We will be spending one week (mid July) in Switzerland (moving around to different areas) and then the second week in Tuscany. I plan on purchasing a Swiss Pass for our transportation all around Switzerland but haven't figured out the train to Pisa. We will be leaving from Lausannne probably (unless I can find a departure from a smaller town---specifically Brig). I need a fast train to Pisa. I have very little experience on European trains. (Or trains at all for that matter!) I assume I will need to buy a direct ticket for that leg of the trip---or will the Swiss Pass cover a portion? I checked a little on Rail Europe but just from the few posts I've read here concerning them I'm now wondering if that is the best way to go. Is there even a direct train from Lausanne to Pisa? How about an overnight? I noticed there are 2 country passes (Switz./Germany, Switz./France, and Switz./Austria) but no Switz./Italy. Any advice would be appeciated.
There are no "direct" trains but there are some that will get you there with just one change (in Milan). Others will require changes in Genoa or possibly Florence as well. All the routes will pass through Brig and Milan. You can use the Swiss rail site to figure this out: www.rail.ch Just put in your starting and ending points and it will do the rest.
Try your actual dates first, but if it says "not possible" then pick a date on the same day of the week as your travel date but in early June. (Apparently the Italian train schedules for July aren't up yet. But they change little if at all, so using an earlier date should work.) In any rate it will show you the routes and the time it takes (about 8 hours with good connections).
Your Swiss rail pass will cover as far as Domodossola and the train agent in Lausanne will be able to sell you a ticket all the way to Pisa that takes this into account. If not, they will sell you a ticket to Milan and you buy the rest of the way there.
Thanks so much for the info. I've been thinking I need to purchase all these things before leaving the States (and I will as far as the Swiss Pass is concerned). I'm concerned about trains being sold out or whatever. I will book a car rental as soon as I get this part figured out so I will need to be able to pick that up as scheduled. Do you think it's 'safe' to wait and purchase the Italian leg of the trip after I'm there?