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When to get Train Reservations in Italy

Hello All,
We are traveling by train in July (4 weeks), Rome, naples, florence, venice,milan and need to get reservation for the high speed train. when do we do this? Before we fly, a week before? Do we use railEurope to get the reservations or the itailian web site/ thanks

Posted by
1106 posts

Hi Phil. There are many trains a day for these runs. the reason to book in advance is to get large discounts, but will lock you in to an exact date and time. Use the site trenitalia.com to see discounts (mini fare) that you will get if you buy today vs. 'base' price if you buy at last minute when there. Use Italian spelling for city names (e.g. venezia), just type a few characters and select (for large cities, use Tutte Le Stazioni choice; means 'all stations'). Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
8700 posts

If you have railpasses and only need to buy seat reservations, you can get those from the ticket machines in major stations. The machines have an English option and accept US credit cards. No need to pay Rail Europe's inflated prices. If you're buying point-to-point tickets for high-speed trains, then booking ASAP (usually up to 90 days) on the Trenitalia site can get you a cheap Mini fare. Those tickets start at €9.00 and go up in €10.00 increments as the allotted number of tickets are sold out for each price level. Those tickets are for a specific departure date and time and usually aren't either exchangeable or refundable.

Posted by
15 posts

ok, so no one things i will have problems with reservations? The train i get on will ALWAYS have seats available on a high speed train? for the destinations i listed?

Posted by
6898 posts

Phil, the best thing to do is buy your reservations for the next segment of your journey the day you arrive. 2-3 days is all you need. The Italians do purchase in advance to take advantage of the mini-fares but other than that, they wait until the last few days. Also, for the train run between Florence and Rome, there are 55 trains a day with each train holding more the 400 passengers. There are lot of runs in and out of Naples, Venice and Milan. These are major high-speed train corridors. Just buy your reservations when you arrive.

Posted by
2207 posts

Phil, I think everyone offers you good advice but it really comes down to what type of "vacation" you are seeking. If you want to save money and don't mind being "locked down" to specific trains and times, then you can buy now using the Trenitalia MINI promotion and save 60-7% on some runs. If you're concerned with maintaining your flexibility, you might purchase tickets 15 minutes before your train departs at one of the many kiosks located throughout most stations. Or, as Larry says, you can head to a Trenitalia counter or kiosk in a station and buy ALL your tickets on your day of arrival. You could still qualify for some of the MINI fares if your travel dates are more than 48 hours off – and the MINI fares are still available. In addition, now with the new train service, Italo, there are even more ticket options. Italo does not have all their routes up as they are just starting service, but soon (hopefully) they'll have more runs available. They feature LOW-COST fares, starting at €20 on the newest and fastest trains in Europe. So again, you have many options, mostly determined by cost versus flexibility. Good Luck!

Posted by
22152 posts

In nearly a total month of traveling in Italy we have never had problem with reservations at anytime in Italy. ....The train i get on will ALWAYS have seats available on a high speed train? for the destinations i listed?........ I would answer with a strong YES but you can never say never. You could definitely say that about first class because so few people use first class. There is always a very remote possibility because of some odd reason that a train might be sold out but the next one an hour later will have seats or an hour earlier. The day after Christmas could be an exception.

Posted by
6898 posts

Two places in Italy where you can often find crowded trains is the Cingue Terre during the summer months and the Circumvesuviana train between Naples and Sorrento. Both are Regionale trains that do not permit seat reservations. Like buses, you can stand until seats open up. For the CT, it's part of the charm. It's only 2-3 minutes between the villages so it's not a problem.