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Which trains are eligible for rail pass use?

If we purchase the Italy saver pass for 5 days ($472.00 for two persons)for our 21 day trip throughout Italy can the pass be used on all trains in Italy? We plan the following itinerary: starting sept. 29 Milan to varenna (ferry to Bellagio), varenna to Venice, Venice to Monterosso, Monterosso to Florence, Florence to Positano (via Salerno then ferry to Positano on Oct. 9) Positano to Rome. Can the rail pass be used on trains within a city (from the Milan Linate airport to our hotel, from our hotel to the Duomo, from our hotel in Rome to the airport on Oct. 16, etc.) or just from city to city? Can shipping of the rail pass be expedited as we depart sept. 24. Or is it better to purchase point to point tickets in Italy even if you don't speak Italian to converse with the train station ticket sellers.
Thank you.

Posted by
6898 posts

In Italy, you can ride any Trenitalia Regionale train with your pass. However, these runs are usually very cheap and not worth the high cost of the pass. Just hop on and take your seat. Show your pass to the conductor. The pass will cover the base fare on the other class of trains in Italy - Intercity and Eurostar Italia (all high-speeds). However, on these better class trains, you do not yet have your seat assignments. You must first pay a 3E supplemental fee on the Intercity trains or a 10E supplemental fee on the highspeeds in order to get your seat assignments. This 10E fee applies to each high-speed you will be on and not the run. Some runs require being on 2 different high-speeds. Parts of your trip will not be covered by the pass. This includes any ferry or city metro (i.e. Milan, Florence, Rome) nor does it cover the private Circumvesuviana train from Naples to Sorrento. It also does not cover the SITA bus or any ferry from Sorrento to Positano. Basically, it Trenitalia only. Nothing else. As far as transportation to the airport from Rome, your pass will need to be a1st class ticket to ride the Leonardo Express or pay the 14E base fare. Or, you can ride a different train from the Rome-Tiburtina train station to the airport. Your pass will work there.

Posted by
2864 posts

No rail pass! Look at this way: those 5 trips will cost you an average of $47 each, PLUS the mandatory reservation fee which is extra on all but the regional trains. There is a separate fee per train, so to go say from Venice to Monterosso you will pay an extra 10 euros for Venice to Milan and another 10 euros for Milan to Monterosso. Using a $47 pass to go to Varenna is a huge waste of money because the ticket only costs 6 euros. The other tickets are more, but still not up to what younwould pay using a pass plus reservation fee. And you can get discounted tickets buying ahead ( now) on the Trenitalia website. I see tickets for Milan to Venice in early October for 9 or 19 euros, depending on your choice of train. Venice to Monterosso ( via Milan) economy tickets of 38 euros are still available. Those prices include seat reservation. Prices may be higher if younwait to buy in Italy. And if youndo buy in Italy, you can use the ticket machines which have English. In Varenna you will have to get your ticket from a travel agent as the station there does not have a machine. It would be good to have the Milan to Venice part of that journey purchased in advance.

Posted by
4 posts

You have both offered great advice, thank you. Could you please explain why we should buy the Venice to Milan portion of our Venice to montoresso trip in advance. If we decide to buy the point to point tickets in advance what website should we use?
Do you have any idea how much more it would cost to just buy the tickets in Italy as we go along?

Posted by
6898 posts

The main reason for buying a ticket in advance is to take advantage of the discounted fares. Full base fare for the run via Milan is 60.50Euro. If you go to www.trenitalia.com and regisiter on the website, you can purchase tickets on this run for as low as 18E (9E for Venice/Milan and 9E for Milan/Monterosso). However, these discounted tickets are limited and as they get gobbled up, the fare begins to increase. When all of the discounted tickets are gone, you will pay the base fare. Note that the discounted tickets do lock you into a specific train departing on a specific date and are non-refundable. The super economy tickets are also non-exchangable. Most the runs from Venice to the CT route via Florence and Pisa. These runs are quicker. Here's a LINK to a typical schedule so that you can see both runs.

Posted by
3580 posts

The only time I've used my Italy Railpass on local CT trains was when travel from La Spezia to Monterosso came at the end of a day's railpass use from elsewhere in Italy. I'm not sure that's legit, but wasn't challenged. If the train trips you've listed are all on different days, you will probably save money by buying p-p tix. I use the railpass only when I have a number of long trips within Italy, as I did two years ago. I don't know if I saved money, but I liked the pre-paid aspect of the pass and found reservations simple and easy. Reservations do add to the cost of the railpass.

Posted by
2864 posts

Valerie, actually I said you might want to have the Milan to Venice portion purchased in advance. (Not Venice to Milan). The reason is you will be starting that day in Varenna. (To go Varenna to Venice you go through Milan.) As I mentioned, there is no ticket machine or agent at the Varenna station. You buy your tickets ahead, or from the travel agent (directions to the shop are in rick's book. We found it just walking to th erailway station).

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks, Larry for that link. We ARe now trying to decide if it's better to go via Florence or milan. Milan has only one train change while via Florence there are two changes and there's only 13 minutes to find the train in florence to La spieza...is Florence a big station where two seniors can get lost easily?
Also, if we took the 9:32 train out of Venice how long should we plan to get to the train station from our hotel (ai do mori near st. Mark's square)by vaporetto? Sasha: sorry, I didn't understand the varenna to Venice problem at the time as I was concentrating more on rail pass vs. Point to point tix.... but your explanation makes it much clearer to me now.

Posted by
6898 posts

From your hotel, which is located behind San Marco Square, you probably have a 5-minute walk to either the San Zaccaria or San Marco Vallareso vaporetto stop. From there, you are looking at 42 minutes on either the No 1 or No 2 vaporettos. The No 2 is supposed to be an express but www.actv.it shows the travel times as I have shown. However, you can also take the 4.2 vaporetto (27 minutes) or the 5.2 vaporetto (24 minutes). I have a new LINK that shows the vaporetto schedule if you want to arrive at the station at 9:00am.

Posted by
11613 posts

Florence's main station, Santa Maria Novella, is not as big as the stations in Milano or Roma. It's a terminal, so all the trains pull into the railhead which makes it easier to transfer to your next train (no underground walkway stairs to navigate with luggage). Thirteen minutes should be enough time if your incoming train is not late. If it is and you have a reserved seat for your next train, you'll need to get to the "customer care" area to have the ticket changed (they will know that your incoming train arrived late, and also speak enough English to help you). You can also do this at the regular ticket window, but the lines tend to be long in Florence.

Posted by
4 posts

WOW!! Another one of "Larry's Links" that are so helpful.. What is the website for the link re: the vaporetto schedule as I couldn't click on anything in the link that worked to get more info.
I did note that the 24 minute and 27 minute vaporettos both dock at the "Bar Roma" A while the ones that take 42 and 40 minutes dock at "C" and "D" ...does this matter....is Bar Roma A dock close enough to walk quickly to the train station? I wouldn't want to take the quicker vaporetto only to have to end up taking longer to walk to the station. Zoe: Thanks so much for the info. re: the Florence train station. We now feel more confident that we can handle finding our next train in 13 minutes.