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Train recommendation

We are doing a tour of Italy ending in Rome followed by a cruise of Greece departing from Venice the next day. We'll travel by train from Rome to Venice. Does anyone have a recommendation of which rail line to use? Also how is baggage handled? Can you check it in? We'll have several large suitcases. Thanks.
Steve Hanna

Posted by
824 posts


I have used both Trenitalia, the national rail line and Italo, the semi-privatized newcomer, and they are compatible to each other. Choose whichever meets your schedule the best...

Luggage is hand-carried aboard. There are shelves above the seats for stowing luggage but they are don't accommodate really large suitcases. I managed to get a 25x15 case up there but it was tight. There usually is an area at each end of the carriage for larger luggage but I've never been a big fan of leaving my bags that unattended. The train companies generally don't employ luggage porters so be suspicious of people offering to handle your luggage for tips. I think this problem has decreased substantially at Rome Termini since they're stepped up security around the platforms.

If your schedule is pretty well carved in stone, go ahead and purchase advance super-saver tickets and enjoy the savings. If, however, your unclear as to the exact time you'll be available to depart, buy the walk-up tickets.

Posted by
6391 posts

The walk-up tickets may be significantly more expensive, so if you can plan in advance you should.

A lot depends on the size of your bag (and how crowded the car is). If the bag is small, you can get it on the shelf above easily. If it's "too big for carry on" on US airlines (and based on your description, yours won't fit up there, probably not even close), it probably won't fit above, and will need to go on one of the racks located at the end of the car, near the doors. I always feel a bit nervous with a large bag left at the rack on the end (although I think the risk is probably pretty low), so I try to grab a seat close enough -- and facing the right direction -- so I can keep an eye on my bag. Not always easy to manage that.

"Several large suitcases" sound to me like a problem (and not a wise strategy) for European travel generally, but that's a different discussion.

Posted by
841 posts

I have observed at Rome Termini several folks wanting to help you load your bags on the train. Saw it the last time we took the train from Rome to Venice. Of course they are expecting a large tip!

Posted by
25529 posts

If the train you take doesn't originate in Rome (could be coming up from Naples, I assume), you may find there isn't room on the luggage rack for "several large suitcases" if you're traveling at a busy time. I ran into that problem more than once in France in 2017, and I had a single, 23"-24" bag--too large for me to lift onto an overhead rack. I saw no alternative to sitting on one of the flip-down seats near the entry way so I could re-position my suitcase as necessary at each station, to keep it away from whichever door was being used. It didn't make me happy, because I had paid for a seat reservation I couldn't use.

Really, several large suitcases could be a very large problem.

Posted by
16893 posts

To avoid the full-train problem acraven mentions, one way to determine the origin station of the train is to use the Deutsche Bahn train schedule link at Looking Up Train Schedules and Routes Online (but it only shows Trenitalia national railway departures, not the private company Italo). When you view the detailed version of the schedule, click on the train number to see the whole route of the train (not just interim stops on the portion you searched). Venezia S. Lucia station will normally be the end of the line, so you can take more time to exit.

Do what you can to ensure that each person can handle their own bags. Even an airline carry-on sized suitcase can be packed to the point of being quite heavy. Larger bags are automatically more awkward and further invite over-packing.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for such quick replies. I acknowledge the quantity and size issue of the baggage but at this point it's not a negotiable item. This is a once in a lifetime trip for us Yes, the bags will have to be checked luggage for the air travel. I definitely plan on booking as early as I can. Not that I want to do it but does booking first class afford different luggage security? Thanks.

Posted by
22977 posts

Just how much luggage do you anticipate? We do cruises all the time - often for more than two weeks -- and we get by very well with a total three carry-on size bags and one day bag. I know you think this is non-negotiable but very experience travelers are telling you that it should be very negotiable. You are absolutely responsible for handling your own luggage all the time on trains.

The luggage situation is the same for first or second class with about the same amount of storage area but since there are fewer first class passengers there is a little more space available in the bin storage area where you large suitcase will have to go. DO NOT put large suitcase in the seats. Bad karma! Luggage security is not a big issue. Who wants to steal a big bag of clothing?

Posted by
124 posts

Check out Rick's article here on buying train tickets:
As noted get them in advance if you can to save money otherwise, just purchase when you get to the station.

Now please reconsider those bags, don't play the part of a pack animal during your whole "once in a lifetime trip". When making an epic journey the lighter the better. Pack Light! There will be long walks between flights, long waits for trains, hills, lugging up onto racks, stowing in compartments, cobblestones, ramps, tunnels, and all manner of steps that you must traverse, with all of your belongings in tow. Luggage can be heavy, packing light frees you up from the work of travel. This allows you to enjoy the wonder of first seeing a place when walking from the train station to the hotel, without the burden of lugging heavy bags.

A carry on size bag or backpack is all that you need to travel. It doesn’t matter if your going for 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months it’s really all you need. How, you say, do I fit everything into such a small bag? Easy don’t take much!

I hope you guys have a great trip and good luck with your planning!

Posted by
8889 posts

"how is baggage handled?" - by you and you alone
"Can you check it in?" - No

You alone are responsible for carrying all your bags from the street, through the station. onto the train and stowing them. Nobody else will help, there are no baggage trolleys/carts.

"We'll have several large suitcases." - How many per person? Can you all (however many "all" is) collectively carry all your cases? If not, you will have a problem. There is no check-in for passengers or anything similar. If you do not get on the train it will go without you.
First class or second class makes no difference to the luggage arrangements.

Read this webpage for more info:

Train company is Trenitalia:
Buy early for cheapest tickets. Once purchased, tickets are for a specific train and you cannot travel on a different train on that ticket. Tickets list train ID and your seat numbers on them.

Posted by
10504 posts

As for the luggage-- from what I recall of my high school Latin, the term for 'baggage train' is "impedimentorum", being the root for our English word impediment.

I suspect you will find that to be true.

Good luck

Posted by
25529 posts

Have you checked to see how close your Venice hotel is to a vaporetto stop? You may have to carry those bags over several of Venice's charming (unless you have luggage) hump-backed bridges. You will need to maneuver them onto and off of vaporettos (unless you plan to depend entirely on $$$ water taxis).

Posted by
4079 posts

Sorry but you really do need to make your travel companion responsible for his/her own luggage. That would force him/her to put more thought into what is really necessary. If your companion is female, she should look at Travel Fashion Girl website and the packing suggestions on this forum, and maybe private message David. You will be amazed when you see how little many Europeans take with them on trains.

Posted by
7885 posts

Last time we flew out of Venice, a couple of cruise ships had just landed. I saw those travelers with numerous huge, 60 pound suitcases and all I could think of is "poor husbands."
We as experienced travelers have taken 11-13 day repositioning cruises going over to Europe twice, and made it with a 21' TravelPro carry on bag and a small backpack. And we even brought home some clothes that were not even worn.
If my wife can travel that way, anyone can if they put their mind to it--and follow Rick Steve's travel list somewhat.

Posted by
10504 posts

I acknowledge the quantity and size issue of the baggage but at this point it's not a negotiable item.

That being the case you may want to set up an 'obstacle course' a home to mimic train stairs and narrow passageways to practice moving your baggage from platform to train and the reverse. The train will leave on its schedule so you need to be expeditious with entry/exit.

You need to have a practiced routine ready to implement.

Getting over the bridges in Venice will not be time critical so that will just be inconvenient.

Posted by
10323 posts

If you don’t want to reduce the size of your luggage, then fly from Rome to Venice to solve your problem. In Venice take a water taxi to your hotel or nearby it if not on a canal.
A 22” suitcase wasn’t easy finding storage space on trains at times. One reason we choose to drive a rental car which is another option for you.

Posted by
2861 posts

Congratulations on your upcoming trip!
Now: scroll down in this section to a thread headed “Santa Lucia or Mestre station”, and read it through.
Make sure to look at the video links I posted.
Then practice taking your full suitcases around your neighbourhood for 30 minutes , and lifting them up a flight or two of stairs.
Is there a way of sending your luggage by courier between Rome and Venice, perhaps?
By the way, there is also info on one of those video links about how to get to the cruise ship terminal in Venice; which also involves a bit of a hike.

Posted by
3 posts

Continued thanks to all for you comments.

joe32F - Your high school Latin must have been more interesting than mine. I just had Caesar and his conquests in Gaul: veni, vidi vici!
FYI - Right now "several" looks like 2, maybe 3, 29" tall suitcases and a couple of carryons. I'm trying to minimize the distances we have to carry them and maximize hands by getting transfers whenever I can.
S J - we are planning on getting off at Mestre and travelling from there to the Cruise Line Terminal to avoid lugging the luggage through Venice.

What is the protocol for making space in the storage area for your bags? Are you allowed to move other bags around yourself or must you find their owners? Don't want any of that bad karma Frank refers to!
If luggage turns out to be too much of a hassle then we'll look at the plan Bs some of you have suggested.

Thanks again.

Posted by
31513 posts

I always put myself in the other guy'(s') place(s) when working out what's reasonable to do.

If you were about to get off the train and somebody had moved your bags and you needed to find them how would you feel?

Is that three huge bags for three people?

Posted by
9116 posts

does booking first class afford different luggage security?


Posted by
4079 posts

I honestly don't see how you can manage that size and amount of luggage on a train. And if Maestre is not a major station, you may only have a couple of minutes to get yourself and your luggage off the train. Worst case scenario-I can imagine some of you/and or your luggage not making it off in time and your party/luggage being separated.