train tickets

My niece and I will be flying in to Pisa the third week in August, should I purchase our train tickets to get to La Spezia and the Cinque Terre now or wait until we arrive in Pisa?

Posted by Bob
Minneapolis
589 posts

Hi Diane. For that route, do NOT buy in advance, just wait and buy when there. To get an advance look at schedules and prices, use trenitalia.com and use a date within the next seven days to get the idea. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6699 posts

Diane, Pisa is one of four airports in Italy that have a train station in the airport. You can buy your tickets there without much of a line. From the airport, it's a 5-minute ride on the train to Pisa Centrale where you will change trains to go to La Spezia and the CT. There are 40 trains a day that go from Pisa Centrale to La Spezia Centrale. About 28 are Regionale trains, 6 are Intercity and about 6 are fast trains. The travel time varies between 42 minutes to 1hr23min. The fares are different as well. You will be able to see the Reginale train runs on www.trenitalia.com but you won't be able to buy the Regionale train tickets unless you are within 7 days of travel. For Regionale trains, you pay the same fare either at the train station or online. No discounts on Regionale trains. The easy thing to do is to claim your luggage, go through Immigration if you are coming directly from the USA and go out to the train station. Buy your tickets from Pisa Airport to the town in the CT to which you wish to travel. Very easy at this point.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17738 posts

Diane, As the others have said, buying the tickets at the Pisa Airport is the best idea for a variety of reasons. I'd suggest having a look at the Trenitalia website to get some idea on the specifics of the trains that will be running from Pisa Centrale to La Spezia and the C.T. at about the time you'll arrive, as there are a few caveats to be aware of. You might want to pack along a printout of the schedule. If you'll be travelling on a Regionale, it's important to validate your tickets prior to boarding the train. Failure to do so can result in expensive fines, which will be collected on the spot! If one of the trains is a "premium" train such as a Freccia or Intercity, these have compulsory reservations which are specific to a particular train and departure time. The reservations will be included with the tickets when you buy them at the airport, and they will specify a Car No. and Seat No. for each passenger. You MUST use the train specified on the ticket or again, expensive fines. This is one reason why it's not a good idea to pre-purchase rail tickets. If your flight is delayed, your tickets for premium trains would be worthless and you'd have to buy more at full price. Which of the five towns will you be staying in? Happy travels!

Posted by Shari
Highlands Ranch, Colorado, United States
14 posts

We just returned from Bellagio and Milan where we ran into a Trenitalia STRIKE! Luckily we did not buy tickets in advance for that ride. Supposedly there are certain strike days that just suddenly pop up. We ended up taking a taxi which worked out fine- shared with two other couples also affected by the strike. The trains were scheduled to start up again at 6 pm but that timing didn't work for us so we took the taxi.

Posted by Diane
Millington, MI, US
8 posts

Once we arrive at the Pisa airport hopefully the trains will be running and we will head up to Monterosso. We plan to spend a few days hiking the trail and visiting the five villages then off to Florence. I can't imagine how we will get there if the trains are on strike.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10854 posts

The trains are never completely on strike. A few trains will always run but the schedule is disrupted. Second, strikes are short, generally a day, so you can go the next day that does cause hotel reservation problems. Strikes are announce a few days in advance so you might ask the ticket agent if he is aware of any upcoming strikes.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17738 posts

Diane, I haven't seen any strikes scheduled for that time in August, but of course things can change from day-to-day. As Frank mentioned, some service is still provided during strikes, so you should be fine. If you need any details on Monterosso or restaurant suggestions, post another note. Cheers!

Posted by Diane
Millington, MI, US
8 posts

Thank you. Yes any recommendations for Monterosso and the other villages for things to see and where to eat would be welcome!

Posted by Dianne
Chicago, il, usa
72 posts

husband and i going in september to Vernazza, so would also welcome restaurants or things to do in that area as well as monterrosso (sp?) we would like to take the train to Lerici --- also go to Portovenero thanks much !