"By Train Venice to Florence and back" By Train Tip by suvanki
By Train, Florence: 57 reviews and 56 photos
I hadn't pre-booked my ticket, instead I turned up at Santa Lucia in Venice, to buy a ticket for the next train from Venice to Florence, I'd tried to purchase a ticket the previous night from one of the automatic Ticket Machines but wimped out when the info went from English back to Italian as I was about to make my payment.
While waiting in the queue at the ticket office (I got there early as I'd seen the length of the queues earlier in the year!) we were informed that there was a problem with the computers, so purchasing from the machines was recommended to save time.
I followed the man who had made the announcement to the nearby ticket machine, and asked for his help in selecting my ticket. He had some problems completing the procedure, but eventually my Venice to Florence return ticket was dispached. The cost was 42 Euros each way. The machine accepted Bank notes, coins or credit card - Change given - Check this before purchasing because I've noted some take either notes OR cards, and some don't issue change (just a 'credit note')
My train was due to depart in nearly an hour, so plenty of time to have a coffee and stock up on snacks for the journey. I hadn't realised at previous visits that there was a shop in the station buffet with a selection of food and drink.
I still can't get used to the idea of having to pay for your coffee at the central till, then take the receipt to 'claim' your drink.
The toilets are on platform 1 - 80 cents -no change given, but there are change machines at the turnstyle.
Train times, train number and platform details are posted on electronic boards on the platform, as well as on posters (pic 5). All the platforms at Santa Lucia are on one level, and are adjacent to each other so it's very easy to find your train. Platform 1 is at the right side -I think there are 12 platforms.
The train was waiting at Platform 10 (It had been there quite a while, and I had been impressed to see a team of cleaners sprucing up the carriages)
Before boarding, I validated my ticket in the yellow machine at the end of the platform-this is a legal requirement. Hefty fines are issued for non-validated tickets.
I'd already checked which carriage I was in- The number is on the door. I had been a bit disappointed that it wasn't one of the double decker trains, but it was comfortable.
We set off on time, and we were soon heading over the Ponte Libertie to Mestre. We also stopped at Padua and Bologna. The last part of the journey was mainly through tunnels, with fleeting glances of the Tuscany countryside.
In the carriage was an information board showing the train and carriage number and stations we'd be stopping at. Announcements were in Italian and English.
The 2 hour journey had sped by, and we were soon pulling into the Stazione di Santa Maria Novella-Florences Central Station.
Outside the station is a taxi rank and bus station.
There is a Tourist Info Office and hotel booking desk in the station.
Exiting the station the church to the right with the distinctive tower (Santa Maria Novella) there is a helpful Tourist Info office, where I was given maps, directions to my hotel and a print off of events in Florence for Christmas Eve.
The night before my return to Venice, I checked my ticket, and was puzzled to see that although the time was correct, it had the date as 24th December- the date I'd travelled TO Florence. I was annoyed with myself for not checking the ticket at the ticket machine, but as one of the station managers had done the transaction, I'd not thought about this.
Apparently after purchasing your train ticket you have One Hour to correct any errors!
Luckily I'd saved my old ticket too, which verified the time of departure from Venice etc (If I hadn't, I don't think that I could have proved that it was a genuine mistake
I had to purchase another ticket, then reclaim my money in Venice. I was assured that there wouldn't be a problem, as it was obvious that this was an error - I would have been leaving Florence before I'd arrived!
Arriving in Venice I managed to reclaim my 42 Euros without any difficulty-phew!
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