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Train Journeys

First post, be nice :)

I'll be making four main rail journeys in Italy in June and am trying to purchase tickets before I go so I am very organised. These are:

13 June- Rome to Monterosso
17 June- Monterosso to Venice
20 June- Venice to Lake Como
22 June- Como- Tirano

I have been able to get the first of these tickets online, but I'm just having a few issues with the others. I understand there is a timetable change after 13 June so they won't be on sale until this is done. Does anyone know when they might be available?

I'm able to get part of the journey (Milan- Venice) for my second trip, but I don't want to book this in case the first part of the journey doesn't get me there in time. Is the new timetable likely to be similar to the times currently running, or the times from the week before?

I realise I could probably buy the tickets once I'm there but I like to be organised as I said. Any advice appreciated.

Thanks

Posted by
20729 posts

And, of course, if you purchase on-line you may be able to take advantage of the deep discounts. However, that does lock you into a fixed schedule. There is min change from one period to another. There may be some minutes adjustments but nothing significant. Italy tends to the last country to get their schedules posted so check every day or so till the schedules are uploaded.

Posted by
31073 posts

Ally,

Part of the problem may be that some of the trains you'll be using are Regionale, and it's awkward to pre-purchase tickets for those, and if you do manage to buy tickets they come with restrictions. With Regionale tickets, the best method is just to buy them locally at a Kiosk or ticket office, and then validate prior to boarding the train on the day of travel. If you could provide a bit more information on the one trip that you do have tickets for and more details on the others, it would be easier to provide suggestions.

Some thoughts on each of your rail trips....

  • Rome to Monterosso - hopefully you've booked one of the direct trains from Roma Termini to La Spezia Centrale, as that will minimize the travel time. You'll likely change to a Regionale for the last few minutes to Monterosso. Have you got directions on how to find your hotel in Monterosso?
  • Monterosso to Venice - there are two ways you can travel on that route, either through Milan or through Florence. I find that via Florence is usually a bit easier. Again, that trip will use different trains. Note that your destination station will be Venezia Santa Lucia.
  • Venice to Lake Como - I assume that you'll be staying in Varenna on Lake Como? If so your trip will have to parts, the first from Venice to Milano Centrale via Freccia high speed and then Milan to Varenna-Esino via Regionale (operated by Tre Nord). You may be able to buy your tickets online using the Tre Nord website.
  • Lake Como to Tirano - if your departure point is Varenna, that's an easy trip. Again, you should be able to buy your tickets on the Tre Nord website.

As you may be aware, tickets for the Freccia and InterCity trains are specific to train, date and departure time, so can only be used on the ONE train listed on the ticket. If you try to use them on a different train, you'll face hefty fines which will be collected on the spot! The same fines apply to those travelling with unvalidated Regionale or Bus / Metro tickets.

Posted by
4538 posts

Ally,

I'm able to get part of the journey (Milan- Venice) for my second trip, but I don't want to book this in case the first part of the journey doesn't get me there in time.

I presume you meant Venice to Milan by your statement above, correct?

Where are you staying on Lake Como? Varenna?

I'm assuming you will be staying in Varenna or Bellagio for the following comments to make sense, okay?

You will be traveling on Regional trains from Milano Centrale to Varenna & from Varenna to Tirano.

(The train traveling to Tirano stops at Varenna)

You won't be able to purchase Regional train tickets on-line until 7 days in advance of your planned travel.

It's generally not recommended to purchase Regional train tickets on-line because they come with restrictions & there is no price advantage.

You may want to read the restrictions for Regional train tickets (when purchased on-line) :http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=1e71eb82a8fbf310VgnVCM1000008916f90aRCRD

Having said this, you can always purchase these tickets at most train stations in Italy.

When you buy Regional train tickets in Italy (at train station) they are valid for 60 days (from date of purchase) and they are good for 6 hours once you validate (date/time stamp) them prior to boarding the train.

Hope this helps!

Edit: Ken has given you great information above. (I was writing my reply before seeing his)

You can purchase Regional train tickets on the Trenord website up to 60 days prior to date of travel & they come with certain restrictions that you can read here: http://www.trenord.it/en/tickets/tickets.aspx

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks Ken.

Rome to Monterosso- yes i have booked a direct train. I will definitely have detailed directions for my accommodation, but I think they even have a train pick up service as it is a family run B & B style.

Monterosso to Venice- Most of the journeys options given on Trenitalia are via Florence and Pisa so that is what I had been looking at, but someone else gave advice that going via Milan is easier with only one change of train. The other way is up to an hour quicker but I guess there is always the chance of missing a connection if one of these trains runs late.

Venice to Como- I'm actually staying in Como (or that was the plan), not far from main train station. But always open to recommendations.

Como to Tirano- Doing some reading earlier made me realise that this trip is easier if staying in Varenna. It seems the train journey goes back to Monza before travelling onto Tirano.

Not sure if that gives you any more info about my plans.

Posted by
15640 posts

Yes, I think you will be happier with Varenna over Como. It also fits your itinerary better. Direct trains about every 2 hours from Milano Centrale.

Posted by
4538 posts

Ally,

Venice to Como- I'm actually staying in Como (or that was the plan), not far from main train station. But always open to recommendations.

We enjoyed our stay in Varenna last fall and we also visited the city of Como on a day trip (from Varenna)

I think there are a few advantages in staying in Varenna vs. Como.

  • Varenna is near the midlake, so if you want to visit Bellagio or Menaggio (or any other mid-lake villages), you can get there much faster (via ferry boat) than coming from Como which is located at the very south of one of the legs of the lake.

  • Varenna is a great place to relax & enjoy the beautiful scenery of the lake & the Swiss Alps.

  • If you are heading to Tirano afterwards, it's so much easier to walk to the train station & board the train to Tirano.

  • The train route is Milano Centrale> Monza>Lecco>Varenna>Bellano-Tartavalle Terme>Colico>Morbegno>Sondrio>Tresenda-Aprica-Teglio>Tirano

EDIT: Here is the website for the ferry schedules: http://www.navlaghi.it/eng/c_illago.html

Posted by
31073 posts

Ally,

Thanks for the additional information. Some more thoughts.....

  • For the final leg of your trip from Rome to Monterosso, you might just buy your ticket for the Regionale from La Spezia to Monterosso at Termini station the day before you travel, either from a Kiosk or the staffed ticket office. When you arrive at La Spezia, validate the ticket before you board the train and you're good to go. It's only about a 20 minute trip (if that) from La Spezia to Monterosso.
  • I might be able to provide directions to your accommodations in Monterosso. If you don't want to post the name on the forum, send me a PM.
  • For the trip from Monterosso to Venice, the tickets don't appear to be on sale yet for 17 June. However, information is shown for the routes one week earlier on 10 June. The shortest travel time appears to be a departure at 09:24, arriving 14:20 (time 4H:56M, 3 changes). The least number of changes appears to be a departure at 10:46, arriving 16:40 (time 5H:54M, one change in Milan). You'll have to decide whether the extra hour travel is preferred to more changes. FWIW, the changes on the first route are all very easy (La Spezia, Pisa Centrale, Firenze SMN).
  • Which "main train station" in Como - there are several? Staying in Como is going to mean a longer and more awkward trip to Tirano. Given the circumstances, staying in Varenna would have been the logical choice, as it's on the same rail line to Tirano. The trip is about 1.5 hours direct (no changes) from Varenna. I assume you'll be connecting with the Bernina Express in Tirano?
Posted by
18 posts

I will aim to buy the Regionale ticket the day before to save time with the train change for sure.

I'm staying at B&B Il Parco in Monterosso. They do have a shuttle available for guests but if you have any info that would be great.

The Monterosso trip is the one that I have probably been most confused about. I looked at the times for the previous week as you have done and thought that going via Florence and Pisa would be best as it is about an hour quicker than via Milan. There is also getting me into Venice earlier in the day than the Milan trip. But, yes. I will just have to decide.

Como S Giovanni. But I'm thinking that perhaps Varenna is the better option so I will look into that. And yes, taking Bernina Express into Switzerland then.

Thanks for your help, very much appreciated.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks Priscilla, I think Varenna is the better option so investigating accommodation there now.

Posted by
31073 posts

Ally,

I've never stayed at Il Parco but it looks beautiful. Having the swimming pool after a hot day of touring will be great and I'm sure the views will be incredible!!! It's on the "new town" side of Monterosso, a short distance up the hill. If they have a Shuttle available, that would be the best option, especially with luggage.

Il Parco appears to be about the same distance above town as the hotel I normally use in the old town. While the hotels may appear to be a long way above town, the maps are deceptive and the walk will probably only be about 10 minutes.

Given your Itinerary, Varenna would definitely be a better option than Como. Depending on your price range, you could consider.....

  • Albergo Milano (somewhat upscale, close to the main piazza, great restaurant)
  • Albergo Olivedo (older hotel, close to the Ferry dock, also has a nice restaurant)
  • Hotel Royal Victoria (right in the main piazza, across from the Church - very nice!)
  • Villa Cipressi (also near the main piazza)
  • Eremo Gaudio (up the hill above the town but great views)
  • Orange House B&B

Check the guidebook for other listings and more information.

The station in Varenna is unstaffed AFIAK but if you need any rail tickets or whatever, the helpful Tivano Tours office in Perledo (just below the station) should be able to help with that. The trains on that route are mostly Regionale, so DON'T forget to validate prior to boarding the train on the day of travel.

Posted by
4538 posts

Ally,

Ken has given you excellent advice!

My mom & I recently stayed at Albergo Milano in Varenna, & it was the best option for us as we stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment that is a few yards away from the main hotel. The price included a delicious breakfast served on the hotels terrace.

If you decide to stay in Varenna, make sure you walk on the passerella-- a romantic waterfront walkway that connects the town to the ferry dock.

There is a cute pottery shop on the passerella that sells unique ceramic souvenirs & jewelry. The owner is delightful & she speaks English. I bought some Christmas ornaments (ceramic angels) & my mom fell in love with a leather bracelet decorated with colorful ceramic 'stones'. Now I wish I'd bought one for me too!

There are also a couple of gelaterias along the boardwalk but the best one is ' Gelateria Riva': http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187837-d4553716-Reviews-Gelateria_Riva_di_Riva_Duilio-Varenna_Lake_Como_Lombardy.html

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you Ken and Priscilla, you have been most helpful.

I love swimming Ken, and the pool at Il Parco is definitely one of the reasons I chose this place. And I'm told Monterosso has the best beach of the five villages also.

I love gelato Priscilla, I will definitely take note of that.

Posted by
18 posts

Looking at Monterosso to Venice, I'm currently able to get a ticket for the Milan - Venice portion. Is it too risky to do that not knowing the exact time of the first part of the trip getting to me to Milan. The timetable for the previous week shows the first trip for that journey is at 10.46, arriving at 13.50. There is then a train at 14.05 to Venice, would that be enough time? If the first one runs late and I have a pre purchased ticket, am I able to get on the next train?

Posted by
20729 posts

No, other than a Regionale train ticket all other tickets are train specific with a specific seat reservation. If the train is late and you miss the connecting train because it was later, then take the ticket to a ticket window and exchange it for the next train. However, if the train is on time and you just miss it, then the ticket is dead.

Posted by
18 posts

Sorry Frank, I'm a bit confused by your reply. You say I can exchange it but also that the ticket is dead.

Posted by
11613 posts

Ally, with a super-economy ticket, let's say you are on segment A of a two-segment ticket. Train A arrives late and you miss your connection to train B. Go to the ticket window and exchange the ticket because it is part of a continuing journey. If you miss the connection to train B for some reason other than train A being late, the ticket portion for train B is dead.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks Zoe. So in this case, even though I would be buying two separate tickets as part of the one journey, that would be the case? I would have a ticket for Part B, and going off the current timetable, Part A would get me there with 15mins to change trains.

Sorry if these seem really basic questions :)

Posted by
4538 posts

Ally,

So in this case, even though I would be buying two separate tickets as part of the one journey, that would be the case?

This will not be the case if you are buying 2 separate tickets.

Zoe is referring to a 2-segment ticket ( Monterosso to Milano Centrale then MC to Venice)

See this example on trenitalia website to see that you can purchase this 2-segment ticket for €28 for date of travel June 10 ( June 17 not available yet);https://www.lefrecce.it/B2CWeb/search.do?parameter=searchOutputViewer&cFID=WzQY13D9pOYE

Intercity train #666 departing Monterosso @ 10:46, arriving Milano Centrale @ 13:50, then Frecciabianca train#9725 departing MC @ 14:05, arriving Venice (Venezia S.Lucia) @ 16:40

So if IC train #666 arrives late to Milano Centrale & you miss Frecciabianca train #9725, You go to the ticket window and exchange the ticket because it is part of a continuing journey.

But if you buy 2 separate tickets & you miss your connecting train, you are out of luck (assuming you purchased a super-economy ticket ( in advance on-line) for the 2nd leg of your travel destination (Milano Centrale> Venice).

Does this make sense?

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks Priscilla, that does make sense. I guess my thinking about buying the two separate journeys is that Part B is available to purchase online now for my travel date, and perhaps then I could get Part A closer to the date. I'm just wanting to get as much organised before I go as I mentioned at the start. I think I've got it now, but the full journey won't be available to purchase online until 7 days before the travel date because it involves a Regionale train?

Posted by
4538 posts

Ally,

I think I've got it now, but the full journey won't be available to purchase online until 7 days before the travel date because it involves a Regionale train?

You can certainly buy the 2-segment ticket once the new schedules become available on the trenitalia website.

The example I gave you does not include a Regional train, but even if it did, you may buy this type of ticket on-line in advance.

See this example(I chose June 10) which includes a Regional train, an Intercity train & a Freccia train leaving Monterosso @ 7:36, arriving Venice @ 14:10
for €29,60: https://www.lefrecce.it/B2CWeb/search.do?parameter=searchOutputViewer&cFID=VNxGz1qIPuAU

EDIT:
This example involves 2 train changes, one in Levanto & the second in Milano Centrale.

The example I gave you on my previous post above (train leaving Monterosso @ 10:46), only involves one train change at Milano Centrale.

I presume the new schedules (starting June 14) will post soon.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you again Priscilla. I guess no one knows for certain, but are the new schedules likely to be released soon?

Posted by
4538 posts

Ally,

I don't know when the new schedules will post.

I'd suggest sending Zoe a private message (PM) & she may have an idea when they will become available.

To send a PM, just click on Zoe's name (blue), this will take you to a new screen where you can click on 'Send Zoe a Private Message'

Posted by
4538 posts

Ally,

I guess my thinking about buying the two separate journeys is that
Part B is available to purchase online now for my travel date, and
perhaps then I could get Part A closer to the date.

If you want to take advantage of getting a discounted ticket (super-economy or economy) for part B of your journey, then just choose a time that will give you more time to make the connection just in case the train from part A is delayed.

Train schedules do not change that much, so if you check the schedules for the week before, you can get an idea of which train ticket to purchase for part B of your journey.

Posted by
11613 posts

Trenitalia schedules are up, I just checked for a ticket for August 1.

Posted by
18 posts

Oh yay, thank you Zoe!

Hmmm, just had a look, not working for me still.