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Train travel in Italy
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.
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Train to Venice
Train is a very convenient way to get to Venice, especially if you land in another big city like Milan and Rome. The best train to take is the so-called "Eurostar". These train have mandatory reservations, i.e., each time you buy a ticket for a Eurostar you have necessarily to choose the train you want to take (and, accordingly, you will be assigned a seat on it, just like on airplanes). In case you have trouble, you can change the reservation, but, of course, before the departure of the train (better at least the day before).
Reservations are of the form wagon ("carrozza") number, seat ("posto") number; so for example, carrozza 2 posto 14 means you should enter wagon n.2 (look at the number outside each wagon, usually placed close to the doors), and once inside, look for seat no.14 (like in an airplane).
For more generic infos on trains in Italy, see also my Italian transportation page.
There is no train from Venice airport to Venice island: if you land in Venice, you'll have to get a bus/boat/taxi instead.
Eurostars can be also conveniently booked online (see enclosed link, and also my Italian transportation page), with a nice bilingual (Italian/English) website that allows you to look at the schedules, and to buy the ticket using your credit card.
Note for smokers and non-sm okers: from 2005, you can't smoke on *any* train in Italy. No smoke compartments at all, like on airplanes. Sorry!
Finally, when getting to Venice, all the tourists I have met are always baffled by the fact there is a station called "Venezia-Mestre", as they don't know whether to go out or not: this is *not* Venice island (the one you, in all likelihood, want to go), but it is the ground part of Venice (Mestre). Venice (island) is the next stop, so sit on that train, and relax, you can't miss it (it's after Venice-Mestre, it's the last stop, and you have to pass a very long bridge before getting into it!).
To Venice by train
In August 2004 I went to Venice by train from Ljubljana (Slovenia), whereas in May 2005 I arrived in Venice by train from Verona.
The central train station Santa Lucia is located in the district Cannaregio, just at one end of the Canale Grande.
Several vaporetti lines stop just in front of the train station (Ferrrovia).
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Santa Lucia - the train station
Getting to Venice by train is probably the most practic way of traveling that exist. Santa Lucia train station is situated on the bank of Canal Grande, just a foot from Ponte degli Scalzi. Immediately after arriving you'll be able to feel and touch the taste of Venice.
Bad thing is if you're loaded with the luggage because walking through the crowded city might be a nightmare.
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Taking the night train
We had planned to go to Ljubljana first and I had already booked the train journey from there to Venice. But we had to change our plans, I cancelled our tickets and we had to think of the best way to go to Venice directly. We decided to take the night train from Munich and I booked a sleeper.
It was a good journey. I have some problems imagining a third person in this small sleeper, but for the two of us it was comfortable.
The conductor asked what time we would like our breakfast and he brought it to us. The coffee was much better than the usual coffee in trains, it was easy to see that we were in Italy.
Arriving in Venice early in the morning meant we had a whole extra day.
TRAINS IN VENICE
ONE TICKET THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION BUT DID NOT HAVE THE TIME.. .WAS A EURA-RAIL THAT WENT FROM ITALY TO GREECE FOR 4 DAYS OF TRAVEL WITHIN A 2 MONTH PERIOD FOR I BELIEVE $245. .MAYBE IF I EVER HAVE THAT TIME ,I COULD TRY IT..
Arriving by Rail to Venice
The train transport to Venice is a very comfortable possibility to come here.
We came every year here by car, but last year, we came here by train.
It is a pleasure to drive by train to Venice.
The drive conditions are very good, and the trains are modern, clean and rapidly.
The train drives from London to Venice, through the intermediary stations: Paris, Düsseldorf, Köln, Frankfurt, Zurich, St. Anton, Innsbruck and Verona.
You can find more information on the internet site, or in the tourists’ office in the Railway station.
For reservations you can telephone by the number: 041 275 04 92
From Venice to Vienna there is also a good train connection.
A great, but expensive experience is the Venice Simplon Orient – Express that drive from Paris to Istanbul, through Venice, in the time period March - November.
More information, under the internet site
or by phone: 800 78 07 00
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After enjoying our days in Venice, we took the train to Florence. The train schedule has several departures per day, for the 3 hour journey. We booked our tickets in advance with Select Italy. We may have paid a little more for them, but it was one less line to get in, and one less thing to worry about. When we arrived at the train station we just had to validate our tickets in the yellow box, and watch the boards for our train number. Our tickets were marked with the car and seat number. Very convenient!
Venice Railroad Station - Santa Lucia
Santa Lucia is the Railway Station of Venice, placed on the shore of the Canale Grande.
This is a beautiful new edifice, with all the facilities of a modern Station.
It was built in the middle of the 19th century, and then, it was rebuilt in the year 1950, and finished with modern facilities.
In the front of the station, there are the stairways that make the connection with the shore of the canal, where is the Vaporetti Station Ferovia Santa Lucia.
The Train station makes the bond of Venice Laguna with the mainland.
In the inside hall of the building, there are numerous tickets automats or offices, where you can buy the tickets for your trip, and a information office for the tourists.
A small hotel in the inside of the station is very appreciated by the guests.
This hotel, named Albergo Diurno is a day hotel, where the guests have the possibility to stay a few hours and to make a rest, until the arriving of the train.
Adress: Fondamenta Santa Lucia, Venezia 30173
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Traveling by train to/from Venice
The Santa Lucia train station might very well be the ugliest building in all of Venice, but of course that shouldn't stop you from traveling by train! I thought trains in Italy were very comfortable, safe and reliable, and it's one of the most convenient and cheapest ways to get around the country. One of the nice things about the Santa Lucia station is that it's located in Venice itself, in the Cannaregio area. If you're traveling with heavy luggage and need to get to a hotel that's located in another area, it might be a good idea to hop on board the vaporetto (there's a station right in front of Santa Lucia). There are several daily connections available between Venice and most Italian cities, including Verona, Milan, Bologna and Florence. In general, you don't need to book ahead of time, which is nice because it gives you more flexibility. However, if you absolutely need to leave at a certain time, it might be a good idea to buy your ticket a couple days beforehand. Tickets can be bought at the ticket office or from the ticket machines: instructions are available in several languages, cash and credit cards are accepted, and you can even pick your seat - it's that easy!
Train travel to and from Venice
I travelled by train from Mestre to Padua - then later from Peschiera (Lake Garda) to Venice Santa Lucia (Ferrovia) station.
It was quite an experience to alight at Santa Lucia, and walk through the doors to the view of the Grand Canal in all its glory!(pic 2)
The Italian State Railway (Ferrovie dello Stato, or FS) prides itself on an extensive and efficient service - the trains are usually punctual and reasonably priced.
There are various trains to each destination, with different lengths and prices.
I was pleasantly surprised to find it only cost me 2.20 euros to travel from Mestre to Padua (20 minutes) and 7.50 euros from Lake Garda (Peschiera) to Venice!
Tickets can be purchased from the ticket offices or from automatic machines. Instructions are in 6 languages. Travel agents also offer a free booking service .
Eurail and InterRail passes are valid on the FS services. There is a supplement for the high speed Italian Eurostar.
The Italy Rail card and Italy flexi Rail Card are available to non residents for unlimited travel for a determined period. The web site gives info about tickets, timetables etc.
For a journey of less than 200kms, the biglietto a fasce chilometriche (short range ticket) may be issued - the destination is printed on the ticket, and this must be validated before boarding the train, by punching it in machines which are near the platforms.
Leaving Peschiera, my train to Venice was about to leave - there was a queue at the machine, so I decided 'to risk not validating my ticket'.
2 ticket inspectors boarded the train. I had a few minutes panicking that I was going to be charged a hefty fine.
Luckily the young officials spoke good english -I explained what had happened, and they said it was ok, they'd validate my ticket (by writing on it) - Pheeeew!
If You find that You've not validated Your ticket, it's best to admit this sooner rather than later! - same on the Vaporettos etc, if You've not a ticket - find the conductor and explain - cheaper in the long run.
Outside the station, you'll find Vaporetto stations (pic 3) where you can buy tickets and get a free map of the waterbus routes.
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How to reach Venice by train
Venice has two rail stations.
The first station that all Venice-bound trains enter is the Venice-Mestre Rail Station.
This station does not bring you to Venice, but rather Mestre, mainland Venice.
The rail station is located in Piazzale Favretti 1 - 30170 Mestre
Tel. 041-930792 - Fax 041-928513 / 041-784440
Special Disabled person services: Tel. 041-929472
You can get to the city from the station by taking the city bus or by taxi (Call a taxi: tel. 041.936222).
After crossing the bridge that spans the lagoon, the train next comes to the Santa Lucia Station of Venice.
Before 1846, the year the rail bridge was officially opened, Venice and the mainland were connected only via water.
The rail station is located on Fondamenta S. Lucia - 30100 Venice.
Just about every part of the city can be easily reached from the station, either on foot, by public boat (vaporetto) or in private water taxi.
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Arriving by train
If you come to Venice by train, you will arrive at the Santa Lucia Railway Station, a large building located at the beginning of the Grand Canal in the Santa Croce area of the city. It is easy to reach the city center on foot walking down the Strada Nuova or by taking the water bus from one of the jetties that are opposite the station.
Milan to Venice (and vice versa) in 14.50 Euros
If you want to travel between Milan and Venice and you are looking for budget, reliability, and peace of mind than the 2nd Class, 14.50 Euro, Regional Train is the best available option for you.
Budget: There are plenty of options available on this route: Regional Trains (2nd Class: 14.50, 1st Class: 21.85) take three and a half hour, Euro Star City, EScity (2nd Class: 27.60, 1st Class: 38.50) takes slighly more than two and a half hour, and ES* (2nd Class: 32.30, 1st Class: 44.70) takes less than two and a half hours. For typical tourists - tight budgeted with an appetite of local experience - Regional Train is the best option as it is more than just being the cheapest and provides with an opportunity to see how ordinary Italians travel. Although trains other than Regional Trains offer various discounts, most famous of which is the 20% Amica discount on booking 24 hours in advance, Regional Trains are by far the cheapest even after taking into account the most generous of the discounts.
Reliability: Italina train system is more reliable than other modes of transportation, unless there is a rare railway strike, and is the transporatation of choice for commom Italians. However, this is not to say that other modes are unreliable. And among trains, Regional Trains are the most reliable as far as punctuality, frequency, and consistency in schedules are concerned. Their fair system is comparitively straight forward and is void of marketing gimmicks like discounts and complicated fare classess.
Peace-of-Mind: Purchasing a ticket for Regional Trains is as easy as anything. And most importantly, it does not require - although one can - advance booking, so that one does not worry about making a timely connection. Among many ticketing options - online, agencies, ticket counters, and vending machines - vending machines provide with the most convenient solution. These easy to use and 'english speaking' machines can easily be located at any Italina train station. Tickets remain valid for two months from the date of purchase and require validation stamp form one of the yellow machines installed on every platform before boarding on. Now here you go: reach the train station with complete peace of mind without any after thoughts of missing the train, buy the ticket from one of the vending machines, validate the ticket from the yellow box-like machine installed at your platform and board on the first available train of your fair class.
While doing trains, it is importnat to note that there are two trains stations in Venice: Venice Mestre and Venice St. Lucia. If you intend to go directly into the Venice island itself then go for Venice St. Lucia station which is located right at the entrance of the island. From here, you may get water buses, taxis, etc for your journey onwards. The other train station, Venice Mestre, is located in the mainland i.e. in Mestre and not in the island. Though they both are close by and there are many easy transportation options available between these two, one should always go for Venice St. Lucia, unless there are specific reasons, to save time and money. On the railway track, Venice Mestre comes before Venice St. Lucia, and as a rule of thumb, a typical train that goes to Venice Mestre also goes to Venice St. Lucia where it actually terminates.
Lastly, do check www.trenitalia.com, the official website, with your desired parameters for fares and timetables to have a clearer picture of your journey.
Keep smiling and enjoy your journey!
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Make tracks to Venice
Located right on the Grand Canal in the Santa Croce sestieri is the Santa Lucia train station. It makes arrivals or departures from Venice extremely easy. You can step off your train, exit the station and get on a vaporetto in just a few minutes time.
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