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Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

GAC
Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
8,832 posts
23 reviews
68 helpful votes
Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

You've got to be kidding: taking the slow unreserved regionale train between Rome and Florence, when there are super-fast Freccia trains departing every 15-30 minutes?

NO, I'm not kidding .... read on:

As many saavy travellers already know, there are three categories of Trenitalia trains in service between Rome and Florence:

1) Super-fast Frecciarossa/Frecciargento (reserved seats), which take 92 minutes along the high-speed rail line and operate every 15-30 minutes through the day. Effective June 9, many of these trains will stop at BOTH Roma Termini AND Roma Tiburtina stations.

2) Intercity (reserved seats), which take three hours along the traditional rail line, make a couple of stops en-route, and utilize Firenze RIFREDI station instead of the more centrally located Firenze SMN.

3) Regionale Veloce (UNRESERVED seats), which take up to nearly four hours along the traditional rail line, make a multitude of stops en-route, and terminate/originate at Firenze SMN. These slow trains run roughly every two hours.

Now, it can be said that the large majority of foreigners prefer to take the fast Freccia train, especially when a discounted ECONOMY or SUPER ECONOMY fare can be had by purchasing in advance (the lowest fare is currently 19 Euros on this trip).

However, Trenitalia recently tightened the rules for its discounted tickets on the reserved trains, which fares are no longer offered for sale on the travel date itself (the purchase deadline is 23:59 (Italy time) of the day PRIOR to scheduled travel). That means, for example, that travellers no longer have the option of seeking a slightly reduced fare even a few minutes prior to scheduled train departure (this option was especially valuable for those taking the train immediately after arrival by plane, who were hesitant to book in advance owing to the risk of missing the train and forfeiting the discounted ticket).

Now that these discounted tickets are no longer available at the last moment (the sole exception being the "Familia" fare), the cost of the Freccia train is the full "BASE" fare (currently 43 Euros), which is somewhat expensive, especially when there are multiple travellers (children up to the age of 15 years, 0 days still qualify for the 50% child's rate, and toddlers up to the age of 4 years, 0 days still can travel for free (on ANY train), without a ticket and without a guaranteed seat).

SO, some travellers may be looking for a cheaper alternative, which leads us to the unreserved regionale veloce train. While the trip is long (up to four hours), and makes many stops, the railcars are modern (refurbished Intercity cars are used), and the new seat layout is practical and appealing. The fare is also very appealing: the "ordinaria" fare is currently 20.25 Euros, with no discounts for an advance purchase. Children between the ages of 4 years, 1 day and 12 years, 0 days get the 50% child's discount. Traditional PAPER tickets can be purchased up to TWO MONTHS in advance, and the ticket has a validity of SIX HOURS once it is "validated" in the stamping machine by the train track. Tickets can be purchased from most electronic machines, or by standing in line at the manned ticket agent windows. The train also stops at Roma Tiburtina and Firenze Campo di Marte stations, for those who care. The regionale veloce costs less than half of the Freccia (and takes more than twice as long), so it's a good choice for those wanting to save money.

HINT: While the seats on the regionale veloce are acceptably comfortable, they do NOT recline. By contrast, the FIRST CLASS seats (currently 31 Euros) do recline, and are a bit wider, consequently more comfortable. Each person will decide whether the 53% surcharge is worthwhile.

UNRESERVED SEATS: Don't fret, because the regionale veloce originates and terminates both at Roma Termini and Firenze SMN, you are guaranteed a seat if you board early.

NO FOOD OR BEVERAGE SOLD on the regionale veloce, so bring some with you!

LUGGAGE STORAGE: Plenty or room available in the overhead racks. Luggage too heavy to be lifted will need to be placed on the floor, preferably next a solo seat in the railcar, but not blocking the aisle.

HEATING/AIR CONDITIONING: present on the regionale veloce, except when malfunctioning!

LOTS OF STOPS: You'll get to see the Italian hinterland adjacent to these smallish intermediate stations, and the train speed won't limit enjoyment of the scenery (as it can on the Freccia train).

DON'T FORGET TO VALIDATE PAPER TICKET, or you will risk a big fine. By contrast, electronic tickets (regionale OR reserved trains), as well as paper tickets for the reserved trains do NOT need to be validated.

CAN BREAK JOURNEY: ONLY on the regionale trains (and NOT on the reserved trains), you are allowed to break your trip with one (or even more) short stopovers (e.g. in Orvieto or Arezzo), without needing to purchase a new ticket for the second leg, AS LONG AS you re-board your final train DURING the six-hour VALIDITY of the PAPER ticket, and don't abuse the privilege such that you MIGHT be questioned (e.g. by boarding within 5-15 minutes of its validity, when the balance of the trip takes over two hours).

Here is the official rule:

"In particolare, il viaggio deve essere terminato entro 6 ore dal momento della convalida. Il viaggiatore che si trova in treno allo scadere della validità del biglietto può proseguire il viaggio già iniziato fino alla stazione di destinazione senza effettuare fermate intermedie se non per cambio con il primo treno utile." OFFICIAL TRENITALIA RULES PART III (Trasporto Regionale) Section 16 Paragraph 3

As as alternative, what about taking the reserved Intercity train ("BASE" fare currently 33.50 Euros)? BAD DEAL, in my opinion (except at the SUPER ECONOMY fare of 9 Euros), because travel time (three hours) plus the need to CONNECT to a regionale train at Firenze Rifredi, result in a total transit time nearly equal to that of the cheaper and more convenient regionale veloce! Moreover, some Intercity railcars can be very old and needing of an upgrade.

So, the tradeoff is straightforward: in the absence of a discounted advance-purchase fare on the faster trains, you currently pay either 43 Euros for the fast Freccia, or 20.25 Euros for the much slower but not uncomfortable regionale veloce.

Something to consider before forking out twice as much money!!!

NOTE: you will find some people who can't be persuaded to ever take the regionale veloce train on this route, and others who have taken it multiple times and continue doing so.

HINT: You can also check for discounted fares on competitor ITALO TRENO (which departs from Roma TIBURTINA station), which can sometimes be very attractive. However, it's quite unlikely that you'll find any discounted fares at the last moment (same day travel).

BEWARE: The discounted fares on the reserved trains are nonrefundable (except the "Familia" fare) and some are non-changeable as well. Caveat emptor!

www.trenitalia.it

www.italotreno.it

GAC
Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
8,832 posts
23 reviews
68 helpful votes
1. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

DESCRIPTION OF THE REGIONALE VELOCE TRAIN BETWEEN ROME AND FLORENCE

The regionale veloce train between Rome and Florence, which runs roughly every two hours and makes about 16 intermediate stops, has NEW RAILCARS which are a significant improvement over the older cars. The new railcars (which are radically overhauled cars from surplus Intercity (IC) cars in good condition), have been configured in an innovative and intelligent layout which combines the features of both the fast AV trains and the traditional IC trains.

Each railcar has a combination of separate glass-enclosed compartments with sliding glass doors (as on the traditional IC trains), together with open-compartment seats (as on the AV trains). The closed compartments are at both ends of each railcar (two on one end and three on the other end). Each compartment seats six, three across, facing each other. Passengers travelling together can have more private conversations by choosing to sit in one of these compartments. By contrast, the open-compartment seats, which are in the center of each railcar, either face each other or face in the same direction. They are four-across in second class and three-across in first class. There are 50 such seats in each second class railcar and 28 seats in each first class railcar. That makes for a total of 80 seats in each second class, and 58 seats in each first class, railcar.

Each regionale veloce convoy between Rome and Florence typically has six second class and two first class, railcars. That makes the total seating capacity 480 in second class and 116 in first class.

The seats, in both first and second class, are very firm, contoured, and entirely upholstered in either cloth or leatherette (imitation leather), with no vinyl or hard rubber as on second class seats on other regionale railcars. First class seats pivot forward (by pushing the seat bottom forward) to provide a modest recline, but second class seats are fixed and do not recline at all. Second class can consequently be slightly uncomfortable for a nearly four-hour ride. The seats in first class are slightly wider (more hip and shoulder room), and there is more leg room as well because there are fewer seat rows in first class. Only first class seats have folding tray tables.

There are electrical outlets incorporated into the bottom of the trash recepticles at each seat row (both first and second class), which is handy for using laptop computers, DVD/CD players, cellphones and other electrical equipment.

The overhead racks are HUGE, accommodating just about any type of luggage except big trunks. There is also space to wedge medium-sized suitcases between the seat rows which face each other (in the center of each railcar). This is useful for passengers who have difficulty lifting luggage over their heads. There are no luggage racks at the railcar ends (as on AV trains).

Each railcar has a washroom. There is no food or beverage service on any of these trains. You may bring your own food and beverages. All railcars have heating and air conditioning (except when malfunctioning or turned off). All railcars are non-smoking. The windows are HUGE, twice the size of the windows on the faster AV trains. This is really great to enjoy the pretty scenery along the route. There are roll-down shades to filter sunlight.

The one-way "ordinaria" fare on the Regionale Veloce train between Roma TERMINI and Firenze SMN is currently 20.25 Euros in second class, or 10.15 Euros for children between the ages of 4 years, 1 day and 12 years, 0 days. Children up to 4 years, 0 days travel free, without a ticket and without a guaranteed seat.

That compares well to the current unrestricted "BASE" fare (second class) on the AV train of 43 Euros for adults and 21.50 Euros for children (4 years, 1 day to 15 years, 0 days).

The LOWEST possible advance-purchase discount fare ("SUPER ECONOMY") on the AV train is currently 19 Euros for adults and 10 Euros for children (4 years, 1 day to 15 years, 0 days).

Perhaps the best feature of the regionale veloce train is that it travels at a slower pace, allowing better appreciation of the countryside and ability to "soak in" the environment.

DON'T FORGET TO VALIDATE YOUR PAPER TICKET BEFORE BOARDING!

San Francisco
Level Contributor
142 posts
86 reviews
64 helpful votes
2. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

Thank you, a very helpful post. For some reason the Italian train options confuse me. I tried both links thinking that I understood after reading the 3 options. On italotreno.it the train from Rome to Florence said it would take 1 hr 37 min and cost 20 euros. I was expecting 4 hours for this low fare? Secondly, are either of those Rome stations in the city center (Rome Ost or Rome Tib)? Which made me think I needed to use the other link?? Which of the 3 options is this (fast, intercity or regional)?

On the second site (trenitalia.it) I found the Rome Termini station I was expecting which was good. Here the train took 1 hr 31 min (again not the 4 hours I expected) and cost 19 euros. Again I was surprised. Which of the 3 train options is this? I tried to continue and book seats. It said that in car 10 no seats were taken but when I tried to proceed, I got the message "Enough seats not available".

I hope this make sense. I am looking at 7/25/13 and checked 12:40-14:17 on the first site and 13:20-1:31 on the second.

Thank you in advance

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
12,324 posts
33 reviews
22 helpful votes
3. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

@npcx4 Your confusion stems from the assumption that low cost must mean low speed train. No, it does not work that way. Low fares are offered as soon as booking opens, when these tickets with low fares are exhausted, then the fare will go up slightly, until, close to the date of your travel, only full fares will be available.

I checked Italo on the date you mentioned, yes, I can see the 'Low cost' fares at € 20, these would be comparable to the 'Super Economy' fares on Trenitalia. Both trains (Italo), and 'Frecciarosa' are high speed trains (not Regionale trains) capable of speeds up to 300km/h on that line.

When you look at Trenitalia site, the Intercity trains will be marked 'IC' and not Frecciarosa or Frecciargento (both operates on that line, depending on time of day). And on the subject of stations, Italo commences its journey from Rome Tiburtina, which is NOT the main station in Rome.

Edited: 1:15 am, June 14, 2013
San Francisco
Level Contributor
142 posts
86 reviews
64 helpful votes
4. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

@Hadiwi, thank you for your clarifications, much appreciated! Sounds like I must book on the Trenitalia site to get the Rome Termini station. Since these are not regional trains, is it possible to book a reservation at the same time? I realize that there is a charge, but wouldn't I want reservastions to ensure we get seats (we are a family of 4)? The time I tried on Trenitalia (13:20) said it was sold out, but the next train appeared to have space.

Thanks again, this thread is so helpful. I thought the fare was going to be around 60 euros each, I am thrilled to cut that to 20 euros each!

Imperia, Italy
Level Contributor
33,963 posts
5. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

Reservations are automatically included in the cost of point-to-point tickets for all trains which have reserved seats, including all trains operated by Trenitalia's new competitor italtreno and all Frecciarossa, Frecciargento and Intercity trains operated by trenitalia from Roma Termini to Florence.

It is only the slower Regionale and Regionale Veloce trains which take nearly four hours to Florence which neither need reservations nor have any reservable seats.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
46,847 posts
6. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

This is a great site for reading up on train info:

roninrome.com/transportation/train-travel-it…

San Francisco
Level Contributor
142 posts
86 reviews
64 helpful votes
7. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

Thank you for the website, I am beginning to understand. I even purchased our tickets (I think)... The screen says purchased and that an email would be sent to my email. It has been about 10 minutes and I have not received anything in my email yet. Does it typically take awhile? Did something happen?

I am now looking at Florence to Venice. Looks like I have the more expensive day...prices jump on on Sunday's. Is this because of the day or the cheaper tickets are all sold out?

Also, final question, to book Venice to Switzerland, would I need to use the Swiss site or I'm thinking maybe use this Trenitalia site for Venice to Milan and then Milan to Switzerland on the swiss site. Any recommendations?

Thank again!

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
12,324 posts
33 reviews
22 helpful votes
8. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

I kept hearing similar problems in this forum (and other forums), about the email confirmation not being received or somehow very much delayed. Other than suggesting to wait, and checking your email spam folders, there is nothing more you could do really. One good suggestion (too late for you now), is to take a screen capture of the last booking step, so you have your PNR booking number at least. I never had any problems with Trenitalia, so I was quite fortunate I guess.

I am just using a dummy date of Sunday 11th August for both Trenitalia and Italo, and the cheapest tickets I can see are € 29 and € 31, respectively.

Where in Switzerland do you have to travel? The easiest way would be, as you say, travel to Milan, since there are direct regular connections to Zurich, Geneva or Basel using EuroCity Pendolino trains. The prices for booking early would be € 22. Tickets must be collected at an Italian station.

Book with Trenitalia.

San Francisco
Level Contributor
142 posts
86 reviews
64 helpful votes
9. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

I did print the final page. I have a Retrieval Code, will that help? I also have CP #'s, one per person. But there is no bar code or anything that makes it look like a ticket. At the bottom it says, "You have successfully completed your purchase. The identification details of the trip, PNR and CP will be sent to the email (my email address). If you need to recover your purchase asking the retrieval code in to the Customer. This code will allow you to send the confirmation email, even on a new email". I think the translation misses something...do you know what that means?

Thanks!

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
12,324 posts
33 reviews
22 helpful votes
10. Re: Regionale Train Between Rome and Florence: When Sensible

The Retrieval code will be useful if you had registered with Trenitalia as a customer, you can go to Customer management area, enter your user details etc. and use the Retrieval code to see your booking. Your CP (or change code) is only useful if you had paid the 'BASE' fare, and you intend to change the time or date of your booking. For discounted fares, these are virtually useless.

If you do get in to that area, you can request the details to be re-sent (some people have reported that a .net email address cause some problems with their system)

Otherwise, if you do manage to get in, the only thing the conductor needs is your PNR number.