train travel

We will be traveling in Italy and I am a bit nervous regarding our train travel. Train Itinerary: Thursday, May 30 Manarola - Varenna (Bellagio final dest.) Lv Manarola 10:18 - Arrive Levanto 10:34 (Regionale) Lv. Levanto 11:01- Arrive Milan 13:50 (Intercity) Lv Milan 14:20 - Arrive Varenna 15:23 (Regionale) Do we purchase our ticket in Manarola for the entire trip or do we need to purchase tickets again in Levanto and Milan? Would it be best to purchase these tickets a few days ahead when we first arrive in Manarola or even earlier online? Can you get assigned seats on a Regional train? The economy ticket price from Levanto - Milan is a savings, but if we miss the train with this ticket, are we out of luck? I have heard the Milan train station is multi level and huge. Do you think we have enough time between trains? Train Itinerary: Sunday, June 2 Varenna- Rome (Ferry from Bellagio to start) Lv Varenna 10:37-Arrive Milan 11:40 (Regionale) Lv. Milan 12:10-Arrive Rome 15:30 (Frecciarosa) Enough time in Milan to switch trains? Should I be purchasing the ticket online now for the Fressiarosa? I noticed prices online: Base Super Economy 49 Euros, Economy standard 59 Euros, Premium 79 Euros & up. We would like assigned seats, like to be able to switch our ticket should we be delayed but do not think we need first class. Any suggestions? Once back to the Rome train station, would it be best to take a taxi to our hotel located North of Piazza Navona? We each have a heavy carryon roller bag? I appreciate any help on the above!
Sharon

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2811 posts

"Do we purchase our ticket in Manarola for the entire trip or do we need to purchase tickets again in Levanto and Milan?" For the Regionale segments, you can purchase on the day of travel, or up to 7 days before. Be SURE to validate regional train tickets before boarding, or risk a nasty fine. Do not buy regional tickets online, as they actually have more restrictions than those bought at a station. For the Intercity segment, you will save money if you buy in advance, but these are much less flexible (some are partially refundable, others are totally non-refundable). For IC and Freccia trains, the tickets come with mandatory reservations, and are only good for one particular train; again, there are fines for riding on any train other than one you have reserved. You can buy tickets for any domestic Italian route at any Italian station, from the machines or the ticket windows. You can also buy tickets from travel agents (often for a fee). You cannot buy train tickets in the Varenna station. You have to buy them at the travel agent in town (Rick's book has details) or in another city. So, in your case, I'd buy the Levanto to Milan and Milan to Rome segments in advance, and buy the regional segments in one fell swoop at a machine. If you don't mind paying full price, you can wait until you get to Italy, and buy all the tickets there. continued..

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2811 posts

continued.. "Can you get assigned seats on a Regional train?" No. Think of it as a city bus on tracks. If you can't find a seat, you stand. "The economy ticket price from Levanto - Milan is a savings, but if we miss the train with this ticket, are we out of luck?" Yes. If this bothers you, you can wait to buy tickets until you arrive, but then you will pay full price. There's no free lunch <g>. "I have heard the Milan train station is multi level and huge. Do you think we have enough time between trains?" Yes. While the station is indeed multi-level and huge, the tracks are all on one level. When you arrive, you check the departure board, then go to your next track. Going to Varenna, you'll want to do this right away, so you can get on your train early and get a good seat (that train starts in Milan). Going to Rome, you don't have to rush, as you have a reserved seat; you can stop for a snack or bathroom break if you want.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17718 posts

Sharon, Harold has provided lots of good information! I also have a few thoughts.... If I read correctly, these are your trips: > May 30 - Manarola - Varenna (you should be able to buy tickets in Manarola, either at the station or from a Kiosk - you'll likely be given 3 tickets - DON'T forget to validate the Regionale tickets before boarding - DON'T validate until you're actually travelling!) > June 2 - Varenna - Rome (you could also buy in Manarola, as that should still be within the time limit for Regionale tickets - that way you'd have your tickets for the outgoing journey as well) If you have problems buying tickets in Manarola, take a short ride to Monterosso, as it has a larger "full service" station. That's a method I've used in the past. You could pre-buy tickets for the Freccia and Intercity train on the Net, as there could be substantial savings (although that will "lock" you into a specific departure). Some here have reported issues using the Trenitalia website. Have a look at the excellent Ron In Rome website for details on buying tickets online. You could also check the comprehensive SEAT 61 website. Milano Centrale IS a large multi-level station. However, as mentioned the trains are all on the same level so it's just a matter of walking down one platform and across to the next. While in Manarola, it might be an idea to have a look at the paper charts on the station platform, so you're familiar with the format. If you need to use the washrooms at Milano Centrale, these are a PAY facility so you'll need to keep some Euro coins at hand. The largest washrooms are one floor down from tracks, via moving sidewalk. Happy travels!