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Preferable to prebook museums or trains in February?

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Boston...
posts: 343
reviews: 25
Preferable to prebook museums or trains in February?

We are a party of 5 traveling in February from Rome to Florence to Venice, with a day trip to Siena during our time in Florence. In our past trips to Europe (France/Germany/Austria) I have always prebooked our trains especially because I like to have reserved seating together. Is this overkill based on the time of year and the frequency of trains?

Also, I would rather not prebook too many things for the days we are there, but also like to be prepared, minimizing waiting when possible. I know February is low season, so I am considering going out of character and waiting until we are there to book things like the Uffizi and Accademia...does this sound reasonable?

As a last thought, I am intrigued with Italo and considering using them if the schedule/price is better...please advise if there is any reason I should not. My impression so far is that they are very comparable to Trenitalia?

Thanks so much...7 weeks and counting!!!!

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 59,297
reviews: 11
1. Re: Preferable to prebook museums or trains in February?

If your plans are firm, book your train travel now for the best prices. There is little to choose between Trenitalia and ItaloTreno, but note that ItaloTreno uses Tiburtina station in Rome, which may be less convenient than Termini.

Book the Uffizi and Accademia by phone: you do not have to pay or quote a card when you book. If there is a queue when you arrive, go to the short line for booked tickets. If there is no queue, join the ordinary line and save the €4 booking fee. From the US, the number is 011 39 05 529 4883

NY
posts: 3,260
reviews: 71
2. Re: Preferable to prebook museums or trains in February?

I am not looking for an argument, but I have seen several suggest how to avoid the booking fee if the line is not long just by not collecting a prebooked ticket.

I am a little surprised, since logically might this be getting a service and then avoid paying - they have reserved a place which takes a spot someone else might use, and they also went to some human time and effort to do it when we call them. This would not normally occur to me to do, but if I did I might perhaps be in the same mold as people who do not pay their traffic fines, the only difference is the amount.

I was very impressed at the Accademia when they refunded my ticket price I got on line when it turned out it was a free day, so I would be reluctant to stiff them for 4 Euros the next time.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 59,297
reviews: 11
3. Re: Preferable to prebook museums or trains in February?

>>they have reserved a place which takes a spot someone else might use<<

Well, no. It just means that the place gets taken by someone in the ordinary queue, who gets in a bit sooner. I don't think there is any limit on the number of places that can be reserved.

If the Uffizi is worried about "no-shows", it only has to ask for card details at the time of booking.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 16,741
reviews: 50
4. Re: Preferable to prebook museums or trains in February?

by abusing the system one increases the odds that the museum will change its rules and start requiring a credit card purchase on line making the system work less well for everyone

Boston...
posts: 343
reviews: 25
5. Re: Preferable to prebook museums or trains in February?

Thank you for the info - I will look into booking ahead and also investigate Tiburtina in regards to our hotel location! I appreciate the time you took to answer.

Montepulciano, Italy
posts: 3,588
reviews: 2
6. Re: Preferable to prebook museums or trains in February?

But you don't need to pre-book anything in Florence in February besides a hotel room - and although I wouldn't urge you to, you could probably get away without even doing that. Honestly, people worry themselves far too much about this when coming here in winter. Every year we are in the Florence galleries in February, including the Uffizi, and never have to wait more than a minute or two (if that) to get in. For trains, I guess, on the busier routes, having pre-booked tickets (and seats assigned as you're a group of 5) makes sense so you don't have to queue at the ticket office or fiddle with the machnes. Note that Venice will be extremely busy if your trip coincides with Carnevale, which must be early February this year as Easter is late March.

7. Re: Preferable to prebook museums or trains in February?

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