We fly into Rome but will proceed directly to Florence by train. The way I understand it is that we will take the Leonardo Express train from the airport to Rome Termini station and then transfer to the train for Florence. Can we buy our tickets from Rome to Florence at the airport or do we have to wait until we get to Termini?
Hey, pie can be pretty difficult depending on what kind you make ;-)
Yes, you can buy your Rome-Florence tickets at the airport when you buy your tickets for the Leonardo Express.
Buy them online before you go! And I would also suggest paying the extra fee for the first class reservations. Nicer seats and snacks.
If you are a AAA member you can buy all your train tickets through them here before you go. We just returned from Italy last week. We simply went to the stations and boarded the trains with our tickets. No standing in lines and didn't even need to validate them before we got on. Easy as pie!
The only question about using AAA for ticket purchases would be the price. It's probably not all that big a gap for a relatively short journey like Rome-Florence. But you can compare by checking http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html for prices.
It's easy to buy train tickets at the airport, right at the platform for the Leonardo Express. The advantage of buying them upon arrival in Rome is that you won't have to guess which Rome-Florence train to book. If your flight arrives a little early or late, you can adjust for that when you purchase. With the Leonardo Express now arriving at track 24, you'll only need about 15 minutes between trains to make a comfortable connection. Just be sure to validate your Rome-Florence tickets at Termini before boarding. I don't find the 50% premium for first class to be worth it on the short Rome-Florence train ride (about 1.5 hours on the express trains), but you'll get a less crowded coach and a modest snack if you decide to splurge.
I never pay for 1st class, I see that as money that can be much better spend somewhere else. I just look out the window and enjoy the scenery and try not to focus on how dirty the train may be.
If this is your only train travel, buy individual tickets on line, it's cheaper. Trenitalia has a counter at the airport. If you will do more by train during your visit, which is the easiest way to get around in Italy, get your railpass from Rick on this web site. He gives lots of extras including a 20% discount in the Travel Store, which was very helpful to us. From Florence you can take side trips to anywhere by train or bus, or private tour. Neither city is a good place to have a car because the drivers, and cyclists are nuts!
We spent the extra for first class. Sure it's 50% more. But the ticket is cheap to begin with. Plus if there are lots of stops (schedule) the train will fill up. Your on vacation. Splurge and relax.
First class from Florence to Naples on Eurostar - bathroom with no TP, no towels, no soap, no toilet seat.
Second class from Rosarno to Rome, also Eurostar. Clean restroom with plenty of towels, TP, soap and a toilet seat.
so which was the real first class?
Only in the home of my ancestors!
Be careful on Anne's comment above about getting on the train and not validating your ticket. I'm strongly betting that she was on a Eurostar that does not require validating your ticket. On other types of trains, you need to validate your ticket. Also, do not assume that by buying your tickets online that you don't have to validate. It's a feature on the Eurostar (and maybe the EuroCity and ICPlus) because your ticket shows confirmed seats for that specific train.
You must validate your ticket on EuroStar (I speak from experience this past May). The situation where you might not need to validate your "ticket" is when you have purchased an "eticket" (on Trenitalia website) where you have a confirmation number and in that case the train attendent will scan the paper and issue you your receipt/ticket. Also, I discovered that there were many yellow ticket validators that were out of order in Florence - I rushed around to find one that worked.