3 Poor Students Looking for Most Economic Rail Pass for Venice to Manarola/Cinque Terre, Manarola/Cinque Terre to Florence, Florence to Rome, and Rome to Pompei

I am touring Italy with two friends (all under 26yo) and am looking for the most economic rail pass. My Dad remembers buying a student Eurorail pass (years ago!) that allowed him to hop on and off of trains wherever/whenever he wanted, within the country(ies) his pass was honored.

In my search, I'm not finding that kind of rail pass...I'm getting more confused! It appears my cheapest option would be to buy a ticket for each stop I want to make within Italy, but that does limit spontaneity in travel. But if a Global Flexi Pass also requires reservations, what have I gained?

Our travel within Italy would include:
Venezia St Lucia to Manarola/Cinqueterre
Manarola to Florence
Florence to Rome
Rome to Pompei

What is your recommendation for three poor students?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 18, 2016 18:46
    Hi Janet,

    The Eurail Global Pass covers 28 European countries. If you were to get a rail pass, you would want one just for Italy (going on the specific itinerary you mentioned). The single country pass for Italy is the Eurail Italy Pass. For the Eurail Italy Pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticke....

    A rail pass covers the ticket costs on trains. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass. With regard to your specific itinerary, some of your trains would require reservations in addition to the rail pass.

    Note: If you were to purchase regular point-to-point tickets (instead of a rail pass), the value of any necessary reservations would still be embedded into those costs. Therefore, a rail pass still can often work out to be the most economical option for travelers taking multiple trains while in Europe; it all just depends on the specific itinerary.

    When considering the option of a rail pass, you would just have to be sure to factor in any 'passholder' reservation costs. For travel with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs and purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Italy Pass').

    Venice to Manarola (Cinque Terre)

    A connection from Venice to Manarola takes about 5 to 5.5 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes along the way; once in Florence and then once in La Spezia.

    From Venice to Florence, you would take a high-speed 'Le Frecce' (Frecciarossa or Frecciargento) train. Of the trains comprising of this connection, only these trains would require reservations. In contrast, trains from Florence to La Spezia and La Spezia to Manarola don't accept reservations, so the rail pass would be all you'd need to board.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs and purchase reservations for the segment from Venice to Florence by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering the cities, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Italy Pass').

    Please note, the 'Italo' trains on the segment from Venice to Florence do not accept rail passes. Therefore, if traveling with a rail pass, you would want to be sure to choose one of the Frecciarossa or Frecciargento trains for this segment, so that you would be covered.

    For planning purposes, you can still view schedules on our website for the non-reservable segments of this route. In this instance, you would just have to click 'No' where it asks "Are you traveling with a rail pass?" after you type in the cities (even if you'll actually be traveling with a rail pass). You can do a search from Florence to Manarola and then just look for the options via La Spezia when the results display. Trains from La Spezia to Manarola are Cinque Terre Express trains.

    Manarola (Cinque Terre) to Florence

    A connection from Manarola to Florence takes about 2.5 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes along the way; once in La Spezia and then once in Pisa.

    Trains from Manarola to La Spezia and Pisa to Florence don't accept reservations, so a rail pass would be all you'd need to board.

    From La Spezia to Pisa, there are regional trains, InterCity (IC) trains, or high-speed Frecciabianca trains. Reservations would only be required if you happen to take one of the InterCity or Frecciabianca trains. The regional trains from La Spezia to Pisa don't accept reservations, so a rail pass would be all you'd need to board.

    Once again, you can view schedules for the non-reservable trains by entering the segments on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) and clicking 'No' where it asks "Are you traveling with a rail pass?" (even if you'll actually be traveling with a rail pass). For this route, you would just have to piece together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Manarola to La Spezia, another search for connecting trains from La Spezia to Pisa, and another search for connecting trains from Pisa to Florence.

    When you pull up the results of your search for the segment from La Spezia to Pisa, the Frecciabianca and (non-reservable) regional trains will be labeled, while the InterCity trains can only be identified by their train number. The InterCity trains from La Spezia to Pisa have 5 digit train numbers that begin with a '3'.

    If you'd like to take one of the InterCity or Frecciabianca trains for the segment from La Spezia to Pisa, you would check reservation costs and purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering the cities, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Italy Pass').

    Trains from Manarola to La Spezia are Cinque Terre Express trains.

    Florence to Rome

    To get from Florence to Rome, you would take a high-speed Frecciarossa or Frecciargento train, and these trains will require reservations in addition to a rail pass. Once again, for travel with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs and purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering the cities, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Italy Pass').

    Please note, there are also 'Italo' trains on the segment from Florence to Rome. Since these trains don't accept rail passes, you would want to be sure to choose one of the Frecciarossa or Frecciargento trains for this segment, so that you would be covered.

    Rome to Pompei

    The ruins of Pompei can only be reached by taking the privately owned and operated 'Circumvesuviana Railway' from Naples. This rail line runs from the Piazza Garibaldi station in Naples down to Sorrento. The ruins are located right off the 'Pompei Scavi-Villa dei Misteri' stop of this line. Since these trains are privately owned and operated, they would not be covered by a rail pass, and the tickets can only be purchased locally upon arrival. These tickets are rather inexpensive, and the ride only takes about 35 minutes in each direction.

    Conveniently, the Piazza Garibaldi station is located in the lower level of the same building as the Naples Centrale station, which is considered the main rail station in Naples where most trains from elsewhere in Italy will arrive into (including trains coming from Rome).

    Therefore, for a connection from Rome to Pompei, you would use your rail pass to take a train from Rome down to Naples and then you would have to purchase separate tickets for a Circumvesuviana train from Naples to 'Pompei Scavi-Villa dei Misteri'. For your train from Rome to Naples, you would just have to be sure to purchase reservations to go with your rail pass. To get from Rome to Naples, you would take a high-speed 'Le Frecce' (Frecciarossa or Frecciargento) train or an InterCity train. There are also 'Italo' trains on this route, and, as we established above, these trains do not accept rail passes.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs and purchase reservations for a Le Frecce or InterCity train from Rome to Naples by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering the cities, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Italy Pass'). When you pull up the results of your search, the Frecciarossa and Frecciargento trains will be labeled, while the InterCity trains, once again, can only be identified by their train numbers. The InterCity trains on this route will have 3 digit train numbers.
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