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Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

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Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

This is not a question but a posting to help other travelers avoid a situation we encountered at the Florence Italy Train Station.

If you purchase a Trenitalia train ticket at the vending machines in the Florence train station you must scan the bar code on the ticket at a scanner to validate the ticket---this prevents reuse of the ticket. These scanners are located throughout the station, including at the platform before you board the train. This scanning/validation process can be done by you without any assistance at the scanner which is very easy to use.

Beware of the following. On our first visit to the Florence train station to take a local train to Siena (no reserved seating), we did not fully understand the process and at the platform we encountered a man (I don't think he was an employee of Trenitalia) who insisted (and I mean insisted) on taking our ticket and validating it through the scanner for us. He then said he would escort us to seats on the train where he, of course, demanded a not insignificant tip.

Most people probably don't need any help in either scanning the ticket or finding a seat on the train. If anyone tries to "assist" you, and you don't want to pay a tip for basically nothing, just go to another scanner---they are located throughout the station or, better yet, scan the ticket before actually going to the platform and proceed directly onto the train avoiding these folks.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

Anyone who "gives" their train ticket to a complete stranger is just looking for trouble.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

Very very loud "no!" after a few quieter ones - and, definitely, never handing over anything personal to a stranger.

This is an occurrence that has been around for awhile.

No harm is reminding people again -

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

Thanks for this. I'm going to be taking trains in Italy for the first time and I'm a little nervous already! Do you know if it's safe to leave our luggage in the suitcase storage area of the Frecceargento train? I might just be paranoid, but I'm worried that it's not being monitored/watched so someone else can easily take our stuff.

NY
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4. Re: Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

Maybe I am also paranoid, but I do try to watch my luggage at the end storage area when the train is about to stop (not too often on most fast trains) and also am at the luggage well before my stop. I do not think there are many luggage thefts, but there was one report on T/A recently

The problem of people trying or just going ahead to "help" has been posted many times.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

Thieves / scammers tend to target people who look bewildered or confused. So, just act (and be) confident.

As it relates to luggage storage at the end of the car....I ilke to be the first one on the car if that is feasible. I put my luggage at the back of the storage area so other people put their luggage in front of mine. I have to wait at the end of the journey for everyone else gets their bag so I can get to mine....but there is a certain sense of security that my bag is really hard to get to if someone wants to do a "grab and run."

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

Those are good tips. Thanks!

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

Have a good trip!

Adelaide
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8. Re: Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

These are probably the same scammers who "help" you with your luggage when boarding a train in Florence and then demand a tip. We had our cases literally ripped from our hands and then just thrown in the rack. I refused to pay, but had to stand by our cases until the train pulled out of the station to ensure they didn't disappear. Florence station seems to be far worse for these sort of things than most other Italian cities..

GAC
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9. Re: Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

If your luggage is not too large, it will usually fit in-between the seat rows, where you can keep an eye on it at all times, and sometimes even in the overhead rack (although on some Frecciargento trains, the overhead is small). If you do place the luggage in the oversized storage area at the end of the railcar, rest assured that there is no "monitoring" being done by train officials: the only "monitoring" is by fellow train travelers and any potential thieves who might be on the train. In any case, the theft of a suitcase would occur just before the train stops at a station. The real target of thieves these days is small but valuable stuff like electronic equipment (especially smart phones, cameras, camcorders, tablets and laptops), purses, wallets, suitcases, gift items and backpacks.

GAC
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10. Re: Florence Italy Train Station---SMN---Beware of this

There have been reports in the Italian media about the problems at the Firenze SMN train station concerning people who demand to "help" tourists and then demand inflated tips. There are even two press releases on the Trenitalia website (21 and 26 March 2014) concerning two incidents involving train officials who tried to stop abusive practices which turned violent and required police intervention and first aid for the officials who were abused both orally and physically by these petty criminals.