and it went fast. I actually did my homework and prepared a sheet of paper with dates, destinations, train #'s which class, etc. I handed the paper to the ticket officer and in about 5 minutes I had all my tickets. It was worth it to my to do this all at once so I didn't have to purchase as I went. The first trip, the Leonardo express was just about to depart, so I just waited for the next one 30 minutes later. This gave me a chance to pick up a map, get a beverage and stretch and relax after a long overnight flight.

It's all good. Happy travels!

Posted by
189 posts

Thanks for all your help. We will be spending two nights in Rome when we arrive and leaving the next morning for Florence so I was hoping to buy tickets at the airport when we arrive to save precious sightseeing time. I am assuming the Leonardo Express is the train to Florence??

Posted by
103 posts

No. The Leonardo Express is the train from the airport to the train station in Rome (Termini). To get to Florence, you'll take a different (local) train from Termini Station in downtown Rome.

Also - great tip, Gela, about writing it all down ahead of time and just handing it to the ticket agent! Lessens the communication anxiety I'm having and saves time as we travel from town to town.

Posted by
189 posts

Thanks again - yeah, I was planning on writing down our train choices to show the agent. I am assigning my son lots of writing things down and translating of phrases before we leave - since this trip will preclude him going to any camps this summer, it'll serve the dual purpose of keeping him busy as well.

Posted by
31621 posts

Doreen, my suggestion would be to just buy tickets for the Leonardo Express at the airport, as you'll be tired and "jet lagged". You'll probably have a short wait for the train, and then about an easy 40 minute ride to Termini.

Wait until you get to Termini to buy your tickets to Florence. In addition to the machines, there are lots of ticket windows (with English-speaking clerks).

Happy travels!

Posted by
7737 posts

You can also get train tickets at pretty much any travel agency there after you arrive. You won't feel as rushed. That way all you have to get at the airport is the ticket into Rome. (But I believe you have to pay cash no matter where you buy them. At least that used to be the case.)

Posted by
64 posts

doreen,
we bought all our tickets once we arrived to rome..i too had a sheet with all the times from rome to florence...florence to venice...florence to monterosso and back to rome....we were a group of four and since we were tired we had a company pick us up and take us right to the hotel for almost the same price as the train jo