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Need help in planning Italy trip

we want to see Rome, Florence and Venice hopefully by train. We have about a week . We want to know if we can get off the train in some smaller town between the bigger cities and sightsee perhaps even spend a night before we continue our trip without being penalized or having to pay more. Thanks for your help

Posted by
1449 posts

if you buy point-to-point tickets you can get off anywhere. A series of point-to-point is usually a bit more expensive than the same journey as 1 trip, but not that much more.

If I understand what you're asking, you want to buy (for example) a ticket from Rome to Florence and get off at a town along the way, stay for a while (even overnite), then hop back on the train using the same ticket. You can't do this except for brief stops. The longer routes like Rome <-> Florence have reserved seats on most trains, certainly the faster ones. Your reservation is for one particular seat on one train. Even for regional trains without assigned seats, you have to validate before boarding and then it will expire.

Posted by
1449 posts

(cont'd)

from the Trenitalia website it says (for local & regional trains):

The journey must be completed within 24 hours from validation (in Trentino, by midnight of the day of issue). For distances longer than 200 km, the trip must be completed within 6 hours from validation (in Lombardy within 3 hours, for distances of up to 50 km).Tickets for journeys on regional trains with departure and destination stations in different regions are valid for 6 hours from stamping.

http://www.trenitalia.com/en/treni_stazioni/regionali/informazioni.html

Posted by
6898 posts

Interstingly, the Eurostars from Rome to Florence are non-stops. There is an intercity (IC) run that takes an hour more and a regional train (R) that takes two hours more. The IC train will make 4-5 interim stops while the R train will make several more.

CLICK HERE to see what a typical schedule looks like. Select "Details" on any of the runs and when that screen comes up, click on the train number link. All of the stops for that run will appear. You can see if any appeal to you.

If you are on the R train, you can get off and get back on a later train. Not so with the IC or Eurostar. If you book from Rome to Florence on a Eurostar and get off, your ticket is toast (although there is a process to get on a later train within 3 hours but you won't like it)

Posted by
236 posts

Further clarification, please. If we take train from Milan to Venice and wish to stop for up to 4 hours in Verona, do we purchase Milan to Verona, Verona to Venice tickets (2 separate) or do we purchase Milan to Venice and get off/reboard in Verona? Thanks.

Posted by
189 posts

Thanks. This needs studying. I can't understand why train travel in Europe is so confusing.

Posted by
6898 posts

Susan, it depends. If you take the Eurostars, EuroCity or Cisalpino trains which all stop at Verona, you will need two tickets. If you take the much slower R local trains, you won't. The R trains are slower because they stop at every stop. No reservations or seat assignments are permitted. The faster trains aren't that much faster; they just stop at a few larger stations along the way.

Just remember that on your second ticket 4 hours later that you be there in time for that exact train. Your fast train ticket will have the date, train number, time and seat reservations on it. All of this information is not on an R train ticket which is why you have to stamp them to validate before boarding. This is the big difference between the two types of trains.

Posted by
189 posts

Thanks for all your help. So, what we are now thinking is to go to Florence from Rome via train and spend a few days there which would include a day trip by train probably to Pisa. My questions: I can't seem to find info on climbing the tower. Is it open? Also, we want to see some pretty countryside in addition, so is there another train stop we can do between Pisa and Florence or not far from Florence? Or, is there a short tour from Pisa we can do that might even include a wine taste? Or not (we do a lot of California wine country).

Posted by
64 posts

Honestly, I think you're packing in a lot for one week, especially considering the hours you'll lose on train travel, finding your hotel, etc. Pisa is okay, the tower is nice, but everything else seems rather drab. The tower is open for people to climb, or at least it was last September.

If I were you, I'd probably just focus on those three cities rather than trying to squeeze in a couple of other seemingly non-event stops on the way. There's so much to see in Rome alone, you could probably spend the whole week there and not regret it.

Posted by
5 posts

Doreen... we went to Rome and Florence last month for a total of 10 days... 5 days in Rome, 3 days in Florence and then the last day back in Rome to fly out in the morning... that seemed to be the right amount of time to see the museums, sites, and enjoy some good food and wine... I recommend first class on the fast train between Rome and Florence... we stayed on the hillside just outside Florence in Fiesole and it was a great change of pace from the city... it only cost $1.80 to catch the bus into Florence...I agree that you may be trying to pack alot in one week...

Posted by
31510 posts

Doreen,

With a time frame of only a week, I'd suggest that visiting smaller towns in addition to the main centres is just not realistic. There's enough to see in Venice, Florence and Rome that will easily keep you busy for a week!

If you intend to "hop off/hop on", you'd have to choose slower regional trains rather than the fast IC routes which often don't stop in smaller towns. This makes things a bit more complicated in terms of choosing exactly which train to take.

You also have to allow for the travel time between the cities. Rome-Florence is quite reasonable, but Florence-Venice is a bit longer. IMHO, it would be better just to focus on three cities. Plan to tour smaller towns on another trip when you have more time to work with.

Happy travels!

Posted by
423 posts

Hi Doreen, in addition to what has been suggested above, I would fly in to Rome and home from Venice. That way you aren't having to spend 4.5 hours on a train back to Rome. I did this on Delta (SFO-ATL-FCO/VCE-JFK-SFO)

With only a week, you really will only have 1 or so full days in each of those 3 cities. Having been to those cities 2 last year - maybe 3 nights Rome, 2 nights Florence and 3 nights Venice. You can take an early flight to Florence from Rome (only 1.5 hours on EuroStar fast train) and have almost a full day that day and then the next day. The ES train from Florence to Venice is about 3 hours. It's a beautiful ride and Venice is just magical.

Posted by
189 posts

Our plan is to fly to Rome from Athens, spend two nights in Rome, three in Florence, and one in Venice and fly either back to SFO from Venice on an open jaw or back to SFO from Istanbul. We are not counting our days of travel from and to the US as part of our trip. We know they are at least two days lost to us.

Trains between these major cities are just a few hours apart and run frequently into the night, according to what I can assess online. So we plan to do what Rick suggests (and how we travel anyway) and pack our days with as much as we can see and then move on.