Two metro lines are insufficient for a city as big as Rome (3 million inhabitants); a third is under construction.
There are many busses but they are usually crowded.
It can therefore be useful to take profit of the urban railways and regional railways who are accessible with the same ticket, for example BIT ticket, as the metro and busses within limits of territorial validity which are rather large. See my pic n° 4 and the maps on www.atac.roma.it
The 3 urban railways "Ferrovie Urbane" are:
Roma - Lido di Ostia;
Roma - Civitacastellana - Viterbo;
Roma - Pantano.
There are 8 "Ferrovie Regionale" regional railways of which the useful ones for moving inside the city are:
FR1 (Orte/Fara Sabina - Fiumicino Aeroporto);
FR2 (Tivoli - Roma Tiburtina);
FR3 (Cesano/Viterbo - Roma Ostiense);
FR4 (Castelli Romani - Roma Termini);
FR5 (Civitavecchia - Roma Termini).
I used to take the FR3 going to the North and deserving the Monte Mario area.
The trains are double deck, comfortable and clean inside but heavily tagged outside as well as the stations who don't look welcoming except the S. Pietro station (correspondence with bus 64) at about 700 m south from the Piazza S.Pietro. This train FR3 gives correspondence with Metro A at Valle Aurelia station and Metro B at his terminal Ostiense station.
All this with the normal BIT ticket at 1 €. In the week a train every 15 minutes, on Sunday every 30 minutes. As the BIT ticket is only valid for 75 minutes, have it validated when the train arrives at your station, not before.
The FR3 trains and stations seemed safe at least when I took them in day time.
Note that rails and platform are called "binario" in Italian
Eurostar AV Fast, together with all other Eurostar services, are the cream of the Italian train services, a network of high-speed premier trains connecting Italy’s main cities and towns. Enjoy first rate customer service and beautiful scenery during your superfast, comfortable journey across Italy. All coaches are air conditioned and pressurized; please remember that smoking is forbidden on all Italian trains.
Sample travel times:
Milan - Venice: 2 hours 20 minutes
Rome - Milan: 3 hours 30 minutes
Rome - Venice: 3 hours 59 minutes
Bologna - Milan: 1 hour 5 minutes
Rome - Naples: 1 hour 21 minutes
Reservations are always compulsory on all ES* Italia services and your fare includes the cost of the ticket, the supplement fee and the reservation fee for your allocated seat.
If you are buying a pass rather than a city-to-city ticket please be aware that your pass does not include any reservation and you have to make one either via our website or once you arrive in Italy in order to board these trains.
Services Onboard the ES* Italia
Passengers travelling in 1st Class will receive a ‘welcome onboard’ service, which includes a small snack and a hot or cold drink served at your seat; on morning trains a daily newspaper will be offered to you. Assistance is provided to all passengers with disabilities.
Eurostar Italia trains are operated by different train types, the top of the range being the ES* AV Fast and ES* AV; and the others being the ES* Fast, ES* Italia and ES* City
The version ETR 500 Y1 achieved 362 km/h on the Bologna-Florence line on 4 February 2009, a new world speed record in a tunnel.[
Until 30th September 2009 the Super Offer-60% lets you travel with a discount of about 60% in 2nd class only (with the exception of the Milan-Rome section, for which a differentiated discount applies). You can buy it at least 30 days in advance and only: on their website, through our Call Center (fee-paying numbers) and with the ticketless procedure also from the approved travel agencies.
The offer is valid on the following trains and connections:
AV/AV Fast: from Milan to Rome and to Naples and return.
ES* Fast: from Rome to Venice Mestre/S.Lucia, Padova, Verona, Genoa , Rimini, Bari, Brindisi, Lecce, Lamezia T., Reggio C., Villa S. Giovanni and return.
When purchasing train tickets to cities in Italy, it is most helpful to know the Italian name of your destination city - Florence is "Firenze", Milan is "Milano", Rome is "Roma", etc. If you do not speak Italian, you can bring your map with you when purchasing tickets and point to your destination. You do need the correct Italian name if purchasing your tickets from the automatic purchasing machines at major train stations.
People often wonder about the travel costs and times between cities in Italy. Here are some of the more common trips people make from Rome by train. Naples and pompeii- the high speed train will take about 1.5 hours to get into Naples and cost 51.30 for first class and 39.90 for second class . The cost on the IC train is 1rst class-25.50 and 2nd class- 19.50 OW. From the Naples station you must go downstairs to the circumvesuviana train. This train makes multiple stops, but the trip to pompeii (pompeii scavi) only takes about 30 minutes. This ticket is less than 5 euros RT. This is an all day trip so leave Rome early and return late.
Florence for the day will take about 1.5 hours on the high speed train. This ticket will cost 56.10 for 1rst class and 39.90 for second class. The IC train will take about 2.5 hours and cost 35.00 for 1rst class and 26.50 for second class. This is a very easy daytrip to make. Leaving early and making reservations at the museums will give you the opportunity to see to see the best Florence has to offer.
From Rome to Pisa is a 3 hour train trip. The cost is 64.70 for 1rst class and 45.60 for 2nd class. This is a trip you might want to consider being an overnight.
From Rome to Venice is a 4.5 hour trip. This is an overnight trip (meaning you should stay overnight in Venice since the train trip is so long). The 1rst class ticket is 89.30 and the 2nd class ticket is 61.80. I buy the first class ticket as it is such a long trip and the seats are larger and more comfortable.
All of these times are for the high speed trains and the cost were taken from the trenitalia website. As for reservations and availability these trains hardly ever sell out and the seat reservation fee is included with the ticket. If you book a few days before you travel you may qualify for discounts. Book your tickets as soon as you get to Rome. The ES trains have a coffee bar or a restaurant car where you can purchase food. On longer trips this can be a life saver. Take your ticket with you if you go to the restaurant car so if the conductor asks for it you can show him. They can fine you if you don't carry your ticket with you.
It's important to remember to time stamp your train ticket BEFORE you get on the train. (You need to stamp your bus tickets when you get on the bus, too.) If it's not time stamped or validated (in Italian, "convalida") and a conductor checks your ticket, you'll be fined big time (well, if they are in a good mood, maybe only 5-10 E, but it could be 50E, or as much as 500 euros). If you're not sure how, just watch other folks. If the machine you try doesn't work, try another.
And there will be no explaining that you're just a dumb tourist and didn't know any better. That argument won't work as they've heard it before!
If the machines aren't working, you are supposed to write the date and time on your ticket.
This photo shows folks stamping their ticket in the yellow machines at the Fiumicino Airport train station. The bus machines are either yellow (the new ones) or orange (the old ones.)
It's true that if you have a "reserved" seat on a train (for example, a Eurostar) you don't need to time stamp your ticket (your ticket already lists a specific date and time) - but why take chances? Just do it every time and you won't forget and won't be sorry.
I have now been to Italy several times and each time have travelled around this fabulous country by train.
Once you get the hang of it, train travel in Italy is easy. It is also a great way to see the beautiful countryside on the way to your next destination.
I have travelled a couple of times using a rail pass, but the last couple of visits have just purchased tickets for each individual trip as we went.
That said, we often have purchased tickets a day or two in advance - particularly if the particular train requires a seat reservation, or if it is a busy time of year.
Purchasing a little in advance also means that you don't miss the train you want to catch due to a huuuuuge queue for tickets...
Last trip we used the automatic ticket machines at the stations and found them excellent.
Also, I have travelled both first and second class, and didn't really find much difference - travel second class and you can use the extra money to buy more wine/food etc
Just remember with all tickets that you need to validate them in the small yellow ticket machines before you board your train.
I was really nervous about the train system but once I was there I found it surprisingly easy. I actually bought my ticket from Rome to Florence at Roma Termini the day before we left with no problem. This was for travel midday on a wednesday. The 29 euro fare was for one way on the fast train for which you need a reservation. You make the reservation at the same time that you buy the ticket.
If you are traveling on a weekend I would recommend making reservations and buying a ticket online or buying from the machines earlier in the week. The cost is the same either way. The official website is www.trenitalia.com and there is a page in English if you click in the top right corner. One of the most important things to know is the name of the stations (i.e. Roma termini to Firenze S.M.N. (Rome to Florence)) as there could be more than one station for bigger cities.
The ticket machines are easy to use and there are a few kinds. I used the gray ones which accept credit cards and offer very easy instructions in several languages. They give you every option for travel on every type of train they have running. Believe me it seemed as if they had a train running every 1/2 hour all day so I don't imagine you'd have a problem or that they'd run out of reserved seating (unless it were a holiday).
If you want a cheaper fare there are slow trains (about 3hrs between Florence and Rome). For smaller stations these are sometimes your only option (I rode one between Florence and Pisa in 1 1/2 hrs). You do not need a reservation for these but if you opt for this fare get there early enough to grab a seat, otherwise you could end up standing. Just remember to stamp it in the yellow machine before you board. You will see them as you are walking to the train.
This is where my fellow VT'ers will really be in a snicker as a few of them have experience with my ulcers over sorting out Italian rail. I am pleased to say I've finally (well, mostly anyway) conquered that beast - and so can you!
As is the case in most of Europe, trains are the primary mode of transportation in Italy and usually the easiest, most economical way to get from Point A to Point B. Because train travel is not so common in the US, figuring out how the system works can be a source of some anxiety for Americans taking their first trips by rail in a foreign country. Here's the good news:
• Trenitalia operates the vast majority of the country's rail system so ticketing, schedules and whatnot is usually very consistent.
• Stations in the major cities are well-staffed and you can usually find help. Approached politely, locals are usually very helpful as well.
• The cost of train travel in Italy is usually very reasonable, and forking over for 1st-class seats is never necessary. 2nd class is the standard way of travel for Italians, and there's usually very little difference between a 1st and 2nd-class carriage.
• In many parts of Italy taking a train is MUCH less stressful or potentially expensive than dealing with a car. Many cities have zones where only locals with a permit are allowed to drive and fines for innocently wandering into them are very steep.
• Once you get the hang of it, schedules (posted in all stations) are easy to figure out.
• It's usually not necessary to buy tickets in advance; they're easily purchased at most stations in Italy either at ticket windows or from automated machines (you may need to use cash).
• If you're really nervous about purchasing tickets from a machine or station agents, larger cities and towns also have travel agencies that sell tickets. These are often found in or very near the stations: there is one right next door to Santa Maria Novella's entrance in Florence. It can cost you a few euro more but lines for the counters are often shorter and agents usually speak reasonably fluent English. You may either purchase tickets for a specific journey or for all of your train-travel treks in Italy at once if you know what those are and flexibility isn't a big concern. How to find these? Look for the green and red FS logo in the window. Generally, though, tickets are easy to purchase via machine or ticket window.
• Central train stations in the largest cities are much like airports: they offer lots of services. See this link for a glance at shopping, restaurants, agencies, luggage storage, visitor help, etc. at Italy's busiest rail hubs:
The pitfalls? Strikes that can raise some real havoc with inflexible itineraries, and holidays that cancel out the posted schedules for some regular runs. There are also some tiny stations that may either not have ticketing agents or may be closed when you need them. With the exception of strikes, most of these snags can be gotten around with some advance planning and pre-purchasing of onward-journey or round-trip tickets so it's not as bad as it sounds.
I'll try to cover some of the finer points about rail travel in separate tips but some good on-line learning resources are:
"A Beginner's Guide to Train Travel in Italy":
This is an excellent 'Idiot's Guide' (yes, I used it!) with some step-by-step information
VT members mccalpin and Leics have Italian trains down to a science: post a querry in the forums and more than likely you'll get excellent help from either of them or from a number of our other rail experts.
"Train Travel in Italy":
While in Italy I travelled from city to city on the trains - Trenitalia. I used both the Inter City trains and the Eurostar. The Eurostar trains get between destinations faster (as they have fewer stops) and in general are kept in better condition than the Inter City ones. The trains I went on had either restaurant cars or snack bars on board.
To get to Rome I came by train from Milan - an Inter City train - this took me 6 hours. Next time I think I would take the Eurostar - which only takes 4.5 hours. After leaving Rome I took a Eurostar train to Florence - a much nicer way to travel!
I had a railpass when I was in Italy, which was very handy. Although on some trips when I wanted to book a seat I had to pay a few euro extra - but it was either that or run the risk of standing up for a few hours. If you plan on doing a bit of train traveling while in Italy, I recommend getting a rail pass as this can save you money.
The website below is very helpful, you can look up timetables of the trains, prices and even book your tickets online.
Warning: Just beware at Roma Termini of people coming up and asking for your change (I had a lady stick her hands in my face) or people who are just standing around the station trying to sell you their tickets - it's most likely not legit.
This is a note I posted on a forum on handicap access from Leonardo da Vinci to Civitavecchia:
First, how to get from the airport (Leonardo da Vinci, or "Fiumicino" as the locals call it (from the town that it is in)) to Civitavecchia:
1. At the airport itself, take the train to Stazione Termini (Rome's main train station)
2. At Stazione Termini, take one of many trains to Civitavecchia (about an hour ride, I think).
3. At Civitavecchia, take a taxi to the port - actually, I am told that the distance is not far, but for anyone travelling with luggage, much less a handicap, why not take a cab?
For the airport, look at http://www.adr.it/content.asp?L=3&IdMen=630 . At the bottom of the page is a link for "special assistance" and lists locations of lounges for special needs. One of them is at the train station in the airport. Note that I recently emailed a question to the firstname.lastname@example.org (editorial staff for the website), and I got an answer within a day(!!!), so you might try, too.
For the Italian train system, I have found two pages, but, unfortunately (perhaps), they are only in Italian. The page for wheelchair-bound people is http://22.214.171.124/disabili/viSed.html, while a list of offices to contact is at http://126.96.36.199/disabili/hodi.html . In any case, it is clear that some trains, at least, are able to handle wheelchair bound passengers, and major stations can use lifts to load the passengers. Your travel agent should be able to use this information to get more specifics.
Also, if you're in Rome a while, there is a page by ATAC (Rome's bus system) on handicapped access - see http://www.atac.roma.it/disabili/index.asp?A=3&S=36&lng=2 - this is in English.
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