Subject: Re: Italy trip
While we're on the topic, I'll say that my plans for my Italy trip in June are coming into place. I'd like to thank the person who mentioned Auto Europe's sale, ending soon; I'm booking a car rental with them that comes to $26.50/day, everything included.. Checking other sources, that would normally be about the cost of the mandatory insurance and tax on that alone, so that's quite a deal if it works out.

I have some questions about train travel. I have experience with Italian trains in other decades and not much on trains with required reservations. My mother, sister, and I are flying into Florence from different places, we'll rent a car and spend most of the time at our house in Umbertide in Umbria, then at the end we might be taking different train itineraries North. It might be convenient to reserve our trains while we're in Florence, but we might want to try to reach old acquaintances before we commit to an itinerary. We're more likely to decide while we're in Umbertide, which doesn't have an F.S. station, but has a travel agency. Keeping in mind that the Italian language isn't a problem for us:

Train reservations can't be made by phone, can they?

If we reserve through a travel agent, will they expect us to buy the tickets from them rather than just pay the small reservation fee? I ask because when I used the Umbertide travel agent four years ago, they weren't equipped to take credit cards. If that's still the case, would a big travel agency, such as CIT in Perugia, take credit cards for train tickets? Will the total cost of the tickets and reservations be the same whether I use a travel agent or book at a station?

I'm planning to stop in Verona; I see that it will be the beginning of the Arena season and it may be hard to get lodging, so I was thinking of stopping for a day and getting a train to Milan when I'm ready, without advance commitment to one of the frequent trains on the route. If, when I'm ready, the next train requires reservations, can I make a reservation even though the train may have left its starting point in Trieste or Venice and the seats can't be marked? Would it be like getting on a plane where all the seats are presumed to be reserved?

Thanks in advance, Andrew St. Joseph, Missouri