Since my wife died, I’ve been to Italy three times. And every time I’ve been I’ve used the trains.
On the first trip early in 2008, I flew to Venice and then took trains from there to Florence, from Florence to Naples and then back from Naples to Rome. The first two trains I booked on the Internet by a link from the excellent train site, seat61.com, to the Italian on-line booking site, trenitalia.it, whilst the third was booked from a machine in Naples station.
In March this year, I took a train from Milan to Venice and then on my last trip, I took one from Lamezia up to Naples. All were booked on machines locally.
There were no problems either with the trains or the ticketing, other than that the trenitalia.it site was very slow at one time and it resulted in them thinking my credit card had been nicked. Because of this and because you don’t get any discount for advance or on-line purchases (I couldn’t find one!), I would recommend using the machines, either with a credit card or cash. I had to use a €50 note in Lamezia as the machine was slow again.
But you get a reserved seat, coffee at a reasonable price if you want it and all at a price that would put Britain to shame. And most of the trains I have used have been half empty!
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