Trains from Geno(v)a

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johnnychips

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Hi

I'm going for a week's holiday in Geno(v)a in Italy at the start of June.

I know there's been a vaguely similar thread on travel from Nice-Torino, but it doesn't answer all things I'd like to ask you experts:

1. I looked on the Trenitalia website, thinking of a visit to Milan, and there were BASE and MINI fares, one being about twice the price of the other. What's the difference?

2. So in fact, is it worth booking trains in advance on the net, like it is in Spain, or is it more convenient/same price/cheaper when I'm in Italy?

3. Any particular scenic routes or preserved railways worth seeing?

4. I'd like to visit some cities. I've thought of Milan, but what about Nice, Florence, Turin, Savona etc.? I was thinking of having three days-out out of my six-day stay.

5. Any 'Rovers' or suchlike available?

Any help at all would be most welcome. I'm staying about five minutes walk from the main station.
 
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Teaboy1

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I assume you refer to Genoa, it will be HOT very hot mid-day. I would recommend catching the high speed Pendo's on the Genoa Florence Rome route, these are superb machines but you need to be mobile and get a hire car to see them at speed. If you are setting up a camera for the long haul, take or buy a big brolly to keep sun off you, it will be hot and humid away from coast
Not many preserved lines in Italy, these guys dont do preservation. If you want freight, then 95% of it runs from Verona to Innsbruck via Brenner Pass. Trento is a good place to stay-over a few days because you have 2 scenic routes there, first is standard gauge over to Del Grappa along stunning valleys etc and other is metre gauge up to ski resort of Marilleva that runs through Dolomite's up silly passes etc, again its very scenic. Trento has a lot going for it IMHO, old Krupp 2-6-0 on the platform there as well. I have some poor video on YT.

Milan centre very nice as are most Italian cities but its tourist season so will be heaving particularly Florence & Nice (for TGV's). Turin is a bit concrete and not really worthy. Venice will be solid with tourists but you can get train right onto island, just travel light and watch out for thieves, your rucksack WILL be picked, the Rumanian thieves in Venice are very proficient.

Rovers are readily available just buy it when you arrive. Enjoy Italy it is a superb place with fab scenery and plenty of rail action.
 

Oscar

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1. I looked on the Trenitalia website, thinking of a visit to Milan, and there were BASE and MINI fares, one being about twice the price of the other. What's the difference?
"Mini" - roughly equivalent to an Advance (not available on Regionali) but you can get a 50% refund.
"Base" - roughly equivalent to an Anytime Day Single. However, the fare is based on distance and the exact number of hours it is valid from depends on the distance of the ticket. You have to validate the ticket when you want to use it and it is then valid for 6h (up to 200 km) or 24h (200 km or more) with unlimited breaks of journey. My understanding is that you are probably allowed to use the route you travel on and cheaper routes. There are also higher Flessibile fares which allow you to do this and also change your reserved train / get a partial refund within 24 h of departure (I think Trenitalia really mean validation if you do not specify a departure time) rather than only being able to "change your ticket, for free, only once from the day of purchase and until one hour after the train's departure". Base is the cheapest ticket you can get at the station.
When buying Base/Flessibile tickets at the station you get a ticket you can use for 2 months (as stated below) and which has to be validated when you want to use it whereas I think that you choose a train online (validation effectively occurs at the time of the train's departure).

To get Regionali trains to come up on Trenitalia's website you need to look for dates within the next seven days.

Trenitalia on break of journey/validity period of Base/Flessibile tickets for Regionali bought at the station (much of this applies to all Base/Flessibile tickets):


Biglietti
Validità
Di regola, i biglietti scadono due mesi dopo la data di emissione, tranne i biglietti a fasce chilometriche che non hanno alcuna scadenza e i biglietti acquistati e stampati on-line, che possono essere acquistati con un anticipo di 7 giorni sulla data di partenza.


La convalida e la durata
Di regola, la validità oraria del biglietto decorre dal momento della convalida mediante le macchinette obliteratrici di stazione. Il viaggio deve concludersi entro 24 ore dall’ora della convalida (in Trentino entro le ore 24.00 del giorno di emissione). Per percorrenze fino a 200 Km il viaggio deve essere terminato entro 6 ore dall’ora della convalida (in Lombardia entro 3 ore, per percorrenze fino a 50 Km).
Rough translation:
Tickets
Validity
Generally tickets lose their validity two months after sale, except tickets sold by the kilometre which do not have any "end of validity" date and tickets bought and printed out on line which can be bought 7 days before the departure date.

Validation and duration [of validity]
Generally the time limit of a ticket runs from the moment of validation by the relevant machines at stations. The journey must be completed within 24 hours of the validation (in Trentino before 24.00 on the date of sale). For journeys up to and including 200 km the journey must be completed within 6 hours of the validation time (in Lombardia within 3 hours for journeys up to and including 50
km).
 
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Oscar

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2. So in fact, is it worth booking trains in advance on the net, like it is in Spain, or is it more convenient/same price/cheaper when I'm in Italy?
I would recommend buying Mini fares now for your longer trips if you are sure that you want to do them.
 

johnnychips

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Thanks Nicholas. I was looking at the Cinque Terre - train out and walk back some of the way, but I hadn't heard of the Casella line.
 

johnnychips

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Thanks again for the replies. I didn't book any tickets in advance as my plans depended on the weather - and that was a good job as it varied a bit. Just four observations:

1. The Casella line is fantastic. In England it would be a preserved railway charging £25 for unique rolling stock and incredible scenery. In fact it cost €4-60 return for a 2.5 hour journey; I was the only person on the train on the way back. Just a shame some of the carriages have been graffitied on the outside. Incredibly helpful staff.

2. If you do buy on the day, consider first-class. Fares are quite cheap anyway; first is about a third to a quarter dearer than second-class, though all you get is a more comfortable seat - no coffee or anything, but much less hassle; and if you book through an automatic machine it sometimes tells you second-class is standing only.

3. Milan still has some wooden-seated trams in regular operation, the earliest of which dates from 1928. Hope Crich has got their eye on one of these when they finally withdraw them.

4. The Cinque Terre are amazing, if tourist traps. Train lovers who like hiking will be in paradise, like I was.
 
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