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Trenitalia, .Italo, and FrecciaRossa

Greetings and happy new year. I want to travel in the most direct way possible from:
Rome > Torino (Mid-June 2022).
Then, from Torino up to Courmayeur which I think will be regional trains, bus or car rental.

What I am confused with is the various train systems of Italy. FrecciaRossa is a bullet train from Rome to Torino based on their route map but when I go to but tickets, shows only the regional trains taking apps. 10 hrs. The trip via the FrecciaRosso should take ~4 hrs. Any guidance would be appreciated.

Here's the two sites I've been reviewing.

https://www.trenitalia.com/en/frecce/frecciarossa.html,
https://www.italotreno.it/en

Posted by
3209 posts

You're likely trying too early. When I looked for next week there were plenty of frecchia trains to Torino. No need to buy tickets this early.

Posted by
12928 posts

What CJean said. This is way too early to buy Trenitalia tickets for June. Start looking about 2 months in advance for the least expensive Super Economy tickets.

Posted by
17 posts

@CJJean, @Lola, yes I saw the calendar peaked at March. So the takeaway is use the Trenitalia for the Frecciarossa route when June routes become available. Thank you. (I should have figured that one out ;) )

Posted by
2396 posts

Man in Seat 61 will explain Italian trains to you, you can also watch Youtube videos from train vloggers who do nothing but ride such trains and report (me jealous?)

Posted by
251 posts

In October, I went from Rome Termini to Turino on Italo, which is the train company I prefer. to use when I travel in Italy. I follow Italo on Instagram, and fortunately, at the time, they offered a 50% promo code I was able to use for my fare on the Italo website.

Posted by
726 posts

Another Italo fan here. Always take them when possible.

Posted by
17 posts

@phred, Man in Seat61 is brilliant. Thank you for that golden nugget.
@Alohalover, @JR - thank you as well for providing your recommendation on italotreno. Even Seat61 agrees.
All aboard.... ;)

Posted by
2631 posts

Ok, a couple of things beyond doubts:

The Buses to Aosta and Courmayer depart from the parking lot in front of Turin's PORTA SUSA station. So get off the train at Porta Susa.

Trains do not sell out, but discounted tickets are capacity controlled. Because of Covid Trenitalia has stopped selling their cheapest tickets, called SuperEconomy.

Discounted tickets come with restrictions: usually it's no changes and/or no refund. Nobody pays the top, walk-up fare in advance online, but it will is always displayed both on trenitalia.com and italotreno.it. This way you can see at a glance the price of flexibility.

Freccia-something is the marketing name of Trenitalia's high speed service. "Marketing" because the Freccia-bianca trains are not bullet trains according to the new railway benchmarks.

Trenitalia's high speed Frecciarossa trains are faster and less tilting than Italotreno's; but Italo is cheaper, the on board complimentary wifi is easier to use and their staff is forced to be polite. Some could even be actually happy to see you. Trenitalia's staff hates us all, but they hate you much more than me.

June 12 is the day of the seasonal timetable change all over Italy. Before Covid, on the 13th of December, 2021 you would have been able to see online all the train schedules up to the 12th of June, 2022.

Now, if "mid June" means "after June 12" you'll have to wait early May before seeing the full schedules. I'd make a first check on April 1, the State of Emergency has been postponed till March 31.

Posted by
10943 posts

While I'll take the train with the best schedule and price, I agree that Italo's customer service is better.

Posted by
27426 posts

I have often chosen Italo over Trenitalia when I can and never regretted it

Posted by
2396 posts

Dario, isn't it true that the "name brand" high speed trains do in fact sell out, since they require seat reservations?

And yes, that guy in Seat 61 is a great resource. Also watch his videos, if you watch enough of them you can see his kids growing up in their travels.

Posted by
27426 posts

they theoretically could - maybe for a big calcio day or a special holiday, but in practice I've never seen it. Maybe because I don't go where big crowds go if I can avoid it (even in the beforetimes) ...

Posted by
2631 posts

It's not Amtrak: High speed trains make profits, if one routinely sold out Trenitalia would start running one more train on the same route within 20/30 minutes. Or they would add more cars to an existing train. If not Trenitalia, Italo would be happy to do it.

The only trains that often sell out are the subsidized, long distance Intercity trains in summer. The reason is that tickets do not cover the costs of running an Intercity Train, so the supply doesn't depend on the demand but on the subsidies.

Posted by
17 posts

Again, great and helpful replies by @Dario, and others. Thank you.
Here's an actual brief update if anyone is interested: I am contemplating changing plans, and fly in/out of Milano vs. Roma. and then either renting a car, or travel via treno to Aosta, Turino, Courmayeur and hiking a portion of the TMB (Tour de Monte Bianco). Originally, I was going to Roma to see friends and then treno north to Torino. Still going over plans - I don't want to lose time in the hours/days of transportation.

Posted by
2631 posts

If you fly into MXP, it's better to take the 2 hours direct bus from the Airport to Turin's Porta Susa station. To avoid backtracking.

Or skip Turin, get a rental car and just drive from MXP to Courmayeur. It's summer after all.

Edit: I have discovered a third option: take a STN bus from MXP to Novara and then a Flixbus bus from Novara to Courmayeur.

Posted by
17 posts

@Dario, I do like the car idea from MXP, but with the car rental prices, at least here in the States is grossly overpriced. You now pay for a economy car what you would have paid for a deluxe car 2 years ago. I have to check into rentals.

Itinerary update:
Rome - 5 days (txfr via train Rome to Torino, bus to Courmayeur)
Courmayeur - 2 d (monte bianco cable car; Helbronner point, Chamonix)
Hiking - 3 d (hard to get accommodations now that I've moved to late June departure)
Courmayeur to Torino again with plans on car rental (checking on prices) and down to Barolo, Asti, Alba, for 3 days,
Barolo up to Milan for 4 days.
Return home.

Posted by
12928 posts

I just booked a car for 4 days in Puglia in March, with Hertz through AutoEurope. The price was about the same as our last rental in Italy (2013), but this time there was an added drop charge for returning the car to a different location.

Which way will you hike the TMB from Courmayer? We hiked the circuit anti-clockwise, so we approached Courmayer from France. That day our guide took us on a “variance”, a higher trail than the standard route, and it was beautiful—-more wildflowers than we normally see in the Alps, including lots of this one:

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gentiana_Purpurea_Ble.jpg

The following day the route goes through Val Ferrat, but the trail was closed due to mudslides from the heavy rain the previous few days. So we did an alternate day hike right from our hotel, and at the end of the day we were transported by van to our hotel in Switzerland. But you might be able to hike this section, described here:

https://www.alpenwild.com/Alpshiking/tour-du-mont-blanc-highlight-val-ferret/

Posted by
17 posts

@Lola, ciao and nice to share your experience.
Pretty good rate on the car - I think, for March. I just ran an AutoEurope out of curiosity and a low on a Compact (Fiat 500X) of $482 no deductible, 3 days Torino, drop off Milan. Seems pretty darn expensive for 3 days on a compact but we can thank COVID for all this expense :). That car is ~$160p/d when it should be on the high side $80, pretty much doubled. 2019, we were in the NorthEast Italy and rented a sub SUV, some Renault for 10 days and I looked up the cost (I keep a travel history file) and it was $638. I could not believe it via AutoEurope. My wife says I was complaining then about the cost. LOL

As for TMB—> Courmayeur via Combal, Rif Elisabetta, Mottets, Nant Borrant, back to Courmayeur via shuttle. We are mid-age and hike and camp often. :) but I have too squeeze in seeing friends and some business. I would have wanted to do the whole thing but next time.
Saluti.

Posted by
2631 posts

Are you picking the Car in Turin or are you driving from MXP to Turin? In the latter case, find an hotel with free parking and ask them how to enter the central ZTL and the bus-only streets without being fined.

Posted by
17 posts

Ciao, just following up. Many changes. Renting car for 6 days, picking up in Torino. No more trains but flying ITAL air (hope its still around by the time the trip starts or Putin takes over the world :( (peace to the Ukrainians)). Thank you all again for the great information. The best tip is he man in seat61.

Posted by
2631 posts

picking up in Torino

Where in Turin? There is a morning ZTL in downtown and a couple of roads are reserved to Buses and Cabs 24/7