Train from Florence to Rome

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Captain Oveur, May 8, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Looking at taking the train from Florence to Rome in October. Does anybody have experience doing this and can advise on the best site to purchase tickets?
     
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  2. rockyrock

    rockyrock Silver Member

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    I'm headed that way later this week and will be doing a RT: Rome to Florence. I chose not to pre-purchase my tickets. I'll let you know how it turns out.
     
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  3. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Awesome....than....er....grazie!
     
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  4. freebird

    freebird Silver Member

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    I highly recommend purchasing the first class train tickets. Complementary drinks and snacks were served frequently. Seats were very comfortable with generous legroom.
     
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  5. I would buy the tickets just before your trip at the train station. There are trains almost every hour from early morning until late at night. Make sure you don't buy the cheapest ticket you see because that would indicate a milk run that stops at every station on the route and a cabin that is quite full with all sorts of people.
    Non stop economy is fine but first class is much more expensive although possibly worth the comfort if that's what you are seeking. I've done it in both classes and could go in either on the nonstop trains.
     
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  6. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I did this route on the high-speed train two years ago. It was fine -- not a particularly picturesque or atmospheric trip, but fast, comfortable and convenient. The trip is about an hour and a half. I believe the high-speed line uses a different set of tracks than the regular inter-city service, which may be more scenic. I always buy tickets for Italy at the station the same day or a couple of days before for all-reserve trains on busy travel days.

    FYI: There are many nicer towns in the area than Florence.
     
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  7. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    Get a seat reservation for sure. One of my experiences Florence to Rome involved a train strike that fortunately only lasted a few hours but was enough to back things up. Because I had a reserved seat I was guaranteed a seat on that train once it left. I was able to boot someone out of my seat. They actually didn't "cancel" the train it just left very late.
     
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  8. rockyrock

    rockyrock Silver Member

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    Stazione Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Florence)
    Stazione Roma Termini (Rome)

    Buying tickets:

    Buy your ticket at the station right before you depart. No need to pre-purchase and be stuck with a set time. We showed up like 10 minutes before the departure time and were good to go.

    Automated machines:
    -Easy to use as long as you have a chip & PIN credit card or Euros.
    -50+ machines in Rome and 15 or so in Florence.
    -Only some of the machines take cash and like any machine if it is short on change it will be exact change only.
    -Travel time will be listed in the selection
    -Beware if someone tries to "help" you buy your ticket at the machine

    Window/clerk:
    -Credit or Euro.
    -If buying multiple tickets don't expect them to be together unless you ask. Not a big deal as I'll cover later.
    -Indicate you want the high-speed direct train

    Class/Seating:
    -Standard 2nd class cars had single seats, two together and four facing with a table in the middle.
    -Seats were assigned however people were sitting wherever they wanted and the train porter didn't really care.
    -I'm 6' tall and legroom wasn't an issue for me.
    -43 euros (~$55) each way for 2nd class assigned seating
    -Seats were pretty comfy and clean and there is two bathrooms in each car.

    -The windows have power shades in case the sun is bothering you.

    Trip:
    -There isn't much to see other than beautiful green countryside
    -The train tops out around 250kph on this route and takes 87 minutes.
    -There is a dining car with snacks, coffee, etc. but we didn't go down there. I know you get free food with a higher class of ticket but most folks brought there own food and drinks.
    -The trains are Wi-Fi enabled too although I didn't use it.

    Hope this helps!
     
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  9. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Oh -- one more thing. You MUST stamp the tickets using the machine on the platform to validate them before boarding the train (at least for standard non-reserved regional and intercity service). If you do not, and you're "controlled" in transit, you will pay a large fine.
     
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  10. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    I will give you quite different advice then what is reported here as a frequent customer on Italian trains for both business and pleasure and a frequent customer on the route you wish to take:

    1. The price of tickets is similar to airline tickets and you will pay far more for a walkup fare at the last minute as opposed to an advanced purchase ticket
    2. There are now two operators on the routes from Roma to Firenze of which the much nicer is the new and privately owned Italo.
    3. You can buy tickets at anytime you like on italotreno.it and there are options for different classes of service of which I frequently prefer the First Class. There is a class above First called Club which is really over the top for a simple trip of this length. If you want to do it though you will be traveling in the same class as famous footballers and politicians.
    4. There is no need to validate a ticket on a reserved seating train and in fact many people choose to travel ticketless as all you need to show an agent on this type of train is the PNR
    5. Note Italo treno also has lounges which are free to access for all passengers- nothing special but they do have free wifi which is a nice benefit (also on the train is free wifi).

    The other piece of advice on here which is not exactly accurate is that many of the high speed trains now to Firenze from Roma do NOT depart from Termini and rather from Tiburtina which is a new train station built expressly for the purpose of high speed trains. It is also much nicer than Termini. I recommend reaching Tiburtina by taking the metro unless you have a lot of luggage (always nicer to travel light with the train).

    If you have any other questions feel free to post here and enjoy your trip to Italy. A number of the promotional offers can be viewed on the website http://www.italotreno.it/EN/Pages/default.aspx (I have posted the English version for you- there are other languages) and similar to airplane tickets the time of advance purchase and the level of flexibility you require as well as the class of service will most impact the prices.
     
  11. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    In this way you will pay up to 70/80% more for your ticket by buying at the last minute. This is similar to recommending to someone to buy their tickets for the airplane "at the airport on the day of travel". The new high speed trains do not stop at any of the milk run stations.
     
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  12. TRAVELSIG
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    If you book in advance you will pay 20 EUR http://www.italotreno.it/EN/offers/Pages/default.aspx.

    You don't need to use a machine at all as you can simply buy in advance and travel ticketless with the PNR on your email or your mobile phone.
     
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  13. rockyrock

    rockyrock Silver Member

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    Thanks for bringing this up, the more options the better. :)

    If you are able to book three or more weeks out there is still a okay selection of times to choose from. You lose most your flexibility though as those tickets are non-refundable and can only be changed for a fee.

    I was there with two friends; one wasn't having such a great time and decided she wanted to head back to Rome early. The other and me were having a great time and started talking to some other travelers at dinner so we decided to take a later train back. If we had bought tickets ahead of time none of this would have been possible.

    It rained lightly several time that day, if it had started to pour we probably would have taken an early train back as most of our plans revolved around outdoor activities...

    I prefer more flexibility and am willing--and in this case, able to pay for it. I'm in the Navy and have enough structure in my life, when I go on vacation I like to be more spontaneous. To each his (or her) own. ;)
     
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  14. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Definitely if you want flexibility it is a good idea to buy tickets last minute! I agree completely every trip has its own reason and logic- glad to hear you enjoyed Firenze and Roma.
     
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  15. coflyer2

    coflyer2 Gold Member

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    There is a lot of good information above. Tailor it to your situation.

    First class vs second class: depends if you look at travel as a "means" to get someplace else or as "the experience" .

    We flew into Florence last July [via ZRH] and used it as a hub to take the train to Venice for a day and then the train to Termini Station in Rome. We spent the extra $ by purchasing First in advance so that we could enjoy our first real high speed train travel ["experience"] to Rome. It was easy.
     
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  16. storyteller
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    storyteller Gold Member

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    A bit off topic, I travelled recently from Milan to Florence.
    Looked at 1st class tickets but seemed pricey, until I found them on an Au site. Only AUD$96 inc booking fee. Just had to have PNR for the conductor.

    Onboard had an allocated seat, plenty room for medium checked bag & 2 roll aboard size - Behind my single seat plus between the opposite double seat configuration. Also overhead storage available.

    The conductor arranged a porter for me in Florence as I had a bad shoulder & he refused a tip. The porter rejected my offering of €10 once he took me to the bus. He wanted €25. We settled on €15. I thought still too much, but no time to haggle & should have done it at trainside.

    Sweet / savory snack, tea/ coffee, wine, water offered on 2 occasions at my seat.

    Wifi was an empty promise. €0.01 on cc required for loggin. Didn't work, and my cc was charged. Then cc company flagged this as a "test" for fraudulent activity.

    Speed that day topped out at 330k/hour.

    Even with the porter, it was well worth the price for a fast trip. Oh, and the bathroom at the station in Florence cost €2 to spend a penny. Very clean & efficient.
     
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  17. TRAVELSIG
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    Great information here and glad to hear your experience was OK except for the porter- 25 EUR is outrageous.

    Remember there are two major train operators in Italy on the Milano/Firenze route:
    1. Trenitalia
    2. Italo

    Italo is privately owned and controlled by the CEO of Ferrari. The service demonstrates the very best in Italian products and service and is envisioned as a showcase to Italy.

    Trenitalia is the government operated/controlled train service.

    You can make your own decisions based on the above however my experiences are far more positive with Italo than Trenitalia even though definitely Trenitalia has improved significantly in the past few years.

    Currently departing from Milano to Firenze the first class train prices can range from a low of 35 EUR to a maximum of 105 EUR. There is not a booking fee if using the websites of either train company.

    There is also one class above First called Club. Club can cost up to 2.5X First.

    All Italo trains offer free wifi without the need for any credit card at all.

    If I seemed biased- it is because I am- after years of putting up with a monopolistic operator finally there is a choice and a very good one at that!
     
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  18. storyteller
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    storyteller Gold Member

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    Just trawled through the fine print of my booking.... Was Trentalia.
     
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  19. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Thanks everyone for the feedback.

    We're taking Italo into Tiburtina, it's less than 90 minutes, so we're going cheap. A pair of tickets for 34 Euros, great deal.

    Then we'll Uber it to the hotel.

    Thanks again to everyone!
     
  20. TRAVELSIG
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    Italo is a very nice option- enjoy the free wifi and the high speed brand new trains!
     

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