My wife and I will be in Italy from July 4 through July 14. We are flying into Venice and flying back home to the U.S. from Rome. We will spend nights in Venice (2), Florence (3), Cinque Terre (3), and Rome (2). We will use the train system for transportation. Do we need to purchase a EuroRail Pass, or is it better to purchase train tickets at the train station? Thanks
Generally p2p tickets are cheaper in Italy than any pass. If willing to lock into a fixed, no refund schedule then the advance purchase, deep discount tickets can be a very good deal. Trains in CT will be mostly regional which are very cheap, no reservation needed, no discount so advance purchase is not necessary.
I believe you will find the consensus on this site is that rail passes in Italy generally do not pay. In Italy, distances are short and fares are low, making point-point tickets relatively inexpensive. In addition, express trains require extra reservation fees if you are using a pass, which adds to the cost and means you still have to go to a ticket window or use an automat. You can make your own comparison. Look up individual trip prices on Trenitalia.com and compare your cost for the stay with the cost of a rail pass plus reservations.
Thank you for the replies. We do have a good idea of the dates and times we want to leave each place.
If you know your travel times then look for the discount tickets. I am sure the 9E tickets are gone for July but book quickly for the others. We always travel second class.
What websites do you recommend to purchase discount tickets?
A 3 day 2nd cl Saver rail pass for Italy costs $202, over $67/day. Venice to Florence can be done point-point for only 45€ (about $60); if that's all you did that day, rail pass would be $67 plus the reservation, usually about 10€ ($13), so $80 using a rail pass. Florence to Vernazza can be done P-P for just over 20€ ($26). You wouldn't be using high speed trains, so the reservation fee would be less, but just the daily cost of a rail pass is more.
On the way from Venice to Florence, we may also stop in Bologna for a half day. On the way to Cinque Terre from Florence, we will stop in Pisa for a few hours. So these day stops on the way I am assuming would require additional train tickets.
Yes, you can get a regional train from venice to Bologna for 10.85, only takes 30 minutes longer. The standard price for fast train Bologna-Florence is 24.00, and supereconomy and economy fares are likely available when the summer schedules get updated.
Buy tickets on tre italia.com, schedules for June 9 and beyond should be posted soon.
Michael, there are three general types of trains in Italy. The Regionales. These are the locals. They stop at all stations just like a bus. And, like a bus, no seat reservations and if you buy the ticket there, it's good for 60 days. No train information on the ticket. Miss a train and simply catch the next one. Just Point A to Point B and the class (1st or 2nd). These trains are the backbone of the Italian rail system and if you are going from Venice to Bologna and from Florence to the CT as well as in the CT, you will be on these trains. You will have one ticket for each train that you will be on. These tickets must be validated before boarding or its an instant 50Euro fine if you are caught with an unvalidated tickets. No exception for tourists. You cannot buy Regionale tickets online more than 7 days out from the time of travel. You can buy these tickets online if its coupled with tickets for the two classes of trains below. The next two classes of trains are the intercity and the Frecci fast trains. These trains require seat reservations, which come with the purchase of the ticket, and there is a fixed travel date, train number and departure time on the ticket. You will be on these types of train somewhere as you travel from the CT to Rome. You can buy tickets for these trains at a discount online if you wish or you can buy the tickets at full fare in Italy 2-3 days before travel. You don't need a Eurail pass for Italy. At about 10E-15E to ride the Regionale trains, why would you spend so much for a Eurail pass. Second, the Eurail pass only gets you a free ride on the Regionales. There's a supplemental fee of 10Euro for each Frecci trains that you will ride. No seat reservations until you pay the supplemental fee.
Zoe's post got corrupted. The website to buy advance tickets is http://www.trenitalia.com/; click on the British flag on the upper right for English. Register first, and read this post for more tips about using that site: http://www.roninrome.com/transportation/booking-online-using-the-trenitalia-website-updated Everyone else has given you good advice. A pass is not a good idea for Italy; buy regional tickets in Italy; buy tickets in advance for fast trains if you know exactly which ones you want and can snag discounts; but if you want maximum flexibility and don't mind paying full (base) fare, buy fast trains when you get to Italy.
A couple of other comments that may have slid by. If you want to go from point A to C but get off in B for a while. You can do that on a Regional train. You buy a ticket from A to C, validate (time stamp) prior to boarding. The ticket is good for six hours. So you can get off at B and back on later so long as you complete the whole trip in six hours. Or you can just buy individual legs as needed. The tickets are priced fairly close to distance so buying a ticket from A to B, and B to C will be close in price as a ticket from A to C. This is all on the Regional (R) trains. ON ALL OTHER Trains (in Italy) you will need an individual ticket for each leg since all other trains require a seat reservation specific to a train and time.
Do you recommend using http://www.italiarail.com/ to purchase rail tickets in advance? Thanks
Italiarail is a ticket agency. You can get them direct from Trenitalia and cut out the middle man.
On my trip, I am taking trains from Venice to Florence, Florence to Riomaggiore (Cinque Terre), Riomaggiore to Rome. Are there specific train stations in each city I need to depart and arrive out of? Before seats fill up, I plan to book my train tickets this week through Trenitalia.
Venice is Venezia Santa Lucia. Florence is Firenze Santa Maria Novella. Rome is Roma Termini. These are the main stations. Use the Italian names on the trenitalia site.
@Larry, I understand that if I have the Firenza Museum Card, I would get free bus rides. does that mean that I will get free Regional train rides? We want to see Pisa leaning tower, can we take the regional trains from Florence?
@ Lon You should post this as a separate question on "To the Boot". That way it will show up and others can chime in with their wisdom.
I believe the Firenze Card only gives local transport in the city of Florence. Pisa is easy to get to from Florence SMN station on the regional train. There are direct trains to Pisa San Rossore (the station closest to the Leaning Tower) for 7.80 Euro each way. 1 hr 17 min trip. There are more trains connecting from Pisa Centrale.
Has anybody been on "The Best of Tuscany Tour"?
http://www.walkaboutflorence.com/tours/best-tuscany-tour My wife and I are staying in Florence for three nights, and we thought this would be an easy way to explore Tuscany.
@Micheal You are piggybacking on a question about trains in the Transportation section of the Helpline. If you posted your own question in "To the West" then it would be seen by those interested in questions about Italy.