|Subject: Italian train reservations|
There are very few times that you will really need train reservations in Italy. If you get first class tickets, you could never need reservations, unless you are traveling on Easter weekend. Some trains (the extra fast ones with fewer stops) require supplements but these are included in the price of the tickets. You can buy a ticket on a train that requires the supplement without a reservation. You will see reserved seats, but usually there are free seats also. If you are buying your ticket just before the train arrives in your station, you cannot make a reservation. It must be done in advance, before the train leaves its origination point. The only time I make reservations is if it is a holiday, or the trip is very long. For a two or three hour trip, I'm not sure it's really necessary.
I have had different prices quoted to me by different travel agents for the same trip. I have used American Express offices in Florence and Venice, and smaller agencies in other cities. American Express has been less expensive than other agencies in Venice. I'm not sure, but I think if you are making reservations, you need to have a ticket. If language is no problem, the train people can surely help you figure it all out.
Callie in New Orleans