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Booking Train Tickets

Los Angeles, CA
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46 posts
14 reviews
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Booking Train Tickets

What is the best way to book train tickets from Rome to Florence? Do I need to book ahead of time, or can I just show up the day of? We will be traveling next March.

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Rome
Rome
Lazio, Italy
Florence
Florence
Province of Florence, Italy
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Rome, Italy
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2,170 posts
5 reviews
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1. Re: Booking Train Tickets

You can show up and purchase a ticket at the station as there are a lot of trains running between Rome and Florence. If you want to be assured of time and class of travel book online at trainitalia.com or (US) italiarail.com

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Rome
Rome
Lazio, Italy
Florence
Florence
Province of Florence, Italy
Montreal, Canada
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8 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: Booking Train Tickets

Thank you soloRoma!

I've been trying for days to book tickets from Canada for travel between Trieste and La Spezia on the Italian websites and have had no success. I just read your suggestion to try italiarail.com and I was able to book my tickets within minutes.

It is reassuring to know we have our tickets booked prior to going to Italy since we have limited flexibility with our plans. Thanks so much for your advice!

Kirsten

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Trieste
Trieste
Province of Trieste, Italy
La Spezia
La Spezia
Province of La Spezia, Italy
Italy
Italy
Europe
Rome, Italy
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2,170 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: Booking Train Tickets

You are very welcome. Have a lovely trip.

SR

4. Re: Booking Train Tickets

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Removed on: 11 June 2015, 23:05
Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
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37,725 posts
29 reviews
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5. Re: Booking Train Tickets

It's virtually impossible to buy tickets on the trenitalia web site with a north American credit card. If you will be in Italy a few days ahead of your train departure, you might want to buy the tickets at an Italian travel agent, or at the station. If you buy the tickets before the day of travel, you might be able to get the Amica fare 20% discount, available in limited numbers on some trains. The sooner you buy, the better your chances. There is also a Family discount, for groups of three to five, with at least one child 4-12 years old. This is also available in limited numbers on some trains, but it's an even better discount and can be bought on the day of travel if it hasn't sold out.

Italiarail charges more for tickets, and sometimes it's a lot more. They set the ticket price in dollars, allowing a big margin for currency fluctuations, plus a commission for themselves. If the dollar rises, the price becomes very unattractive, while if the dollar goes down, the price looks a whole lot better. The last time I checked, the price wasn't bad at all because the dollar had tanked since they set the price. However, they will correct that soon (and maybe they already have).

There are no discounted fares available at italiarail or similar resellers.

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Italy
Italy
Europe
6. Re: Booking Train Tickets

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Removed on: 11 June 2015, 21:06
Manchester, United...
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7. Re: Booking Train Tickets

Having just returned from Italy, I would recommend you wait to buy your tickets until you get there. We bought ours the day before we needed them to avoid having to queue the day of travel. The price of 2 2nd class tickets from Florence to Rome cost €78 and I presume it costs the same from Rome to Florence. Make sure you ask for seat reservations as well, we didn't on our journey from Venice to Florence and ended up being moved from seat to seat as people came on board at different stations that had reserved there seat. I thought the seat was reserved automatically when you bought a ticket and didn't think to check until after we had bought the tickets and left the station, it made the journey quite uncomfortable.

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Italy
Italy
Europe
Florence
Florence
Province of Florence, Italy
Rome
Rome
Lazio, Italy
Venice
Venice
City of Venice, Italy
8. Re: Booking Train Tickets

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Removed on: 11 June 2015, 21:06
Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
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37,725 posts
29 reviews
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9. Re: Booking Train Tickets

Not many Italian trains have optional seat reservations anymore. Stesuec's experience of being moved around by people who had reserved the seat he was sitting in could only happen on an IC train, the only type of train, and it's getting rarer every day, where a seat reservation is optional. On these trains, there's a way to avoid the problem: all of the reserved seats are in a few cars, and the other cars have no reserved seats. If you want to retain your unreserved seat, you have to find a seat in a car that has no reservations. However, as I said, the problem is getting rarer, as most IC trains have been converted to ICPLus trains, which have mandatory seat reservations.

On trains with mandatory seat reservations, everyone has a seat, and it's not something you ask for. It's included in the ticket. The carriage number and the seat number will be printed on the ticket. These include all ICPLus, ES, and AV trains, as well as a few other types.

IC trains, and perhaps a few others I'm unaware of, usually have optional seat reservations, but some of these also have mandatory reservations. The scenes GlobalTravel witnessed of people being chased from their seats might well have been on trains with mandatory reservations and the people who were chased might have been sitting in the wrong seats, or, as is even more common, in the right seats but the wrong carriage.

Regional trains, with a very few exceptions, have no reservations at all, so there's no point in asking for a reservation on these trains. In fact, you don't buy a ticket for a specific train, you buy a ticket for a route, and you can use the ticket on any regional train on that route in the next several months. The same is true of an IC train if you don't have a seat reservation. These tickets have to be stamped in the little yellow machine near the tracks, which commits you to using the ticket within the next few hours. This is to avoid people reusing the ticket if the ticket controller somehow misses checking (and punching) their tickets. Tickets which include a reservation printed on the ticket don't have to be stamped, but it's better to stamp all tickets if you're not sure which kind you have.

On many routes, such as from Pisa to the Cinque Terre, or the Assisi to Florence route someone asked about yesterday, there are *only* or *almost exclusively* regional trains. Therefore, it makes no sense at all to buy tickets in advance on these routes. You just buy your ticket, get on the train and sit down, if you can. They are like tickets for the NY subway system or the London Underground.

I don't really see any great advantage to buying tickets on italiarail, as advocated by Global Travel. The difference in price is sometimes substantial, and there is almost never a problem getting a reserved seat on a specific train even at the last minute. If you can manage to buy the ticket a day or more ahead of time after arriving in Italy, you have an even greater possibility of getting a seat on the train you want. First class is even less likely to sell out than second class, so you can always pay a bit more and get the train you want, or save your money and take the next train.

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Pisa
Pisa
Province of Pisa, Italy
Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre
Italian Riviera, Italy
Assisi
Assisi
Province of Perugia, Italy
Florence
Florence
Province of Florence, Italy
Italy
Italy
Europe
Georgia
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19 posts
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10. Re: Booking Train Tickets

bylenci,

So, if I arrive in Rome on Friday, October 3rd and want to go to Florence Saturday, October 4th @ 0630, you think it is safe to wait until Friday 1130 am (when we arrive at Termini) to purchase tickets for the ES* train?

Mentioned in this post
Rome
Rome
Lazio, Italy
Florence
Florence
Province of Florence, Italy