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Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

GAC
Los Angeles, CA
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for Sardinia
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Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

You've got to be kidding: taking the slow unreserved regionale train between Rome and Florence, when there are super-fast Freccia trains departing every 15-30 minutes?

NO, I'm not kidding .... read on:

As many saavy travellers already know, there are three categories of Trenitalia trains in service between Rome and Florence:

1) Super-fast Frecciarossa/Frecciargento (reserved seats), which take 92 minutes along the high-speed rail line and operate every 15-30 minutes through the day. Effective June 9, many of these trains will stop at BOTH Roma Termini AND Roma Tiburtina stations.

2) Intercity (reserved seats), which take three hours along the traditional rail line, make a couple of stops en-route, and utilize Firenze RIFREDI station instead of the more centrally located Firenze SMN.

3) Regionale Veloce (UNRESERVED seats), which take up to nearly four hours along the traditional rail line, make a multitude of stops en-route, and terminate/originate at Firenze SMN. These slow trains run roughly every two hours.

Now, it can be said that the large majority of foreigners prefer to take the fast Freccia train, especially when a discounted ECONOMY or SUPER ECONOMY fare can be had by purchasing in advance (the lowest fare is currently 19 Euros on this trip).

However, Trenitalia recently tightened the rules for its discounted tickets on the reserved trains, which fares are no longer offered for sale on the travel date itself (the purchase deadline is 23:59 (Italy time) of the day PRIOR to scheduled travel). That means, for example, that travellers no longer have the option of seeking a slightly reduced fare even a few minutes prior to scheduled train departure (this option was especially valuable for those taking the train immediately after arrival by plane, who were hesitant to book in advance owing to the risk of missing the train and forfeiting the discounted ticket).

Now that these discounted tickets are no longer available at the last moment (the sole exception being the "Familia" fare), the cost of the Freccia train is the full "BASE" fare (currently 43 Euros), which is somewhat expensive, especially when there are multiple travellers (children up to the age of 15 years, 0 days still qualify for the 50% child's rate, and toddlers up to the age of 4 years, 0 days still can travel for free (on ANY train), without a ticket and without a guaranteed seat).

SO, some travellers may be looking for a cheaper alternative, which leads us to the unreserved regionale veloce train. While the trip is long (up to four hours), and makes many stops, the railcars are modern (refurbished Intercity cars are used), and the new seat layout is practical and appealing. The fare is also very appealing: the "ordinaria" fare is currently 20.25 Euros, with no discounts for an advance purchase. Children between the ages of 4 years, 1 day and 12 years, 0 days get the 50% child's discount. Traditional PAPER tickets can be purchased up to TWO MONTHS in advance, and the ticket has a validity of SIX HOURS once it is "validated" in the stamping machine by the train track. Tickets can be purchased from most electronic machines, or by standing in line at the manned ticket agent windows. The train also stops at Roma Tiburtina and Firenze Campo di Marte stations, for those who care. The regionale veloce costs less than half of the Freccia (and takes more than twice as long), so it's a good choice for those wanting to save money.

HINT: While the seats on the regionale veloce are acceptably comfortable, they do NOT recline. By contrast, the FIRST CLASS seats (currently 31 Euros) do recline, and are a bit wider, consequently more comfortable. Each person will decide whether the 53% surcharge is worthwhile.

UNRESERVED SEATS: Don't fret, because the regionale veloce originates and terminates both at Roma Termini and Firenze SMN, you are guaranteed a seat if you board early.

NO FOOD OR BEVERAGE SOLD on the regionale veloce, so bring some with you!

LUGGAGE STORAGE: Plenty or room available in the overhead racks. Luggage too heavy to be lifted will need to be placed on the floor, preferably next a solo seat in the railcar, but not blocking the aisle.

HEATING/AIR CONDITIONING: present on the regionale veloce, except when malfunctioning!

LOTS OF STOPS: You'll get to see the Italian hinterland adjacent to these smallish intermediate stations, and the train speed won't limit enjoyment of the scenery (as it can on the Freccia train).

DON'T FORGET TO VALIDATE PAPER TICKET, or you will risk a big fine. By contrast, electronic tickets (regionale OR reserved trains), as well as paper tickets for the reserved trains do NOT need to be validated.

CAN BREAK JOURNEY: ONLY on the regionale trains (and NOT on the reserved trains), you are allowed to break your trip with one (or even more) short stopovers (e.g. in Orvieto or Arezzo), without needing to purchase a new ticket for the second leg, AS LONG AS you re-board your final train DURING the six-hour VALIDITY of the PAPER ticket, and don't abuse the privilege such that you MIGHT be questioned (e.g. by boarding within 5-15 minutes of its validity, when the balance of the trip takes over two hours).

Here is the official rule:

"In particolare, il viaggio deve essere terminato entro 6 ore dal momento della convalida. Il viaggiatore che si trova in treno allo scadere della validità del biglietto può proseguire il viaggio già iniziato fino alla stazione di destinazione senza effettuare fermate intermedie se non per cambio con il primo treno utile." OFFICIAL TRENITALIA RULES PART III (Trasporto Regionale) Section 16 Paragraph 3

As as alternative, what about taking the reserved Intercity train ("BASE" fare currently 33.50 Euros)? BAD DEAL, in my opinion (except at the SUPER ECONOMY fare of 9 Euros), because travel time (three hours) plus the need to CONNECT to a regionale train at Firenze Rifredi, result in a total transit time nearly equal to that of the cheaper and more convenient regionale veloce! Moreover, some Intercity railcars can be very old and needing of an upgrade.

So, the tradeoff is straightforward: in the absence of a discounted advance-purchase fare on the faster trains, you currently pay either 43 Euros for the fast Freccia, or 20.25 Euros for the much slower but not uncomfortable regionale veloce.

Something to consider before forking out twice as much money!!!

NOTE: you will find some people who can't be persuaded to ever take the regionale veloce train on this route, and others who have taken it multiple times and continue doing so.

HINT: You can also check for discounted fares on competitor ITALO TRENO (which departs from Roma TIBURTINA station), which can sometimes be very attractive. However, it's quite unlikely that you'll find any discounted fares at the last moment (same day travel).

BEWARE: The discounted fares on the reserved trains are nonrefundable (except the "Familia" fare) and some are non-changeable as well. Caveat emptor!

www.trenitalia.it

www.italotreno.it

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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31. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

If you have no need to be in Venice earlier than 9:35 PM, I don't see any reason not to take that train. It's up to you though. I myself always prefer a train that goes directly to my destination.

Grand Forks, North...
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32. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

bvlenci, Thank you.....with the inputs from you and all other experts here, I got my tickets (directly from Trenitalia website); and selected the train that reaches Santa Lucia at 9-35 p.m. Although our Venice trip is super short (returning next day by 7 pm. train from Santa Lucia), we are really looking forward to it :)

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33. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

Such ggod information. Thank you for clarifying the prior poster's question.

Eloúnda, Lasithi...
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34. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

Hello there experienced rome travellers,

I will be visiting rome with my family (6 altogether with grown up kids) and planning to visit florence and pisa on the second week of december just for 1 full day as our schedule is so hectic.I had checked many sites but coud'nt found any train timetables so i can program our short tour to these two places i.e. leaving early rome termini station and back late in the evevning. Any advise please...would appreciate very much any comments..

thanks

Turin
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35. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

Go to trenitalia.com, click the UK flag and use a date before the 13th of December 2014 to see all schedules (high speed and local trains). If you are interested only in high speed trains between the main cities, you can also check trenitalia's private competitor: www.italotreno.it .

Bengaluru, India
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36. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

hi,

if I book the florence-rome on regional train in advance from loco2 webiste- will I get a confirmation number? Can i use the paper confirmation and find a seat on the train if I reach the station at least 30 mins before departure?

Do I have to validate this paper, considering regional trains have no reserved seats? if yes- where do i validate and how?

thanks

Sydney, Australia
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37. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

There is no advantage in buying Regionale tickets online. There are no seat reservations and no discounts.

I do not know what Loco2 provides if you buy a Regionale ticket there. If you buy from Trenitalia, you get a confirmation which is your authority to travel. It can be used only on the booked train or a similar train in the next 4 hours and does not require validation.

It is very unlikely that all seats would be taken on a Florence-Rome Regionale train. Buy your tickets in Florence,

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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38. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

I agree with Nick. The 4-hour window travel restriction on the online regional tickets makes it a less convenient solution than a regional ticket sold at any train station in Italy. Since there are no reservations, the seats can't sell out. The train starts in Florence, so you should be able to get a seat if you arrive before the track is announced. Half an hour should be plenty of time. There are paper time tables displayed in various places aroud the station. If you look at the departures (partenze) timetables, you'll see the usual track number, so you can hover in that area; keep your eyes on the electronic timetable, because the usual track is not necessarily the track it will use today.

Regional tickets bought online can't be stamped, which is why there is the travel time restriction. The regional tickets you buy at a train station are good for several months. They must be stamped to establish the time of travel; once you stamp the ticket, it's only good for the next several hours.

I don't know anything about loco2. The prices seem similar to the official prices. I don't see how they could give you anything but a printed online ticket, which couldn't be stamped, so it would still be preferable to buy your regional tickets at a train station or authorized Trenitalia travel agent in Italy.

Imperia, Italy
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39. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

Loco2 clearly states that for Italian Regional trains their delivery method is <Collect at station>.

This means they will send you a code which you must enter into a ticket machine of the right type (or even worse, queue up at the ticket office) to exchange for a proper ticket which will then have to be validated before boarding..

These processes will take just as long as buying the ticket at a station on the day of travel (or before the day of travel if that is more convenient).

Buenos Aires...
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40. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

I've been in Rome recently and took the high speed train to go to Florence. It was very convenient, and would recommend it over the regionale, which is much, much slower.

The high speed took us there in about two hours (maybe a little less). And its nonstop.

Edited: 12 July 2015, 20:27