a VirtualTourist member from Moscow
I need to buy tickets Firenze - Milan. It's an ES train. It goes every hour. Am I right that I can buy a ticket for let's say 18.00 and go by 19.00 train? Or I must do it strictly? Thank you in advance.
You can buy the ticket at the station, and your time should be ok. Perhaps go at 17.00. Validate your ticket on the platform before boarding the train
Standard Italian train tickets are valid for (I think) two months from time of purchase but MUST be validated at the box-like machines before boarding the train. Once validated they are good for the next train (or two). So yes once you've bought your ticket you can get pretty much any train.
Your train is Eurostar as you mentioned and the ticket would be valid for a certain seat at a certain train. For the regular trains, the previous posts can be valid, but for your case you may have problems finding an empty seat. I suggest you get your ticket in the train station from the electronic ticket booths and there you can see what is available.
So the only problem might be that there are no vacant seats? I can go by any train but I'll have to stand? Do you think it will be a problem in March to find a seat?
The train you are referring to is called "Frecciarossa". This is a very high speed "premium" train. By "premium", I mean that all seats must be reserved in advance (although if there are seats available at the last minute, they will sell them to you).
Since all seats are reserved, you must buy a ticket for a specific train at a specific date and time. You cannot use a ticket for one train on another (except in exceptional circumstances). Furthermore, since the ticket is for a particular date and time, it does not need to be validated, since it expires with that train anyway. Note that Trenitalia prefers that you go "ticketless" on the premium trains, so you would have no ticket to validate anyway.
There are big differences between how premium trains and regional trains (i.e., the more local trains) operate in Italy, and what applies to one often doesn't apply to the other.
No, the comment about vacant seats was in reference to the regional trains. Since all seats are sold by reservation on the premium trains (which is what you are referring to), you are guaranteed to have a seat, if one is available, but you can't buy a ticket if there aren't any available seats.
Let's start over...
There are 2 types of train: premium and regional. There are sharp differences between how they operate, and what is true for one is not true for the other. The trains you are talking about are premium trains.
On premium trains, ALL seats are reserved. Thus, you cannot be forced to stand, unlike regional trains where if you have a ticket and can physically get on, you can board whether or not there is a free seat.
Also, for premium trains, your ticket (if you even have one) is for a specific date and time. It cannot in ordinary circumstances be used on any other train. This is quite different from how regional tickets are used.
So, if you want, you can go to the station and look at the self-servcie ticket machines, and buy a ticket on the next available premium train. Most of the time, the trains are not completely sold out, but it can happen...so you just buy a ticket for the next one.
Tell you what...why don't you read my "Rail Travel Overview" (the second tip) at
[original VT link]">[original VT link]
and see if this clears things up?
If you combine the info I mentioned with latest posts, you should be clear with the way to procede. If you know exactly when to travel, you can book your ticket online. If you are not so sure about your arrival in the train station, you get your ticket at the booths with whatever is available soon. If you get seat from 6 pm train, you can't use it at 7 pm train. I hope everything is clear now.
Depending on which type of ticket you have you might be able to take another train. Tickets for Trenitalia's long distance trains now always include a reservation. Trenitalia has three price leves, and five comfort levels on it's trains, which lead to quite a few combinations.
The three price levels are:
"BASE": With this ticket you can change the reservation up to an hour after the train you have reservations for has left. So you can always change to a different time or date, to a late train or an earlier train. You can change your reservation at the ticket vending machines, but also on with the conductor on the platform. (This is one of the things where Trenitalia does it better than most railways... So if you don't know exactly when you will be taking a train you can just book a seat on the last one of the last day you would likely travel, and then when you actually travel you just go to the station, walk to your train and ask the conductor to show you a free place...
The next price level is "ECONOMY". This you can change once to "BASE" by paying the price different, then you are flexible again.
"SUPER ECONOMY" you can't change. Then you are bound to a train.
Note however that when you miss a train because another train was late you are always allowed to take the next train available, even on a non flexible ticket.
So if you have a "BASE" ticket for the 6PM train you can use it for any train up to 7PM by just having the reservation changed on the platform, or on any other train by having the reservation changed before the 7PM deadline...
BTW, there is also another, private operator on the Firenze - Milano route: Italo They have some good deals, and are apparently running quite a good operation. See: www.italotreno.it
Thank you all. I knew that InterCity trains can't be changed, but I hoped that with ES it's easier. The problem is I cannot calculate the exact time when I (actually it's my parents, not me) leave. Are queues long in the evenings in March? If they arrive at 17.30 at Demidoff Piazza I'd better take 19.00 train for them? Or it's not enough time?
Am I right that Milano PG is Milano Piazza Garibaldi station?
Milan Porta Garibaldi shows as 'Milan P GA' on
It is my understanding that you cannot stand on Freccia trains (well, you obviously can but you must also have a reserved seat!).
Piazza Demidoff is quite some way from Florence Santa Maria Novella station. Will your parents be walking (maybe 20-30mins) or taking a taxi? That makes a difference in timings....but I think the 1900 will be fine.
I wouldn't go for the 1800: it's too risky (rush-hour traffic etc).
The rules for the InterCity and Freccia* trains are the same (in fact, for all domestic "premium" trains). I was being a bit harsh in saying that the tickets for premium trains are for one train only - as K_V_B points out, there is some leeway...but I didn't want you to get them in any way confused with the way that tickets for regional trains are handled. The official rule is that you can change the premium ticket before the trip and up to one hour after the trip begins (if I remember that right - I'd have to go read the traveler's guide again). Why one hour? Because if you are in the station in Florence 30 minutes after your train to Milan leaves trying to change the ticket, they can be pretty sure that you didn't actually get on the original train ;-)
And it's nice to hear that the conductors have the power to move things around, although I've never had the occasion to do that, and with language barriers, issues might arise.
I am confused about Piazza D-whatever - are they arriving from out of town to this piazza? Certainly, an hour and a half is plenty of time to get anywhere in Florence (geez, you could be in Milan in an hour and 45 minutes!).
Yes, Stazione Porto Garibaldi is northeast of the city center like Centrale, just 2 Metro stops away. Are you thinking that it's closer to their hotel?
They are coming from a cooking class which is otside Florence. And it is said that approximately at 17 - 17.30 they will be back. (I'll have to ask the company may be thaty will be able to drop them somewhere closer to SMN)
As for Milano PG... Unfortunately their hotel is closer to Milano Centrale. But I looked up at the site recommended above, their prices are much more pleasant, but their trains arrive at Milano PG. So I'm afraid I'll have to change the hotel. Besides their prior hotel's check in time is until 22.30. So if they miss 19.00 train it will be quite a problem.
What you can do in this case is get them a "BASE" ticket for a later train (say the 19:00) and tell them to exchange it for a ticket for an earlier train on the platform if they manage to get to the station sooner. This works for both the Trenitalia trains, and the Italo trains. (But you can of course not take an Italo train with a Trenitalia ticket and vv...)
That's clear : )
I wonder why I do not see Italo trains on DB sight. Usually I use it for any country in Europe and it's very helpfull.
Yeah, the Italo trains do go to Porta Garibaldi, while the Trrenitalia trains that leave on the hour (like 19:00) go to Milano Centrale.
Please note that Porta Garibaldi is on the same side of town as Centrale...I can't imagien that the taxi fare for 2 would be all that horendous to the hotel...after all, if you save 100 euro a night on the hotel but have to pay for a 15 euro fare (just a wild guess), I'd call that a win...plus, were you parents going to walk from Centrale to the hotel anyway? Maybe not...so what the difference?
DB gets it data for Italy from Trenitalia, and Trenitalia likes to pretend that Italo doesn't exist. What is stranger though is that you can't buy Italo tickets on www.sncf.fr. That's strange, because SNCF owns 20% of Italo...