Rail pass for Marseille, Avignon, Genoa, Cinque Terre, Verona, Venice, Bologna, & Florence?

I will be traveling through 9 cities. They are Marseille, Avignon, Nice, Genoa, Cinque Terre, Verona, Venice, Bologna and Florence. Can you help me with a rail pass for these cities? Are there trains connecting all these cities?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) May 21, 2014 15:03
    Hi Gail,

    There are rail stations in each of the destinations you mentioned. When selecting a rail pass on our website, you would just want to be sure that all of the countries being traveled through are accounted for on the pass you choose. For this itinerary, you would purchase a Eurail France-Italy Pass.

    You can purchase the Eurail France-Italy Pass here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/eurail-france-italy-pass/index.html.

    After you add the pass to your 'Itinerary' (shopping cart), you would click 'Read More' in the light yellow box where it says 'Check to determine if you need reservations when traveling with your rail pass'. A button that says 'Add Reservation' would then appear just below, which is what you would click to purchase your reservations.

    If checking passholder reservation costs before then, you would just click on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on the homepage of our website (www.raileurope.com) and indicate the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with when prompted.

    For trains that don't accept reservations, the rail pass is all you would need to board.

    1.) The trains from Marseille to Avignon and Avignon to Nice are both direct TGV trains that would both require reservations in addition to the pass.

    2.) A connection from Nice to Genoa would involve changing trains once in Ventimiglia along the way. Trains from Nice to Ventimiglia don't accept reservations, whereas most trains from Ventimiglia to Genoa would require reservations in addition to the rail pass.

    3.) The main rail hubs for the Cinque Terre are Monterosso (the northernmost town of the Cinque Terre) and La Spezia (the town just south of the Cinque Terre). From these towns, you can take regional trains that would take you to the other villages of the Cinque Terre. To get to the Cinque Terre from Genoa, you can take a direct regional train to Monterosso (since Monterosso is right in the Cinque Terre). The regional trains from Genoa to Monterosso don't accept reservations.

    While the rail line between the villages of the Cinque Terre is covered by a rail pass, you might not want to expend a day of rail travel on your pass just for this, unless you are already doing it all on the same day of your initial arrival into Monterosso. The journeys between the villages of the Cinque Terre are very short and would be inexpensive to pay for locally, so it would likely not be worth squandering a day of rail travel on this, unless you are already using that day to get to the Cinque Terre in the first place. You can also hike or take a ferry to travel between the Cinque Terre villages.

    4.) The shortest connections from Monterosso to Verona would involve 3 train changes along the way; once in La Spezia, once in Parma, and then once in Bologna. Most trains from Monterosso to La Spezia are regional trains that don't accept reservations, as are all trains from La Spezia to Parma. About half of the trains from Parma to Bologna require reservations, while the other half don't accept reservations. Most trains from Bologna to Verona require reservations in addition to the pass, though there are some regional trains that don't accept reservations.

    5.) About half of the trains from Verona to Venice require reservations, while the other half don't accept reservations.

    6.) Most trains from Venice to Bologna require reservations in addition to the pass, though there are some regional trains that don't accept reservations.

    7.) Finally, trains from Bologna to Florence do require reservations in addition to the pass.

    For planning purposes, you can just check schedules for the non-reservable trains by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage instead of 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' and don't indicate that you'll be traveling with a pass.

    In Italy, you can distinguish the non-reservable from the trains that require reservations by how they are labeled and/or their train numbers. In Italy, the non-reservable (regional) trains will be labeled as either 'Regionale' or 'Regionale Veloce' and have 4 digit train numbers that begin with a '2' or 5 digit train numbers.

    In contrast, the trains that require reservations will be labeled as either 'InterCity', 'Frecciabianca', 'Frecciarossa', or 'Frecciabianca'. These trains would have 4 digit train numbers that begin with a '9' or 3 digit train numbers.

    Any trains labeled 'Italo' (such as on the route from Bologna to Florence) don't honor rail passes, so you would not even be able to board such a train using your Eurail France-Italy Pass.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) May 21, 2014 15:12
    Generally, reservable trains in France and Italy can only be booked within 90 days of an intended date of departure. If your intended travel falls outside of this time frame, you would just enter an earlier date, within the next 90 days, to get an idea of the reservation costs and view schedules when searching the route on our website. With that said, due to the annual Summer schedule change, some trains in Italy operating after mid-June may not be able to be booked for another couple weeks.
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