Train travel around France and Italy for cosy travellers
November 17, 2008 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Rail trips across France and Italy. Any recommendations, experiences, sights, travel wisdom for an over 30 couple who like to see the world from their window without too much hassle and in as much comfort as possible?

(Also kind of keen on seeing Pompeii and the south of France)
posted by vizsla to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
TGV trains are fast, convenient, punctual, and comfortable. They are a little more spendy, but are worth it (depending on your routes). But, the TGV only goes to certain places (usually larger metro areas).

IMO the lake region of France, Switzerland, and Italy is a must see as far as sites go. Now that I have been to Europe a few times, I appreciate the time I spend in the more rural areas much more than the metro areas. The train ride through these lake regions is magnificent.

Lake Cuomo (Italy) is one of the most romantic and beautiful places on this earth.
posted by blueplasticfish at 4:25 PM on November 17, 2008

Lake Como.
posted by Zambrano at 4:34 PM on November 17, 2008

Take the Cisalpino (Tren Italia) for Italy - Switzerland. You can pick it up in Rome or Bologna.

Tren Italia has a website- I'm sure threre is an English version.
posted by Zambrano at 4:45 PM on November 17, 2008

Once you decide on an itinerary, or even to help you decide, The Man in Seat 61 is invaluable.
posted by cocoagirl at 5:08 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Take food and drink. We were running late for an overnight Paris to Venice and the snack bar on board was closed leaving only the formal dining car which was absurdly expensive (and possibly a set menu, so just getting soup or something was out). None of the stations en-route had as much as a vending machine. And the water aboard was non-potable.
We subsisted on some crackers, a single bottle of water and some mints.
Note this was ten years ago, things may have changed, but I suggest good advice anyway.
posted by bystander at 9:57 PM on November 17, 2008

Seconding the Man in Seat 61, it's an incredible resource.

Also, consider getting some comfy sleeper trains between cities - the higher-end cabins are basically miniature hotel rooms in motion. Saves a night of hotel costs, and you wake up in the middle of the city you're visiting - top stuff.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:56 AM on November 18, 2008

Many thanks everybody. Carefully considering all of your tips. I know Ask.Mefi likes questioners to pick a best answer so Ill highlight the Seat 61 resource which looks like a useful resource.
posted by vizsla at 3:48 PM on November 18, 2008

Be sure to drill down through the Seat 61 site's descriptions of how to use the voyages-sncf and trenitalia websites...lots of tips for finding cheaper fares with almost zero effort!
posted by mdonley at 3:11 PM on November 19, 2008

IIRC there are hourly trains from Rome to Naples and regular trains from Naples to Pompeii. You could probably day trip it from Rome with no advanced purchases or planning.
posted by turbodog at 11:38 AM on November 20, 2008

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