reservations for trains

travelers: i've read thru the train transport sections of a 2012 and 2013 rick steves guidebook and still don't quite get making train reservations. i think i get it for the high speed rail but when it comes to reserving seats for express trains from city to city...you CANNOT reserve online, correct? you must reserve at the depot AND while you are, in fact, buying the tickets. for example, we arrive in rome for a 3-day stay, we should get the necessary reservations (tickets?) for an express train that we will need on day 3 up to florence. esp. according to rick, if we are on a tight schedule and the train does not originate in rome. your assistance would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17779 posts

paula, Your questions are not entirely clear. If I read correctly, you're planning on using P-P tickets rather than a Railpass? For travel from Rome to Florence, I'd recommend using the high speed trains, as that's a more efficient use of your travel time (unless you really enjoy slow train trips with lots of stops). For that trip, you can: > Pre-purchase tickets online. They will be for a specific train and departure time, and if you miss that train the tickets will be worthless and you'll have to buy more at full price. On that route you can either use Freccia (Trenitalia) or Italo trains (however Italo departs from Roma Tiburtina rather than Termini). > Purchase your tickets to Florence when you arrive in Rome, either from a Kiosk or staffed ticket office. You'll pay a bit more but that offers more flexibility if you're not sure which train / departure time you want to use. P-P tickets purchased with either method will include reservations. Be sure to board the train specified on the ticket (ie: ES9708) as they're specific to a particular train and departure time. Your ticket will specify which Car (Carrozza) and Seats (Posti) you'll need to sit in. IMO, second class is perfectly comfortable on the fast trains. Happy travels!

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Paula, first of all, are you using a Eurail pass, or are you talking about buying tickets for the intercity trains? With a Eurail or Italy rail pass, you must make seat reservations separately, usually for 10 euro per train. You CAN do this on the Trenitalia sebsite. If you are buying tickets, the seat reservation is included. You do not make a separate seat reservation. You CAN buy the tickets in advance on Trenitalia.

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2403 posts

I'm not sure what you mean by express train. You can reserve all but regional trains online before your trip. Regional trains are slower trains that make multiple stops and for which there are no seat reservations. For the faster trains these reservations will also include a seat reservation. For a trip between Rome and Florence you'll probably want a high speed train which you can usually reserve up to 120 days before your trip. There is a schedule change due June 9th so most of the new schedule won't start appearing until late April or early May when they will start loading the new schedules, usually with the faster trains first. Donna