I've researched the cost on trenitalia.it for two travelers from Rome to Florence. After their meno30 discount, the cost would be 62 euro. The travel time is 1 hour 25 minutes, while others I saw were over 3 hours. Is this a good price? I've heard people on here recommend buying tickets at the station - would they be cheaper that way? Also, if you order tickets through trenitalia, do you get e-tickets you can print off, or how does that work?
Beacuse you are in the US you won't be able to purchase tickets ahead of time on Trenitalia's website (they don't take US credit cards or something along those lines)
99% of people say that waiting and buying a ticket when you get to the station is what you should do, or going to the station a day or two in advance and buying the ticket.
I still went ahead and bought my tickets ahead of time on www.italiarail.com because I wanted one less thing to worry about while we are there; they were marked up a little bit but not too bad and they mailed them to me for free the next day.
If your aim is to get from Rome to Florence as fast as possible, you should take one of the frequent (hourly or less) AV trains, which will whisk you there in 95 minutes at a fare (second class) of 44 Euros. The advance purchase promotional fares (MENO 15 and MENO 30) can lower your cost, but many Americans don't have the ability to use the Trenitalia website to make advance purchases with a US-issued credit card, and consequently may need to wait until their arrival in Italy.
If your aim is to save as much money as possible, consider taking one of the "regionale" trains which depart every two hours and take four hours to travel between Rome and Florence, but at a cheap fare (second class) of merely 16.10 Euros (undiscountable except for kids). Moreover, a first class seat on the regionale train costs less than a second class seat on the AV train!
The regionale train between Rome and Florence is now MUCH IMPROVED compared to most other regionale trains in Italy. Read my posting of 6/06/2010 to gain a better understanding of this regionale train and its cost advantages compared to the faster trains:
There are also a couple of Intercity (IC) trains between Rome and Florence, which are a sort of "compromise" between the AV and the regionale trains in terms of cost and speed. BUT be aware that ALL BUT ONE of these IC trains don't go into Santa Maria Novella (SMN) train station in Florence, but rather into the suburban Rifredi station, where you must connect to a regionale train to get to SMN. The inconvenience and time lost in making this connection at Rifredi (in either direction of travel) take away much of the advantages of using the IC train between Rome and Florence, and as a consequence, many locals wisely choose between the fast and expensive AV train, or the slow and cheap regionale train.
I would wait and get the ticket there - they are very easy to buy and generally the cost is going to be cheaper. Plus you will have a better idea of what timetable/schedule works for you at that time.
Usually I just head over to the station the day before I'm going to leave and pick up a ticket from the machine. That way, I stay flexible but don't have to worry about getting to the station early that day of travel.
they are cheaper buying from Trenitalia directly (eg. at the station) then from some service such as RailEurope that tacks on a healthy surcharge and doesn't show you all the trains anyway. They are cheaper from Trenitalia with advance purchase rather than same-day.
We went from Rome to Florence just over a week ago.
We took the direct train for 44 euros. It was under 2 hours and worth it to have more time in Florence.
The day we arrive in Rome, we used the automatic ticket machines to purchase the tickets. We wanted the security of knowing we had them!
You can't order tickets ahead of time through the Trenitalia website. Discounts of any kind are hard to come by if you are not an EU Citizen (not even a Sr. discount). Whether you wait in line for the ticket agent or buy at the automated kiosk, the price will be the same. The Eurostar(ES)trains are the way to go if you want to get to your destination quicker. If you want to save money, ride 2nd class. It is not worth it to ride the regional train as it will take a lot longer to get to your destination because of the large number of stops along the way, and the trains are slower (and not as nice).
I have a question in reference to this post:
I am arriving in Rome on the 7th of September, but not going to Florence(from Rome) until the 27th. Since that's more than 15 days in advance, would I qualify for the MENO30 discount if I purchase my tickets from a Trenitalia kiosk the day I arrive in Italy (or at least before the 12th)? Or is that option only available on the website (and hence, unavailable to me)?
Another question that I think I already know the answer too, but if I can't ask silly questions on posts, then where can I?... the Rome monthly transportation pass allows unlimited "regional" train travel. What prevents a person from using that pass to take the "regional" train to Florence?
Monique, if you are caught on board a Regionale to Florence, it could be a 50Euro fine. That being said, my experience is that conductors are rare on the Regionales. You mostly don't see one. That's why so many people will take the chance and jump on the Regionales for short journeys. However, Florence is not really a short journey on the Regionale (4hrs). I wouldn't chance it on this one.
Both the MENO 15 and the MENO 30 advance purchase, capacity controlled, promotional fares, can be purchased at automated ticket kiosks as well as online (with a non-US credit card which Trenitalia accepts) and in person at manned ticket counters at rail stations in Italy.
Tickets ARE checked on the 4-hr. regionale trains between Rome and Florence. These are not your typical short-distance regionale trains, but much upgraded trains (albeit still regionali).
To have the best chance of getting a Meno 30 fare, buy your ticket as soon as you arrive in Italy. When the allotted number of discount fare tickets are sold, they're gone for good.