|Subject: Re: Trains in Italy|
Hi Jim & Kathleen, Paolo, Ira and Andrew,
I think we should clarify an other point more than that did by Paolo. Since I use the train everyday to go to my office from home (actually I use locals trains but often use intercity for moving around during short trip in Italy), I'm quite up to date about train sistem. The Italian train ticketing sistem is changed at the beginning of this year and the main national railway compani (trenitalia) as been divided in different company, still belonging to Trenitalia, but looking after different kind of service. One of these look after local trains (locali, interegionali and espressi) and the other one look after speed trains (Intercity and Eurostar). The result of this changing is that now you have to buy separate ticket for locals trains and speed trains (in this case it will be inclusive of the old speed supplement) even though it involve the same trip.
I'll make an expample: If you would like to travel from Rome to Como via Milan (Eurostar from Rome to Milan and local train to Como), with the old ticketing sistem you should buy a regular ticket from Rome to Como plus a speed supplement from Rome to Milan. Now you have to buy a special ticket for Eurostar from Rome to Milan than a standar ticket from Milan to Como. It is always better say to the counter at the window that it is a one trip, in this way you'll get a discount than buy just 2 single ticket (in this case you have to show both tickets (for Eurostar and for local train) on all the trains involved in your trip).
Finally, both Andrew and Ira are quite right!
Back to Jim & Kathleen questions, 1- You can't buy ticket in advance for Trenitalia web outside Italy. The service is working only the Italian version of the home page. 2- I'm sure you won't get problem buying ticket when you arrive in Milan. 3- I'm going to tell you a secret: to avoid the long queue at the ticket window, there are some private agencies inside the train station the sell ticket without *any extra charge*. Jus take the elevator and go upstair in the departing hall, you'll find a private agency in the middle of the hall or (what I generally prefer) go to the small one that is located on the left of the big information office (named Wasteels). Please keep the secret for you otherwise it will not be longher a no-queue ticket office :-) 4- to avoid assle, from Malpensa airport just get the bus to Milan, it will drop off you in front of the central train station (note that the train running between the airport and the city arrive in an other train station rather the central one where leave trains to Venice!).
Hope it could help you.
Ciao, Marco in Milan - Italy