Thank you for subscribing!
Got it! Thank you!

Due to the complexities of maintaining a neutral public space free of spam as well as potential liability issues stemming from proposed changes to digital communications law, we will be closing the Forums—but we will not be ending the conversation.

Your travel advice, questions, and stories will now continue to be shared at the Frommer’s Roamers Travel Chat group on Facebook.

We invite you to join the group today. On Facebook, go to @FrommersTravelGuides and click on “Groups” at the bottom of the lefthand menu. After you are approved as a member, please feel free to post questions and comments (no solicitations or advertisements).

To post to a group: From your News Feed, click “Groups” in the lefthand menu and select your group. Click on “Discussion,” then compose your post in the box that reads “Write something…”. Under "Chats," you can create a group chat.

We look forward to seeing you there!

advertisement

Forums » Italy & Malta » Italiarail

Pages:
Avatar

Italiarail

by /bio/awinegeek »

I just used Italiarail to book my train tickets for my upcoming trip to Italy this April. There are often questions posted here about buying train tickets so I thought I would share my experience.

 

In the past I have used the Trenitalia website without too much difficulty. It was always a little quirky, but not too hard to navigate once you understand some of the little quirks. Well, after spending a frustrating half hour on their site yesterday, I just gave up. I remembered reading about italiarail somewhere and decided to check it out. What a pleasure to use.

 

italiarail.com

 

Italiarail is an English language site that is hooked up directly to the treniatlia ticketing system. The search features are a breeze to use. It recognizes both English and Italian city names (you can search for Padua or Padova, Florence or Firenze). The prices were the same as on the official trenitalia website. All of the same “super economy” discounts were there. There was a 3.50 euro processing fee, which is well worth it for the ease of use, but I was able to get that refunded (more on that below). Italiarail also didn't require entering detailed info on each traveler (which is what was hanging me up on the official site, it wouldn't accept a birthday for the “child” ticket)

 

The only possible disadvantage I can see is that it did not allow me to select specific seats. Its system selected them for me. I was hesitant about this, but I checked the seat numbers on the official site as I booked and was able to see that it chose 3 perfectly fine seats together and facing each other at a table as I would have chosen for myself. (And interestingly, as I checked the “official site” the seats that were pending my purchase on itailia rail were blacked out as sold, so that confirmed that it is indeed hooked directly to the official ticketing system.)

 

In short, I can highly recommend buying Italian train tickets through italiarail.

 

I also recommend checking out the the Man in Seat 61 website seat61.com for lots of detailed info on trains. The site as been updated since I last saw it years ago and is an amazing resource on train travel.

 

Italia rail charged only one 3.50 Euro fee for the whole booking of 3 tickets on two separate train trips. But as I saw on seat61, you can this refunded if you contact them at  seat61@itailarail.com. I sent an email and within a few hours had confirmation of my refunded processing fee. Very cool.

 

Happy travels,

 

AWG

Avatar

RE: Italiarail

by /bio/awinegeek »

Hi mushroom,

Buon anno!

Yes, it is the same trip. We fly in and out of VCE. On arrival we head to Padova for nights, then Firenze for 5 nights in an apartment, (day trip to Pisa), and then finish with 3 nights in Venice.  We planned this last July and kept it a secret from our neice until just a few weeks ago. She is now 13.  We are all very excited about this trip. Her spring break is the week before Easter, for some reason, so we will be heading home on Good Friday, and not have to worry about any holiday hours etc. 

non vediamo l'ora,

AWG

Avatar

RE: Italiarail

by /bio/awinegeek »

Yes, you did mention the idea of going to Pisa late in the day. I love that plan. Smaller crowds sounds like a big plus to me. I am looking forward to going back to Pisa. We didn't really spend too much time there last time. It was our first night of our first trip to Italy. There was jet lag exhaustion and first time in country jitters, (especially after our bancomat fiasco upon arrival.)

 

I was just looking at the Pisa monuments web site today. Unfortunately it looks like the museo del duomo is closed until June.

 

Last time after settling in to our hotel for a bit, we checked out the tower, and we did go to the baptistery. Then it was time for much needed aperitivo and then dinner. Next morning we went back for a more relaxed view of the piazza dei miracoli, but then had to get back to check out of our hotel and then head to Florence. So we are looking forward to getting more time to enjoy the sights there.

 

 

I am trying to figure out what day to go to Pisa. I would have liked to just played it as it happens depending on weather, but to climb the tower we will need to reserve in advance. I am pretty sure my niece will want to climb the tower, so that will require some planning. We are in Florence for 5 nights from Thursday through Tuesday. I think logistically Sunday would make sense to sort of break up our time there. Is it a bad idea to go on a Sunday? It is Palm Sunday, I imagine there might be ceremonies etc. I found the info on the web a bit confusing. It shows the Duomo open from 10:00 to 20:00, but it also lists times for services. I imagine it is closed to visitors during mass? Trying to decide if Sunday is a bad day to visit. Whad'ya think?

 

And it looks like the set up in Florence has changed since my last visit. Climbing the cupola requires a timed reservation. Last time we just showed up on a day with good weather at a time when the line looked relatively small. With a advance res it will be hit or miss on weather. And it looks like they only sell a combo ticket for the whole complex.. Last time we paid separately for the sites we saw.

 

And of course we will also have to plan in advance our visit to see the David,. And we must figure out when to fit in a visit to San Miniato al Monte in time for Gregorian Chant. So I guess we will have more of a planned itinerary than I was originally imagining. With 5 days we hopefully should have enough time for some spontaneity.

 

I am also planning a dinner with Le Cesarine in Florence. (what we used to know as Home Food.) Months ago I had picked out what I thought was a good menu/cesarina/location but did mot actually book it. Now it appears they have changed the set up a bit. They say they will use their expertise to match our needs to the right Cesarine. I trust that will work out OK, They do say they will send us the menu in advance. I expect that this dinner in an Italian home will be a highlight of our trip.

Avatar

RE: Italiarail

by /bio/awinegeek »

 

What a great story on the 'Mud Angels”. Thanks for sharing that.

 

I did find the Pisa duomo schedule and it looks like they have masses all morning then at 12:15 and then one final one at 1800. So if we go late in the day, we should be able to get in to church before the 6 pm mass and then still have time for the other sights, then maybe climb the tower afterwards. sunset is just before 8. I will ask around some more and decide. I guess I might have to monitor the tower web site and notice how far in advance they fill up with bookings, when we get closer to the season.

 

Then again, I found out that you can cancel or change your res any time up to one day before your scheduled booking. They don't charge you until the day of your res. So it might be easy to make late changes based on weather or whim. And since you can only book a max of 20 days in advance I have plenty of time to think about this.

 

I did visit the museum of the Duomo in Florence, but was unable to see the doors. They were tucked away in a special room undergoing renovation. Hopefully they will be accessible this time. I did enjoy all of the displays of the scale models of the duomo prototypes.

 

We are planning to book David in the morning and will probably do the same for the cupola. Agree that it is best to do first thing. It stresses the rest of the day if you know you have an appointment to keep later in the day.

 

The Gregorian chant happens every day at San Miniato at 545 PM (530 sunday). The view from up there is awesome, so yes we will try for fair weather for that. Last time we took a bus up there, but walked down. I will get familiar with the bus routes. We are not as young as we used to be, and might just kill ourselves climbing those towers, so we plan to use the buses, or taxis a bit to cut down on some of the longer walks.

Avatar

RE: Italiarail

by /bio/awinegeek »

The Farmacia is on our to do list. Thought we would pop in before taking the train to Pisa, as it is near the station, or possibly if we hit Sostanza for lunch in the same neighborhood.

 

I think she might like the music exhibits in Accademia, ( I liked it), she does love music. I don't remember if we ventured upstairs last time, but thanks for mentioning the alter cloth, We should have time to linger there for a while.

I also really liked seeing the half finished sculptures on display. I think it gives you a good appreciation for how the artist can look at a block of stone and envision a sculpture.

 

And I hope she will appreciate seeing the cells of San Marco, much more interesting than a regular art museum.

 

She is interested in science, (and everything!) so Museo Galileo is on our list of possibilities, but not necessarily a “must see'. It looks like it is a very “interactive” museum, so it should be kid friendly. At very least I want to see the sundial outside.

My plan for our last day in Florence is to give her the option. By then, after a week in Italy she'll get to decide if we go to a science museum, or the gardens, or just walk around shopping, or go to the market and then cook, etc.

 

Unless she insists, I would happily skip climbing the Pisa tower. It seems that it is maybe better to apprieciate from below, so you can see the tilt. But the cupola of the Florence Duomo is well worth it. The view is incredible, of course, but the part where you walk along the catwalk along side the dome frescoes, is fantastic. And most fun of all is the part where you climb in between the 2 layers of dome to reach the peak. That in itself makes it worth the 463 steps. I look forward to going up there again (Mrs. AWG, not so much :-)

Avatar

RE: Italiarail

by /bio/awinegeek »

mushroom,

 

I noticed that you made the NY Times 52 places to visit in 2019 list.  It looks beautiful. Hope that doesn't negatively impact the peaceful life in your town.  That is the problem when a "hidden gem" becomes unhidden. :-)

Avatar

RE: Italiarail

by /bio/awinegeek »

Only 4 weeks to go. Getting excited here.  I was checking in to remind myself of our conversation.

 

mushroom: I recall you mentioning a basic departmnet store that we might want to check out in Florence. ( I think we discussed shopping in one of the deleted threads when I was bannished by mistake ) I can't rememeber the name of the place you sugested. Do you remember?

My niece is not into high end fashion, but she might find it cool to look for clothes in a basic store that is Italian, finding interesting stuff she would't see at home.

 

Also, The word for niece is "nipote", same word as grand-daughter, right? How do you make the distinction? I guess I could say that we are zii, not nonni? Or is there another way to distinguish the 2?

Avatar

RE: Italiarail

by /bio/awinegeek »

geeeeesch! That is horrible.  I felt awful when all of my posts were deleted months ago, but I feel even worse that all of yours are gone. C'mon Frommers. How is this possible that "someone" can delete an account and all of the posts. So much for rebuilding the catalog of info on this once great forum.  Outrageous!

 

Yet somehow you can't seem to delete those kelvinwayne post that has infected every thread on every forum days ago.

 

That said, mushroom, I look forward to your response when get around to reposting.  Thanks much.

 

AWG

Avatar

RE: Italiarail

by /bio/awinegeek »

it is funny how the brain works.  I read it as chain store, not chair. 

 

OVS looks like the place i was thinking of that you may have mentioned.  I will quickly bookmark the stores and article  you linked before they disappear again.

 

Glad you are not so disgusted with Frommers to just up and leave here for good.  As soon as I get back from this trip with my niece I have to start planning next year's trip for my nephew, her younger brother. He will want to hike (maybe cinque terre or nearabouts?) and we will want to take him to a soccer match. And he recently informed us that he loves cars. So maybe the Ferrari and or Lamborghini museums near Modena/ Bologna. I have a vague idea of piecing that trip together but will certainly be seeking out your input. ( and anyone else who still remains here at Frommer's) Not sure how easy it would be to plan hiking at 5T in April. Probably hit or miss with wet weather i imagine. 

Ok, I am getting ahead of myself. My brain needs to stay in Padova, Firenze, Pisa and Venezia.

 

and BTW, I am not really all that worried about being mistaken for a grandparent, just trying to learn the language.

 

Hope you have a nice trip to USA. Are you going to Vermont, or was that last year?

 

Ciao,

 

AWG

 

 

 

 

Avatar

RE: Italiarail

by /bio/awinegeek »

Hi mushroom,

And ciao to all the other Frommerites still around here.

 

Geesh,the forum is especially frustrating these days!

 

I will post many more details soon. Yes, still recovering from jet lag and extra busy back home right now.

 

I summary: we had a great trip.  It was everything we had hoped it would be.  A great experience for us and for our niece.  There were a few surprises as to what she liked most, but all went well. (for example, she loved Padova, way more than Firenze)  Smooth travel, great accomodations, and lots of fun, and of course, lots of really great and interesting food.

 

I promise to get back here soon with lots of details.

 

Ciao,

a presto,

AWG

 

 

Pages:
advertisement