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Help with travel Rome-Catania

  • 9 December 2022
  • 9 replies
  • 275 views

Hi! I’m traveling alone to Italy the 18th of December. My plan is to stay in Rome until 21th of December, and take the train to Catania. I have no idea what is going on right now but finding flight tickets from Oslo to/from Italy has been nearly impossible. I was unable to find flights directly to Sicily so I decided I could fly to Rome and experience that city too. And since I want to experience the train ferry I can take the train to Catania. But Jesus Christ, I’ve been trying for days to find a direct train to Catania from Rome but the tickets are hella expensive and there are so few left. Plus, there are no flights from Sicily to Oslo for my return, so I have to take the train back to Rome and fly from there on 5th of January. So since the traintickets on trenitalia are up to 94 euros one way, I was thinking I might try interrail pass instead. 
The price given to me for a pass is 124 euros for 4 days travel. 
My questions are: 

  1. I’ve never used interrail before, and the reviews for eurorail/interrail.eu have not been very good.. and since I’m traveling alone I’m very scared to get into any problems. Have anyone used interrail in Italy traveling from Rome to Sicily? 
     
  2. Is it a good plan that I book a pass instead of point to point tickets? And that I will be able to travel Rome-Catania and Catania-Rome when I’m going home? And still have 2 days left on my pass? 
     
  3. also, I read that tickets in Italy need to be validated or you’ll get a huge fee. What does this mean? Get validated?
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Best answer by BrendanDB 9 December 2022, 23:50

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Userlevel 7
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  1. yes, interrail is Good and trustable. Just some people can’t read and then write negative reviews… beside the pass you will need reservations! For the intercity it will be 3€, for high speed trains 10€. 
    2.
  2. depends. If you compare the prices online you can see what is cheaper. Interrail is more flexible and during the holidays the standard tickets are expensive because many people go home to visit their family
  3. This is only true for paper tickets but not for other (online tickets). With interrail you need to validate nothing 
Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Use https://shop.oebbtickets.at/en/ticket to search for reservations in Italy to use with interrail pass.

Add Interrail as discount and search for tickets, NOT seat only. This will give €10 Frecce and €3 IC reservations.

 

Whatever you do I’d suggest you choose quickly as there only seems to be availability on the 07.26 from Rome on the 21st.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

An Interrail pass seems the better option here at first glance.

But Italy can be sometimes a bit tricky with the reservations and some private companies that are not included. You need seat reservations for the high speed trains and night trains. All detailed information can be found on this page below, better read it carefully and you won't have any surprises.

Better check reservation availability and the prices for the reservations before buying the pass. Otherwise you might get into trouble (a lot of people lately complained about not finding seats on Eurostars or other trains, hampering their trips).

Reservations for bed places on nighttrains with Interrail also can be pricey... So I'm not entirely sure Interrail will be the most beneficial compared to ordinary tickets. (Sticking by day trains, it probably will) 

It's probably possible to avoid some of the more expensive trains or fully booked ones, by choosing regional trains for some stretches. It's slower, but very flexible with a pass, more adventurous and comes with no extra reservation cost. I'm not well travelled in Italy, but some here are and will be glad to help. Compare it to take the cheaper Local Vy trains to Oslo Gardermoen, instead of expensive Flytoget. ;) 

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Obb is the only place online to book domestic Italian reservations for passholders.

 

The only realistic alternative to using the few direct trains Rome - Catania is to take an IC or Frecce to Villa San Giovanni, use the regular passenger ferries (paid separately but pretty cheap) and then take local train Messina - Catania. As the direct trains are quite slow getting shunted on and off the train ferry it is normally a quicker overall journey to connect, especially by taking one of the Freccearossa or Frecciargento trains that are significantly quicker than the IC services.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

@3-validation simply mans putting the ticket in a machine that stamps day/time/stazione on it. This applies to tickets bought locally without that (mostly applies to local tickets for citybus etc, but also for such traintickets for shorter distance.) Very much same-same as one once also had to do for Oslo Sporveier. With a tiny bit of logical thinking this should be evident.

 

@3-validation simply mans putting the ticket in a machine that stamps day/time/stazione on it. This applies to tickets bought locally without that (mostly applies to local tickets for citybus etc, but also for such traintickets for shorter distance.) Very much same-same as one once also had to do for Oslo Sporveier. With a tiny bit of logical thinking this should be evident.

 

Listen mcadv. I’m not your age. I had not even started school yet when validating tickets was a thing in Oslo. I was a child at that time. Sitting here shaming someone who is asking for help makes you feel like a big man huh? So because I’m asking for help about a country I’ve never been in where I’m going alone, it must mean I’m not able to do logical thinking, right,  that’s LOGIC. Well I’m sorry, not everyone of us can be an Einstein like you, I’m not like you, so smart and intelligent that you know how to validate tickets. And thank you for lecturing me about my country. I didn’t ask for facts about my country tho, but congratulations you get an A plus for being this tough god damn.

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

@3-validation simply mans putting the ticket in a machine that stamps day/time/stazione on it. This applies to tickets bought locally without that (mostly applies to local tickets for citybus etc, but also for such traintickets for shorter distance.) Very much same-same as one once also had to do for Oslo Sporveier. With a tiny bit of logical thinking this should be evident.

 

Listen mcadv. I’m not your age. I had not even started school yet when validating tickets was a thing in Oslo. I was a child at that time. Sitting here shaming someone who is asking for help makes you feel like a big man huh? So because I’m asking for help about a country I’ve never been in where I’m going alone, it must mean I’m not able to do logical thinking, right,  that’s LOGIC. Well I’m sorry, not everyone of us can be an Einstein like you, I’m not like you, so smart and intelligent that you know how to validate tickets. And thank you for lecturing me about my country. I didn’t ask for facts about my country tho, but congratulations you get an A plus for being this tough god damn.

@Zev Khan Afridi Sadly @mcadv behaves like this regularly with many posters here, I along with some other regulars are not happy about it one bit.

I have been told to report posts so this is what you should do as well, hopefully the moderators will eventually put manners on him.

He is a member on another website I use and does not speak to people this way as he knows full well he would be banned in no time at all.

Please do not let his nonsense get to you or put you off posting here.

Userlevel 5
Badge +3

Hi @Zev Khan Afridi 

I would definitely follow @BrendanDB advice. Just make sure to check the reservations fees before purchasing the Pass. I am sorry for the comments made by @mcadv. He has been already notified about this privately. This wont be tolerated any longer. 

Have a lovely day!

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

Just to show you there is nothing to worry about we travelled from Siracusa on the direct train to Rome a few months ago, which stops at Catania about 1100. The reservation was 3 euro and is available as shown above from OEBB or the Interrail reservation tool. Both send your reservation as a pdf almost instantly.

The journey is well worth it, travel on the right of the train going down and on the left on the return. The crossing, although time consuming, is one of the highlights as it is the last boat-train operating in Europe.

The journey from Rome is quite a long one and there is no catering so load up before departure.

There are very few trains each day but that is no real problem, but you will arrive late into Rome. We broke our journey at Salerno - the daily train to Rome arrives there about 1800 and it is a delightful overnight - a basic B&B for 2 was well under 100 euro.

There are many reasonable priced hotels near the Rome Termini station and getting to Rome airports can be done via bus shuttle outside the Termini station or if second class by a short train journey and changing at a regional Rome station to the local airport train. The Leonardo Express is first class only and was 15 euro single.

As for validation the inspectors only required to see my active mobile pass QR code and listing for the train and a copy of the reservation - just a few seconds. They seemed more concerned about seeing the reservation than the pass.

As for your 2 days left on your pass you could  always use these to break your journey, both going there and coming back. Otherwise you could use them to visit Siracusa and/or Taormina, both only about 45 mins from Catania. Easy access to both also by regular bus.

Personally I prefer Palermo, but that is not doable in a day trip, but could form a 2 centre visit to Sicily.

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