We plan on flying into Rome then taking a train to Florence and another to Venice. This will be in October. We would like to go 1st class. Will buying our tickets a few days in advance work, or should we make reservations? I see from other posts that 2nd class can fill quickly on popular route times, but what about 1st class?
You'll have no problem for either 2nd or 1st class so long as you book a day or two in advance.
I did a trip entirely by train last Sept, and over the course of 2 weeks had absolutely no problem getting tickets same day or one day in advance. In October things will be even easier! Buy your tix 1-2 days in advance so you know the time of the train and don't waste time standing around train stations.
I know that Americans have the mind set that you need to make reservation and make them early. Our airline industry has trained us well. In all of our travels we have never a problem getting a ticket or getting on a train. We have always travelrd 2nd class except once. The one time we traveled first class we didn't think it was worth difference. But for others first class is important.
We were in the Rome, Florence, Milan corridor this past June. Every train that we were on was about half full with plenty of available seating in 2nd class -- cannot speak about 1st. The noon train to Florence from Rome on second Saturday of June had ten people in our car. I sure that there may be a couple times a year when the trains are crowded but October will not be one of them.
Hi Anne, I followed your same itinerary via train back in May. When I arrived on 4/28 at Rome airport, I bought all of my first class tickets for my 14 day trip. My first choice (EuroStar) was the 10:30am train from Rome to Florence several days later (5/2). This train was sold out in first class, probably because it was the day after labor day which is a big holiday. My alternative was a EuroStar that left at 10:52am. All the rest of the trains were not a problem. So I suspect, you will be just fine purchasing when you get there.
Train travel between cities in Italy is very relaxing as you enjoy the scenery. Enjoy!