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Follow this Italy itinerary by train with the Eurail Italy Pass and be in for a real treat. Take a memorable gondola ride along Venice's Grand Canal, set out on a shopping extravaganza in Milan, and tour Rome's magnificent monuments and museums. Reserve a seat on Italy's Frecce high-speed trains for a fast and comfortable journey between the country's major cities. Or, hop on board Trenitalia regional trains and visit Italy's authentic towns and villages. The Eurail Italy Pass gives you the freedom to travel around Italy at your own pace and along the route that you choose.

Itinerary in short

Cities visited in this itinerary:.

Click here or on the map to view this route in our Trip Planner


For this itinerary, we recommend:

  • Eurail Pass: Italy
  • Travel days:  4 days within 1 month

Most of the high-speed trains in Italy require reservations. These reservations are not included in your Eurail Pass. Make sure to book your seats in advance; there are limited seats available for Eurail Pass holders. It's also possible to avoid reservations altogether simply by taking  regional trains . 

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Milan, Italy

Milan is Italy's city of class and elegance, with some of Europe's best shopping. Head to Quadrilatero d’Oro for a retail experience to die for with all the major designers concentrated together, such as Prada, Giorgio Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana. By night, get tickets for an opera or ballet at La Scala (Teatro alla Scala) for a memorable night of entertainment from the country's most renowned performers. Leonardo da Vinci's 15th-century mural, The Last Supper,  is housed within the Santa Maria della Grazie church and is a must-see on a visit to Milan. Another top attraction to include is the magnificent Milan Cathedral – swoon at the Gothic architecture from the exterior and inside, marvel at intricate stained glass windows and a rich array of sculptures and paintings.


From Milan to Venice

Travel time:

Reservation needed:

Milano Centrale

Reservation required

Venice, Italy

Stazione di Venezia Mestre

If you're searching for an affair of the heart, Venice will reel you in with its artistic setting and labyrinth of enchanting canals. The best way to taste the city's riches is on board the iconic gondola. As you're propelled along the Grand Canal – Venice's most ancient water thoroughfare – admire views of grand Renaissance palaces and intricate arch bridges. Located just off the Grand Canal is Piazza San Marco , drawing in large crowds as well as musicians and artists. The square's centrerpiece is San Marco's Basilica – a fine example of Venetian-Byzantine architecture. The church is known as the "Church of Gold" thanks to its dressing of opulent gilt and intricate frescoes.


From Venice to Florence

Venezia Santa Maria

Florence, Italy

Firenze S.M.N.

Michelangelo's Statue of David is by far one of the most recognized sculptures on the planet and an absolute must-see on a trip to the Renaissance city of Florence. The original is housed in the Galleria dell'Accademia with a replica standing in Piazza della Signoria. This Renaissance masterpiece represents the biblical hero, David, which is made of marble, and stands at an astounding 17 ft (5.17m). Another popular attraction is il Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) – its impressive dome is the symbol of Florence. Climb the 463 steps up to the top for a panoramic vista across the city. The route also takes you to the dome's interior, where you can get up close to Giorgio Vasari's incredible frescoes of the Last Judgment. Whether you’re an art lover, a history buff, or just a curious adventurer, Florence offers a celebration for the eye and palate.


From Florence to Rome

Rome, italy.

Roma Termini

Rome will be the highlight of your Italy itinerary. The Colosseum was the largest ever built in the Roman Empire and is regarded as one of the greatest examples of Roman architecture. Step into the core of the ancient amphitheatre to imagine the buzzing atmosphere of the chanting Roman crowds as barbarous fighting between gladiators took place. Within Rome sits the Vatican – the sovereign city-state packed with fascinating museums and imposing architecture. Take a tour of the Vatican Museums , which were established and developed over the centuries by the reigning Popes. In the Sistine Chapel, you'll see Michelangelo's remarkable frescoes that adorn the walls and ceilings—Nearby is St  Peter's Basilica – an impressive example of Renaissance architecture and the holiest Catholic site.


From Rome to Naples

Naples, italy.

Napoli Centrale

If you're looking for an insight into the real, gritty Italy of the south, Naples is your place. The city is Italy's third biggest and has some of the world's best opera houses and theatres. Head to the Bay of Naples for glorious views of Mount Vesuvius – one of Italy's three active volcanoes. Just a short boat ride away is the stunning Capri Island , where wealthy Italians spend their summer vacations. It makes for the perfect day trip from the hustle and bustle of Naples. Take a clifftop walk to admire views across the sun-kissed Tyrrhenian Sea, and be sure to enjoy a refreshing drink of fresh orange and lemon juice – made with fruit hand-picked from the island's groves. The boat ride to Capri is not included in your Eurail Pass.

Capri Island

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Italy train tours - 10 best railway journeys

Book your individual trip , stress-free with local travel experts

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Italy , with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture, is a dream destination for travellers. While there are many ways to explore this beautiful country, one of the most scenic and immersive ways is by taking an Italy train tour. You’ll find this country has an extensive railway network that connects cities, towns, and iconic picturesque countryside. Here’s our pick of the 10 best railway journeys in Italy.

How to plan a train tour of Italy

1. genoa to la spezia, 2. cinque terre express, 3. florence to venice, 4. venice to rome, 5. rome to siracuse, 6. trans-siberian of italy (ferrovia circumetnea), 7. bernina express, 8. trento to malè, 9. milan to bolzano, 10. rimini to lecce, tips for your italy train tour, tailor-made travel itineraries for italy, created by local experts.

Experience the hit TV show 'The White Lotus' in Sicily

8 days  / from 2646 USD

Experience the hit TV show 'The White Lotus' in Sicily

Stay in beautiful Taormina with gorgeous views of Mount Etna and discover Sicily, including famous filming locations. Go on exclusive wine tastings, discover the Greek theater in Taormina with a private guide, visit other Sicilian towns and enjoy the crystal clear water on this week-long trip.

Enchanting Italian Lakes

8 days  / from 3289 USD

Enchanting Italian Lakes

Experience the picturesque lakes of Northern Italy, including Lake Garda, Como, Lugano and Maggiore; explore the charming Borromean Islands – former favourites of Ernest Hemingway – and stroll the romantic streets of Verona and Milan. All of this, and much more, with this self-drive trip!

From Venice to Florence: A Grand Tour of Northern Italy

16 days  / from 3289 USD

From Venice to Florence: A Grand Tour of Northern Italy

From the atmospheric canals of Venice and the picturesque coastline of Cinque Terre, to the trendy designer boutiques of Milan and the Renaissance-infused streets of Florence, Northern Italy has plenty to offer. Experience it all with this comprehensive trip.

Tailor-made trips for   Italy

Italy's extensive railway network offers you a front-row seat to the soul of the country.  Before we delve into the specifics of the most scenic train journeys Italy has to offer, here are some important things to consider while planning.

If the intricacies of planning seem daunting, check our tailor-made trip service . We can simplify the process and ensure a seamless and personalised tour, taking care of all the details for you. Also, don't forget to check our customisable Italy itineraries.

Italy Rail Pass

If you're planning to roam extensively, an Italy Rail Pass is your golden ticket. This pass grants you the freedom to hop on and off trains across Italy within a predefined time frame, unlocking an abundance of travel possibilities.

Advance ticket booking

For the most popular routes, especially those connecting major cities, it's wise to secure your tickets in advance. This guarantees the best fares and ensures you won't miss out on a seat. Italy's trusted railway system, Trenitalia, offers user-friendly online booking options.

Timetable checks

While Italian trains are renowned for their punctuality, it's a smart move to double-check the timetable before embarking on your journey. This simple step ensures a smooth and stress-free experience.

Consider a travel planner

Some may wish to forgo planning and instead opt to hire an expert to book train tickets and plan routes. Our tailor-made service puts you in contact with local travel experts. 

tour italy by train

Train station in Manarola in Cinque Terre © Shutterstock

The journey along this coastal route tracing the Ligurian Sea is a visual symphony of landscapes. As you glide along the tracks, prepare to be enchanted by breathtaking vistas of the Italian Riviera, adorned with charming coastal towns and the iconic Cinque Terre, known for its picturesque houses perched daringly on cliffs.

For an up-close and personal rendezvous with the world-famous Cinque Terre, the Cinque Terre Express is your gateway. This dedicated train service links the five enchanting villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, nestled along the stunning Ligurian coastline.

Prepare to be spellbound as you traverse from Florence to Venice , meandering through the heart of the Tuscany and Veneto regions. This route is an artistic masterpiece, offering glimpses of rolling hills, expansive vineyards, and captivating towns, ultimately leading to the grandeur of Venice.

This scenic route seamlessly connects the mesmerizing canals of Venice with the historic streets of Rome . As you journey, you'll witness the ever-changing beauty of northern and central Italy, including the iconic Tuscan countryside.

For those yearning to explore the mesmerizing landscapes of Sicily , the train journey from Rome to Siracuse is a must. This odyssey unveils the transition from mainland Italy to the unique culture and natural wonders of the island.

Bernina Express in Switzerland ©  Peter Stein/Shutterstock

Bernina Express ©  Peter Stein/Shutterstock

Embark on an extraordinary adventure known as the "Trans-Siberian of Italy," encircling the majestic Mount Etna in Sicily. This railway journey is a captivating exploration of volcanic landscapes, offering an exclusive glimpse into the geological marvels of the island.

Cross international boundaries as you hop aboard the Bernina Express. This train ride will sweep you through the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Swiss Alps and the Engadin Valley, showering you with panoramic views of towering peaks, gleaming glaciers, and pristine lakes.

Venture into the heart of the Dolomites by taking the train from Trento to Malè. This journey is a deep dive into stunning mountain vistas, captivating Alpine villages, and the promise of outdoor adventures in a breathtaking natural setting.

From the fashion capital of Milan to the cultural gem of Bolzano in South Tyrol, this railway journey offers a seamless blend of urban sophistication and Alpine magnificence.

Unearth the irresistible charm of Italy's southern regions by embarking on a train journey from Rimini to Lecce . Along the way, be captivated by picturesque coastlines, historic towns, and the rich tapestry of Southern Italian culture.


Italian Trento © Shutterstock

To take your Italy train tour to the next level, here are some priceless tips to keep in mind:

  • Seat Reservations :  For a more comfortable and stress-free ride, especially on high-speed trains, consider securing seat reservations in advance.
  • Travel Light: Italian train stations can get bustling, so pack light to ensure you move through the terminals with ease.
  • Language: While English is commonly spoken, learning a few basic Italian phrases can enhance your immersion in the local culture and make interactions more enjoyable.
  • Scenic Routes: Whenever possible, opt for daytime journeys along routes known for their scenic beauty. The views will leave you spellbound.
  • Local Cuisine: Don't miss the opportunity to savour regional cuisine during your layovers in different parts of Italy. Each region has its own culinary treasures waiting to be discovered.

Let us plan your trip

Allow our team of local experts to plan incredible Italy adventures for you. Reach out to us at your convenience, and we'll create a personalised itinerary that you can fine-tune until it aligns perfectly with your preferences. Take a look at our pre-made Italy itineraries for ideas, and keep in mind that we can tailor all our planned routes to cater to your individual needs.

The Rough Guides to Italy and related travel guides

In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice.

Pocket Rough Guide Walks & Tours Italian Lakes

Travel advice for Italy

From travel safety to visa requirements, discover the best tips for traveling to Italy

  • Eating and drinking in Italy
  • How to get to Italy
  • Getting around Italy: Transportation Tips
  • Shopping tips for Italy
  • Sports and Outdoor activities in Italy
  • Travel Tips Italy for planning and on the go
  • Best time to visit Italy
  • How to spend 7 days In Italy - 8 unique itineraries
  • How To Spend 10 Days In Italy - 8 Unique Itineraries
  • How To Spend 14 Days In Italy - 5 Unique Itineraries
  • How to get from Rome to Florence

Find even more inspiration here

View of Rio de Janeiro and Sugarloaf Mountain from Corcovado view point, Brazil © galaro/Shutterstock

  • Authentic Experiences
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  • Inspiration

Dre Roelandt

written by Dre Roelandt

updated 26.09.2023


Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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THE 10 BEST Italy Rail Tours

Rail tours in italy.

  • Historical & Heritage Tours
  • Walking Tours
  • Cultural Tours
  • Skip-the-Line Tours
  • Up to 1 hour
  • 1 to 4 hours
  • 4 hours to 1 day
  • 5.0 of 5 bubbles
  • 4.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 3.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 2.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • Chinese (Traditional)
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tour italy by train

  • The ranking of tours, activities, and experiences available on Tripadvisor is determined by several factors including the revenue generated by Tripadvisor from these bookings, the frequency of user clicks, and the volume and quality of customer reviews. Occasionally, newly listed offerings may be prioritized and appear higher in the list. The specific placement of these new listings may vary.

tour italy by train

1. Rome to Pompeii Guided Tour with Wine & Lunch by High Speed Train

tour italy by train

2. Semi Private Cinque Terre and Pisa Leaning Tower Tour from Florence

tour italy by train

3. Lake Como, Lugano, and Swiss Alps. Exclusive small group tour

tour italy by train

4. Scent of the Sea: Cinque Terre Park Full Day Trip from Florence

tour italy by train

5. Bernina Express Tour Swiss Alps & St Moritz From Milan

tour italy by train

6. Lake Como - Small Group Day Tour from Milan with Boat Cruise

tour italy by train

7. Milan Bernina Scenic Train ride on the Swiss Alps. Small-Group

tour italy by train

8. Cinque Terre full-day trip from Florence

tour italy by train

9. From Milan: St. Moritz and Panoramic Bernina Express Tour

tour italy by train

10. Private Tour from Naples: Venice Full Day Tour by Train

tour italy by train

11. Best of Florence & Tuscany by High-speed Train From Rome

tour italy by train

12. Ostia Antica Tour from Rome - Semi Private

tour italy by train

13. Day Trip from Rome: Amalfi Coast with Boat Hopping & Limoncello

tour italy by train

14. Classic Cinque Terre

tour italy by train

15. Pompeii & Herculaneum: High-speed Train from Rome + Pizza lunch

tour italy by train

16. Cinque Terre & Pisa Day Trip from Florence with Optional Hike

tour italy by train

17. Swiss Alps Bernina Red train and St.Moritz tour from Milan

tour italy by train

18. Cinque Terre in half a day by boat and train

tour italy by train

19. Cinque Terre tour with limoncino tasting from La Spezia Port

tour italy by train

20. Amalfi Coast Day Trip from Rome by High-Speed Train

tour italy by train

21. Cinque Terre tour in Small Group from Pisa

tour italy by train

22. Cinque Terre Tour Small Group Tour from Lucca

tour italy by train

23. Lake Como Beautiful Landscapes

tour italy by train

24. Ancient Ostia Antica Semi-Private Day Trip from Rome by Train with Guide

tour italy by train

25. Private Tour: Cinque Terre from La Spezia

tour italy by train

26. From Bologna: Guided tour of the Mosaics in Ravenna

tour italy by train

27. Half-Day Lake Como Discovery Tour from Milan - small group tour

tour italy by train

28. Capri Island Boat Tour from Rome by Train

tour italy by train

29. Pisa and Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence by Train

tour italy by train

30. Pompeii & Herculaneum Guided Tour - High Speed Train from Rome

What travelers are saying.

Doug W



Discover the best of Italy - Introducing independent and escorted Italian rail package tours

Ultimate best of Italy showcase: Venice to Sorrento by rail 11 night escorted rail tour from Venice to Sorrento Venice, Florence, Rome, Sorrento 12 days from

Classic best of Italy showcase: Venice to Sorrento by rail 10 night escorted rail tour from Venice to Sorrento Venice, Florence, Rome, Sorrento 11 days from

Ultimate Italian escape: Venice to Rome by rail 7 night escorted rail tour from Venice to Rome Venice, Florence, Rome 8 days from

Classic Italian escape: Venice to Rome by rail 6 night escorted rail tour from Venice to Rome Venice, Florence, Rome 7 days from

Italian explorer: Venice to Amalfi by rail 9 night independent rail tour from Venice to the Amalfi Coast Venice, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi 10 days from

Italian explorer: Rome to Venice by rail 6 night independent rail tour from Rome to Venice Rome, Florence, Venice 7 days from

Italy express: Rome to Venice by rail 6 night independent rail tour from Rome to Venice Rome, Florence, Venice 7 days from

Italy express: Rome to Cinque Terre by rail 6 night independent rail tour from Rome to Cinque Terre Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre 7 days from

Exploring Italy by train

Brendan Sainsbury

Jun 21, 2016 • 6 min read

tour italy by train

With some of Europe’s fastest trains and most scenic routes, Italy is a great place to travel by train. The country might be more famous for its deluxe sports cars and challenging driving conditions, but Italian trains are economical, comfortable and direct, offering an insight into local life, often with great views thrown into the bargain.

With a bit of savvy route-planning and a flexible schedule, you can quite easily piece together an itinerary that’ll make the journey just as impressive as the destination.

The best way to get around the Cinque Terre's spectacular coastline is by train

Travel in style on Italy’s fastest trains

If you thought Ferraris were fast, you’ve clearly never travelled on a Frecciarossa 1000 , Italy’s arrow-headed high-velocity trains that reach a top cruising speed of 300km/h. The fastest Frecciarossas connect Turin , Milan and Venice in the north before heading further south via Bologna and Florence to Rome , Naples and Salerno .

As a rule, the fastest Rome–Naples trip clocks in at a smidgen over an hour, Rome–Florence zips by in roughly 90 minutes, while Rome–Venice takes 3 hours 40 minutes, which is still very respectable considering the same journey takes well over five hours by car. On these and other main routes, there are approximately two trains an hour.

Two Frecciarossa trains await departure in Milan's beautiful Stazione Centrale

These streamlined rockets-on-wheels are not only faster than Ferraris, they’re also invitingly comfortable with leather seats, a complimentary glass of prosecco (in business class) and a relatively luxurious dining car where the view changes every five seconds.

Italy’s most scenic train journeys

The speed of Freccia trains means that the scenery is often rendered a blur. For Italy’s most spectacular rail journeys, you’ll have to seek out small private lines and abandon any stringent time constraints.

The epic Centovalli , or ‘100 valleys’, line that starts in Domodossola in Piedmont and travels across 83 bridges in two hours of condensed alpine splendour to terminate in Locarno in Switzerland .

The Centovalli line passes through some pretty spectacular scenery

Another beauty is Sardinia ’s intentionally slow Trenino Verde , renovated in the 1990s, that runs four summer-only tourist trains along narrow-gauge track through some of the island’s most remote enclaves.

Equally seductive is the Ferrovia Circumetnea  which rattles out of Catania in Sicily circumnavigating Mt Etna on a diminutive locomotive that looks more like a trolley bus than a train. En route it crosses lemon groves and lava flows, stopping at remote stations every five minutes.

Rail is also the best way to travel in some of Italy’s most scenic and popular destinations, including the Cinque Terre , where cheap trains connect the five picturesque cliff-top villages, passing through numerous tunnels in the steep cliffs and giving views of the ocean. The bargainous Circumvesuviana connects Naples with Sorrento via the archaeological sites of Herculaneum and  Pompeii , providing views of Mt Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples along the way.

Arriving in Italy by train

Some of Italy’s finest train journeys cross its international borders with its neighbours to the north. The Brenner Pass route that links Munich with Venice over the Alps is sometimes touted as the finest train ride in Europe, while the EuroNight overnight train between Rome and Vienna with two-bed sleepers (from €100) is a fun option if you’ve never bedded down on a train.

All aboard the Orient Express!

If you’ve got over £2000 to blow and want to imagine you’re living in a Graham Greene novel or an Agatha Christie whodunit, take the Venice Simplon Orient-Express ( ) from London (or Paris) to La Serenissima . This luxury art deco hotel on wheels runs roughly once a week between March and November and was seemingly invented with romance in mind.

Turin’s recently refurbished Porta Susa station is a terminus for French TGV trains which provide rapid service to Lyon and Paris . Milan offers Thello ( ) overnight trains to Paris or daytime coastal trains to Nice and Marseilles . By using a mixture of Eurostar and TGVs, it’s possible to travel between Milan and London in one day for a cost of around €65 (or Paris for as little as €25) and you get to see awe-inspiring alpine scenery into the bargain.

Operators and train types

The lion’s share of the country’s rolling stock is run by state-owned subsidiary, Trenitalia ( ) which presides over a complex spiderweb of lines that penetrates all 20 of the country’s regions.

Alongside the flagship Frecciarossa, they also operate Frecciargento tilting trains, which run between Rome and Venice at speeds of up to 250km/h. Slightly lower down the speed scale are Frecciabianca and Intercity trains, though these are still usually faster than driving, especially when you factor in traffic and parking.

Many of Italy's regionale trains pass through spectacular scenery

If budget is more of a concern than speed or you want to get to smaller towns and villages, you’ll probably find yourself travelling on  regionale trains, which are surprisingly cheap and stop at all stations. The regionales ’ sometimes well-worn carriages aren’t exactly opulent, but a tight holiday budget will stretch a lot further travelling this way.

Providing a bit of friendly competition at the high-velocity end of things are the new-ish Italo trains ( ) run by NTV, which offer free wifi and lunch boxes provided by high-end food market, Eataly. Like the Frecciarossa, they connect Salerno and Naples in the south with Venice, Milan and Turin in the north, passing through Rome, Florence and Bologna on the way.

Tickets and passes

Rail passes such as Eurail and InterRail won’t usually save you money in Italy, because you still have to pay a reservation fee of around €10 for high-speed trains, and tickets for regular trains aren't expensive. It’s generally cheaper to purchase separate tickets for each journey.

High-speed train tickets come with a specific seat reservation and must be purchased before you get on the train. You can buy tickets online or in person at booths and multi-lingual machines (called biglietto veloce ) in stations.

Train passing through a tunnel on the Cinque Terre coast near Riomaggiore

Although trains rarely sell out, pre-booking can save you a lot of money. You can normally book tickets up to four months in advance, the earlier the better if you want to qualify for ‘economy’ or ‘super-economy’ fares which can – with luck – cost less than half the amount of same-day tickets.

Regionale trains, which stop at nearly every station, don’t require reservations. Just pay for your ticket before departure, jump on the train and grab a seat wherever you like.

Validating your ticket

Legion are the tourists who have been caught out by ticket validation in Italy. As regional train tickets aren’t dated, you must ‘time-stamp’ them in a convalida machine on the platform before boarding the train.

Ticket inspectors can fine people travelling with an un-validated ticket (around €50 if you pay on the spot) and although pleas of being an ignorant tourist sometimes work, it’s generally not worth the risk – or embarrassment.

Tickets for high-speed trains don’t require validation, as they can only be used on the specific service they are valid for.

Italy’s train stations inhabit a sliding scale that starts with Rome’s massive Stazione Termini, a mini-city with bookshops, bars and restaurants, and filters down to the kind of single-platform middle-of-nowhere stations that walkers stagger into at the end of lengthy hikes. Most reasonably sized towns will have a centrally located station with a bar where you can grab at least a caffè and a panino, along with slightly iffy toilets.

Venice's Santa Lucia station is right on the Grand Canal

Stations in large cities like Naples, Milan and Florence are rarely more than a kilometre from the city centre. Venice’s Santa Lucia station even abuts the Grand Canal. But beware: some cities have more than one train station. Turin has two (Porta Susa and Porta Nuova); Rome has four, the most central being Termini (the others are Tiburtina, Ostiense and Trastevere).


Popular legend suggests it was Mussolini who made Italy’s trains run on time, though it’s debatable that Il Duce was solely responsible for ending railway tardiness. Suffice to say, Italian trains are rarely inordinately late and probably suffer fewer delays than planes or car travel. However, keep an eye on the random one-day scioperi (strikes) which are part of Italian culture and can bring public transport to a virtual standstill.

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Train Travel in Italy: The Ultimate Guide

Italian train in Manarola Cinque Terre

Train travel in Italy is relatively easy, but may pose some challenges if you have never been to the country or if you are not used to this mode of transportation. This is why we have created this ultimate guide to traveling by train in Italy, which you can also print out and carry with you during your trip as a reference. 

Let’s look at the main points to consider. 

What is the Best Way to Get Around Italy?

Buying an italian train ticket, arriving at the train station in italy, safety at the train station.

  • Types of Italian Trains
  • Should I Book a First Class Ticket or a Second Class Ticket?  
  • What To Do If Your Train is Canceled or Delayed

How to Pack for Train Travel in Italy 

  • Train Travel Times for the Most Common Italian Routes  

The Most Important Train Stations in Italy

The train is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to travel around Italy, however this does not mean you have to do it all by train. Whether you use the train for all or part of your Italian trip depends on the itinerary that you are planning. If you do the classic Rome-Florence-Venice tour, then you can do it all easily by train, and it is the recommended option because the train stations in these cities are conveniently located in the city centers and you do not need a car to tour them. If you plan to visit the countryside or the mountains, you should consider renting a car as it gives you more freedom and flexibility. You can also combine different modes of transport: train between major art cities, a rental car for an on the road and to reach smaller towns and hilltop towns that may not be as well connected, plane if you need to go from the north to the south of Italy or vice versa. 

Most train stations in Italy are located in or very close to the city center (hence why many have ‘centrale’ in their name), so they’re very easy to reach, sometimes even on foot from your centrally located hotel. 

Where Italian trains are the best or only choice:

  • Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, Milan, Cinque Terre

Where Italian trains are better avoided:

  • Amalfi Coast, Sicily, Sardinia, remote countryside

Where a car is a good option, but you can also get by with trains and buses:

  • Tuscany, Umbria, the Dolomites 

train agrigento

You have two options to buy train tickets for your Italian trip:

  • Buy your ticket online in advance via the train company’s website (Trenitalia and Italo), an intermediary like Italian train travel specialists ItaliaRail , or through your travel agent;
  • Directly at the train station in Italy, either at the ticketing window or using the self-serve ticket machines (instructions are available in English and the machines accept credit cards).

We recommend buying your tickets in advance whenever possible so that you do not have to wait in line, deal with a machine if you’re in a hurry, you have more seat options, plus having your trip mapped out beforehand can save you precious time while in Italy.

As a general rule of thumb, the sooner you book, the cheaper the fare. Seniors and children (or family packages) generally have reduced fares on Trenitalia’s Frecce and Italo. 

*For more information about buying train tickets in Italy, see our dedicated feature .

First of all, always arrive early (at least 20 minutes before your train’s departure time). Train stations in major cities like Rome, Milan and Bologna are very big and you may have to walk five to ten minutes to reach your track ( binario in Italian). 

The first thing you want to do when you get to the train station in Italy is to find the electronic board with the trains departure information. There are several throughout the stations, with the bigger one in the main hall and ticketing area, and smaller ones on each platform, in underground passages and waiting areas.

The board has the following information:

  • Type of train and train number ( treno )
  • Train’s final destination ( destinazione )
  • Departure time ( orario )
  • Delay ( ritardo ) - expect a 5-10 minute delay as standard in Italy
  • Information ( informazioni ) - this usually displays the intermediate stops of the train with arrival times and where the different classes are located scrolling by
  • Platform number ( binario )

To identify your train, look for the train number on your ticket, as the destination shown on the board is the final one, but your destination may be an intermediate stop (which you will see in the part of the display that scrolls by). 

If your train does not have a specific train number, date and time printed on it, you must validate it before boarding . Look for a green, white or yellow electronic box and insert your ticket into it to get it timestamped (ie validated) before getting on your train (the validation lasts for six hours). This mostly applies to regional trains. You do not need to validate your ticket if you are taking a Freccia high-speed train or Italo train (see below for specifics). 

When at the platform, double-check that the train you are about to board is the right one by looking at one of the several boards positioned overhead along the track, it specifies train number and destination.

Also, make sure to board the correct carriage; the number is visible on the side of the train, on an electronic sign on the door, and before boarding, on a screen overhead. This way you will avoid creating more confusion and blocking aisles as you walk through carriages to reach your seat.  

trai station

Generally speaking, traveling by train in Italy is safe, but be vigilant of pickpockets and other petty criminals that may target disoriented travelers intent on finding their way through the station. Always carry your bag in the front, and consider investing in a money belt to place your passport, credit card, money and important documents. 

If your luggage on the train is not close to you (ie if it’s big you’re going to have to place it in the luggage area at the front or end of the carriage), take a look at it when the train stops at intermediate stations.

Do not accept help from strangers who may offer to carry your luggage or help you get a ticket at the ticketing machine. They may insist on getting a ‘tip’ from you once their ‘service’ is done and not leave until you do. Just send them away as soon as they approach you. 

Types of Italian Trains 

Two companies run trains in Italy: Trenitalia and Italo. For a long time, Trenitalia has been the only railway company in Italy and to this day it has the widest network and routes. Italo began operating in 2012, and offers high-speed service between major Italian cities. 

When traveling on Trenitalia, you have three different types of train to choose from which differ based on speed and price. 

Le Frecce - they are Trenitalia’s most modern, comfortable and fastest trains, which also means they cost more. They require advance reservation, have seat assignment, and provide most of the high-speed service on the main lines between Turin, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, and Bari. 

There are three types of Frecce: 

Frecciarossa : the fastest and most expensive trains, traveling up to 300 km/h. They connect Italy’s biggest cities (Turin, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome, and Naples), but not Venice. Frecciargento : these trains use both the high-speed and traditional lines; they are not as fast as the Frecciarossa and take you to main cities such as Florence, Bologna, Rome, and Naples, but not to Milan or Turin. They go to Venice and southern regions like Apulia and Calabria.

Frecciabianca : the slowest among the Frecce, they run on traditional lines and connect large and medium-sized cities in 14 of the 20 Italian regions (Valle d’Aosta, Trentino Alto Adige, Umbria, Basilicata, Sicily and Sardinia are not covered).

Intercity - these trains are less expensive than the Frecce ; they operate outside of the high speed line, therefore your trip will take longer. They connect medium to large cities across Italy, making few intermediate stops. It is not always possible to reserve your seat in advance. These trains are usually quite old and don’t have amenities like wi-fi and restaurant service, available on the Frecce .

Regional trains   - the cheapest option, these trains are used by locals to get to and from work and school, connecting minor towns and villages. You cannot reserve a seat in advance, therefore if you need to take a regional train, try to avoid rush hours. Coaches are mostly second class, with only one or two reserved for first (which in this case you may want to get). These are the trains you would take for example if you were going to the Cinque Terre or to Assisi.

General tip : use the Frecce to reach the biggest cities, then use regionali to move around the region to smaller centers (when possible - sometimes you will need to take a bus instead; sometimes renting a car will be the easiest option). 


Should I Book a First Class Ticket or a Second Class Ticket? 

All trains generally offer first class and second class, or, in the most modern trains, ‘standard’, ‘premium’, ‘business’, ‘executive’ (the most expensive, the less seats available and the less people around you). What corresponds to second class (or standard) on the Frecce and Italo is absolutely decent, but obviously more crowded, so if you wish for tranquility and silence, go for an upper class of service. You may want to step up to first class on the Intercity and regional trains.  

What To Do If Your Train is Canceled or Delayed 

When you travel by train in Italy, you should be aware that things don’t always go as smoothly as you may expect in countries such as, say, Switzerland or Germany. Try to remain patient as your train may be canceled or delayed because of a strike, an accident or repairs on the line. 

As reported on the Trenitalia website:

- if your Freccia train is delayed by 30 to 59 minutes, Trenitalia will issue a bonus equal to 25% of the ticket price that you can use for future purchases.  

- If your Freccia train is over an hour late when you get to your destination, you are entitled to a compensation equal to: 25%   of the ticket price for a delay ranging from 60 to 119 minutes; 50%   of the ticket price for a delay of more than 120 minutes. The compensation may be issued in the form of a bonus for a new ticket to be purchased within 12 months; cash if the ticket was paid cash or refund on the card that you used for payment.

You can request your bonus after 24 hours from the date of travel and up to 12 months, at the ticket office of any train station, online on the Trenitalia website, at the travel agency that issued the ticket, or by calling the Call Center. 

Use this page for reference .

Pack light! You don’t want to have to carry around a huge suitcase that is hard to lift and lower when you get on and off the train. Remember, there are a few steep steps up (and down) the train, there may be stairs to the platforms, especially in the older stations where you won’t find the automatic ones, and you may have to walk the distance in large train stations like Rome Termini or Bologna Centrale. 

Go for a light carry-on or even a backpack, this will be helpful in general as you may decide to also walk between your hotel and the train station. 

We have a great feature with general tips on how to pack for travel to Italy by Sarah Murdoch, a Rick Steves tour guide and Italy expert. 

Train Travel Times for the Most Common Italian Routes  

Rome – Florence 

1 hour 31 minutes (Frecciarossa – Trenitalia)  

1 hour 23 minutes (Italo)

Rome – Venice 

3 hours 45 minutes (Frecciargento – Trenitalia)

3 hours 45 minutes (Italo)

Rome – Milan 

2 hours 55 minutes / 3 hours 20 minutes (Frecciarossa – Trenitalia) 

3 hours 14 minutes (Italo)

Rome – Naples  

1 hour 10 minutes (Frecciarossa – Trenitalia) 

1 hour 20 minutes (Italo)

Florence – Milan 

1 hour 40 minutes (Frecciarossa – Trenitalia) 

1 hour 50 minutes (Italo)

Florence – Venice 

2 hours 5 minutes (Frecciargento – Trenitalia) 

2 hours 5 minutes (Italo)

Milan – Venice 

2 hours 23 minutes / 2 hours 35 minutes (Frecciabianca – Trenitalia) 

Milan – Naples 

4 hours 40 minutes (Frecciarossa – Trenitalia)

4 hours 31 minutes (Italo)

  • Rome: Roma Termini
  • Florence: Firenze Santa Maria Novella
  • Venice: Venezia Santa Lucia
  • Milan: Milano Centrale
  • Naples: Napoli Centrale
  • Turin: Torino Porta Nuova
  • Bologna: Bologna Centrale 

Now that you know everything you need to know about train travel in Italy, enjoy the ride as you watch Italy’s beautiful scenery roll by!

For more Italian train travel, check our dedicated section , Italy by Train. 

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Italy By Train: Easy 21 Day Rail Itinerary For 6 Destinations

With rolling green hills in Tuscany, snow-covered peaks in Lombardy, endless vineyards in Umbria, and pastel painted Mediterranean towns, Italy is a country your eyes will beg to behold.

But they can’t feast on the scenery through a teeny tiny aeroplane window at 31,000 feet. Flying may be the most convenient way to get across the US, Canada or Australia, but that’s not the case in Italy.

Sure, road trips are an option. I mean, driving along the Amalfi Coast with the wind in your hair is the kind of stuff movies are made of. Although, the movies don’t show drivers duelling to the death over a parking spot at the Leaning Tower of Pisa , or navigating terrifyingly narrow backstreets in the heart Rome . And I haven’t even mentioned Italian driver etiquette. I just made that phrase up, it doesn’t exist.

Enter train travel. I recently travelled for 3 weeks between Italy’s most beautiful cities while admiring dramatic coastal seascapes, quaint towns, and voluptuous hills; all from a comfy train, without going through a single airport security check or resorting to fisticuffs for a frickin’ parking spot. Yep, rail is definitely my favourite way to travel around Italy.

My handcrafted 100% organic 3-week Italy rail itinerary starts in Milan and travels to La Spezia , Cinque Terre , Rome , Florence , and Venice before wrapping up back in Milan . This plan works best with a Eurail Pass and pre-booked train reservations so you don’t have to fuss about with train tickets while you’re on vacation. Simply jump on board set off to discover Italy.

tour italy by train

Air travel tip: For our trip, it was cheaper to fly into Milan, but this rail itinerary can be started from any other city along the route just as easily. So find out if your flights are cheaper to Milan , Rome or Venice .

Using Your Eurail Pass – The Best Way To See Italy By Train

Eurail is the ultimate flexible all-in-one train ticket that works in 31 European countries, including Italy. Think of it as Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, but replace chocolate with trains.

tour italy by train

Before you can reap the benefits of using a Eurail pass in Italy, there’s a couple of things you have to do from home:

  • Purchase your Eurail pass online leaving enough time for it to be mailed to your home address before you leave. I recommend using Eurail’s shipping calculator to make sure it will arrive in time. Note: the validity clock only starts ticking from your first European train trip.
  • Choose the dates you want to travel between cities and reserve your train seats .I recommend finding the best train times on Eurail’s Rail Planner app ( iOS , Android ), jotting down the trains you want to book, then booking all your reservations in one hit online. The sooner, the better, especially during busy periods. Each reservation attracts a variable fee of around €10 per person and a booking fee of around €2 per person.

Note: Reservations aren’t required for all trains in Italy. Regional trains travelling between major cities usually require reservations while local trains usually don’t. The Rail Planner app alerts you if the train you’re considering requires a reservation.

Oh, and “metro” trains (such as short distance lines within Rome) are operated by municipal governments and are not covered by Eurail.

tour italy by train

For this rail itinerary, I recommend choosing a Eurail Italy Pass with 8 travel days in 1 month , meaning you can catch as many trains as you like in a one month period providing you don’t spend more than 8 calendar days on trains. This pass costs US$278 for an adult in 2 nd class or US$371 for 1 st class. If you want to extend your rail itinerary into France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia or Croatia, then one of Eurail’s Global Passes will fit better.

tour italy by train

When you arrive in Italy:

  • Validate your Eurail pass at any major train station by getting it stamped at the main customer service office. This should take around 5 minutes (providing there’s no massive queue). Leave extra time though – “efficiency” is not part of the common vocab here.
  • Before catching any train, write the date of travel in the top section of your Eurail pass and the date , time , departure point , and destination in the bottom section.
  • When the train conductor checks your train ticket, simply show your Eurail pass (and train reservation, if required).

Italy train tip: While we printed our reservations in advance, you can alternatively show the conductor the digital copy on your smartphone (and save a tree).

Day 1: Travel from Milan to La Spezia

Time: just over 3 hours

We flew in to Milan Bergamo Airport and caught a bus to Bergarmo Station . We then caught a train to Milano Centrale Station , paying for tickets as our Eurail passes weren’t yet validated.

We arrived at Milano Centrale Station 90 minutes before our 14:05 train (IC669) to La Spezia Centrale Station so we could validate our Eurail passes, get some lunch, and find our train. Our first stop was the Trenitalia Customer Service Office to get our Eurail Passes validated. The customer service office shares a storefront with the Trenitalia Ticket office, the doors on the right are for tickets, the doors on the left are for customer service.

After grabbing lunch at Panzera , we found our train platform on the nearest LCD information screen and walked to the train platforms.

tour italy by train

Italy train tip: Platforms are often allocated at the last minute so don’t worry if your train hasn’t got a platform number yet, and the scheduled departure is in 7 minutes – it will come soon enough.

tour italy by train

Train reservations include allocated carriage and seats so know which carriage number you need and find that number on the train doors. All carriages include luggage storage space so simply jump on board, store your bags, find your seats, and enjoy the ride.

Italy train tip: Most carriages have a large “1” or “2” painted on the outside – these indicate the “class”. Typically, the carriage number (indicated by “carrozza” in Italy) is smaller or even printed on paper fixed to a window. If you get on the wrong carriage, don’t worry. Just play the dumb tourist card and you’ll be fine.

tour italy by train

Days 2-5: La Spezia & Cinque Terre

What to do in la spezia.

La Spezia is most famous for its close proximity to Cinque Terre - 5 colourful towns built into towering cliffs along the Ligurian coastline connected by train, and one of the most beautiful parts of Italy. We spent 1 morning exploring La Spezia town and 3 mornings exploring Cinque Terre. Afternoons involved relaxing in our Airbnb apartment in La Spezia which is cheaper, and closer to conveniences like supermarkets, than the Cinque Terre towns.

Recommended things to do in La Spezia:

  • Visit Castello San Giorgio , a 13 th century military fortress which is now a museum exhibiting ancient archaeological artefacts like roman statues, ceramics, funerary seals, coins, and jewellery. Museum tickets cost €5.50 and include access to the Castello terraces, which have the best views over La Spezia.

tour italy by train

  • Eat gelato at GRANDCRU Gelataria . It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a gelato connoisseur. I’ve picked up a few tricks to spot a good gelato and sadly, most gelatarias in La Spezia weren’t up to scratch… except for GRANDCRU Gelataria. This gelato was available in natural flavours – no “blue smurf” in sight – and not piled high. As expected, it didn’t disappoint.

tour italy by train

  • Walk along Ponte Thaon di Revel to Porto Mirabello . From the terraces of Castello San Giorgio, we spotted a funky suspension bridge leading to what looked like a floating park so we checked it out. Turns out the bridge lead to a relaxing walk along a marina where you can watch boats come and go or simply enjoy the sunshine. There are also a few restaurants at the marina like La Pia Porto Mirabello which is a relaxing spot to enjoy a drink by the sea. 

tour italy by train

  • Eat farinata , a half way between a golden crepe and crumbly pizza base. Made from chickpea flour, it can be enjoyed plain or topped like a pizza. Farinata is found at most pizzerias in La Spezia and is a delish alternative for gluten-free eaters.

What to do in Cinque Terre

The easiest way to get from La Spezia to the 5 Cinque Terre towns, Riomaggiore , Manarola , Monterosso , Vernazza , and Corniglia is by train. These trains don’t require reservations so simply fill out your Eurail pass and jump on board.

We spent 1 morning exploring Riamaggiore and Manarola and another morning exploring Monterosso, Vernazza, and Corniglia. I recommend spending a third morning returning to your favourite town, for me it was Manarola.

Italy tip: Cinque Terre tends to get pretty crowded by midday when the tour groups descend so we tried to get out by 2pm each day.

tour italy by train

The best thing to do in Cinque Terre is simply walk around and explore the picturesque alleyways, colourful buildings, and beachfront restaurants. Each town has a distinct feel, but they all have relaxing seaside vibes and delicious Italian food.

Recommended things to do in Cinque Terre:


When you leave Riomaggiore train station , you can either take a tunnel straight southeast to the centre of town or take a steep, winding elevated road.

  • Eat gelato at Old School Geletaria & Snack Bar while lapping up the colourful sights all around. Yep, more gelato… why not, you’re on vacation! Tip: try the pistachio.
  • Visit the Church of San Giovanni Battista of Riomaggiore , a cute little gothic-style church from the 1300’s.
  • Taste local wine from the rooftop of La Conchiglia , a traditional restaurant with views you’ll probably recognise from Instagram.

tour italy by train

There’s really only one path to take from Manarola Station which leads to a winding road with amazing views over the colourful town. This is the most Instagram-famous of the Cinque Terre towns.

  • Snap a few Instagram photos at this popular viewpoint .
  • Admire the works of street artists creating paintings inspired by the colourful village – near the same viewpoint.
  • Grab a bite to eat and perhaps another glass of local wine at Nessan Dorma , a terrace style restaurant overlooking the town. Thanks to trains, there’s no need to worry about a designated driver!

tour italy by train

Monterosso is less hilly than the other towns with easily accessible accommodation, shops and restaurants. This would be my recommended base if you chose to stay in Cinque Terre. Monterosso station is a short walk to the beach and boardwalk.

  • With its white sandy beach, Monterosso is definitely the town for swimming and sunbaking .
  • Walk along Via Fegina   to explore the centre of town with its clothing, souvenir, and artisan stores, restaurants and cafes.
  • Try the best pizza of your life at La Pia . These guys have mastered pizza that’s both light and fluffy and crispy and crunchy. It’s so good I went back for a second helping.

tour italy by train

The main street from Vernazza station takes you past souvenir stores and restaurants to a rocky pier where you can enjoy the sunshine. Just follow the downward slope of the hill and you can’t get lost.

  • Order your favourite drink or a glass of local wine from the rooftop of Ristorante Belleforte . With its prime location overlooking the sea, this place gets pretty packed so I recommend booking a table online in advance.
  • Vernazza was by far the busiest of the Cinque Terre towns. To get some space from the crowds, we headed inland and enjoyed a delicious lunch at II Pirata delle 5 Terre .

tour italy by train

Corniglia is unlike any other Cinque Terre town in that it’s a good 20-minute walk from the train station up a series of very steep, zig-zagging steps . Think of purgatory, but with prettier views. It turns out there is a mini-bus that runs between the town and train station in 5-8 minutes for €1.50 per person. If only I’d known about the bus before I started climbing! Oh well, that’s my penance for eating mountains of sinfully delicious gelato.

  • Wander through the streets to explore picturesque alleyways and buy cute souvenirs.
  • Have a glass of local wine at Bar Terza Terra di Cardario Alison , a small bar with extra seating out on the Corniglia lookout point .
  • Grab a photo of Manarola from this viewpoint .

tour italy by train

Day 6: Travel from La Spezia to Rome

Time: 3 hours and 45 minutes

La Spezia Centrale Station is quite small but I suggest arriving about 15 minutes before your scheduled departure to navigate the underpass with your luggage, get on board and find your seat without rushing. We caught the FB8605 train from La Spezia to Roma Termini , the main train station in Rome.

Most long-distance trains in Italy have 1 st and 2 nd class carriages, but we soon discovered the definition of “1 st class” varies from train to train. On the trains to and from La Spezia, 1 st class meant a much quieter carriage with fold-out tables, electrical outlets, and extra luggage storage space. A snack cart came through twice every journey with the opportunity to purchase tea or coffee, soft drinks, and snacks like chips, nuts, and candy.

tour italy by train

We stayed in an Airbnb apartment near the Vatican so caught the metro from Termini to Lepanto (not covered by the Eurail pass).

Days 7-8 Rome

What to do in rome.

For a full list of things to do in Rome, read my 2-day itinerary . The highlights include:

  • Explore modern Rome with a Welcome to Rome City Stroll & Gelato Tasting tour . The tour visits the iconic Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, the ancient Pantheon, and tastes gelato at my favourite gelataria in Rome, Don Nino .
  • Visit the Colosseum with a 1-hour guided tour through  Italy Travels . The tickets are valid for 2 days and include access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
  • Take an Instagram-worthy photo outside the Colosseum from the viewpoint at the top of the brick steps at the north end. 
  • Visit the Roman Forum and walk through the ruins of ancient Roman temples, statues, and public buildings.
  • Visit the Vatican on a  VIP Pristine Sistine Vatican Tour with Museum Breakfast . With this tour, you can visit Michelangelo’s magnificent Sistine Chapel before the crowds and enjoy a buffet breakfast in the Pinecone Courtyard. The knowledgeable guide will help you understand the plethora of Renaissance paintings, statues, and religious artefacts inside the unimaginably huge Vatican Museums before exploring St Peter’s Basilica.

tour italy by train

Day 9: Travel from Rome to Florence

Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

We caught the FR9532 train from Roma Termini to Florence S.M.N . Romana Termini is a very large station so we arrived 30 minutes before our scheduled departure.

This time, our 1 st class tickets meant we were in a business class carriage, with reclining leather seats, noise-suppressing glass dividers, and a complimentary bottle of water and snacks. Hello, luxury! The train also had a small restaurant/bar in a dedicated carriage. This is what exploring Italy by train looks like, baby!

tour italy by train

The 90-minute journey flew by way too fast! Before we knew it, we’d arrived in Florence where we easily navigated our way out to the taxi stand and caught a taxi to our Airbnb apartment .

tour italy by train

Italy travel tip: Getting around in Italy by train is much, much easier with unlimited Internet access. I used a Tep Wireless hotspot every day, which can be shared with up to 5 travellers in your group. Read my full review for more details…

Days 10-14: Florence, Pisa & Lucca

What to do in florence.

For a full list of things to do in Florence, read my 4-day itinerary . The highlights include:

  • Take a Best of Florence Walking Tour and see Michelangelo’s famous David sculpture. This is something you simply have to see in person, photos can’t possibly capture its magic. The tour also visits the Florence Duomo, Ponte Vecchio Bridge, and provides tips on getting around Florence.

tour italy by train

  • Take a Day Trip to Pisa and Lucca and climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa (after taking a holding-up-the-tower selfie, of course!). The tour includes lunch at a Tuscan winery and explores the beautiful medieval town of Lucca on foot.

tour italy by train

  • Climb Brunelleschi’s Dome and visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, St John’s Baptistery, and the Duomo Museum. Tickets must be booked online in advance.
  • Buy an Italian leather jacket or handbag at the artisan leather markets .  
  • Watch the sunset from Pizzale Michelangelo .

tour italy by train

  • Visit the Uffizi Gallery and see acclaimed works of Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Botticelli. To avoid long queues, book tickets online in advance.

tour italy by train

  • Taste the world’s best gelato at Gelateria Edoardo . I’m not trying to hype it up, but this statement comes from my years of painstaking research all over the globe.

Day 15: Travel from Florence to Venice

Time: just under 2 hours

We caught the FR9418 train from Florence S.M.N to Venezia Santa Lucia and enjoyed the business class carriage again.

It’s important to note there are 2 train station in Venice, Venezia Porto Maghera and Venezia Santa Lucia . Venezia Porto Maghera is located on the mainland , not on the island with the famous canals. So if you’re staying along the canals, make sure you get off at Venezia Santa Lucia.

We stayed in an Airbnb apartment near San Marco and caught a water bus from outside the train station. Catching the waterbus around Venice was nowhere nearly as easy as catching the train around Italy. Find out why in my article .

Italy travel tip: It's easy to get around Italy via train, but if you've got a larger group, compare prices with a private minivan .

Days 16-18: Venice

What to do in venice.

For my full list of things to do in Venice, read my 2-day itinerary . The highlights include:

  • Visit St Mark’s Basilica  and be amazed by the ornate gold decorations inside and out. There’s a reason it’s called “The Church of Gold”. Book tickets online to avoid waiting 45 minutes or more in the queue.

tour italy by train

  • Visit St Mark’s Square Museums – the Correr Museum , Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana , the National Archaeology Museum , and Doge’s Palace . If these museums don’t get you up to speed on Venetian history, nothing will. Book tickets online with Viator .
  • Walk along Rialto Bridge , just keep an eye out for pickpockets targeting the bustling crowd.

tour italy by train

  • Go on a “traditional” gondola ride but be prepared to part with €80 for a 30-minute tour. Book tickets online with Viator . 
  • Take a day-tour of 5 nearby islands including Murano, famous for handmade glassware; Burano, famous for handmade lace; and San Francesco del Desserto, home to a historic Franciscan monastery.

tour italy by train

Day 19: Travel from Venice to Milan

Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

We caught the FR9714 train from Venezia Santa Lucia to Milano Centrale Station and completed our loop around northern Italy. Again, our 1 st class tickets provide business class seats.

We stayed in an Airbnb apartment near the Duomo .

Days 19-21: Milan

What to do in milan.

For my full list of things to do in Milan, read my 1-day itinerary . The highlights include:

  • Take a Best of Milan Tour and visit Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper. The tour also visits Roman ruins, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and the Milan Duomo including access to the rooftop terraces.

tour italy by train

  • Visit Leonardo’s World Museum   and see recreations of Leonardo da Vinci’s amazing inventions. Book tickets online with Viator .
  • Shop at the Golden Triangle , one of the most prestigious fashion districts in the world.
  • Visit the Sforza Castle , a 15 th century castle converted into a series of museums housing Renaissance artwork by renowned artists including Leonardo da Vinci.

tour italy by train

The Bottom Line

Choosing just one city to visit in Italy is an impossible task. There’s ancient history in Rome, high fashion in Milan, Renaissance art in Florence, colourful towns in Cinque Terre, and the floating marvel of Venice, to name just a few. So that really leaves only one option… visit them all!

When you explore Italy by train with a Eurail pass , all the planning of inter-city rail trips can be arranged from the comfort of your couch at home. There’s no language barriers and no surprises later.

Add to the mix my epic 21-day rail itinerary, and you’ve got all the ingredients for an Italian vacation so spectacular even Michelangelo would applaud, er, if his skeleton could move.

Anyway, now it’s your turn to put in some effort… and do the research necessary to decide which city has the best gelato. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

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Italy train guide — how to travel italy by train.

How to travel Italy by train — tips for buying Italian train tickets and advice for navigating Italy by rail.


tour italy by train

Italy is a joy to travel by train—the views of the countryside are amazing, the rail system is efficient, and booking tickets is easier than ever. Furthermore, Italy has a highly-developed high-speed rail network that quickly connects all major cities and slower local trains connect most of the small towns. It’s simply the best way to travel around Italy. In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about Italy trains—from buying tickets to traveling between its great cities.

How To Buy Train Tickets in Italy

tour italy by train

Buying Italian train tickets is generally easy—in most cases, you can purchase tickets online and have them sent electronically to your phone/app.

Let’s first take a look at where and how early to buy tickets…

Travel Tip: Most train tickets in Italy are now electronic so having reliable high-speed data for your phone is super helpful. Here are a few articles I’ve written to help you get cheap mobile data in Italy:  Guide To Mobile Data Plans and Smartphone Phones in Europe ,  How To Buy A SIM Card and Mobile Data Plans in Europe , and Guide To Buying SIM Cards and Mobile Data Plans in Italy

Where To Buy Italy Train Tickets

Buying Italian train tickets online is fairly simple and straightforward these days—but there can sometimes be a few quirks.

Note: Trenitalia is the official Italian Railways website. The site is known to have weird translation issues and some people have problems with getting their payments processed. Personally, I’d avoid using this if you’re not Italian. The options below are much more user-friendly for non-Italians.

Omio is a search engine that lets you compare and book trains (and buses and flights) anywhere in Europe. It lets you easily book tickets with your credit card at essentially the same prices as the Trenitalia website. Additionally, Omio searches routes for multiple rail services across Europe so it’s great for international trips (since it can easily combine rail journeys of multiple countries).

TrainLine is a website that searches multiple rail services across Europe so it’s great for international trips (since it can easily combine rail journeys of multiple countries). It’s also good for single-country travel. Plus, it’s designed for English-speaking travelers so it’s super user-friendly.

ItaliaRail is a worldwide distributor of Italian train tickets so their site is also simple to use for English speakers. You can use a credit card to pay in most currencies so anyone in the world use to able to buy tickets through the site. As an added bonus, the tickets are electronic so they can be sent straight to your phone (or can be printed at home if you prefer).

Italotreno is a private rail company that runs modern high-speed trains between most major cities—these trains only run between major cities. Be sure to check them out as there are some deals to be found. Luckily, when you search with Omio you’ll also get Italotreno trains in the results so I prefer searching there since you can compare all the rail companies.

At The Station

Of course, you can buy any Italian train ticket from any train station—either from a ticket window or an automated machine. You can purchase tickets in advance from train stations as well.

How To Collect Your Train Tickets

Tickets purchased online can be collected in a few different ways. Sometimes you’re given multiple methods and sometimes you’re only given one option:

  • Electronic Tickets: Tickets are sent to your phone or sometimes an App. Simply show your phone to the conductor on the train when he checks the tickets.
  • Print-At-Home Tickets: Print them and show them to the conductor on the train when he checks the tickets. You can often simply save the PDF to your phone/tablet and the conductor can scan it from there.
  • Pick Up At the Station: Use your credit card or a booking number to print your tickets at the train station.
  • Reference Number (PNR): You’re sent a booking reference number (PRN) and you show it to the conductor on the train when he checks tickets.

Do I Need To Buy Italian Train Tickets In Advance?

Long-Distance/High-Speed Trains: Yes – book early. Booking ahead online will get you the cheapest tickets and prices will continue to rise as the departure date approaches. For example, I just did a search for a day-of ticket for Rome-Milan and it was €95 but tickets bought two months in advance are €32—that’s a pretty big difference.

  • High-Speed Trains: Frecciarossa (180mph), Frecciargento (160 mph), Frecciabianca (155mph), Italo (180 mph), InterCity (125mph).

Note: Trains between major cities will almost always be high-speed trains (Rome-Milan, Rome-Venice, Rome-Florence, Venice-Milan, etc). Also, most train tickets are available for purchase between three to six months in advance.

Regional Trains: Price-wise, there is no need to book early. Regional trains are priced by distance traveled so there is no discount for booking early. Simply show up at the station and buy your tickets at the window or automated kiosk.

Of course, you can still buy regional train tickets online so they’re ready to go on your phone and you can skip any lines at the ticket machines.

  • Slow Trains: InterRegionale (IR), Regionale (R), and Diretto (D)

High-Speed Vs. InterCity/Regional Trains: High-speed trains are faster (obviously) and nicer/more comfortable than InterCity/Regional trains. They’re also more expensive but we usually think the time savings are worth the cost. But if you’re on a budget then there is no shame in taking a cheaper train.

International Train Tickets

International train tickets (i.e. tickets between Italy and another country) can sometimes cause a few issues. Let’s take a look at a few:

  • Otherwise, you can book two separate journeys (one for Country A and another for Country B) but that’s kind of a hassle.
  • Buy Ticket From Departure Country’s Site: Always purchase your tickets from the country in which your train departs. This is because you can often only pick up your ticket from a station in the country where the trip originates. For example, for a journey from Nice, France to Milan, Italy you’ll want to buy your ticket from the French rail network but if you’re going from Milan to Nice then you’ll want to buy the ticket from an Italian site. NOTE: This isn’t an issue when you book through a third-party booking website.

How To Use Your Italy Train Tickets

On most high-speed trains in Italy, your ticket is only good for the time on the ticket. You’ll also be given an assigned seat. You don’t need a validate your ticket because your seat is reserved (but they might check your ID). NOTE: Your ticket will show the car and seat number so make sure you’re in the right car (the trains are clearly marked).

On regional trains , you might have a physical ticket. Make sure to validate (i.e. stamp) your ticket in the validation boxes on the platform before you get on the train. They’re sometimes hard to see so watch what the locals are doing. If you forget to validate, seek out the conductor immediately and have him stamp it — if you wait until he comes around you might be given a fine.

Regional trains won’t have seat reservations so just sit anywhere.

Once you’re on the train the conductor will eventually walk through the aisles to check tickets.

How To Make Rail Pass Reservations

Most high-speed trains require you to make a reservation when using a Eurail pass — the reservation costs around €10/seat. You must make the reservation before you get on the train. There are a few ways to make reservations:

Italy Train Tickets - Railpass Reservation

  • Online: lets you book your reservation online through their platform. Simply look for a button that says something like “I Have A Railpass” and follow the prompts.
  • At The Train Station: You can simply go to the train station and book your reservation from the customer service desk or self-service kiosks. You can book it weeks in advance or you can do it the day you depart. We suggest using the kiosks because the ticket window can take forever.

More Tips For Riding Italian Trains

  • Check The Departures Board: You’ll find your train platform via the departure board at the train station. Don’t worry if you don’t see your train because they often only display trains departing within the next 10-20 minutes.
  • Cheap Tickets Are Non-Refundable: One downside to cheap tickets is that they’re non-refundable and they can’t be changed.
  • Pack A Picnic: You’re allowed to bring your own food and alcohol on trains. It’s great for those long train rides.
  • Luggage: There aren’t any weight limits on luggage and you can bring as much as you want (well, as much as you can carry). Simply bring it on and store it above your head, behind your seat, or in the luggage racks in each car.
  • Get To The Train Station Early: Train stations are usually fairly easy to navigate but they can be a little confusing—especially larger stations. There isn’t any security that you have to go through but it doesn’t hurt to arrive about 20 minutes early.
  • Know Train Station Names: Most large cities have multiple train stations so this often creates confusion. Double-check to make sure you have the right station — especially when booking your ticket.
  • Learn Italian City Names: Italian cities will often be called by their Italian name — for example, Roma (Rome), Firenze (Florence), Napoli (Naples), Milano (Milan), etc.
  • First Class vs Second Class Tickets: First Class tickets normally cost 1.5x the second class rate. Second Class is perfectly comfortable but First Class seats are a bit bigger. There isn’t much more of a difference.
  • Use A Credit Card With Chip: Automated ticket kiosks require a card with a chip so make sure you know your PIN code.
  • Get High-Speed Mobile Data: Train tickets are electronic so you’ll want data on your phone. Check out my guide to the best prepaid eSIM plans for Italy to get a cheap data plan.

Learn More About Traveling In Italy

tour italy by train

Here are a few articles I’ve written about traveling around Italy:

  • Rome Travel Guide: Tips For Visiting Rome
  • Florence Travel Guide: Tips For Visiting Florence
  • Venice Travel Guide: Tips For Visiting Venice
  • Recent Posts

James Feess

  • Backpacking Europe Packing List — My Europe Travel Packing Guide - April 6, 2024
  • Best eSIM For Europe Travel | Everything You Need To Know About European Prepaid eSIM Data Plans - March 24, 2024
  • Holafly eSIM Review | Testing The New eSIM Data Plan from Holafly - March 3, 2024

tour italy by train

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The Best Of Italy By Train

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  • Introduction
  • Day 1 Arrive in Milan
  • Day 2 The Best of Milan with duomo
  • Day 3 Milan to Venice
  • Day 4 Legendary Venice Tour
  • Day 5 Venice to Florence
  • Day 6 Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and Chianti winery lunch.
  • Day 7 Florence to Rome
  • Day 8 Rome In A Day Including The Vatican Tour
  • Day 9 Rome / Pompei / Vico Equense in Sorrento Coast
  • Day 10 Amalfi Coast Drive
  • Day 11 Free Day
  • Day 12 Vico Equense / Home

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  • A Alexandra · 16th January 2024 The Best of Italy tour surpassed expectations! From comfortable hotels to knowledgeable guides, every detail was impeccable. The curated tours revealed Italy's charm, making each moment unforgettable. An enriching experience that perfectly captured the... Show more Trip date: March 2020 Review collected by Flag Travel Holidays
  • A Matthew · 16th January 2024 The Best of Italy by Train tour package surpassed my expectations! From the awe-inspiring sights to seamless logistics, it was a dream. The hotels were comfortable, the guides knowledgeable, and the tours perfectly curated. Traveling by train added an... Show more Trip date: March 2020 Review collected by Flag Travel Holidays
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On the Luce travel blog

One-week Italy by train itinerary

Posted on Last updated: October 2, 2023

Explore Italy by train in just one week on this rail itinerary packed with culture, history, food and wine as you travel across the country from Venice to Sicily via Florence, Rome, Naples and Sorrento.

* This site contains affiliate links , where I get a small commission from purchases at no extra cost to you.

One-week Italy by train itinerary

Feast on fabulous Italian culture, history, food and wine on this journey across Italy by train. This rail trip takes you from the top to the toe of Italy in one week, sampling some of the highlights of one of my favourite countries in the world along the way.

Starting among the canals of Venice, you’ll head south to experience Renaissance art in Florence, 28 centuries of history in Rome, delicious pizza in Naples, sunset views in Sorrento and temples and beaches in Sicily. This Italian rail itinerary will show you which trains to take, how much they cost, how to book and what to see and do at each stop.

One-week Italy by train itinerary map

Day 1: Venice

Start your Italy by train adventure with a full day in Venice. You might have to dodge the crowds at St Mark’s Square, the Doges Palace and Rialto Bridge, but Venice still has plenty of charm to go around. Climb to the top of the Campanile for a bird’s eye view of the city from its tallest point, admire the Bridge of Sighs and watch the gondoliers in action.

You’re guaranteed to get lost in Venice’s confusing maze of canals and bridges, so embrace it and see what you can discover – a tucked-away chapel, crumbling palazzo or shady square to stop in for an Aperol Spritz and some tasty cicchetti bar snacks.

Gondolas and the Rialto Bridge in Venice

Venice is built on 118 islands, so take to the water to explore, whether in a traditional gondola or on one of the vaporetto public water buses which shuttle people around the city and out to the islands – choose from Lido with its sandy beach, Murano with its glass-makers, Burano with its brightly painted houses or Torcello with its historic cathedral.

Where to stay in Venice: Live like a Doge for the night in a restored 12th-century palace – without too much of a regal price tag – at the Hotel Antico Doge *, close to the Rialto Bridge. Inside the hotel’s lavish interiors feature antique furniture, original paintings, chandeliers, gilt mirrors and jewel-coloured brocade fabrics.

Colourful buildings in Murano, Venice

Day 2: Venice > Florence

Early the next morning, take a 2-hour high-speed Frecciarossa train to the Tuscan capital Florence, departing Venezia San Lucia at 07.26 and arriving into Florence Santa Maria Novella at 09.39. Then spend rest of your day in Florence exploring the city (if you need to store your bags, there’s a left luggage office near the station at 1a Via Valfonda).

The birthplace of the Renaissance is heaven for art and architecture lovers, with its cobbled streets, grand palazzi , frescoed churches, museums and galleries. Admire artworks by Carvaggio and da Vinci at the Uffizi Gallery ( book in advance * if possible as queues are crazy in high season) or visit Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia.

The Florence skyline on a trip around Italy by train

Climb up the 436 steps to the top of the Duomo or check out the views over Florence’s rooftops from the Piazzale Michelangelo. Or cross the River Arno on the city’s most famous bridge – the Ponte Vecchio, a covered bridge lined with shops dating back to 1350. And try fresh local produce at San Lorenzo Market, the city’s oldest and largest food market.

Where to stay in Florence: The 4-star Hotel Santa Maria Novella * is only five minutes’ walk from the train station. Its 71 rooms are spread across three townhouses, and come with marble bathrooms and splashes of colour. There’s also a sauna and gym, a bar and a rooftop terrace which looks down on the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella.

The Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence at sunset

Day 3: Florence > Rome

The following day, take a short 90-minute train journey to Rome. High-speed trains run from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station to Rome Termini around every 15 minutes, so you can decide how early a start you want to make. There’s so much to see in Rome that one day is never going to be enough, so choose a few highlights to focus on.

This audioguide walking tour * takes you through some of the city’s iconic landmarks, from Piazza del Popolo to the Colosseum. Explore more Roman sites at the Pantheon and Roman Forum. Or head to a another country with an afternoon in Vatican City, where you can admire artworks at St Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums.

The Trevi Fountain in Rome

Tick off some of the classic Roman experiences – throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, climb the Spanish Steps, listen to street performers in Piazza Navona and stroll through the gardens of Villa Borghese. Or head across the River Tiber to the bohemian neighbourhood of Trastavere with its boutique shops and terrace bars – perfect for a sunset aperitivo .

Where to stay in Rome: The eco-friendly Beehive is a luxury hostel close to Rome Termini station, with a mix of dorms and private rooms with shared or en-suite bathrooms, a courtyard garden and cosy lounge. The friendly owners also run a bagel business and organise communal dinners, aperitivo evenings and cookery classes.

Rome buildings at sunset

Day 4: Rome > Naples > Sorrento

Follow the coast south on the 70-minute high-speed train journey to the gritty city of Naples, departing Rome Termini at 08.00 and arriving at Naples Centrale at 09.13. Store your bags at the station for the day and explore the historic buildings of the centro storico before lunch – Naples is famous for its food and is where pizza was first created.

Then head underground to explore the network of catacombs and wartime shelters underneath the city streets. Or visit the Museo Archeologico Nazionale to see some of the archaeological treasures unearthed from sites like Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Next catch a train to from Naples Garibaldi station (located beneath Naples Centrale) to Sorrento. It takes around 70 minutes by Circumvesuviana local train or 45 minutes on the Campania Express tourist service (which only runs from April–October).

The Duomo cathedral in Naples, Italy

Circumvesuviana trains are fairly basic and can get pretty busy, but the views of Mount Vesuvius and out across the Bay of Naples make up for it. Campania Express trains come with a few more extra frills like air conditioning and luggage storage.

Aim to arrive into Sorrento in time for sunset and head to the clifftop Villa Communale Park where you can watch the sun dip down into the bay before dinner. And make sure to leave room for the amazing local gelato from Gelateria Davide.

Where to stay in Sorrento: If you feel like splashing out, the uber-stylish Maison La Minervetta * is built into the cliffs above the port of Marina Grande, just outside the centre of Sorrento. Owned by an interior designer, it mixes whitewash and splashes of colour, with multiple terraces to soak up the view – one with a whirlpool bath – and a private beach.

Read more: Sirens and sunsets: The best things to do in Sorrento

Sunset over Sorrento from the Villa Communale Park

Day 5: Day trip from Sorrento

Spend the next day exploring Sorrento or head out into the Bay of Naples, with a good range of day trips to choose from. You can take the Circumvesuviana train north to visit the ruined Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii , which were buried and preserved underneath metres of volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.

It takes 25 minutes to reach Pompeii Scavi or 45 minutes to Ercolano Scavi. Or you can catch a bus from either station to Vesuvio National Park. Once you arrive it’s a 20-minute walk to the edge of the crater for steaming vents and panoramic views.

Or take a boat from Sorrento and explore some of this beautiful stretch of coastline’s islands and cliffside towns. Ferries run along the Amalfi Coast * to the towns of Positano and Amalfi. Or you can visit the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida and go shopping with the A-list, visit the dazzling Blue Grotto sea cave or soak in thermal baths.

Read more: 9 of the best day trips from Sorrento

The buried Roman city of Pompeii, Italy

Day 6: Sorrento > Sicily

Make an early start for a long travel day to Sicily. First take the Circumvesuviana train from Sorrento back to Naples, allowing time to change stations before catching the 09.50 InterCity train from Naples Centrale south along the coast to Sicily.

It’s one of Europe’s most unusual train journeys as the whole train gets on board the ferry for the short journey across the Straits of Messina to Sicily. Once you’re back on land, the train carries on through Sicily where you have a choice of final destination.

There’s the resort town of Taormina (arrival 16.40) where you can visit the Greek amphitheatre and relax on the beach at Isola Bella with a lemony granita (crushed ice). Or you can carry on to Catania (arrival 17.25) where you can explore the city’s spectacular Baroque architecture, shop the street markets and learn to cook like a Catanian.

Isola Bella in Taormina, Sicily

The train splits into two sections in Sicily, so as well as heading south to Taormina and Catania, you could also head east to the city of Palermo (arrival 19.25). Palermo is Sicily’s capital, a buzzing city famous for its imposing cathedral, puppet theatre shows, lavish Teatro Massimo opera house and the creepy catacombs with their mummified bodies.

Where to stay in Sicily: In Taormina, the small but perfectly formed Hotel Taodomus * in the heart of the historic centre comes with a small terrace and honesty bar. In Catania, the historic 4-star Palace Catania * has a knockout view of Mount Etna from its roof terrace and restaurant. Or in Palermo, the Casa Nostra Boutique Hotel * is close to the cathedral with a terrace, outdoor pool and some rooms with balcony spa baths.

Read more: Churches and cannoli: The best things to do in Catania

Catania fish market (La Pescheria) in Sicily

Day 7: Sicily

Spend the final day of your Italy by train trip seeing more of Sicily – and make sure to eat a few cannoli before you leave. If you’re flying back home, both Palermo and Catania have international airports which are connected to each city by bus. Or you can pre-book a transfer to either airport with an English-speaking driver though Welcome Pickups .*

Palermo cathedral in Sicily on a trip around Italy by train

If you’ve got more time to spare, there’s plenty more to see in Sicily – you can climb Mount Etna, visit the Valley of Temples in Agrigento, take a boat out to the volcanic Aeolian Islands, explore the Greek and Roman ruins in Siracusa and hike through the Riserva Naturale Orientata dello Zingaro nature reserve.

Or if you fancy adding another country onto your trip, ferries run between Sicily and Malta once or twice a day. Take a train or bus to Pozzallo in the south-east of Sicily, where the ferry takes around 90 minutes to reach the harbour in Valletta .

Valletta in Malta

How much does it cost?

When you’re planning a European rail trip, you can either book individual tickets or get a railpass, which can be a better deal if you’re under 28, want more flexibility or are booking late. Here’s how the prices break down for the two different options on this route.

Individual tickets

Ticket prices vary depending on how early you book, with a limited number of cheap tickets available. So book as early as possible (on most routes you can book 3–4 months in advance) but beware these tickets are non-transferable so you’re tied to a specific train. Using the cheapest fares, the cost of trains on this route starts at €79 per person.

  • Venice > Florence: from €19.90
  • Florence > Rome: from €19.90
  • Rome > Naples: from €9.90
  • Naples > Sorrento > Naples: €9 (can’t be booked in advance)
  • Naples > Sicily: from €19.90

Evening strolls in Sorrento

The railpass option

There are also various rail passes available through InterRail (for European residents) and Eurail (for non-European residents), which cover individual countries or the whole region and are valid for different periods of time, varying from four days to three months.

The Italy by train itinerary involves four travel days in one country, so the best option is the One Country Italy pass for 4 travel days within 1 month . This pass costs €153 for adults, €126 for youths (aged 12–27) or €138 for seniors (aged 60+) in second class.

Venice's Grand Canal

As well as the pass, you also need to pay an extra compulsory reservation fee if you’re using Italy’s high-speed, long-distance trains or sleeper services. For this trip, the extra fees come to €42, broken down as below, meaning the overall railpass cost starts from €168.

  • Venice > Florence: €10
  • Florence > Rome: €10
  • Rome > Naples: €10
  • Naples > Sorrento > Naples: €9 (Circumvesuviana trains aren’t covered by railpass)
  • Naples > Sicily: €3

Reservations can be made at any train station or online through the InterRail/Eurail reservations service for a fee of €2. I’ve recommended the quickest and easiest routes. But you can often avoid reservation fees by taking local trains which usually don’t require reservations – though they’re likely to be slower with more changes along the way.

The Vittorio Emanuele II Monument in Rome, Italy

How to book

There are a variety of websites where you can book European train journeys, but often the best deals are though the official railway company sites for each country, which is Trenitalia for Italy. The site is available in English, but you need to use Italian place names (so that’s Venezia instead of Venice, Firenze instead of Florence, Napoli instead of Naples, etc).

You can also book tickets for train travel in Italy with Omio * or The Trainline . The advantage is these sites are in English, you can see prices in €, £ or $, use international credit cards and print or use mobile tickets, but they do both charge a small booking fee.

Don’t want to do it yourself? You can also book this One-week Italy by train itinerary * as a package through our partners Byway, the world’s first flight-free holiday platform, which includes transport and accommodation.

Save for later

Explore Italy by train in just one week on this rail itinerary packed with culture, history, food and wine as you travel across the country from Venice to Sicily via Florence, Rome, Naples and Sorrento | Italian trains | InterRail in Italy | Italy train travel | Italian rail itinerary

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Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Coming in July. Can’t wait to use your suggestions.

Lucy Dodsworth

Thursday 24th of March 2022

Fantastic, hope you have a wonderful trip!

Michelle (@littlewanderblog)

Monday 18th of January 2021

Great article! This trip is one of my bucket list ventures! I once went to Rome to Venice on the train, spending 3 nights in each place, but definitely would love all the sights listed on this one! Michelle

Monday 25th of January 2021

Thanks Michelle, hope we can both get to Italy again before too long!

Jan (@Chimptrips)

Wednesday 29th of April 2020

Hi Lucy - This sounds like a great trip and a good way to see lots of Italy. We had planned to take the train from Rome to Naples at Easter, but will just have to go another time! Jan

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Ah hope you get to do the trip sometime soon, that's a great journey!

Train advice from the Man in Seat 61...

The Man in Seat 61

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A beginner's guide to

Train travel in italy.

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Train travel UK & Ireland...

Train travel in europe..., train travel in asia..., train travel in africa..., train travel in america..., train travel in australasia.

Book your hotels at

Ride the trains in Italy from €9.90

There's no better way to see the cities of Italy than by train, trains link almost every town & city of any size, centre to centre.  Driving & parking in Italian cities is not recommended.  The high-speed trains are now faster, more convenient & more relaxing than flying (between 2008 & 2018, the airlines' share of the Milan-Rome market dropped from 50% to just 14%!).

Rome to Florence takes just 1h32 at up to 300 km/h (186 mph) & costs from €19.90, Rome to Venice 3h45 from €29.90, Rome to Naples 1h12 from €19.90, Rome to Milan 2h55 from €29.90.

No check-in, no need for transfers to/from out-of-town airports, no baggage fees or weight limits.  There are even trains to Sicily !

  Buy tickets online

small bullet point

How to reach specific places

Station guides

City maps showing stations

International trains to & from Italy

Other useful information

Useful country information

How to check train schedules & fares.

Check train times & fares within Italy using any of the websites shown here .

Some major cities have more than one main station, see which station to use in which city .  If you're not sure, most websites allow you to select the plain city name, or any station .

Maps of the Italian rail network

How to buy tickets, do you need to buy in advance.

Regional trains, no

For example, Pisa to Florence, Florence to Lucca or Siena, Milan to Como or Tirano, Venice to Trieste.

There's no need to buy in advance and no cost advantage in doing so as the price is fixed, buying online or in an app just saves time at the ticket office.  There are no assigned seats, you sit where you like.  In most cases tickets are sold in unlimited numbers so the train can't sell out, although regional trains on a few routes now have limited numbers.  More about regional (R) & regional express (RV) trains and how they are ticketed .

Long-distance trains, yes

For example, Venice to Florence or Rome, Rome to Naples or Turin, Milan to Venice.

All seats on Frecciarossa , Frecciargento , Frecciabianca & InterCity trains are reserved, so they can in theory sell out.  However, as there are so many trains each with hundreds of seats there are almost always places available on most trains even just before departure. So you can buy at the station on the day if you want. The issue is price.  Trenitalia ditched the old fare-per-kilometre approach to pricing in 2009 and adopted airline-style dynamic pricing for advance-purchase fares whilst increasing the fully-flexible Base price.  So on the day of travel you'd pay the Base fare, Rome-Florence €55, Rome-Venice €99, but if you book in advance you can buy a cheap Economy or Super-Economy fare from as little as €19.90 Rome-Florence or €29.90 Rome-Venice, assuming you're OK with limited or no refunds or changes to travel plans.  It's your call!

When does booking open?

Booking opens up to 4 months ahead, but this varies

It can shrink to as little as 30 days for dates immediately after Europe-wide timetable changes on the 2nd Saturday in June and the second Saturday in December.

If some trains are shown, but others are missing...

Trenitalia loads trains in blocks, usually high-speed trains first and regional, InterCity & sleeper trains later.  I've seen high-speed trains loaded, but not regional trains.  I've seen regional trains loaded, but not high-speed trains.  Intercity trains to Sicily and ICN sleeper trains usually get loaded last, after other trains.  The Milan-Sicily night train usually gets loaded last of all!

So if you don't see all the trains you expect to see, don't assume that the missing trains have all been mysteriously cancelled, assume they haven't been loaded yet.  Wait!

Types of fare

This is the fully-flexible fare for Trenitalia's high-speed Frecce & intercity trains, it's what you'd pay at the station on the day.  Refundable, only valid on the train booked but can be changed before departure or at the station up to an hour after departure.  The Base fare was originally one fixed price for a given journey, but since 2017 the Base fare for Frecciarossa & Frecciargento trains can vary slightly by day of the week or the popularity of each particular train.

Economy & Super-Economy

These are cheaper advance-purchase fares for Trenitalia's high-speed Frecce & intercity trains, only valid on the train booked, limited refunds & changes, limited availability, these are the fares you want for cheap travel if you are certain what time train you want.  The price varies like air fares, cheaper in advance and on less popular dates, more expensive close to departure and on busy days or times of day.

Speciale Frecce

An ultra-cheap advance purchase fare for Trenitalia's high-speed Frecce & intercity trains, must be bought at least 14 days ahead.  No refunds, no changes, use it or lose it.  But it's cheap!

A small group fare for 3-5 people.  Limited availability, price varies.  No refunds, no changes, use it or lose it.

Senior & FrecciaYoung

These can only be bought if you have Trenitalia's Cartafreccia railcard which you probably haven't, so ignore these.  When you select them it immediately asks for your Cartafreccia card number, so you can't buy them by mistake!

This is the normal fare for regional trains.  It's fixed-price, you can buy a ticket at that price even on the day.  As of 2023, online regional tickets are only good for the specific train you've selected, but you can change the date or time of departure free of charge up to 23:59 on the day before departure, and you can change the time of departure until 23:59 on the day of travel.  Ordinaria tickets are available in unlimited numbers on most regional trains, although there are now some regional trains where the ticket numbers sold are limited, see more about how regional (R) & regional express (RV) trains are ticketed .

Option 1, buy at

You can buy Trenitalia tickets at in €, £, $, Ca$ or Au$ - to book in US$ click here .

ItaliaRail are a well-established US-based agency who link directly to Trenitalia's ticketing system.  They don't sell tickets for Italo .

Italiarail books the same trains as Trenitalia's own website, but in plain English with no quirky translations.  You can use familiar English place-names such as Venice or Florence.

Italiarail shows a whole day's trains in the search results and can book up to 20 people at a time.  Trenitalia's own website only shows a couple of hours-worth of trains at a time and can only book up to 5 people at a time.

For en extra €2 you can choose your seats from a seat map on Trenitalia high-speed & intercity trains, making sure you all sit together.

Italiarail can be cheaper than Trenitalia for 2 or more people travelling together as it is capable of combining (for example) the last remaining €19.90 ticket with a ticket at the next price level up, say €29.90. cannot mix & match price levels within the same booking, so will offer 2 x €29.90 even if there is one €19.90 fare left.  For family groups the cost saving can be significant.

High-speed & intercity trains are ticketless, you simply print your booking reference or show it on your phone.  For regional trains you print your own ticket, show them in an app or in some cases collect it from the self-service machines at a Trenitalia station.

Tip:   Italiarail charge a €3.50 booking fee, but they'll refund this if you email them at [email protected] quoting your booking reference.

Option 2, buy at

Thetrainline also connects to Trenitalia's system to sell tickets in plain English at the same prices as Trenitalia, in €, £, $, Ca$ or Au$, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee.

For an extra €2, you can choose your seats from a seat map on Trenitalia high-speed & intercity trains. has two key advantages:

First, it sells tickets for Italo as well as Trenitalia, so you can compare times & prices for both operators.

Second, it also links to the French, Spanish, Swiss, German, Austrian & Benelux national ticketing systems so you can book train tickets across much of western Europe together all in one place.

High-speed & intercity trains are ticketless, you simply print your booking reference or show it on your phone.  For regional trains you print your own ticket, can show them in an app or in some cases collect them from the self-service machines at a Trenitalia station.  Who are

Option 3, buy at

You can also buy Trenitalia & Italo tickets at , also in plain English with prices in €, £ or $, small booking fee.  It also connects to the French, German, Austrian, Spanish, British ticketing systems (but not the Swiss) so can sell train tickets for much of western Europe all in one place.  Again, high-speed & intercity trains are ticketless so you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone, for regional trains you usually print your own ticket or collect tickets from the self-service machines at any main Trenitalia station.  Who are

Option 4, buy at

You can of course buy Italian train tickets direct from Italian Railways at , English button at the top, only in €, no booking fee.  It's pretty easy to use but you'll need to use Italian-language place names and it has a few quirky translations & processes especially when booking sleepers or international trains so see the step-by-step guide below .

High-speed & intercity trains are ticketless, you print your booking reference or show it on your phone, other tickets can be printed or collected at any main Italian station from the self-service machines .  It also offers seat selection for €2 on high-speed & intercity trains.

For 2 or more people travelling together, you may find ItaliaRail cheaper, see option 1 above.  Obviously, they don't sell tickets for their competitor Italo , or for other European trains outside Italy.

Buying tickets at the station

It's easy to buy tickets at the station on the day of travel, even if you don't speak Italian.  Simply go to one of the Fast ticket machines installed at all main stations, these have a touch screen with an English language facility, see an illustrated guide to using the ticket machines .

The machines will sell both regional and long-distance tickets, including seat reservations for long-distance trains, for any date you like within the next 90 days.  They take Visa and MasterCard credit cards, but your card needs to have a PIN code.

Trains seldom sell out, finding tickets even on the day of travel isn't a problem unless you hit a major holiday period.  If one train is full, the next will have seats.  Just remember that high-speed & Intercity trains are cheaper booked in advance, just like flights.  If you buy on the day, you will have to pay the 'Base' fare , in other words the top tier flexible price.

How to buy international tickets

The easy way

The easiest option is to use either or as they can book most international journeys to/from Italy.

Both sites connect to the Trenitalia, SNCF (French), SBB (Swiss), ÖBB (Austrian) and DB (German) ticketing systems so they can book most routes to/from Italy including any Italian domestic connecting trains.

They're very easy to use, you can book in €, £ or $, international credit cards are no problem.  There's a small booking fee. allows you to select seats from a seat map on Trenitalia's high-speed & Intercity trains, and on French TGVs in 1st class.

For more specific information on international trains from Italy to other European cities and how to book them, click on your starting city:

Rome   Naples   Florence   Venice   Milan

The advanced way

Alternatively, you can book with the relevant operator, usually with no booking fee, but you need to know which operator runs which route.  You'll often need to book any connecting trains separately, as most operators can't book each other's trains.

To/from Switzerland

The direct EuroCity trains between Milan and Brig, Lausanne, Geneva, Lugano, Luzern, Bern, Basel & Zurich can be booked at either or .  Italiarail will refund their small booking fee if you email them at [email protected] after booking.

Both sites can book from anywhere in Italy to any Swiss station that is directly served by the EuroCity trains from Milan.  But they can't book onward tickets within Switzerland such as Brig to Zermatt, Arth-Goldau to Luzern or Spiez to Interlaken, so buy those separately from Swiss Railways at .

To/from Paris

The Frecciarossa trains between Milan/Turin & Lyon/Paris can be booked at either or .  Both sites can book from anywhere in Italy to Lyon or Paris.  However, they can't book onward French trains to other French cities (or to London or Brussels) so you'll need to book those separately at .

The French TGV trains between Milan, Turin & Paris can be booked at the French Railways website with no booking fee.  It allows you to choose a seat from a seat map in 1st class, too.  However, it cannot book connecting Trenitalia trains within Italy, so you'll need to book those separately at either or .

To Nice, Cannes, Monaco or Marseille

First book from anywhere in Italy to Ventimiglia (on the French border where Trenitalia's trains terminate) at either or .  Trenitalia can't sell an onward French ticket, so buy your onward ticket from Ventimiglia to any French destination at the French Railways website .  There's more about the Italy-Nice route on the Italy to Nice page .

To Innsbruck, Munich & Germany by daytime trains

The EuroCity trains between Bologna/Venice/Verona and Innsbruck or Munich can be booked at the German Railways website with no booking fee, this can book tickets from the EuroCity train's starting stations to anywhere in Germany, but it cannot book connecting Trenitalia trains within Italy (at least not in their main system with through fares), so book those separately at either or .

To Vienna by daytime trains

The railjet trains between Venice and Vienna can be booked at the Austrian Railways website with no booking fee, this can book tickets from Venice to anywhere in Austria, but it cannot book connecting Trenitalia trains within Italy, so book those separately at either or .

To Munich & Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train

The Nightjet sleeper trains between Rome, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Venice and Munich or Vienna can be booked at the Austrian Railways website , but this can't book connecting trains within Italy, so book those separately at either or .

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Railpasses for Italy

Interrail & eurail passes.

Global & one-country passes

You can buy an Interrail pass (if you live in Europe, including the UK) or a Eurail pass (if you live outside Europe) giving unlimited travel on all Trenitalia trains all over Italy.  An Interrail/Eurail global pass covers most of Europe including Italy, a cheaper one-country pass only covers Italy.

Interrail & Eurail passes cover all Trenitalia trains, high-speed, intercity, Intercity Notte and regional.  They don't cover Italo trains , or some small railways such as the Circumvesuviana Railway Naples-Sorrento.

Reservation fees

Interrail & Eurail passholders must reserve seats to travel on Frecciarossa , Frecciargento & Frecciabianca trains, this costs €13 in addition to the cost of the pass.  The reservation fee for Intercity trains is €3.  For Intercity Notte sleeper trains , see the reservation fees here .

You can make passholder reservations online as explained in the Italy section of the Interrail & Eurail reservations page .  You can also make them at stations, but at  the staffed counters only, not the self-service machines.  Passholder reservations cannot be made at

Pass or point-to-point tickets?

The cost of reservation fees must be factored into the cost of a pass when comparing with point-to-point tickets.  All the point-to-point prices that you see online include any necessary reservation.

You must then realise that there are two types of point-to-point fare:  Cheap advance-purchase fares and the more expensive fully-flexible Base fare.

If all your dates and journeys are set in stone a month or two ahead, it's usually cheaper to buy advance-purchase Super-Economy or Economy fares.  For example Venice to Florence starts at €19.90, Venice to Rome starts at €29.90, seat reservation included.  A typical Interrail or Eurail pass might work out as €55 per day + €13 reservation fee = €68.

But advance-purchase fares vary like air fares, rising as departure date approaches, higher for busy or popular days or dates.  So you'll only know for sure if you go online and see what the point-to-point prices are for your specific journeys on your specific dates of travel.

Then remember that these cheap advance-purchase fares commit you to a specific train with limited or no changes to travel plans or refunds.  A pass gives you the flexibility to go wherever and whenever you like, you should really compare the pass with the fully-flexible Base fare you'd pay at the station on the day.

Even so, if you only plan to make relatively short hops such as Venice-Florence one day, Florence-Rome next day, Rome-Naples the next, the Base fare is often still cheaper than the per-day cost of a pass.  You basically need to be doing longer trips such as Venice-Rome or Milan-Naples every day, or multiple trips per day such as Rome to Florence and back again, to make a pass pay.  However, passes get cheaper if you are under 28 and children get free passes, so it's still worth doing the maths.  Youth passes can indeed make financial sense for a typical tour of Italy.

More about Interrail passes, with prices .  More about Eurail passes, with prices .  More about what these passes cover .

The Trenitalia Pass

Trenitalia also sell their own railpass called the Trenitalia Pass.  It can be bought by anyone resident outside Italy.

How is it different from a Eurail or Interrail pass?

Unlike Interrail & Eurail, it only covers Trenitalia high-speed, Intercity & Intercity Notte sleeper trains.  It doesn't cover regional trains. 

Unlike Interrail & Eurail it doesn't give you unlimited travel, you buy a specific number of journeys (3, 4, 7 or 10 trips) to be made within a set period of days, where a journey = one ride on one train.  If you went Rome to Florence in the morning and back in the evening, that's 2 trips on a Trenitalia Pass, but would be covered by just one day on an Interrail or Eurail pass.

But on the plus side, unlike Interrail & Eurail there are no extra fees to pay for reservations, it's all included.

Is a Trenitalia Pass cheaper than a Eurail or Interrail pass?

A Trenitalia Pass for a given number of trips is significantly cheaper than a global Interrail or Eurail pass covering the same number of days.

A Trenitalia pass is about the same price as a one-country Interrail or Eurail pass for Italy covering the same number of days, but as you don't need to pay €10 for every reservation, the Trenitalia pass works out cheaper.

That assumes you plan to use only one train per day.  A 4-journey Trenitalia Pass gives 4 individual train rides, a 4-day Interrail/Eurail gives unlimited rides, as many as you can cram in over 4 days .   If you're going to use multiple trains per day, an Interrail/Eurail pass is a better deal.

Is a Trenitalia Pass cheaper than point to point tickets?

A Trenitalia Pass saves money over the fully-flexible Base fare even for a series of short hops such as Rome-Florence, Florence-Venice, Venice-Milan, especially if you are under 28 so qualify for the youth pass.  But if you can book a few months in advance and don't need any flexibility, a no-refunds no-changes advance-purchase Super-Economy fare can still be cheaper than a Trenitalia Pass, check prices before buying a pass.

Trenitalia passes come in 4 sizes:

3 journeys within 7 consecutive days;

4 journeys within 7 consecutive days;

7 journeys within 15 consecutive days;

10 journeys within 30 consecutive days.

Trenitalia passes come in 2 classes:

Easy - good for 2nd class, standard class on Frecciarossa , seats or couchettes on Intercity Notte trains .

Comfort - good for 1st class, business class on Frecciarossa , seats, couchettes or double or triple sleepers on Intercity Notte trains trains.

Executive for executive class has been discontinued.

Trenitalia passes come in 3 passenger types:

Adult - up to 2 children under 12 can be added to an adult pass for free (but infants under 4 go free anyway, of course)

Youth - anyone under 28 on day of purchase.

Senior - anyone over 60 on day of purchase.

For more details and all the small print, see and look for Trenitalia Pass .

How to buy a Trenitalia pass

You don't need to specify dates when buying a Trenitalia pass, you can book your first train for travel on any date up to 11 months afterwards.

Go to the home page and switch it to English top right. 

Click Advanced search below the journey planner.  Click Carnet .  Then look for & click Trenitalia pass .

After buying the pass, you're emailed your pass number.  The pass is entirely electronic.

Tip:   I recommend registering for an account at before buying a pass.  Log into your account before buying.

How to book trains with a Trenitalia Pass

Seat reservations are needed on each train, but they are free and can be made online at or at stations.

Go to the home page and switch it to English top right.

Click Advanced search below the journey planner.  Click Carnet .  Then look for & click Trenitalia pass.  Then change Purchase to Book .

Enter you pass number, first & last name of the passholder, hit Confirm and book a train with your pass.

The pass validity period starts ticking from the date of the first train you book.  So don't book your second train first then try to book another train for the previous day, that won't work.  You must book your trains in the order you'll take them!

Reservations have the same change conditions as a Base fare.  So you can cancel or change a reservation any time up to 60 minutes after the departure of the train.  If you don't do that, 60 minutes after departure that journey is considered 'used up' even if you missed the train.

When travelling, the pass can be shown on your phone or printed out.

Feedback from buying & booking trains using a Trenitalia pass would be appreciated, as without buying a pass I cannot test the process myself.

Italia In Tour , for regional trains

Italia In Tour passes are available for 3 or 5 consecutive days unlimited travel on Trenitalia regional trains all over Italy .

Good for any Trenitalia regional, regional express & metropolitan train.  But not valid (1) between La Spezia & Levanto through Cinque Terre, (2) within the territory of Lombardy, (3), the provinces of Bolzano and from Trento to Bassano del Grappa.  It can't be used on other operators' trains such as Trenord, so not valid between Milan & Tirano, for example.

It'd be ideal for a series of day trips from Florence to Siena, Luca, Pisa on successive days.  Or you could use it to work your way right across Italy on regional trains.  With this pass you can just hop on and off Trenitalia regional trains, as you like.

At the time I write this, it costs €29 for 3 days and €49 for 5 days, check latest prices online.

To see prices and buy a pass, see (please let me know if that link stops working).

Tours of Italy by train

Railbookers are a train travel specialist who can put together a tour of Italy for you as a package, including rail travel, hotels & transfers.  On their website you'll find a range of suggested tours which can be varied or customised to your own requirements.  And as you're booking a package, they'll take care of you if anything happens to one part of the itinerary such as a strike or delay.  They have offices in the UK, USA & Australia.

UK flag

Tailor Made Rail can arrange tours of Italy by train based on your own requirements, they welcome complex itineraries.  As it's a package, they'll take care of you if anything happens on one part of the trip, for example, a national strike.  They're TTA-protected - like ATOL, but not only for agencies that sell air travel.

Call their dedicated seat61 phone line 020 3778 1461 and quote seat 61 when booking.  From outside the UK call +44 20 3778 1461 .  Lines open 09:00-17:30 Monday-Friday.  Their website is .

Expert individual trip planning & advice offers expert help in planning trains in Italy & around Europe, with suggestions for routes, trains, hotels to your own specification.  They charge a small fee, around £35 per trip.

What are Italian trains like ?

Frecciarossa:  see the frecciarossa guide.

Trenitalia's top high-speed trains are the Frecciarossas (red arrows) , mostly operated either by the original 300 km/h (186 mph) Frecciarossa 500 trains or the latest Frecciarossa 1000 trains introduced in 2015.  Some are operated by 250 km/h (155 mph) Frecciarossa 700 & Frecciarossa 600 trains.

Frecciarossas have 3 or 4 classes of accommodation, a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seas & free WiFi, s ee the Frecciarossa page for more information .

Tickets for all Trenitalia's long-distance trains include a seat reservation and are only valid on the specific date & train you've booked.

Principal Frecciarossa routes:   Turin-Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples-Salerno ( Frecciarossa 1000 & 500 );  Venice-Florence-Rome-Naples ( Frecciarossa 1000 & 500 );  Turin-Milan-Verona-Venice (usually Frecciarossa 700 );  Milan-Ancona-Bari-Brindisi-Lecce ( Frecciarossa 500 ).  See seat maps .

Frecciargento :  See the Frecciargento guide

Next down the pecking order are Trenitalia's 250km/h (155mph) Frecciargento (silver arrow) tilting trains, although these are now rare as most are being rebranded as Frecciarossa.  Frecciargento services are operated by pendolino tilting trains, air-conditioned with cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  The trains reach 250 km/h on the high-speed lines and use their tilt to cut journey times through curves when running on classic lines.

Principal remaining Frecciargento routes:   Rome-Bari, plus the odd Genoa-La Spezia-Pisa-Rome trains.  See seat maps .


One step down from Frecciarossa and Frecciargento are the Frecciabianca (white arrow) services, now getting very rare. The remaining Frecciabianca services on the Rome-Pisa-La Spezia-Genoa route are operated by older ETR460 tilting trains bumped off Frecciargento service.  They have 1st & 2nd class, power sockets at seats & free WiFi.  Tickets include a seat reservation and are only valid on the specific date & train you've booked.

Principal remaining Frecciabianca route:   Milan-Genoa-La Spezia-Pisa-Rome.

Intercity trains :  See the IC guide

Next in the pecking order are the Intercity trains, fast trains hauled by locomotives at up to 160 km/h (100 mph), sometimes 200 km/h (125 mph).  Most Intercity cars are open-plan with a centre aisle, a few are classic side-corridor-and-compartment cars with 6-seat compartments, though you don't always get both sorts in both classes on a given train.  Some Intercity trains have a cafe counter, some just vending machines selling drinks and snacks.  You're free to bring your own food & drink, even a bottle of wine if you like.  See the Trenitalia Intercity page for more information .

Principal Intercity routes:   Rome-Naples-Sicily;  Rome-Livorno-Pisa-Cinque Terre-La Spezia-Genoa-Milan;  Milan-Genoa-Savona-Ventimiglia (for Nice).

Intercity Notte sleeper trains:   See the ICN guide

Comfortable Intercity Notte (ICN) overnight trains link Milan, Bologna, Rome, Naples with Messina, Palermo, Catania & Siracuse on Sicily, see the Trains to Sicily page .

Intercity Notte overnight trains also link Trieste/Venice with Rome, Turin/Milan with Naples, and Turin/Milan with Bari, Brindisi & Lecce, see the Intercity Notte page .

Regionale & Regionale Veloce (R, RV)

Regional trains come in many different shapes & sizes, they operate all over Italy including Florence-Pisa, Florence-Siena, Florence-Lucca, Venice-Trieste, Rome-Civitavecchia.  On regional trains there are no assigned seats, you sit where you like.  Luggage goes on the racks or simply on the floor.  There's no catering, so bring your own food & drink.  Many are 2nd class only.

There's little point in booking regional trains in advance as there's just one cheap fixed Ordinaria fare that can be bought on the day at that price.  Buy a ticket from the ticket office or self-service machines or buy online or in the Trenitalia app.  Interrail or Eurail passholders can just hop on, nothing more to do or pay.

How tickets for regional trains work, from August 2023 onwards:

For tickets bought online, the old system of having to stamp your ticket in a validator is gone and so is the system of tickets being good for a 4-hour time slot.  From 5 August 2023, tickets for regional trains bought online or in an app are only good for train you have selected, but this can be changed free of charge as follows:

You can change the date and/or departure time free of charge using the Trenitalia app or website, as many times as you like, up to 23:59 on the day before departure. Tickets are also 80% refundable up to that time.

On the day of travel, you can change the departure time as many times as you like, free of charge, until 23:59 or the last train, whichever is sooner.

Before boarding the train you must 'check in' online using the app or the website link provided.  You can check in at any time on the day of travel, as long as it is before you board the train.  Checking-in validates the ticket for use on that train, your ticket is then considered used, it becomes non-refundable and no further changes can be made.

Remember you'll need internet access on your phone to check in.  If you can't rely on that, either check in before you leave your hotel using the hotel's WiFi (remembering that no changes or refunds can be made after you have checked in), or buy at the station instead, at least 5 minutes before departure.

Online regional tickets bought from a retailer such as or also work in this way, you'll get a link to check in and make changes to the date & time.  You show the QR code on your phone or can print the confirmation email with the codes on.

Can regional trains sell out?

Tickets are usually available in unlimited numbers so regional trains can't sell out, for example Milan-Tirano, Florence-Siena or Florence-Pisa.  However, Trenitalia now have some regional routes such as Venice-Trieste where the number of tickets sold for each train is limited so they can in theory sell out and occasionally do - even though specific seats aren't assigned.  This devious practice started during the pandemic and has continued.  To check, find the train on and click the 'i' symbol for details.  If it says non-prenotabile , you're fine, tickets are unlimited and can't sell out.  If it says prenotabile ticket numbers are limited, so bear that in mind.

A regional train of the sort that runs from Florence to Pisa, Livorno & Siena.

Italo high-speed trains:   See the Italo guide

Private operator NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori) started operating its Italo high-speed trains on the Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples route in 2012, and now competes with Trenitalia on the Turin-Milan-Verona-Venice and Venice-Florence-Rome-Naples routes as well.  Competition between Trenitalia and Italo has driven up quality, increased capacity and driven down fares.  It's well worth considering Italo for a journey between the main Italian cities.

See the Seat61 Italo information page for more information, an illustrated guide and the Italo video guide .

An Italo AGV train at Rome Termini .

Travel tips

1st or 2nd class?

2nd class (or standard class on Frecciarossas ) is absolutely fine.  It's very comfortable and there's plenty of luggage space, there's no need to pay for 1st class (or business class on Frecciarossas ) if you are on a budget.  There are very few peasants & chickens in 2nd class on European trains these days...

On the other hand, 1st (or business) class is nicer, with wider, plusher seats and a quieter environment with more laptops tapping and fewer noisy kids.  And with long-distance trains dynamically priced, it often costs only a little more to go 1st class if you book ahead. 

1st class seats are generally arranged 2+1 across the car width rather than 2+2, so you get solo seats (ideal for single travellers) and face-to-face tables for two on one side of the aisle, ideal for couples as you then face each other and both get a window seat that is also an aisle seat, the best of both worlds. 

On Frecciarossa trains you also get a complimentary glass of prosecco and a small snack box in business class.

Luggage arrangements:   See the luggage section .

Ticket validation

Language problems

First-time visitors often think this will be a problem, but it hardly ever is.  At stations, finding your platform & train using the various departure screens is no different from finding your gate & plane at an airport.  Signs are often in English as well as Italian, or pictograms are used.  On high-speed trains, announcements are usually repeated in English.

At ticket offices clerks have a pretty shrewd idea you want a train ticket not a packet of washing powder, in fact clerks in popular tourist cities will be used to dealing with Brits, Americans & Australians and will usually know the relevant words in English about one-ways & round trips, first or second class.  The ticket machines at every main station have a touch-screen with an English language facility.

The one thing that does help is knowing Italian place names:  Rome = Roma, Florence = Firenze, Venice = Venezia, Naples = Napoli, Milan = Milano, Turin = Torino, Genoa = Genova.

Food & drink on trains in Italy

Most high-speed trains have a cafe-bar, although most Intercity trains (and Italo trains) only have vending machines.  Feel free to bring your own food and drink with you, even a bottle of wine if you like, no rules against that on the rails!

You can take a bike with you on suburban, Regional & InterRegional trains if you buy a bike ticket costing about €4.  You can also pay to reserve a bike space on most Intercity trains .  However, on high-speed trains such as Frecciarossas you need to put your bike in a zip-up bike bag, front wheel & pedals removed and handlebars turned, see the bikes by train page .

Dogs & pets

Go to and search under Services for Transport of pets .  You can take pets on many trains, but the rules vary slightly by type of train.  Very small dogs, cats & other pets in containers no bigger than 70cm x 30cm x 50cm are carried free on almost all trains & classes.  Larger dogs on a lead & muzzled are allowed on almost all trains but must have a ticket bought for them at 50% of the adult 2nd class fare (whatever class the owner is using) and they are not permitted in Executive or Premium classes on Frecciarossa trains, or in catering cars.  You can take a dog in sleepers or couchettes only if your party occupies the whole compartment.  Guide dogs are always free.

First class lounges at Italian stations

Executive class passengers & holders of Trenitalia's frequent traveller card can use the FrecciaClub lounges at stations in major cities.

Club class passengers on Italo , can use the Club Italo lounge at major city stations.  Prima class passengers can also use the lounge if they pay a €12 add-on when booking - though this may not be offered at busy times or with the cheapest tickets.

A train planner app for your phone

Railplanner is a free offline train timetable app that you can download onto your phone to check train times, station departures & train calling points on the move without the need to be on WiFi or to use mobile data .  It's blisteringly quick and covers not just Italy but most of Europe.  It highlights the reservation-required high-speed & InterCity trains in red and the no-reservation-required regional trains in green.  It's created with Eurail & Interrail passholders in mind, but is useful for anyone. Download for iPhone or Android at - please let me know if the link stops working.

Are the trains running on time?

You can check real-time arrivals and departures at any Trenitalia station or the running of any train by train number at .  Most regional trains run more or less on time, and so do most high-speed long-distance trains, with perhaps a 10 or 20 minute delay here and there.  However, make allowances for a typical 30 to 90 minute delay when catching the overnight sleeper trains to/from Sicily, for example.

Choosing your seat , & allow you to choose your seats from a seat map on Frecciarossa , Frecciargento , Frecciabianca and Intercity trains within Italy.

It's pretty self-explanatory, but as I'm often asked, yes, the grey bars are tables, and no, you can't tell which way seats face.  Indeed, most Naples-Rome-Venice and Naples-Rome-Milan trains change direction at both Rome Termini and Florence SMN station , both of which are dead-end terminus stations.

For a couple in 1st class I recommend a face-to-face table for two.

Choosing a seat on an Italian train

Luggage on trains in Italy

Luggage is no real problem on Italian trains, and it makes no real difference whether you go 1st or 2nd class, there's always room for bags.  You don't check your bags in and there is no baggage car.  You simply take whatever you like into the train with you, and stick your bags on the racks above your head or on the big luggage racks at the end of each car or between the seat backs.  On regional trains, it just goes on the floor next to you if there aren't any racks.

There are no baggage fees or weight limits to worry about, for most practical purposes if you can carry it you can bring it.  It's so simple, it hardly needs explaining, yet overseas visitors chase their tails worrying about it.  Don't over-think it, but don't travel with more than you really need.  Anything up to backpack-sized fits on the racks above your head, larger items such as bulky suitcases go on the racks at the end of the car, in the seating area, or between the seat backs.

Security is not a major problem, your bags full of clothing are no more likely to be stolen than airline checked baggage.  There's no need to chain your bag to the rack, any more than you'd chain you bags to the luggage bin on a plane.  Although I like to use a rack which I can see from my seat and I always keep cameras, passports and so on in my daypack at my seat.  But I thought that was obvious?

Porters are pretty much a thing of the past along with butlers, valets and ladies' maids.  However, Milan Centrale , Milan Porta Garibaldi , Venice Santa Lucia , Rome Termini , Florence SMN , Turin Porta Nuova are all termini with level access to and between all trains.  You can just pull your bag on its wheels from street or taxi rank across the station concourse right up to the train door, lift it two steps up into the train, and wheel it to a convenient rack or space between the seats next to your seat.  If you're elderly or pregnant, another passenger will almost always help you get your bags the two short steps into the train.

Luggage storage at stations

All main Italian stations including Turin Porta Nuova , Milan Centrale , Verona Porta Nuova , Venice Santa Lucia , Florence SMN , Rome Stazione Termini & Naples Centrale have left-luggage facilities, either lockers or a staffed facility.  Information on left-luggage prices & opening times .

Which station in which city?

Roma Termini is the main station in Rome, in the city centre walking distance from all the sights, see the Roma Termini station guide .

Roma Ostiense and Roma Tiburtina are on the outskirts of the city, you'll need a local train or taxi (around €15) into the city centre.  The Vatican has its own suburban station, Roma San Pietro, but it’s easy to reach St Peter’s from the Stazione Termini by bus or taxi.

Venezia Santa Lucia is the main station in Venice, in the city of Venice itself on the banks of the Grand Canal, 15-25 minutes walk from the Rialto Bridge & St Mark's Square.  See the Venice Santa Lucia station guide .

Venezia Mestre is on the mainland in an industrial area outside Venice itself, always book to Venice Santa Lucia unless you have a hotel in Mestre.

Firenze Santa Maria Novella is the main station in Florence, often abbreviated to SMN, in the city centre easy walking distance from all the sights.  See the Florence SMN station guide .  A few trains use Campo Marte or Rifredi stations outside the city centre, linked to SMN by frequent local trains.

Milano Centrale is the main station in Milan, a magnificent terminus in the city centre, served by most mainline & international trains.  It's a major Milan attraction in its own right, see if you can spot Mussolini .  See the Milan Centrale station guide .

Milan Porta Garibaldi is rather less magnificent, but still central, used by the French Railways TGVs to Paris and by some Trenitalia trains.  It's a 25 minute walk, 5 minute metro ride or 8 minute taxi ride from Centrale.

Some Malpensa airport trains arrive at Milan Cadorna, a small local terminus also located in the city centre, other Malpensa airport trains run to Milan Porta Garibaldi and Milan Centrale .  Milan Lambrate is much less central, and Milan Rogoredo is 5 km from the city centre.

Torino Porta Nuova is the main station, a large and historic terminus, see the Turin stations guide .

However, trains to & from Paris use Turin's other main station, Turin Porta Susa , and most trains to or from Rome, Milan or Venice call at Porta Susa before or after Porta Nuova .  Both stations are in Turin's city centre, walking distance from all the sights.

In Siena, the station is at the foot of the hill and used to be a steep trek up to the old town.  However, there's now a series of modern escalators and moving walkways that ferry you almost painlessly to the top of the hill, from where it's just a minute or two's walk to the Porta Camollia at the entrance to the old town.  From the Porta Camollia it's a pleasant 15 minute stroll to the famous Piazza del Campo.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Map of Pisa showing tower & railway stations .  Many people do Pisa as a day trip from Florence, using the frequent local trains.  Pisa Centrale is 2km from the Tower, a 30 minute walk, but if you take a train to Pisa S. Rossore station it's only a 5-10 minute walk to the Tower.  Some trains from Florence go direct to Pisa S. Rossore, 1 stop beyond Pisa Centrale, others require a change at Pisa Centrale.  Check train times using or .

How to travel to Sicily

The train is a wonderful way to reach Sicily, an experience in itself.

There are two daytime InterCity trains from Rome & Naples to Palermo, Catania, Siracuse and time-effective overnight sleeper trains from Milan, Rome & Naples direct to Palermo, Catania & Siracuse.  See the timetable & information on the Trains to Sicily page .

If you use the daytime trains, bring a picnic and bottle of wine (as there's no catering car) and enjoy the ride, much of it along the Italian coast just a stone's throw from the sea towards the toe of Italy. 

All these trains are shunted onto a ferry at Villa san Giovanni for the short crossing of the Straits of Messina to Sicily.  It's the last remaining place in Europe where passenger trains go onto a ferry, a unique experience, watch the video .   Once the train is secured in the ship's hold, steps are placed next to the train doors, and you can either remain on board the train or get off and walk upstairs to the deck to take some sea air, returning to the train as the ferry docks on the other side.  Highly recommended!  You can book all of these trains to Sicily as shown here .

Or use an overnight ferry from Naples :  You can sail from Naples to Palermo by comfortable overnight ferry, with a  or shared cabin with en suite shower & toilet, and there are restaurants and bars for an enjoyable evening on board.  Ferries typically sail every day at around 20:00 and arrive around 06:30 in both directions.  See & for times, dates, fares & online booking.

How to reach Herculaneum, Pompeii & Sorrento

Naples to Herculaneum, Pompeii & Sorrento by Circumvesuviana train

The railway from Naples to Herculaneum, Pompeii & Sorrento isn't run by Trenitalia, it's the privately-run Circumvesuviana Railway, .  That's why you can't find trains to Sorrento on or  Map of Naples showing stations .

Simply buy a mainline ticket from Venice, Florence, Rome or wherever to Naples Centrale at or .  On arrival at Naples Centrale, follow the signs to Circumvesuviana , these will take you downstairs to the Circumvesuviana station.

The Circumvesuviana station has its own ticket office, either buy a ticket to Ercolano, Pompeii Scavi or Sorrento there or use the ticket gate that allows you to touch in with a contactless bank card.  Go through the automatic ticket gates onto the platform and hop on the next train.

Trains run to Herculaneum (Ercolano), Pompeii and Sorrento every 30 minutes throughout the day, no reservation is necessary or possible.  Outside the weekday rush hours the trains are not crowded, there are plenty of seats and it's very easy to use.  Luggage goes on the racks or just on the floor, no problem.  This handy video shows you what to expect .

Naples to Pompeii costs around €3.20 one-way, journey around 40 minutes. 

Naples to Sorrento costs around €4.50 one-way, journey 55-65 minutes.

Naples to Sorrento by ferry

You can also travel from Naples Beverello ferry terminal to Sorrento by fast ferry with around 5 departures a day, journey time 45 minutes, fare around €13, bags €2.10, see .  You can buy online or just buy at the ferry terminal on the day.

To the top of Vesuvius

To visit the summit of Vesuvius, two morning buses run from Naples or a more regular bus service runs from Pompeii, both run by EAVBUS, see (Italian only) or (more usefully) , click English top right and look for 'Vesuvio Fares' under 'Tourist Info'.

Day trip to Pompeii?   It's easy to arrange a trip to Pompeii yourself by train, see the guide here .

How to reach Capri

Buy a mainline ticket from Venice, Florence, Rome or wherever to Naples Centrale at or . 

The island of Capri is just off Sorrento.  You have two options:  You can take a direct ferry from Naples to Capri, journey time around 45 minutes, fare €20.10, or you can take the Circumvesuviana Railway to Sorrento (55-65 minutes) then a shorter ferry crossing to Capri (around 25 minutes, fare €18.10).

If you choose the ferry from Naples, take a taxi (5-10 minutes) or walk (about 25 minutes) from Naples Centrale to Naples Beverello ferry quay.  Fast ferries taking just 45 minutes link Naples Berevello with Capri every hour or two between 07:00 & 18:00, see either or for times & fares.  The ferry fare is about €20.10 plus a euro or two per item of large luggage.  You don't need to pre-book the ferry, just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on.  Map of Naples showing station & ferry terminals .

If you choose to take the local Circumvesuviana Railway to Sorrento, there are many ferries to Capri, no pre-booking necessary.  Just be aware that it's a longish steep walk from Sorrento Circumvesuviana station down the hill to the ferry terminal.

Ferries from both Naples & Sorrento arrive at Capri's busy Marina Grande, there's a funicular railway up the steep hillside to Capri town itself. Bring plenty of money to Capri, even a small beer costs over €7!

How to reach Ischia

Ferries link Naples with Porto Ischia, see either (sailings every hour or two, crossing time 45 minutes fast ferry or 90 mins conventional ferry) or .

How to reach Amalfi, Positano, Praiano

Option 1, by bus from Salerno

There's no railway to these towns on the famous Amalfi Coast, but buses run from Salerno to Amalfi.  So buy a train ticket for one of the many high-speed trains from Milan, Florence and Rome direct to Salerno, then hop on a bus to Amalfi.  This Salerno bus option is the quickest way to Amalfi.

Buses link Salerno & Amalfi every hour or better between 06:00 & 22:30 on Mondays-Saturdays, slightly less frequently on Sundays, journey time 1h15, fare around €2.20 one-way, you buy a ticket at the tobacconists shop inside Salerno station.  The buses are operated by SITA, to check bus times see (in Italian only, click 'Orari' then 'Campania').  To check fares, you'll need to use public transport site , click English top right then 'Fares & Tickets'.

Option 2, by ferry from Salerno

Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Salerno to Amalfi or Positano.  See for a timetable of small coastal ferries from Salerno (Concordia dock, 800m from Salerno railway station) to Amalfi and Positano.  At the time of writing, they had departures from Salerno at 08:40, 09:40, 10:40, 11:40, 14:10 and 15:30, journey time to Amalfi just 35 minutes, but check their website for current timings.  This is a good option in summer when the narrow coast road is clogged with traffic.

Option 3, by bus from Sorrento

You can also buy a train ticket to Naples, hop on the Circumvesuviana Railway to Sorrento as shown above then take a bus to Positano, Praiano & Amalfi.  For buses linking Sorrento with Positano, Praiano & Amalfi, see (in Italian only, click 'Orari' then 'Campania').  Sorrento-Amalfi takes 1 hour 40 minutes, buses run hourly or at certain times half-hourly 06:30 to 22:00, and the fare is around €2.90.  The journey along the coast road is dramatic, the bus hugging the cliff and it rear end swinging out precariously at every hairpin bend!

Option 4, a private transfer from Naples to Praiano, Positano or Amalfi hotels

If cost is no object, a private car transfer from Naples Centrale railway station to Positano or Praiano costs around €95 one-way for up to 3 people, or around €110 to Amalfi.  Try or (same people - click 'transfer' at the top).  I have not had any reports about them yet, so feedback would be appreciated.  They will also do transfers from Sorrento Circumvesuviana station, which reduces the cost.

How to reach Elba

Travel by train to Piombino Marittima.  Moby Lines ( ) sail every hour or so from Piombino to Portoferraio on Elba, crossing time 1 hour, foot passengers €7 one-way.

How to reach Lake Como

Como San Giovanni is the mainline station for Como, it's on the Zurich-Milan main line and linked to Milan Centrale by frequent regional train.  Check times as above .

Lecco, Varenna & Bellanoare on the eastern side of Lake Como, there is a station at Lecco & Varenna-Esino (for the ferry to Bellagio) and Bellano on the Trenord local line linking Milan Centrale with Tirano (near the Swiss border, for the fabulous narrow-gauge Bernina route to Chur & Zurich).  Check times as above

How to reach Lake Garda

There are two main stations for Lake Garda, Desenzano del Garda-Sirmione or Peschiera del Garda , both on the Milan-Verona-Venice main line.  As well as regional trains, some Milan-Verona-Venice Frecciarossas call at Peschiera or Desenzano.

Alternatively, take a train to Verona Porta Nuova .  Buses run frequently times an hour from outside the station to the eastern shores of Lake Garda including Lazise, Bardonlino & Garda, see the bus company website .

How to reach San Marino

San Marino has no rail station, but can easily be reached by bus from Rimini.  Buses leave from outside Rimini railway station every hour or so between 08:10 and 19:25 in winter, between 06:45 and 20:30 in summer, less frequently on winter Sundays, journey time 50 minutes, fare around €5.00 one-way.  You can check bus times and fares at the bus company website, .

How to reach Sardinia

Ferries to Sardinia

Ferries sail from Civitavecchia, Livorno, Naples & Palermo to various ports on Sardinia including Olbia & Golfo Aranci in the north and Cagliariin the south.  Operators include Tirrenia, Grimaldi Lines, Corsica-Sardinia Ferries, use Direct Ferries to check and book all ferry routes & operators .

The shortest ferry crossing is Civitavecchia (just north of Rome) to Olbia where the daily daytime ferry takes 5h30, and an overnight ferry with cabins takes 7h.  A daily ferry with cabins links Naples with Caligari overnight.

Trains on Sardinia

Regional trains run by a division of Trenitalia link the major centres and ports:  Golfo Aranci, Olbia, Sassari, Porto Torres, Oristano, Cagliari.  You can check train times at although as trains are classed as regional you may as well just buy tickets at the station on the day.

In addition to the main Trenitalia routes, tourist services called the Little Green Trains run on two or three very rural routes, see (in Italian only, use Google Chrome translation feature).  These trains are run by transport authority ARST, a company formed by merging the urban transport authority with Sardinian Railways.

Airport train connections

Milan malpensa airport.

There are regional trains from Milan Malpensa airport to Milan Centrale every 30 minutes, journey time 52 minutes, fare around €12, no reservation necessary or possible, just buy a ticket at the station and hop on the next train.

Change at Milan Centrale for high-speed Frecciarossa & Frecciabianca trains to Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples or anywhere else in Italy.  You can check times & fares at or .  Reservation is required for Italian long-distance & high-speed trains, make sure you read the tips below.

Rome Fiumicino airport

Leonardo Express trains run from Rome Fiumicino airport to Rome Termini in the city centre every 30 minutes, journey time 32 minutes, fare around €14, no reservation necessary or possible, just buy a ticket at the station and hop on the next train.

Change at Rome Termini for high-speed Frecciarossa & Frecciargento trains to Venice, Florence, Naples or anywhere else in Italy - indeed, there's even a very occasional direct high-speed train from Rome Fiumicino Airport to Florence & Venice.   You can check times & fares at or - Reservation is required for Italian long-distance & high-speed trains, make sure you read the tips below.

Pisa airport

A people-mover (driverless train) shuttles passengers from Pisa airport to Pisa Centrale in the city centre in just 8 minutes.  Change at Pisa Centrale for hourly regional trains to Florence, and regular regional, Intercity or Frecciabianca trains to Rome, La Spezia and Monterosso in Cinque Terre.  You can check times & fares at selecting Pisa fermata Aeroporto for Pisa airport station - but read the tips below.

Bologna airport

A people mover links Bologna Centrale with Bologna airport, for more info see the Bologna Centrale station guide .

Tips for buying plane-to-train tickets

The regional trains from Malpensa into Milan, from Fiumicino into Rome or from Pisa to Florence are no problem - you can turn up, buy a ticket at the station & hop on the next train.  No reservation is possible and no pre-booking necessary.  They cannot sell out.

But if you intend to catch an onward high-speed train from Milan or Rome to (let's say) Florence, Naples or Venice, remember that Italian high-speed trains require reservation and tickets are only valid on the specific train you book .

Cheap advance-purchase economy or super-economy tickets become worthless if your flight is late and you miss your train.  Even a flexible 'base' ticket becomes worthless one hour after departure if you can't get to a Trenitalia ticket counter to change the reservation to a later train.

So when arriving by air at Malpensa or Fiumicino and going to Florence, Naples, Venice and the like, you must choose one of two strategies:

Option 1, prioritise your budget:  The money-saving option is to buy a cheap Super-Economy fare and commit to a specific train in advance at or , but allowing a hefty 3-4 hours between flight arrival and train, to allow for any flight delays or long lines at immigration.

Option 2, prioritise your time:  The time-saving option is to just buy a ticket at the base price when you get to the airport station.  Then you can buy a ticket for the first train leaving after you have landed, collected your bags and are ready to go.  I know this goes against the grain for overseas visitors desperate to reserve every Starbucks cappuccino 6 months ahead, but unless it's Christmas Eve or the like, you'll always find places available even right before departure as there are so many seats on so many trains, this shouldn't be a concern.  You can check what the base fare is by running an enquiry on , clicking on a train then clicking the button marked '+ show flexible fares'.  The flexible fare is what you pay at the station on the day.

A compromise option?    You may find it cheaper to book cheap advance-purchase tickets on two trains - the train you should easily make if your flight is on time and a back-up train an hour or two later - than to pay the base fare for one train as in the time-saving option above.  Or book one train that you should normally easily be able to make, then just accept that if the plane is significantly late, you'll have to buy another ticket at the base fare.

How to use

The Italian Railways website is well worth getting to know.  It can sell:

Domestic Italian train tickets for any train journey within Italy, including couchettes & sleepers on overnight trains, at cheap prices with no booking fee.

International train tickets for most direct international trains starting in Italy heading for Paris, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Slovenia, including couchettes & sleepers on overnight trains, again with cheap tickets if you pre-book.  Remember that ticket collection for trains to Austria & Germany is only possible at stations in Italy!

Or use instead.   You may find easier to use than for sleeper trains, international trains and passholder reservations.  ItaliaRail is a US-based agency who connects directly to the Trenitalia ticketing system to sell the same trains at the same prices as Trenitalia, but in plain English using English-language place names.  They charge a booking fee of around €3.50, but this will be refunded if you send them an email at [email protected] after you book.

How to use

Base is the fully-flexible fare, it's what you'd pay at the station on the day.  Refundable, only valid on the train booked but can be changed before departure, or at the station up to an hour after departure.  The base fare was originally one fixed-price for a given journey, but as from late 2017 the base fare for Frecciarossa & Frecciargento trains can vary slightly by day of the week or the popularity of each particular train.

Economy & Super-Economy are Trenitalia's cheap advance-purchase fares, only valid on the train booked, limited refunds & changes, limited availability, these are the fares you want for cheap travel, if you are certain what time train you want.

Cartafreccia Special fares can only be bought if you have a Cartafreccia card, which you probably haven't.

Ordinaria is the regular fare for regional trains.  It's fixed-price, you can buy at that price even on the day.  In principle this fare is good for any train, but you now need to select a specific departure and check in online for it before boarding, see more about how regional tickets now work .

Posto Doppio - Compart. Intero = books a whole private 2-bed sleeper for 2 people.  If there's 2 of you, this is what you select for both passengers.

Posto Doppio - Uomo = reserves a bed or beds in a shared 2-bed sleepers, male-only compartments.

Posto Doppio - Donna = reserves a bed or beds in a shared 2-bed sleepers, ladies-only compartments.

Posto Singolo = single-bed sleeper, books one private compartment for one person.

Cuccette C4 Comfort-Promiscuo = bunk in shared 4-berth Comfort couchettes, normal mixed sex compartment.

Cuccette C4 Comfort - Donna = bunk in shared 4-berth Comfort couchettes, in special ladies-only compartment.

Cuccette C4 Comfort-Compart. Intero = whole 4-berth Comfort couchette compartment (must have 4 passengers selected).

Compartimento 3 Letti - Uomo = bed in shared 3-bed sleeper, male-only compartment.

Compartimento 3 Letti - Donna = bed in shared 3-bed sleeper, ladies-only compartment.

Compartimento 3 Letti - Intero = 3-bed sleeper, whole compartment (need to have pre-selected 3 passengers).

To book 2 people together in a 2-bed sleeper you'd select Posto Doppio - Compart. Intero for both passengers.

On some international routes they use slightly different sleeper terminology:

Cabina A3 = 3-berth.  Cabina A2 = 2-berth.  Gran classe = deluxe with shower & toilet.

But again, Uomo means male, donna means female, intera means you want to book a whole compartment.

Other problems?   If you get stuck, you can contact Trenitalia's web team at [email protected]  to unfreeze frozen accounts and so forth.  They can handle emails in English.  Or you can call Trenitalia telesales on +11 39 06 6847 5475.

How to use Trenitalia ticket machines

It's easy to buy tickets at the station using the self-service ticket machines at all main Italian stations, as long as you have a credit card with a PIN (4-digit personal identification number).  They have an English language facility, and it's faster and easier than using the ticket office.  The machines are pretty self-explanatory, but to give you confidence and so you know what to expect, here's how to use them.

Incidentally, you'll sometimes find annoying types who hang around offering to 'help' foreigners, just be healthily suspicious of them and refuse all help, you don't need it as the machines are self-explanatory and you certainly don't need anyone near your wallet or pockets while you are distracted.  Italian stations are perfectly safe (I've spent literally hours hanging round them out of professional interest, without any problem whatsoever), but it pays to be streetwise!

To buy a ticket

Children under 4 go free with no ticket needed, children under 12 can use a child rate ticket on regional trains, children under 14 can use a child ticket on Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca, InterCity & InterCity Notte mainline trains.

Paying for a guidebook may seem an unnecessary expense, but it's only a fraction of what you spend on the whole trip.  If you have a decent guidebook, you see so much more and know so much more about what you're looking at.  I think the Lonely Planets or Rough Guides are the best ones out there for the independent traveller.

Click the images to buy at

Or buy in the usa from

Alternatively, you can download just the chapters or areas you need in .PDF format from the Lonely Planet Website , from around £2.99 or US$4.95 a chapter.

European Rail Timetable & maps

Traveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy online

Rail Map Europe is the map I recommend, covering all of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  Scenic routes & high-speed lines are highlighted.  See an extract from the map .  Buy online at (shipping worldwide) or at (UK addresses).

Recommended hotels

Here are my suggested hotels in key Italian cities, conveniently located for arrival by train and all with good or great reviews.  You are unlikely to be disappointed by any hotel scoring over 8.0 out of 10 on .

There are lots of hotels near Milan Centrale , used by the Frecciarossa to/from Paris, the EuroCity trains to/from Switzerland and the majority of Italian domestic trains.

Affordable hotels & guesthouses with good or great reviews just outside the station include the Hotel Bristol , Hotel Bernina , 43 Station Hotel , B&B Hotel Milano Central Station , Guesthouse Teodora .

M ore upmarket hotels include HD8 Hotel , Glam Hotel , Made to Measure Business , Starhotel Echo or Starhotel Anderson .

At the top end, the 5-star Excelsior Hotel Gallia is just across the road, you won't go wrong with that if your budget will stretch!

Near Milan Porta Garibaldi (used by the TGV to/from Paris), the AC Milano Hotel (a Marriott Lifestyle Hotel) is just 350m from the station and gets good reviews.  Also try the Holiday Inn Porta Garibaldi , which offers family rooms.

Hotels near Verona Porta Nuova station with good or great reviews include the Corte Merighi Rooms & Breakfast , Novo Hotel Rossi , Guesthouse Verona or (a little closer to the centre, but with fab reviews) the Relais Empire .

Location, location, location!   Some people try to save money by staying on the mainland at Mestre , hotels in Mestre being naturally cheaper.  It's an option, but don't do it if you don't have to.  You want to be a resident in Venice, not a serial day-tripper, so try to find an affordable place in the historic city of Venice itself.

Venice Santa Lucia station is walking distance from everywhere in central Venice including the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco, so a hotel near the station which you can easily walk to with your bags makes a lot of sense.

Relatively inexpensive places with good reviews near Venice Santa Lucia include Albergo Marin , Hotel Marte , La Loggia della Luna , Albergo ai Tolentini .

An excellent upmarket choice just 5 minutes walk from Venice Santa Lucia is the small and intimate Hotel Canal Grande - I've stayed there myself.  Also try the Abazzia De Luxe .

For the least expensive places in central Venice check .  Use the map view to see places in Venice itself.

Of course, if you have the financial backing for a water taxi, then fine, stay near San Marco or wherever you like.  My son nagged me continually until I caved in and splurged €70 on a water taxi from Santa Lucia station to St Marks.  I have to say that it was the best thing I have ever done in Venice, and that includes a gondola ride!

If you do decide to stay in Mestre to save money and travel in & out of Venice by train every day, try the Hotel Cris which has great reviews 200m from Venezia Mestre station , and the Best Western Plus Hotel Bologna .

In Florence

For something fancy, try the Hotel Santa Maria Novella with a 9/10 review score and rooftop terrace overlooking the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella.  It's a mere 5-minute 400m walk from Florence Santa Maria Novella station .

For something more affordable but also an easy walk from the station, try the Hotel Art Atelier .

Other hotels nearby with good reviews include C-hotels Club , 7Florence B&B , Hotel Lombardia .

There are many hotels near Rome Termini .  However, an affordable top choice with a 9/10 review rating is the Hotel Diocleziano , a 5-minute 400m walk from Roma Termini's main entrance, set in a 19th century building next to the Terme di Diocleziano ancient Roman baths.

An upmarket option near the station is Hotel Le Petit , an 8-minute 700m walk from the station, also with great reviews.

Other hotels near the station with good or great reviews include The Hive Hotel , Dream Station , The Republic Hotel .

There are lots of hotels near Naples Centrale .

The Starhotel Terminus is just across the road from the station, gets great reviews and has a roof terrace with views over the Bay of Naples.

The Hotel Potenza is only a little further into the Piazza Garibaldi, cheaper, also with good reviews.

The Unahotel Napoli is highly recommended, on Piazza Mancini overlooking Piazza Garibaldi, on the far side facing the station.

Also consider the Pit Stop Napoli Centrale . for hotels

I generally use for hotels for 3 reasons:

(1) It keeps all my hotel bookings together in one place;

(2) I've come to trust 's review scores;

(3) usually offers a clearly-marked Free cancellation option.

Free cancellation means you can secure hotels risk-free even before trains open for booking, and if necessary change those bookings if your plans evolve.

If I'm only staying a night or two, I look for a hotel near the station to make arrival & departure easy.  You can enter the station name (e.g. Berlin Hbf ) as search location.  If staying longer, I look for a hotel close to the sights, entering the name of a city attraction as the search location, then using map view.

AirBnB: began in 2008 when two designers who had space to share hosted three travellers looking for a place to stay.  AirBnB is a platform which connects hosts with guests, so you can now book a room in people's homes, or an apartment, flat or house which people want to rent out.  It can be nicer than a hostel, cheaper than many hotels.

Backpacker hostels: offers online booking of dorm beds or cheap private rooms in backpacker hostels most European cities at rock-bottom prices.  It's one way to cut costs significantly compared to using a hotel every night.

Travel insurance & other tips

Always take out travel insurance.

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with myself.  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here .  Here are some suggested insurers, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

US flag

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a European mobile data package and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility list .  There's no need to buy a physical SIM card! is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data .

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:   1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android .  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than getting a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card , they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When travelling you may use free public WiFi which is often insecure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explained .  ExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with using this link you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I also get some commission to help support this site.

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, hotel bookings and Interrail or Eurail passes are often now held on your mobile phone.  You daren't let it run out of power, and you can't always rely on the phone's internal battery or on being near a power outlet.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over.  Buy from or Buy from .

Touring cities?  Use hill walking shoes!

One of the best things I've done is swap my normal shoes for hill-walking shoes, in my case from Scarpa.  They're intended for hiking across the Pennines not wandering around Florence, but the support and cushioning for hiking works equally well when you're on your feet all day exploring foreign cities.  My feet used to give out first and limit my day, now the rest of me gives up before they do!

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The Trusted Traveller

The Best of Italy by Train: A Two Week Itinerary

You have just two weeks in Italy and want to make the most of your time.  The perfect Italy trip will have you seeing as much as possible but not heading home feeling like you need another holiday to get over the holiday.

This is where touring Italy by train is the perfect choice for you. So, I’ve put together what I think is the perfect two week Italy itinerary by train.

If you’re from the US, Australia or maybe other parts of the world, you will know that our countries long distance rail systems are not what you would call efficient, time or money saving. Visit Europe or Asia and you will wonder why we just can’t seem to get it right because really it seems so simple over there.

Europe is perfect for train travel and travelling around Italy by train is no exception. Their services are fast, efficient, reasonably priced and generally run on time.

Travelling Italy by Train - The Best of Italy by Train: A Two Week Itinerary - The Trusted Traveller

Being able to hop on the train in the centre of one place and arrive in the centre of another in a matter of hours is much more convenient and less stressful that negotiating busy airports or driving long distances and having to find a parking spot. The seats and carriages are clean and comfortable plus you get to spend some time relaxing and gazing out the window watching the stunning scenery pass by.

Italy’s train network runs to every major city and most smaller cities and towns making it easy to get from place to place. There is a lot to see in Italy but with only two weeks you will need to be selective in the places you visit.

This Italy train itinerary takes in four of the country’s major cities, one small town, one stunning coastal region, offers plenty of time for day trips to nearby regions and allows you just enough time to see the major sights in each place without making you rush around from place to place.

Italy Train Two Week Itinerary

The Best of Italy by Train: A Two Week Itinerary Map

Train Tickets

While travelling by train is never going to be as cheap as taking a bus, or in some cases flying with a budget airline, it is going to be more comfortable, scenic and time saving.

There is a lot of debate about whether purchasing a rail pass is the most cost effective option when travelling by train in Europe. Really, it all comes down to the amount of travel days you plan on taking during your trip.

For this exact itinerary above (not including day trips), you will have five travel days, Rome to Assisi, Assisi to Florence, Florence to La Spezia, La Spezia to Milan and Milan to Venice. Here are the average prices based on one adult travelling alone for both point to point tickets and rail pass.

Point to Point – Adult point to point tickets including seat reservation fee where applicable for all of the five journeys – 1st Class €145.00* or 2nd Class €95.00*.

Rail Pass – Adult Italy Rail Pass for five days of travel in a one month period – 1st Class €376.00* or 2nd Class €282.00* plus seat reservation fees where applicable.

The cheapest option by far for this itinerary is to purchase point to point tickets .

To research more and purchase point to point tickets or rail passes, click on one of the links below for your home country.

tour italy by train

Alternatively, tickets are available at all Trenitalia train stations across Italy on the day or in advance but prices will likely be higher and there may not be availability for specific trains, especially high speed services.

For a comprehensive guide to Europe train travel I recommend The Man in Seat 61 . Or for an accurate one stop shop of Europe train timetables check out the German Bahn website.

* Prices correct as at time of publishing.

Days 1 to 3 – Rome

To start your 2 weeks in Italy by train, arrive into Rome on day 1. This itinerary assumes that you arrive in the morning giving you three quarters of a day to start seeing the sights.

Rome is the capital of Italy and once capital of the Roman Empire. This sprawling city is famous for its Roman ruins, incredible architecture, collection of world class artworks and home to the worlds smallest country, Vatican City.

Rome - The Best of Italy by Train: A Two Week Itinerary - The Trusted Traveller

What to See & Do in Rome

Vatican City – The home of the pope and the catholic church. Inside you will find incredible architecture and world class art including Michelangelo’s famous painted ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Wait times to enter the museum and Sistine Chapel can be long if you don’t have a pre-purchased ticket. Get it here.

The Colosseum – The largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire and the world. While not still in tact today, it still gives a fascinating glimpse into its past.

Roman Forum – As the heart of ancient Rome, the Forum was, and still is, one of the most celebrated meeting places in the history of the world. Your ticket to the Colosseum also includes entry to the Forum where you can wander around the ruins and take a walk up Palatine Hill for views over the Forum and the city.

Save money and time waiting in queues by pre-purchasing a combine Colosseum and Roman Forum priority entry ticket here . Or join this very affordable guided tour with expert guide.

The Pantheon – One of the best preserved Roman buildings remaining in the world. What is most incredible about the Pantheon is that most of its original features remain including the marble floors.

Spanish Steps – The worlds most famous staircase is constantly abuzz with people day and night.

Trevi Fountain – Do as the legend says and throw a coin in the fountain to ensure you one day return to Rome.

Piazza Navona – The city’s most beautiful square, featuring three spectacular fountains and surrounded by some of the city’s best baroque architecture.

Rome’s Hop-On-Hop-Off bus is one of the best I’ve taken around the world. The routes cover everything you could possibly want to see in Rome and passes last for 24, 48 or 72 hours giving you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Pre-purchase your tickets here to avoid the queues and save.

Where to Stay in Rome

Here are three accommodation options to suit all budgets that I recommend you check out. All are centrally located, highly rated and come with excellent facilities.

Budget – Hotel Domus Praetoria

Mid-Range – Sophie Terrace Hotel

Luxury – Anantara Palazzo Naiadi

Read More About Rome

30 Things to Do in Rome

Day 4 – Assisi

Train: Rome to Assisi – approx. 2 hours with about half a dozen direct departures each day. Take an early morning departure from Rome giving you most of the day in Assisi.

Assisi is a small town perched high on a hill in the region of Umbria approximately half way between Rome and Florence. It is a UNESCO World Heritage listed town that is famous for is magnificent medieval architecture and for being the birth place of Saint Francis.

Assisi - The Best of Italy by Train: A Two Week Itinerary - The Trusted Traveller

What to See & Do in Assisi

Rocca Maggiore – Hike up to the ruins of a castle perched high above the town. It was rebuilt in the 14th century but originated from the times of Charlemagne.

Basilica of Saint Frances – Construction began on the basilica two years after the death of Saint Francis in 1228.  The complex consists of two churches built on top of one another with frescoes on the walls dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Saint Francis is buried in the crypt under the basilica.

A walking tour that includes a visit to the Basilica with an expert guide is a great way to understand the history of this great town in a short amount of time. You can book in advance here to avoid missing out.

Piazza Santa Chiara – Perfect place for views over the Umbrian countryside and olive groves below. It’s always buzzing with visitors and locals. Also check out the basilica of the same name in the square.

Piazza del Comune – Take a seat on the stone steps of the Temple of Minerva for some people watching while eating a gelato.

Wander the streets – The most rewarding of these things to do in Assisi is simply wander its steep cobblestone streets, stopping in local artisan and food stores and admiring the pink hued architecture of this beautiful town.

Where to Stay in Assisi

Budget – Hotel La Fortezza

Mid-Range – Hotel Porta Nuova

Luxury – Nun Assis Relais & Spa Museum

Day 5 to 7 – Florence

Train : Assisi to Florence – approx. 2.5 hours with about half a dozen direct departures each day. Take an early morning departure from Assisi to maximise your time in Florence.

Florence is a Renaissance city in the heart of one of the most beautiful regions in the world, Tuscany. It is home to some of Italy’s most incredible churches and some of the worlds most famous works of art.

Florence - The Best of Italy by Train: A Two Week Itinerary - The Trusted Traveller

What to See & Do in Florence

Duomo, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – This massive cathedral in the heart of Florence is a must see for it’s pink and green marble exterior, interior that holds 20,000 people and bell tower which you can climb for panoramic views over Florence. Skip the queues and get your entry ticket here in advance.

Piazza della Signoria – The heart of Florence’s old town. Visit to see the free open-air sculpture gallery including a copy of Michelangelo’s David and to check out the impressive medieval Palazzo Vecchio.

Pont Vecchio – Florence’s first bridge built over the Arno river in 1345 and the only one that survived WWII bombing of the city. It is lined with shops selling gold and silver jewellery. Make sure you view it from one of the adjacent bridges as well as walk over it.

Galleria delgi Uffizi – Home to the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art including painting, sculptures and tapestries from medieval times up to the modern day. At the busiest times of year, you can’t get into this gallery without a pre-booked ticket, purchase it here to avoid missing out.

Galleria dell’ Academia – If you want to see the original Michelangelo’s David, then this is where you will find it. Along with this famous statue are paintings and sculptures from the 13th to 16th centuries as well as a collection of instruments started by the Medici family. Get a timed entry ticket here to avoid the queues at Florence’s most popular attraction.

Mercato Centrale – If your looking to do a bit of shopping in Italy then this market in Florence is the perfect place to purchase genuine leather goods, souvenirs, antiques and food.

Day Trip to Tuscany – Enjoy a day outside of the city visiting some of the wineries and hill towns this region is famous for. This tour is very well rounded with visits to both big and small towns in Tuscany and a Chianti winery. Book it here.

Italian Cooking Class – Food in Italy is life and there is no better way to experience the Italian way of life than with a food market and cooking class. On this tour you will spend over five hours with a local chef, visiting the local market to source ingredients, cooking with them to make delicious Italian food and finally sitting down to enjoy eating what you have made.

Where to Stay in Florence

Budget – Hotel Por Santa Maria

Mid-Range – Hotel Calimala

Luxury – Portrait Firenze Lungarno Collection

Read More About Florence

Things to Do in Florence

Day 8 to 9 – Cinque Terre

Train: Florence to Le Spezia – approx. 2.5 hours with about half a dozen direct departures each day. Take a mid afternoon train from Florence, arriving in Le Spezia (the best town to base yourself for walking Cinque Terre) early evening. Get a good nights rest ready for a day of walking.

Cinque Terre Map

Cinque Terre translates to Five Lands and comprises the five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. Each charming and colourful village clings to the cliff face overlooking the ocean and is accessible only by boat, train and on foot.

Cinque Terre - The Best of Italy by Train: A Two Week Itinerary - The Trusted Traveller

What to See & Do in Cinque Terre

First thing in the morning, head to La Spezia train station and go to the tourist office on platform number one and purchase a €16.00 Cinque Terre hiking and train pass. This gives you access to Cinque Terre National Park, unlimited train travel between La Spezia and the five Cinque Terre towns plus free entry to a selection of museums and attractions in the towns for a full day (multi-day passes are also available).

Once you have your ticket, take the train to the first town, Riomaggiore. From there you have three options in terms of exploring these five villages which are all easily achievable in one full day. This is one of the most spectacular ways to see Italy by train, so make sure you nab yourself a window seat on the left of the train.

Option 1 – Train – You can continue to take the train from village to village using your pass getting off in each village to explore and then taking the train back to La Spezia at the end of the day.

Option 2 – Walking – This is the most popular option but does require a moderate to high level of fitness to complete the whole track in one day. There are four walks, one between each of the villages, and each one has a different degree of difficulty based on how steep and long the trail is. All four walking trails are not always open due to landslides and weather conditions and information on these closures will be given to you with your ticket.

Here is a brief description of what to expect on each trail.

Riomaggiore to Manarola – The easiest and shortest of the trails. It is relatively flat and takes the average walker around 20 minutes.

Manarola to Corniglia – A bit more challenging. The walk takes about 45 minutes and is mostly skirting along beaches before climbing up to Corniglia.

Corniglia to Vernazza – Arguably the most challenging of the four trails. This trail takes about 90 minutes and requires a lot of walking up and down. But you are compensated for your hard work by the best views the Cinque Terre has to offer.

Vernazza to Monterosso – Pretty close in toughness as the trail before but this time a bit more flat. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views back on Vernazza.

You would then take the train back to La Spezia from Monterosso at the end of the day.

Option 3 – Combination of Both – If you don’t think you are fit enough to conquer the whole trail then you have the option of combining both walking and taking the train. The first trail, from Riomaggiore to Manarola is a simple flat walk that is suitable for most fitness levels. And if after completing that section, you feel up to it, you can continue on to Corniglia by foot or just jump on the train. Then taking the train back to La Spezia at the end of the day.

As for things to do in Cinque Terre other than hiking, there isn’t anything specific that I would suggest you see. Instead wander up and down the cobblestone lanes checking out the small churches, local food and artisan stores. Stop for a meal (the seafood here is amazing!), coffee and gelato in the restaurants and cafes. And of course enjoy a well deserved swim at the beach in Monterosso at the end of your day.

An alternate option is to explore the Cinque Terre by boat on a day trip from Le Spezia. Spend the day swimming, snorkeling, admiring the views and exploring the villages on foot on this full day eight hour tour .

Where to Stay in La Spezia

Budget – Hotel Birillo

Mid-Range – Monteverdi Resort

Luxury – Poet Hotel

Day 10 to 12 – Milan

Train: Le Spezia to Milan – approx. 3-3.5 hours with around 10 direct departures each day. Take an early morning train from Le Spezia to maximise your time in Milan.

Milan is often overlooked by visitors to Italy in favour of visiting some of the more historic cities and regions. But this shouldn’t be the case. It’s a city full of beautiful Renaissance architecture, incredible cathedrals, world class works of art and it is one of the fashion capitals of the world. It’s also the perfect place to base yourself for day trips to the Italian Lakes and Southern Alps region.

Milan - The Best of Italy by Train: A Two Week Itinerary - The Trusted Traveller

What to See & Do in Milan

Duomo of Milan – The largest gothic cathedral in the world can be found right in the centre of Milan. Construction began in 1386 taking 500 years to complete. It’s an impressive sight both inside and out plus it offers a great vantage point from the roof (get your roof top entry tickets here to avoid the queues).

Santa Maria delle Grazie – Home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper fresco. If you want to see this incredible work of art it is necessary to book in advance . One option is to visit on a guided tour where you will get to see this incredible work of art with an expert.

Sforza Castle –  Situated in the centre of the city is Milan’s Castle which is home to a bunch of art museums including one containing Michelangelo’s last sculpture. Even if you don’t want to visit the museums, the castle is a great place for a stroll through the courtyards and surrounding parklands or to see the very animated fountain out the front.

La Scala Opera House – Italy’s finest opera house can be found in Milan. If you can’t afford the exuberant prices to see a show then you can enter the museum during the day on a tour ( book here to avoid missing out) to see paintings, musical instruments and get a glimpse at the stalls and backstage areas.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – This huge glass roofed shopping arcade links Duomo Square with La Scala. The stores you will find inside are mostly high end fashion brands and expensive cafes. Take a wander through to admire the roof and the mosaic tiles.

Day Trip to Lake Como – An easy 30-45 minutes train ride from Milan is spectacular Lake Como . When you get off the train and Como Nord Largo (beware, there is three train stations in Como), hop on one of the ferries that goes up and down the lake stopping at the small towns along the way and passing houses owned by Clooney and Branson just to name a few. It’s a beautiful day out with mountain peaks and sheer cliff faces towering over the lake. Hop off at the town of Bellagio, at least, and explore it’s cobblestone streets and charming stores and cafes. An alternative to the train is an organised day trip which you can book here .

Where to Stay in Milan

Budget – Hote Mignon

Mid-Range – Hotel Ritter

Luxury – Mandarin Oriental Milan

Day 13 to 14 – Venice

Train: Milan to Venice – approx. 2.5 hours with at least one direct departure each hour. Take an early morning train from Milan to optimise your time in Venice.

Italy’s sinking city, Venice , is made up of 118 islands connect by bridges and separated by canals, and is literally sinking into the marshy ground it was built on. It’s a city renowned for it’s beauty, architecture and artworks and is best experienced without a map, getting lost in the maze of cobblestone streets and diverse neighborhoods .

Venice - The Best of Italy by Train: A Two Week Itinerary - The Trusted Traveller

What to See & Do in Venice

Piazza San Marco – The city’s largest square and main meeting place. It is surrounded by cafes, shops, museums and some of the city’s best architecture. Beware of the very tame pigeons!

Basilica San Marco – Located in Piazza San Marco, this basilica is one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture in the city. Inside you will find incredible mosaics and paintings by some of the areas best artists. This ticket will give you direct access to the Basilica and the opportunity to take in the incredible views from the Terrace.

The Grand Canal – This is the main and largest canal that snakes it way through the centre of the main island. It’s always busy with boats and barges running up and down carrying goods and people from dock to dock. A great way to do a quick sightseeing tour is by jumping on a vaporetto (Venice’s public transport) at one end and hopping off at the other.

Doge’s Palace – Once the residence of Venetian leaders, now a museum where you can get a glimpse at some of the rooms used in it’s day including stately reception rooms, offices, living quarters, prison cells and torture chambers. This reserved entry ticket will allow you to skip the queues on entry.

Rialto Bridge – This ornamental stone bridge spans the Grand Canal and is the most popular of Venice’s bridges. It’s a very lively spot where you will find shops and markets lining the bridge.

Take a Gondola Ride – While prices for a private gondola ride are close to €100.00 these days, to me, it is still worth the cost for this quintessential Venetian experience. If your lucky to get a chatty gondolier, he will entertain you with stories and maybe even serenade you as you punt along the canals. Most gondola’s seat 6-8 people, so sharing with others is a great way to save money. Booking ahead here will ensure you don’t miss this must do Venice experience.

Explore the Islands – Just a short boat ride away from the main island of Venice are a number of popular islands you can explore. Murano is know for it glass makers, Burano it’s canals lined with coloured houses and lace making and Lido is lined with beaches, restaurants and shopping. You can reach all of these islands from the ferry terminal near Piazza San Marco or you could join a  guided tour to see it all with a local!

Where to Stay in Venice

Budget – Hotel ai do Mori

Mid-Range – Hotel Bel Sito e Berlino

Luxury – Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Read More About Europe

First Timers One Month Europe Itinerary

Have More or Less Time?

There are so many more hidden gems in Italy outside of what I have mentioned above. If you have more than two weeks in Italy then you can extend your stay in two ways. Firstly, you could allocate additional time to some of the places I mentioned above allowing you to go at a more relaxed pace and see more in each destination. Alternatively, why not add a destination or two to your Italy train itinerary. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast
  • The Dolomites

Finally, if you have less than two weeks to spend in Italy, check out my Italy 10 Day Itinerary . You’ll get to see the highlights of this trip in a few less days.

A few things to note:

  • Flying into one city and out of another will save you time rather than having to double back to your original destination to fly home. The way airlines work in terms of pricing these day you should not be penalised for doing this.
  • Pack light. A backpack or light weight soft case is a good option as it makes getting on an off trains much easier.
  • Discounts are available on train tickets when traveling in groups of 2 or more, as a family unit, or for people aged under 26. Prices for point to point tickets above are averaged and may be cheaper or more expensive depending on how far in advance you book and whether there is a sale on at the time.

Over to you!

What is your favourite part of this Italy by train itinerary or where are you most keen to visit?

Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.

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302 thoughts on “The Best of Italy by Train: A Two Week Itinerary”

I love Italian trains- the choice between high speed and cheaper local trains make it the perfect way to see the country! I haven’t been to Cinque terre yet but it’s on my list- all the little towns look so gorgeous.

Totally agree Hannah. Hope you get to visit Cinque Terre soon.

I am traveling Italy in august. Is it good time to travel?

Hi Ali! August is when i visited Italy and found it to be a great time of year. It can be quite hot though but that also means really great weather. Dont hesitste to contact me if you have any more questions about your exciting trip!

Thank you Jen for your prompt reply.

I am flying into Venice and Leaving out from Rome, Is it a good Idea?

My pleasure Ali. Yes that sounds like a very time effective way to go. Saves you from having to backtrack to your starting point. What cities, towns or regions are you planning to visit?

Hi, I need some help planning my italy itinerary. I found cheap tickets to naples and going back to the us from naples. I know there will be back tracking, but wanted to know if this was ok. I have about 12 days (including travel) in September. Any advise would help.

Hey Rakesh, Backtracking won’t be a problem as Italy is relatively small so doing a loop would be fine. I’d be happy to help you put together an itinerary that would suit you. Email me what you have so far and we can go from there. [email protected] Cheers Jen

hi Jen, Great itenary!! We are a family of 3 and visiting italy for 12 nights in June first fortnight. Flying into rome and out of venice Any suggests on itenary – rome 3 days Florence 2 days Venice 2 days What else we can do in 4 days ..?

Hi Meenu, Glad you like the itinerary. I would suggest for 12 days, following the same itinerary I have suggested above except remove Assisi and this will give you 12 days. Hope you have a great time! Cheers Jen

Great itinerary tips! I feel the same way about the train – it my favorite mode of transportation in Italy (and Europe).

Thanks Elena. The only way to train in Europe I think.

Great itinerary! We took a train through Italy on a similar route back in 2007 and it was one of the best experiences – great way to get around the country. Though we missed Assisi so may have to get back!

Thanks Megan. I think visiting Assisi is a definitely a good excuse to go back to Italy.

Hi Jen! Are you still giving advice on Italy Itineraries?

Hi Deb, Feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to advise. Cheers Jen

This is awesome! I love the way this post is crafted – it’s really nice and easy to read for it being a lengthy post full of information. The galleries of images is a nice break from text, as are the headings. Perfect summary here!

Thanks Alli, appreciate your feedback.

I love trains! They were my favorite way to get around Asia. I definitely miss cheap, efficient transportation now that I’m back in the States.

Me too except I’m in Australia. Not much in the way if cheap and reliable transport here.

Hello Jen- I’m interested in a well priced package that spends 3 days in Milan, 3 in cinque terre… I’d like to extend the trip and spend some days in the Tuscany region would this be possible if we are leaving from Milan or is it too out of the way?… I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks, Lis

Absolutely not! Italy is a reasonably small country and with the addition of high speed trains, it makes it easy to get around quickly. I would suggest at least 3 days in Tuscany, maybe basing yourself in Florence and then taking a day trip to the other towns and the countryside.

OH this sounds so lovely right about now! Great tips for my someday trip to Italy! 🙂 -Alexandra

Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

Thanks Alexandra. Hopefully someday comes soon for you!

I love the way you display your pics on your blog! I agree with you on flying in into one city and flying out of another, it saves a lot of unnecessary traveling. Thank God for low-budget airlines 🙂

Thanks so much Els. Budget airlines are so great yet so bad all at the same time!

Great itinerary! Although I could spend months in Italy and not run out of things to do, this would be a great trip for a first time visit with the limited time most of us had. And I loved traveling Italy by train – it was so easy and the views were amazing!

Thanks Amy. I agree, Italy offers infinite options for travellers an using there trains just makes it easier.

I love Rome, but I think the Cinque Terre is my favorite part of Italy. We stayed in Vernazza and took the train and hiked to the other towns. We ate some of the best food in Vernazza too. Such a beautiful area.

It certainly is Katherine. I remember eating really fresh seafood and pasta.

Hello We are planning our trip to Cinque and I’m not sure what would be the best route coming from Venice and thinking about spending a day in Florence and then to Cinque… what do you suggest? and also is La Spezia the stop for Cinque Terre? and how would we get into Vernazza from the station? Thank you so much!

Hey Quena, Just one day in Florence won’t give you much time when you factor in the 3-4 hours it will take you travelling to and from it on the trains. I’d suggest giving it at least one night if not more. La Spezia is the largest town close to Cinque Terre and is known as the gateway to the region. You can choose to stay there and day trip along the coast or transit through there to access the train that runs along the Cinque Terre. As for getting into Vernazza, just take the train from La Spezia and the station is right in the town. When you get off, everything is less than a few minutes walk away. Hope this helps and that you enjoy this beautiful part of Italy. Cheers Jen

This is such a lovely post. I think I can plan my entire trip based on the details shared here. Thank you so much 🙂

That is great to hear Deepti. Hope you enjoy your trip!

Indeed a great itinerary and comes very handy for people who are venturing into Europe travelling for first time. I loved trenitalia trains and used them during my travels in Italy way back in 2009. They are the best way to see Italy. We did not see a lot of the places, but mostly explored the iconic cities only. Would love to go back there and explore Tuscany, Sicily, Assisi and the Amalfi coast.

Thanks Anu! I love the trains in Italy and Europe. Hope you get to visit some other parts of Italy soon!

Ughh all your Italy posts are giving me major travel envy! 😀 This is such a useful guide. I would love to go to Milan!

Thanks Jessica! Just writing them made me want to go back.

I love this itinerary. Italy is definitely on my bucket list.

Thanks Ashley. Hope you get to visit Italy soon.

We are hoping to travel to Rome for 3 nights then take a train to Florence for 2nights then head to Pisa for the morning on the way to la spezia. I have read on other websites that luggage can be stored at Pisa centrale train station. Do you recommend this? We just want to see the tower before we head to Cinque Terre later that day. We will be travelling with our 2 boys (10 & 13). We also planned to buy our tickets at the stations as we weren’t sure what times we wanted to travel. Do you recommend this in September or is it best to book ahead?

Hi Melissa,

Yes, there is a luggage storage option at Pisa Centrale Station where you can store your bags for an hourly fee. Another option which would cause you less hassle is having your bags transferred from Florence direct to La Spezia. With two teenage boys, this may be a better option.

You shouldn’t have any problems buying your tickets at the stations on the day as it is the shoulder season meaning it shouldn’t be too busy. Try not to travel during morning and evening peak times otherwise you may find yourself standing all the way. Mind you they are only short journies.

I hope you and your family have an amazing time and please let me know if you have any more questions and report back about your trip when you return, I’d love to hear all about it.

Thank you Jen,

That’s something I didn’t know about. I will definitely look into it.

Great advice

My pleasure Melissa. If you have anymore questions don’t hesitate to ask. Happy planning and travels!

I like This website.It is very helpful website.Really very good

Thank you Alina.

What a helpful blog! Gosh, I am so lazy in comparison when it comes to planning. I will be back for some more tips for sure. Cheers,

Thanks Jenn! Glad I could be of help to you.

I’m planning a 2 week trip around Italy in February and can’t tell you how much this helped me! It’s so hard planning a trip for such a short amount of time with oh so many things to do haha

I was wondering if you have been down to the south of Italy at all? A place called Lecce? I have a friend who lives there so it’ll be visiting her and wondering any recommendations you might have for that area? (if you have been)

Also with the low budget airlines mentioned, are there any good ones you recommend?

Thanks Kirstie. I’m so glad that this post has helped you. I have never been any further south than Sorrento unfortunately so I can’t really provide you with any recommendations for Lecce. Lonely Planet has a good guide on things to see in Lecce you can check out.

As for budget airlines, they are all much the same. If you are flying from the UK or within Europe flight time is short so it’s easy to make to with little leg room and slightly uncomfortable seats. My tip is to pick the airline that offers you the cheapest price with flight arrival and departure times that are convenience to you.

Feel free to email me if you have any more questions. Happy travels!

Great thankyou heaps again!

Jen & Kirstie I was about to comment that an itinerary of Italy that doesn’t go south of Rome is very much a glass half empty. travelling in the south is harder – it is poorer and the infrastructure isn’t as good but for many it is more Italian – more passionate, more crazy and more intense. And Lecce is was of the jewels of Italy not to be missed. There are many others in the south and Sicily well that might just be the best of the best!

Thanks Simon. This itinerary is purely based on my experience. I would love to one day explore further south.

This is awesome! We are meeting family in Italy in March for 10 days and this itinerary will help tremendously. 🙂

Glad I could help Sarah. Happy travel in Italy!

This is a great itinerary that includes a lot of wonderful spots of Italy, it is a bit fast pace for me but still lovely. Train travel is one of my favourite, but there might be a cheaper way to move around the country, it’s car-sharing. We’ve been using it a lot recently but it means being a bit more flexible which it might not necessary go with a thigh schedule.

Thanks for the tips.

Hi Jen I came across your forum and thought I’d pick your brains. My hubby n I are heading to Europe thus year middle of August and have just booked a cruise out if Athens for 10 nights ending in Venice then off to lake Como for 4 nights THEN what do you suggest for the next 3 weeks before heading back to Aust. ( never been to Europe) would like Rome , Switzerland , Paris. Ideas appreciated from anyone and also DONT WANT IT RUSHED …… Cheers

Hi Cheryl! What an exciting trip you have planned. Id be happy to pass on some advise and will send you an email with a few suggestions shortly.

Hi Jen ! I’m traveling to Italy this June with my family starting from Venice and my return flight is from Rome we have 2 weeks can u please let me know which places to go after Venice and what traveling method should we use thx.

Hey Sally! Thanks for stopping by. You trip is going to be amazing. Italy is auch an incredible country. I suugest 3 nights in Venice to really soak it up then onto florence for another 2-3 nights. From there you can do a day trip to Tuscany which is just lovely. Back track a little to Cinque Terre to walk or take the train to the five towns. You’ll need 2 nights there staying in either Le Spezia or one of the five towns depending on your budget. Finish up in Rome for 5 nights. There is heapd to see in Rome and you can take a few nice day trips from there to Orvieto and/or Assisi. I suggest you do all of this by train with maybe the odd day trip tour thrown in. Trains are incredibly easy to use in Europe and drop you right in the heart of each city so its super convenient too. Feel free to drop me an email with any other questions you might have. Im move than happy to help. Happy travels!

Hi Jen, your itinerary to see the best of Italy in 2 weeks is very helpful. My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy this April for 2 weeks to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We were thinking of visiting Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples and Capri islands. But your suggestion of seeing Cinque Terre is very interesting. We will be travelling from India (Bangalore). Is April a good time to visit Italy? Any more suggestions about the places we could cover in 2 weeks?

HI Gayathri. Congratulations on the anniversary, A visit to Italy is a really nice way to celebrate. Your itinerary sounds great and April will be a really nice time as the weather will be warming up but not too hot and you should get lots of sunshine. My only suggestion would be maybe staying in Sorrento rather than Naples. I don’t know if there was something specific you wanted to see in Naples but from Sorrento you can easily get to Capri as well as Pompeii and the incredible Amalfi coast which is my favourite place in Italy. Happy planning and feel free to email me if you have any more questions. [email protected]

Jen, thank you so much. I would surely like to visit the Amalfi coast, but my only constraint is time. Your advice to go to Sorrento and then to Capri is well taken. I would include Pompeii if I can make it a day trip from Sorrento, is it possible? Thank you. Gayathri.

My pleasure Gayathri. From Sorrento it is an easy to do half or full day trips to Pompeii, Capri and Amalfi Coast. Viator is a great website for finding tours. Here is a link to my affiliate page Feel free to email me [email protected] if you want more help picking tours or with any other travel planning questions and I’ll be happy to help!

Jen, thank you so much. How safe is Rome and South Italy from your experience? I am getting a lot of reports that pick-pocketing and purse snatching are rampant, especially on trains.

Thanks again for all the information.

Hi Gayathri, Petty crime like pick-pocketing etc can happen anywhere in the world, and Italy is no exception. Where there is tourists there is petty crime. It is completely unavoidable and not something you should be worried about. My advise is to never carry too much cash or valuable items with you and make sure you know where your belongings are at all times. Never put your wallet in your back pocket. On the trains keep your bags close or within eye sight. There are racks above the seat that will fit large packs (we put 15kg, 60L packs up there no worries) and racks at the ends of the carriages for larger bags. I really hope this assures you that there is nothing to be concerned about and just enjoy your trip. Cheers Jen

Hi Jen, We are back from our two week trip to Italy and we had a wonderful time. Your advice and itinerary were very helpful. Thank you so much. We started from Venice, went to Sienna and then to Florence, then Rome. From Rome we went to Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius too. The weather was excellent throughout. I took your advice and booked the tours on Viator – they were really good. Thanks once again. Gayathri.

Oh I am so glad to hear that you had a great time Gayathri and that my itinerary and advise was helpful. Feel free to get in touch anytime when planning your next adventure!

Such great guide! I love it =) We have only been in Rome and then the Marche region.. This opened up my eyes for the rest of Italy, love this country!

Thanks Jessica. Hope you get to explore more of this wonderful country soon.

Do you have any recommendations for a driver for hire for a family of 6? We plan on being in Tuscany as part of our trip in early August.

Hi Steve This isn’t something I have personal experience with but I can certainly ask around with some other travel bloggers and see if I can get a recommendation for you. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Cheers

Excellent, thank you.

Hi Steve, One of my fellow traveller’s has come through for you. She has used Alessandro twice now and he comes highly recommended. You can find his Facebook page here Hope this help. Cheers Jen

Thank you for the great tips! I will be traveling with my family to Italy for 2 weeks in December 2015. We are 8 people. I would like to follow your suggested itinerary; however, is it also doable in December (winter time)? Also, we will arrive in Rome and have to fly out of Rome too. Thanks in advance for the help!

Hi Lala, Sounds like your going to have an amazing family vacation. Because of Italy’s Mediterranean location it doesn’t get as cold as some other parts of Europe however the can still get pretty chilly in the north of the country around the Alps. This shouldn’t cause you any problems travelling in December. In fact I imagine it will be much quieter than in summer. As for finishing up in Rome that it easy. All you have to do is take the train back to Rome when your finished in Venice. The journey is about 3 hours 45 minutes and there are services about once an hour with no changes required. I hope this has been of help and do let me know if you have any more questions. Happy planning and travels. Cheers

How long is the train from Rome to Cinque Terre? Both by slow and express train, also what would be the prices for both options?

Hi Keven, The fastest way to get from Rome to Cinque Terre is by direct train to Le Spezia and then change to a local train to the towns along the Cinque Terre. This will take you around 4-4.5 hours. The slower way would be to make an additional change in Florence. The journey for this would be around 1 hour more. In terms of prices, this is depend greatly on the time of the year, day of the week and what class you wish to travel in. You can find links under the Train Tickets section above to my suggested ticketing agents relevant to your home country. Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have any more planning questions and I’ll be happy to help. Happy travels. Cheers Jen

I came across your forum and found it great helpful. we couple are planning to travel italy for 2 weeks in dec 2015. we wanted to visit Rome , naples (Pompei, sorronto and Amalfi) Florance, Pisa and Milan and venice and if posible to Rimini as well. ( but i dont think we have enough time for rimini). our plan is to travel by train to these places. we are from melbourne and our starting point is to Rome and return filght from Venice. Now my concern is if we should go for point to point train tickets or for a rail pass. As far to understood rail pass doesnt do reservation and not sutiable for this trip. What you do recon ? Any suggestion on my plan ? can i plan somthing better ? And also is there any necessary to book a car or can we manage all places by train ? This is our first trip to italy for both of us and we are very much excited about our trip :).. Cheers, Vandhana.

Hi Vandhana Your trip sounds really exciting! I think your itinerary is perfect but you may struggle to fit in Rimini. My suggestion would be to spend more quality time in a few places rather than trying to fit in as many as possible. And arriving in Rome and departing Venice is a very smart thing to do saving you time and money having to double back to your starting point at the end of the trip. With your train tickets you do have two options. Point to point and a pass. Before you book either option make sure you check the prices as a pass is not always cheapest. It depends greatly on how many segments you travel and what type of trains you travel on. Fast, express trains that require reservations cost more. Seat reservations can be made on top of your pass and cost extra. I highly recommend checking out the RailPlus website for more details on rail tickets. Their customer service team are extremely helpful with answering questions and assisting you with making bookings and seat reservations. I use them when I travel by train. I definitely think the train is the way to go. If you had a car you would likely find it a hassle to park in just about every place your visiting and once your in a city for a few days a car is useless as public transport in Italy is efficient. Please don’t hesitate to email me [email protected] if you have any more questions or just want to bounce ideas off me. Happy travels and planning! Cheers Jen

Thank you Jen. I will check the Railplus website for the train details and take ur advice to spend quality time in few places rather than rushing up. Thank you for great tips 🙂

Good luck and feel free to contact me at any time with questions.

Jen, this post is excellent! Easy to follow and rich with informations! Your itinerary is really good as well: you touch some within the best places to see in Italy. I’m hope you had a good time and that you will be back.

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide me with those lovely comments Carlotta. I love Italy and do very much hope to visit there again someday.

Hi Jen I would like to train travel Italy in June. Would I be able to find accommodation each day as I travel or do you think that would be difficult? Julie

Hi Julie, It is difficult to say for June as it is coming into peak season. I believe you would have more chance in June than say July or August (peak season). What you could try is booking online a few days in advance when you have more of an idea of what your plans are. This will most certainly guarantee you to find something. Also try to avoid being in places when there are events or festivals happening. Accommodation disappears months in advance when things are going on. Happy planning! Cheers Jen

my wife and I will be staying with family in Tuscany for a week. Would it be possible to do some of these as day trips from tuscany?

We will be there mid september

Absolutely, getting to places like Florence, Siena, Pisa and Lucca (just to name a few) are really easy from Tuscany for day trips. For places further afield you could still do it in a day but in my opinion it wouldn’t be worth it. You could try some overnight trips if you did want to travel outside of Tuscany. Happy travels.

Hi Jen, thank you for this amazing write up 🙂

My friend and I are travelling Italy in mid-May onwards for 2 weeks, and we are so excited, we don’t quite know where to start! Likely to have our tickets in and out of Rome, and I am so happy to have seen this site, sheds a lot of light 🙂

Question though, how many days in advance should we be booking our train tickets? Is purchasing on the go advisable though, or should we book months in advance (given that its mid-March now)

Hey Alyssa. Thanks for getting in touch. Just got your email and I’ve just replied.

Thank you for such wonderful information! Planning a two week Italy/Paris trip, post high-school graduation with my daughter, flying into Athens and flying out of Paris. As we plan to spend most of our time in Italy, this itinerary is perfect — thank you! two general questions: (a)do you have any thoughts/suggestions on train travel from Italy to Paris? (b) Is there a particular site you recommend for lodging information in Italy? Thank you again for taking the time to post all this wonderful information – it’s truly invaluable to those of us visiting a country for the first time.

HI Elli, Sounds like a great way to celebrate your daughters graduation. From Milan in Northern Italy there is a direct overnight train that you can get to Paris which takes around 10 hours. You’ve got the option of doing the journey in an ordinary chair or having a sleep cabin. There are both private and shared cabins onboard. From anywhere else in Italy you are looking at 14 hours at least with multiple changes required. Flying might be the best option here. As for booking sites, this will depend entirely on where you are from as each country has its own agencies. If you are in Australia I recommend Accommodation will depend entirely on what your budget and style is. If you are after cheap then you can find hostels on Most hostels are more than dorms and offer private rooms with private bathrooms. You get lots of inclusions, with some even offering free wi-fi which you would usually have to pay a hefty fee for in ordinary hotels. Feel free to email me any time with more questions or just to run any ideas you have by me. Cheers Jen

Jen, this is incredible! I’ve been procrastinating planning my trip because I was just too overwhelmed. Your itinerary is so incredibly helpful, I feel as if I have an idea of what I’ll be doing now. Can’t thank you enough!

Can I ask your expert opinion? You mentioned above the Amalfi Coast was your favorite however, this will be my first trip to Italy. Do you recommend hitting the tourist sites or sacrificing some to tour the Amalfi Coast? I’ll have 2 weeks in early September. I would love to fly into Milan to Venice, La Spezia, Florence, Tuscany, Rome – just like you suggest. Is it much trouble to reach Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast? Do you think I’ll be able to manage it all? I’ll be flying out of Rome. Or I can swap and begin in Rome and fly from Milan…

Thank you so much!

So glad to help Lindsey! It is pretty simple to get from Rome to Sorrento and 1-2 nights there would be enough for you to see the Amalfi Coast on a ferry for the day. If you love stunning coastline and relaxed villages then you will love Amalfi. While Milan is nice, Italy has so much more to offer. My advise would be to skip it and allow yourself more time to get to Amalfi or spend more time in Rome, Venice or Florence. While it might be a little hectic fitting in Rome, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre and Amalfi, it is most certainly doable with enough time to see the main sights and a few off the beaten path ones as well. Feel free to email me any time if you want to chat further. [email protected] Cheers Jen

Great itinerary tips here! I’m planning for a trip to Italy this August with my family and am definitely coming back to your page when I really start planning for it! A quick question for now, my brother is a wheelchair user. Will it be convenient for him to take trains in Italy? Any other tips regarding the accessibility of Italy? Thanks in advance! 🙂

Hi Joyce. Thanks for your kind words. I have no idea about travelling in a wheelechair but a good friend of mine does. I’ve messaged him and will let you know if he can help soon. Cheers Jen

This is amazing, thank you for the great itinerary! My wife and I are going on a 2-week vacation in Italy this August (our first time in Europe too). So this is such a big help, we’re so excited! Our itinerary begins with 4 nights in Venice, 4 nights in Florence, and capped off with 5 nights in Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore).

We plan to visit the museums/galleries, churches/historical sites, and lots of walking around during our stay in Venice and Florence. We’d book ourselves a half-day Chianti wine tour as well. But after that, we’d just relax by the sea and absorb as much of the coastal villages during our loooooong stay in Cinque Terre.

We haven’t reserved rooms nor bought plane tickets yet so our plan is completely flexible as of this moment. But are we staying at each city too long? Should we insert another city in our plan? What do you think?

So glad you found this helpful. Your itinerary sounds really great and nice an relaxing. If you wanted to fit one more place in then I would suggest Rome. You could take 2 nights from Cinque Terre and one each from Venice and Florence to do 4 nights in Rome. If you decide to do this I suggest flying into Venice and out of Rome to avoid having to back track. If you want a really relaxed trip with lots of time to just chill then I think what you have already is just perfect.

If you’re looking for places to stay I have just created a new page that is full of my recommendations based on my experience. You’ll find it here .

Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have any follow up questions or want to run anything by me. I’m always happy to help!

Hi there–

I have the age old question of luggage. I’m traveling in Italy for about 3 and a half weeks this summer with my mom. I’ll be in Milan, Tuscany, Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome, Naples. I always debate whether or not to take a bag with wheels or a backpack. We will be traveling internally exclusively by train. Do you still recommend a backpack over a bag with wheels? Lost of cobbled streets? Stairs with no alternative but to carry bag? I’d hate to be schlepping a bag on my shoulders the whole trip but I will if it seems that it is easier than struggling with a rolley bag.

I am more partial to a backpack for trips where I will be moving from place to place so that is what I would suggest for your trip (which sounds great BTW). There are also bags that are backpacks but also have wheels which give you the freedom to do both, however as you can image the bag weight alone is quite heavy without all over your stuff in it.

If you do go with a backpack I have a few tips for taking some of the weight off your shoulders. – Pack smaller bottles of toiletries with just enough in them to last your whole trip. – Carefully consider what items of clothing you pack ensuring that each item goes with at least two others and can be used for multiple occasions. – Consider investing in some quick dry clothing that you can wash in the hotel sink. – As much as we love out electronic devices these days, avoid taking too many as each one is extra weight you have to carry.

I hope you have a really great time in Italy.

Thank you so much for such an informative article, it’s a life saver for first time visitors to Italy like us. We are planning a trip either beginning of August or mid September (still trying to decide, since we don’t like hot wheater) for about two weeks, and your itinerary sounds great, except that we would love to spend a couple of days on a beach. Which beaches would you say are must see in Italy and how would you change your itinerary to make this happen? Thank you in advance!

I am so glad this itinerary has helped you.

Firstly if you don’t like the heat I would recommend September over August. We were in Italy in August and it was very hot.

I have a few suggestions for you to spend a couple of days on the beach. You could add a few additional days in Cinque Terre. The town, Monterosso, has a lovely beach. Or from Rome you could travel south to the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento where you could stay a few days and enjoy the villages with nice beaches. Both of these options could be done within the two weeks with a few adjustments to the rest of the itinerary.

Alternatively, if you have some additional time, I have heard only great things about Sicily, which would require a bit more effort to get to, but you’d be rewards with some of Italy’s best beaches.

Good luck with you trip planning and please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any more questions as I am always happy to chat travel!.

I am travelling with my wife and two kids 6 & 12 on june 8th for 2 weeks. I will be flying into venice and leaving out from Rome. Any thoughts how do I plan for my trip?

Hi Ajoo, You kids must be excited for the trip! This itinerary is a great place for you to start as it is two week exactly and you could do it in reverse order, starting in Venice, ending in Rome. I’d be happy to answer any more specific questions you have as you go about your planning. Feel free to email me [email protected] at any time. All the best with your planning. Jen

Nicely done—great descriptions and concisely presented. I’m using this as my template for a trip in September.

Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment Don. I am so glad that you have found this post useful. All the best with your travel planning.

can you tell me the total cost of 2 weeks trip for Italy for couple?

Hi Attique, The cost would vary depending on the level of comfort you’d prefer for accommodation, things you’d like to see and do and what sort of places you’d like to eat at. I’d be happy to discuss this further with you if you’d like to email me [email protected] and I with a few more details I could help you out with an overall cost. Cheers Jen

I am looking to take my family of 5 to Italy in March 2016. We will be there for approximately 10-11 days depending on the flights we get. It will be over Easter, so I am not sure if it would be worth the experience to be in Rome/Vatican City then, or to avoid it. Also, we would like to hit Rome, Naples, Florence, and Venice. What is the best way to do this, and is it any better flying into Venice and traveling south or vice versa Rome and head north.

Hi Matt! I think arriving at either Rome, Venice or Naples and leaving from the opposite will be your best bet and I don’t think it will matter which direction you go (north to south or south to north) unless there is something specific you want to see and do on a specific day. As for being in Rome for Easter, I personally haven’t been there over the Easter break but know people who have and they very much enjoyed the experience of seeing the Pope on his Easter parade through the city. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, then I would avoid Rome for the Easter weekend. Feel free to email me anytime if you have any more travel planning queries and I’ll be more than happy to help. [email protected] Cheers Jen

So excited to find this itinerary!! Planning a trip for our 30th wedding anniversary. We’ve been to Venice so may just cut that part out. Do you feel this itinerary does allow for some ‘down’ time to relax? Or should I add a day or two? Also, what would be a good amount to budget for lodging and food each day? Not looking for anything fancy. Just clean. Thanks so much!!!!

Hi Tina, I’m so glad this itinerary is useful to you and congratulations on the big anniversary. I hope you have a wonderful trip. To answer your questions I’d say if you cut out Venice as you said, this would give you more down time in other places. Maybe add an additional night or two in the Cinque Terre region or add a few nights stay outside of Florence in Tuscany. Both are regions you can really relax and get away from the crowds for a bit. As for a budget for accommodation and food, this will depend entirely on your personal preferences and standards. You can check out my Where to Stay page for the places I suggest and this will be a good starting off point for you. Feel free to email me ( [email protected] ) if you want to chat further about this and I can guide you in the right direction for your budget. All the best. Cheers Jen

This is awesome!! Thanks so much for this. I would have done an organised tour (which I really didn’t want to do) if not for this information. I’m going to be doing a three and a half month trip to Europe next year starting in London flying from Sydney on April 9th, and Italy will make up 18 nights of my trip. I’m going to be doing lots of big cities, and was thinking that while I’m in Italy I might try staying in some smaller places. I don’t really want to visit Milan, but I was going to as it seemed convenient to follow your logical route and because I want to go to Lake Como. I was given some advice that it might make more sense to actually stay in Lake Como instead of Milan, and I found what looks like a great hostel in Mennagio. What do you think of this? Also I’m considering actually staying at one of the Cinque Terre towns, instead of La Spezia which you suggested. I realise I’d need to catch a train to La Spezia then a small regional one into CT. I found again what looks to be a good hostel in Manarola. Should I take a night off Florence or Rome to stay the night in Assisi or is it possible to stop on the way through?

This is my intended route for Italy starting from mid May 2016, flying in from Nice, and flying from Rome to Athens to continue my trip. The number is the nights I will stay in one place for and brackets is transport to the next place. 3 – Venice (train) (stop at Verona on the way) (day trip with Italy on a Budget to the islands) 2 –Mennagio (Lake Como) (instead of Milan) (train) to La Spezia then regional train to CT 2 – Manarola (Cinque Terre) – (train) 42 total nights 4 – Florence (day trip to Pisa, Siena, Grapes Tuscany tour by Italy on a budget to Tuscany) stop in Assisi on the way (train) 4 – Rome 3 – Italian Adventure with Italy on a Budget- Rome to Naples, Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi and Rome

Hey Brooke! What an adventure you are going to have next year. It all sounds really great. If you want to get out of the big cities and spend some more time in the smaller towns then I would definitely agree with the advise that you have been given in regard to staying in Lake Como rather than Milan and staying in Manarola rather than La Spezia. Milan, while a nice city, is really just another big Italian city and if your only reason to go there is to visit Lake Como then definitely go with the Lake Como option instead. Your itinerary sounds good and you are definitely going to be seeing lots of the country, making the most of your time with day trips. For Assisi, I would recommend trying to fit that in on the way through rather than loosing a night in Rome or FLorence. It is a really nice little town but you can quite easily see its highlights in a few hours. Good luck with putting together the rest of your trip and please do not hesitate to email me ( [email protected] ) at any time if you have any more questions or just want to bonce ideas off me. Cheers Jen

Thanks heaps Jen!! I’m so excited, this will be my first trip solo, and first time to Europe. and this plan is the result of 2 months of research (I mean for my whole trip). I think I’ve nearly got my whole trip route planned now, and I can focus on choosing places to stay, putting together ideas for what I want to do when I’m in each place (I don’t want to waste time doing this when I’m away so I plan on having a big numbered list to choose from which will be flexible to take on board advise from other travelers and locals when I am there) and I’m waiting on the release dates for tours next year. Have you had any experience with Italy on a Budget? All the reviews on Tripadvisor look great. Do you think starting in Venice in mid May would be a good time to go? I might take you up on that offer and email you my whole itinerary, but I understand you would be really busy.

Thanks for all your help

Thanks you for posting this blog myself and my partner are going to follow it to a t, the only difference is we want to spend two night in Amalfi Coast but not sure what part we don’t won’t to go too far south could you recommend somewhere please.

Thanks, Dee

Hey Dee, Glad the itinerary is useful for you. You have two options for the Amalfi Coast. Stay in the town of Sorrento and then take a day trip along the Amalfi Coast either by boat (my preference) or by bus. You can easily see the coast and stop in the towns of Amalfi and Positano on a day trip. Or you can stay on the coast itself in either Amalfi or Positano. This option would be a little more expensive but give you the freedom to explore a little more. Feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss more. Cheers Jen

I m in love with the way you have written out the itinerary.. m travelling with my family including my 6 yr old to Italy for 12 days in August. Currently we have 4 nights in rome, 2 nights in la spezia to visit cinque terre, 4 nights in florence and 2 nights in venice. thereafter we continue for a week to switzerland. I have a few questions, what is the best way to see rome, i wanted to plan some day trips, but the guided tours seem too expensive. Is there another option? Also we want to visit Naples/ Amalfi coast what would be the best way to do this? Lastly i know buying point to point train tickets would be cheaper in italy, but since we are going to switzerland after, would having a eurorail global pass make sense? thanks for your help

Hey Nimeesha, Thank you for your kind words about my itinerary. I am so glad that you have made the choice to travel to Italy and Switzerland as they are both really beautiful countries with lots to see and do. You itinerary sounds great so far. Rome is an easy city to get around on the metro and a lot of the sights are easy to walk to from one another. Alternatively the open top hop-on-hop-off bus is a cheaper than taking a city tour and offers a good route through the city allowing you to hop on and off as many times as you like over the 1, 2 or 3 days. You can find more info about that here If you have the time, you can add an additional 2 nights to your trip to explore the Amalfi Coast and Naples area. You can take a train from Rome to Naples, change to a local service which will take you to Sorrento, a nice place to base yourself for exploring the region. From Sorrento you can do boat trips along the coast stopping in the towns of Amalfi and Positano. You can also make a stop on the train to/from Sorrento to explore Pompeii for an hour or two. For your tickets, it will depend entirely on how many segments (travel days) you will be doing in total. If you use the link under tickets in this post you can compare the cost of a pass that will cover all your segments with the cost of purchasing point to point tickets. Don’t forget to factor in seat reservations for both options if you want a reserved seat. I hope this has been of assistance and please feel free to email me ( [email protected] ) should you have any follow up questions or want to run anything by me. I am always happy to hear from fellow travels. Cheers Jen

Just wanted to drop a quick note and say bravo on this piece. It has helped my husband and I immensely and although we are taking a slightly different route by train, your recommendations and tips are very beneficial.

Thank-you and keep up the great work. I’ll be sure to visit your site next time we travel for great advise and tips!

Regards, Hilary

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this note Hilary. It means a lot to me to be able to help people plan their travels and I am so glad this info was helpful to you and your husband. Please don’t hesitate to contact me again in the future should you need any further tips or advice.

Hi Jen, do you think this itinerary will work for when I go in December?

Hi Zuhairi,

This itinerary can absolutely be done at any time of year. Italy is a great country to visit all year round.

All the best with your trip!

Do you know how much the trip would roughly cost for 2 teenagers aged 18 planning to go this December?

Hi Zuhairi, It will depend entirely on what type of accommodation you choose and what type of meals you are expecting to eat. Feel free to email me with more detail and I’ll be happy to help you work out a budget. [email protected] Cheers Jen

I am in the first stages of planning a trip to Paris (7-10 days) and then training through Italy. I am so pleased I came across your site. Great information to help my planning. A few questions. If we took existing suitcases would these prove too much of a hassle on trains? A backpack wouldn’t be enough room as we will be going out for dinner where husband will need to wear a suit etc. Also, I have this vision of sitting outside in a small village having a wonderful local meal and enjoying a wine looking out at the Mediterranean and relaxing. Would you suggest Cinque Terre or Amalfi coast as the best place to be able to do this. Rome is for rushing to see all the sights and I want to balance the big cities with down time in smaller places to soak up atmosphere. I wasn’t looking at Milan but Lake Como looks stunning. I would love to see some alps so would you suggest travelling through Switzerland on the way from Paris to Venice or spending time in Lake Como with its view of the alps. If Switzerland, where would you suggest to visit for 1 or 2 nights. Thank you for the great information you give out. This is going to be my go to site now.

Thank you for the kind words Lorraine. It is very nice for me to hear that this information is useful to others when planning their trips. Below are the answers to your questions. Feel free to email me ( [email protected] ) if you have anything to follow up or want to run more ideas by me. I’m always happy to help.

If you limit yourself to one suitcase each and one small carry-on type backpack or handbag, you should be fine getting on and off the trains. Try not to overload the suitcases to much so they aren’t too heavy and so that you have room to bring home anything you might like to purchase along the way.

If I had to choose between the Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast I would choose Amalfi every time. I was blown away by it’s beauty more so than Cinque Terre. However if you like hiking then Cinque Terre might be more suitable for you as you can do the walk between the towns. Both you can do exactly what you are visualising.

Lake Como is indeed beautiful and does give you the chance to see the Alps. It is easy to get around the lake on a hop-on hop-off boat and the little towns are really beautiful and nice to explore on foot.

I do really love Switzerland but think it deserves more time than just a night or two so I would go with the Lake Como option for this particular trip. However if you do really want to visit Switzerland, Interlaken is beautiful town completely surrounded by the mountains. Or Lucerne is also nice, but bigger, and is a great place for day trips up into the mountains. (A little more info on Switzerland )

Another alternative would be the town of Annecy in the French Alps right near the boarder of Switzerland. It is one of my favourite places in Europe and would fit nicely in your trip with a balance of biggers cities and smaller towns. (More info on France, including Paris and a bit on Annecy )

Hope this has helped and please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can help you in any other way with your trip.

Thank you so much for your ideas. Annecy looks postcard perfect. That’s the trouble with Europe – so many beautiful places and so little time (and money) I will be reading all of your Europe guides to gain more for information. Working out the most cost effective versus must see way to train from Paris to Rome will take some time but I do enjoy the research. Im sure I will have more questions later but thank you for the help you have already given esp regarding the baggage and also Amalfi v Cinque Terre. I will definitely be adding in somewhere near alps – just not sure yet if French, Italian or Swiss. cheers Lorraine

I’m going Italy for two weeks next year July by myself, this itinerary helped a lot, but I’m slightly worried about the budget for the whole trip.

Hi Jettson, Glad this itinerary has helped. Your budget will depend entirely on what type of accommodation you stay in, where you choose to eat and how many paying attractions you want to visit. Feel free to email me [email protected] will more info on these things and I’ll be able to help you out with a budget.

Hi! i’m planning a trip to Switzerland and and Italy for this winter. I’ll be spending 2 nights in Zurich, 2 nights in Lucerne, and a night in Zermatt for the Switzerland leg. For the Italian leg i’ll be spending a night in Venice and 3 nights each in Milan, Florence, and Rome. Do you have any suggestions of what i should do in the winter?

Hi Trisha, Thanks for your comment. Your trip sounds so exciting. Europe in the winter is supposed to be beautiful. For Italy, much of what you can do in Summer, you can do in Winter. Here is a link to everything we have done in Italy ( ). For northern Italy and Switzerland, winter sports like skiing, snowboard, sledging etc are all very popular and easy to arrange when you are there. If you are there around Christmas time, Europe’s Christmas markets are amazing so see if you can visit one of them maybe in Zurich or Lucerne. From Lucerne I highly recommend taking the cog train and gondola to Mt Pilatus ( ). Hope this helps and that you have a great trip. If you have any specific questions please feel free to email us ( [email protected] ). Cheers Jen

This is great! I’m planning on going to Italy for my next big trip. Just out of curiosity, what was your budget approximately for this?

Thanks Natasha. Glad you have found it useful. You budget will depend entirely on the type of accommodation, food and activities you do. I’d be happy to advise you more on this through email if you’d like to email me a bit more details about these things. [email protected] . Cheers

Please add me to your mailing list.

Thanks Gillian

Thanks Gillian. I have just added you.

Hey Jen! My husband and I were hoping to visit Italy this summer– but we were looking at those guided tour groups that already plan out the hotels/travel arrangements to help prevent a planning headache. I was wondering if touring by yourself instead of with a group is the cheaper option? Plus I want to visit Cinque Terre– and I can’t find a group tour that visits there…

Overall we want to see Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Rome. Wondering if you could give advice on traveling (like how many nights to stay in each place). My email is: [email protected]

Would love to hear some advice! Thanks!

Hi Anna, It would definitely be cheaper to travel independently than with a group. While I do like group tours from time to time, travelling independently gives you far more freedom. As for how many night to say in say place, this would depend on what you wanted to see and do in each place. A few rough numbers i’d suggest would be 3 nights each in Venice and Florence, 2 in Cinque Terre and 4 in Rome. Of course if you are wanting to see more than just the famous sites, i’d allow a bit more time. Hope you have a great time in Italy and feel free to email use with any follow up questions. Cheers Jen

Hey Jen, I was looking at doing a family (w 3 kids 16,20,22) trip to Italy in June over 14/15 days. Becoming too overwhelming and expensive. Thinking of hitting Venice, Florence, AmafiCoast, Latina(family 2 to 3 nts), Rome but Cinqua Terre sounds pretty cool. Do you have the perfect itinerary? Considering arr/dep Milan since a lot cheaper. Would love your help, John

Thanks John. The itinerary in this post would be my perfect itinerary for Italy. If your going to add Latina I would suggest dropping something off my itinerary as it will be pretty full on. Maybe the Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre because they are quite similar. Arriving into Milan would be easy to just take the train straight over to Venice in a few hours. Hope this helps and don’t hesitate to email us with any follow up questions.

Hello Jen, I have enjoyed your blog and appreciate yours and others comments. Can you advice on this itinerary liosted below? Is train travel best? I noted a Venice to Rome train that takes over 6 hours but travels at night from 12:21 am to 6:35 am. I figured we could sleep on train and then have plenty of time to get from Rome Train Station to the Airport for 2pm flight out. What is best way to get from Rome Termini to the Airport?

We have 2 weeks but first week is dedicated to family reunion in Campbobasso and transportation is provided. I am a single father going with my 4 children age 24 to 17.

Here is a loose itinerary:

Aug 1-3 Rome Aug 4-7 Compobasso Aug 8-9 Florence Aug 10-11 Coastal area North of Rome (Cinque Terre or Pisa or both????) Aug 12-13 Venice Aug 14 sleep on train from Venice to Rome??????? Aug 15 Depart Leonardo di Vincvi Rome Airport at 2pm.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Joe Liptow

Hi Joe, Thanks so much and I am so glad you have found this info useful. Travelling by train overnight is a great way to save money on accommodation. So if that is something you are comfortable with then I’d say go for it. From Rome Termini you can take the Leonardo Express train from platform 24. Departures are every 30 minutes. The train is the easiest and quickest way to get around and will work perfectly for your itinerary. Your itinerary looks good. Only suggestion I would make is visiting Cinque Terre only, not Pisa. With only two days you will need the time in Cinque and Pisa really is just a tower. Hope this helps and please don’t hesitate to email us should you have any follow up questions. ( [email protected] Have a fantastic trip! Cheers Jen

Jen, your site is tremendously helpful! My husband and I will be in Italy at the end of August. We will be coming from Morocco where we will be visiting our daughter for about a week so that unfortunately cuts our time Italy. If we have only 11/2 week in Italy what would you suggest cutting out? We are physically fit and like to walk/hike and although we don’t want to miss some of the tourist things that are a MUST we are not interested in visiting a bunch of museums/churchs… we are more interested in the romance of Italy and the beautiful scenery and people. I am thinking the Amalfi Coast sounds wonderful as so does Cinque Terre, but would you do both? It is my husbands first trip there so I don’t want to miss some of the major landmarks though either. Thanks so much! Kelly

Hi Kelly, Thanks so much! If you like to walk and the outdoors I would definitely leave in Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast. I would suggest cutting Florence as it is mostly about churches and art galleries, although it is still a pretty and interesting city. Hope this helps and if you ever need anything else, please don’t hesitate to email me [email protected] . Cheers Jen

Hello Jen, My family is planning to visit Italy for the 1st time in June for 2 weeks and would love some guidance. We will be traveling with our 4 and 8 year old boys. We are thinking of starting in Rome and heading towards Venice. Is this a good idea? What would be your suggestions of places to see on our way to Venice? Should we go a different direction? Would love to squeeze an a beach day in the middle to make the boys happy 🙂 I also would like to go to Ampli but probably to far the other direction right? Do you suggest us traveling by train? Also would you suggest using a tour guide in any of the cities we visit?

Thank you for your help.

Hi Malika, Thanks for you message. I would suggest doing exactly as the itinerary above suggests except skipping Assisi for Amalfi coast. The kids can have a beach day in either Amalfi or Cinque Terre too. Also train would definitely be the easiest way to get around, just make sure you don’t bring too much luggage as you will have to carry it all with you. IN the cities, keep an eye out for free walking tours. They are a great intro to each city and the guides are always very good because they work for tips only. Hope this has been of some help to you. Cheers Jen

Thank you Jen for all the tips 🙂 We are starting in Rome- When should be our stop to Amalfi coast? Should that be a couple days trip? We will skip Assisi.

I’d suggest spending your time in Rome and then moving onto Amalfi coast from there and then making your way north again. You’ll need at least 2 nights there.

Hi Jen, I really love your site. I’m planning on going to Italy with my 2 friends early september time for about 2 weeks of travel. We have just started looking into it and are just starting to figure out the places we want to go to. Do you think Venice, Verona (max 1/2 day), Milan, Florence (into Cinque Terre for a day or so), Rome and then into Naples to see Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri is doable? I realise our time is quite limited and we do have a lot on our list, or would you recommend taking some places out and spending more time in others, if so which would you suggest? Any help would be much appreciated!

Hi Hazel, Thanks for your kind words. Two weeks is the perfect amount of time to see the highlights of Italy. Here is what I suggest based on the places you mentioned you’d like to visit: Venice – 3 nights – half day trip to Verona Cinque Terre – 2 nights Florence – 3 nights – day trip into Tuscany Rome – 4 nights Sorrento – 2 nights – visit Pompeii on the way there and day trip Capri and Amalfi coast. So a total 14 nights. I suggest skipping Milan unless something there really interests you, we found it to be the least interesting place we visited in Italy. There also isn’t a lot to see in Naples itself so I’ve suggested to base yourself in Sorrento instead. I hope this helps and if you have any other questions I am always happy to help, just drop me an email [email protected] Cheers Jen

We are planning a trip to Italy and have devoured your site. It is wonderful. Two quick questions:

1) Do train tickets need to be purchased in advanced? For an exact time? 2) When getting off the train, are there taxis to get us to the hotel OR prearrange transfer?

Thanks for any help, I am sure I will be continuing to ask questions.

Hi Shawn, So glad that you found our site useful. Here are the answers to your questions: 1) No you are not required to make reservations in advance. Although it would be recommended depending on the time of year you are travelling. If it is peak season over summer you may find yourself having to wait a few hours at the train station for an available seat. Outside of this you would be ok to make reservation at the station on the day. 2) The train stations in Europe are usually right in the heart of the city centre so you can either walk (if your accommodation is close enough), take public transport like subway, bus or tram or you can take a taxi which are readily available at all train stations. Hope this has helped! Cheers Jen

I’m planning to follow your itinerary for my trip to italy. But i would be going from mid december to end december, which is winter. Do you think that’s still a good idea?

Hi Jen! This is great information! very helpful! We are planning a trip to Italy We are flying into and leaving from Rome, so there will be some back tracking involved (16 nights total that includes the last night we have to be back in rome). We are travelling with our 5 and 8 year olds. We were thinking of 5 nights in rome, 2-3 in Florence, 2 in Cinque Terre, 2-3 in venice, 2 in Sorrento. We are wondering weather to go to Sorrento first from Rome, then make our way back to Rome or Florence and up north or the other way round. Since we have to leave on July 4rth morning 10:30AM flight, we either have to spend our last night in Rome, or consider an itinerary in which we take an overnight train back to Rome. Any suggestions? Total 16 nights, including the last night back in Rome. Also we really wanted to go to Lake Como but it looks like we have to pick between amalfi and Como. Thanks!

Hi MD, Thanks and glad you found the post helpful. Firstly, you’re itinerary sounds pretty good and I wouldn’t change it really. I’d suggest visiting Rome first then heading to Sorrento then Florence as you will probably be a little tired and jetlagged when you arrive. If you had to rush off to Sorrento straight way you probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much. Also Lake Como as well would be a stretch and from our experience, the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre are more enjoyable. Hope this helps and feel free to email us any time with followup questions ( [email protected] ). Cheers Jen

Jen thanks so much for your reply. We have 7 nights which we have to split between Florence, CT and sorrento. Any suggestions? I was thinking 2 in CT, 3 in Florence and 2 in sorrento, but I am confused between sorrento and Florence depending on things to do. Thanks again!

No worries. I think those numbers are good if you only have 7 days. You can walk (or take the train) the Cinque Terre easily in one day so two nights is perfect. In Florence, 3 nights will give you time to take a day trip to Tuscany while also checking out the best of the city itself. And 2 nights in Sorrento can be spent exploring the Amalfi Coast on a day trip or visiting Capri. This is still going to be tight though so if you can manage another few nights it would make it more comfortable, but certainly do-able with what you already have. Hope this has helped.

This is just awesome. We are planning to spend two and 1/2 weeks in Italy. With this itinerary I now know where to start. Is Tuscany doable with this itinerary or Pisa or Pompei? I have no idea how far away things are.

Thanks Kelly. Glad we could help. You could easily take day trips from Florence to visit Pisa and Tuscany and from Rome to Pompeii. If you’d like specific recommendations, feel free to email me. ( [email protected] ) Cheers

We are planning our trip to Italy using your suggested Itinerary exactly how you presented it on your web site. However, we would like to do one side trip to the Alps on the Bernina Express at the end of our trip from Venice. Is there any easy way to get to Tiriano WITHOUT going back to Milan? It seems like SO much time on a train.

We will be spending an overnight in CHUR and then coming back to Milan for our flight home. There is a train for Tiriano to Milan but I can’t find one from Venice to Tiriano.

Thanks for your message and I am so glad you have found our itinerary useful.

Unfortunately I don’t have good news for you. There is no direct train from Venice to Tirano. You will have to travel via Milan.

If you have any more questions about your trip, don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] .

All the best.

Jen –

Your website is amazing and so helpful. I’m literally writing you sitting in La Spezia per your recommendation of Cinque Terre, waiting for the rain to clear up. I’ll be using your website for most, to all of our future travel plans!

I wanted to reach out to you and let you know that the Fiat 500 Touring Club tour we took in Florence was absolutely out of this world awesome. If you are ever back in Florence I’d recommend that you do it and any travelers looking on this website should do the same!

Also in your comment sections you may want to consider having the most recent comments show at the top rather than the bottom (I’m on an IPad, so I’m not sure if it is my device, but I’d like the most recent stuff at the top).

Thanks so much for your lovely comments and feedback Zac. I am so glad you are enjoying your trip and that we were able to help you with it. I hear it has been raining quite a bit lately in CT, so fingers crossed you will get some sunshine before you move on.

I will absolutley check out that tour next time we are in Italy!

And I will look into the comments order issue. Thanks for making me aware!

All the best!

Great website. We didn’t know where to start but when we came across this website it all made sense. This would be our (DH with 6yrs old and 8yrs old kids) first ever visit to Italy and we are very excited.

We were wandering if you could help us with some questions below. We have booked the flights – flying into Milan (29 Jun) and flying out of Rome (13 July) for a total of 14 nights. Would this itinerary work for the flights above. We love travelling by train and like all your suggestions and recommendation. We are not too big on architecture and museums but love sightseeing and being out and about. So we are planning exactly as you suggested but in reverse due to flights – 3 days in Milan, 3 days in Venice, 2 days in CT, 3 days in Florence and 3 days in Rome in that order. Is this doable? Would the trains work in that sequence. The trip from Venice to CT being the one that I am not too sure about. We are open to rearranging the itinerary that suits the trains and logistics accordingly.

We were hoping to spend more time around Lake Como rather than Milan itself. You have given some wonderful ideas for Venice so we wont change anything there. But kids wanted to see the leaning tower in Pisa which seems to be on the way from La Spezia to Florence. Would you advise a quick stopover to Pisa (drop the luggage at train station) on the way back to Florence or should we head straight to Florence and then do the day tours from there. May be day tours of Tuscany including Sienna, San Giminagno and wineyards. Would 3 days be enough in Florence with this?

We were also thinking of skipping Assisi altogether and heading straight to Rome from Florence so its not too hectic. Not sure if that is the right decision as Assisi seems like a nice place but we are just being mindful that we would be not as energetic towards the end of the trip.

Sorry if these are too many questions but I am just encouraged by your kind and lovely nature well reflected in your replies to similar question above.

Hi Nav, Thanks so much and we are so glad this was useful for you. You itinerary sounds perfect and will work in that order for the trains and it is also perfect for optimising your time. Stopping in Pisa on the from La Spezia to Florence is easy as there is lockers at the station. There are multiple stations at Pisa. You want to get off at Pisa S.Rossore as this is the closest to the tower itself. A day trip into Tuscany would compliment 3 days in Florence perfectly. And yes three days would be plenty of time. I think skipping Assisi is fine and will definitely help slow the pace of the trip down and give you more time in lovely Rome. If you need anything further, don’t hesitate to email me ( [email protected] ) and I’d be happy to help. Have a great trip! Cheers Jen

We have now finalized the itinerary and looking forward to the trip.

Many thanks for all your help.

No worries Nav. Glad to have helped. And we’d love to hear from you after your trip too to tell us all about it!

My family is planning a European vacation, mainly in Italy, but with other destinations such as Croatia and Switzerland. We had originally thought of renting a car, but the train sounds attractive to make the best of our time. We will have about 4 weeks. I’m wondering, do you know if there is a boat/ferry service from somewhere in Italy to Croatia, or is a flight or train more suitable?(just to save time). We also have to think of cost, given the length of time we are away and # of people we are buying tickets for. Is there a site that I can visit to find out about these low cost flights? Also, if we were to to go Europe in April or May, would we be limited as to attractions that are open? We can do later in summer but we’d rather go at a time where there are fewer tourists if possible, but don’t want to find that we’re unable to get in to see things we want.

Hey Janet, Your trip sounds great. We’d love to visit Croatia ourselves someday. For the ferries there are services and you’ll find all you need to know on this page For flights we use and recommend Skyscanner to compare prices. Flying may be quicker to get from Italy to Croatia. April/May is an excellent time to visit Europe. Everything will be open as usual and you won’t have crowds like you do in summer. The weather should be good also but the night may still be a little cool in some places further north like Switzerland. I hope this helps guide you in the right direction to get started on your planning. And don’t hesitate to reach out should you have any more questions. Cheers Jen

This was soo helpeful!

I am planning a trip to italy myself and this helped cut down some time!

I am planning way ahead and using 1 day to travel — even by train. & doing 2 full days in each location — is that too much? by doing this my trip is 4-5 days longer because of travel. for ex: rome to florence — travel 10th — get there on the 10th and stay until 13th

any suggestions?

Thanks Amrit. Glad you found this useful. I’d say that you don’t need a full day to travel. For example, the train journey from Rome to Florence is only just over an hour. So you could leave Rome at 8am and be in Florence just after 9am with the full day ahead of you. This will give you more time in each place.

Hello! I’ll be travelling to Italy this November 2-12. I have 10 full days. This is my first solo trip so I am excited and terrified at the same time. I was planning to go Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Venice. But friends have been telling me that November is not a good time to visit Venice (extremely cold, knee high floods). Do you recommend anywhere else? I’m from Manila so I fear for the cold weather. haha Should I consider Naples and Cinque Terre?

Hey Kat, You must be so excited! Italy is amazing and I am sure you will love it. And go on you for going solo too! November is when the weather starts to get cooling in Europe. The further south you are the less effected you will be. So with that in mind, I suggest the Amalfi Coast. It is not too far from Rome and the weather will be better than what it would be in Venice. Although just to warn you, it still won’t be warm. The Amalfi Coast is beautiful and there is lots to do there like cruising the coast, exploring to little towns and checking out the Isle of Capri and grotto. I suggest basing youself in Sorrento and taking day trips from there. I hope this help and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions.Hope you have an amazing time! Cheers Jen

Thanks for the itinerary we are about to head to Italy. Our plan is to go from Venice to Rome and we will probably skip Milan and go to Bologna instead. Have you been to Bologna? Any suggestions?

Hey Ben, That sounds like a good plan. We haven’t been to Bologna sorry but would love to visit it someday. Have a great time in Italy, I am sure you guys will love it! Cheers Jen

Can i just say your post is AMAZING! it’s my first time to italy for my honeymoon and this is perfect! can’t wait for my trip and jsut want to say thank you for making it so easy 🙂

Love, tenny

Thanks Tenny! I am so glad you found this useful and I hope that you have the most amazing honeymoon.

Jen, how is renting a car? I am flying into Milan and I want to travel to both Rome and Venice. Would it be more feasible to rent a car?

Hi Jennifer, I definitely think taking the train is much cheaper and more convenient. Firstly, you can’t drive a car in Venice as there are no roads so you’d be paying for parking the entire time you were there. Secondly, in Milan and Rome you’d also be paying a premium for parking and would be better utilising the excellent public transport systems both cities offer. Finally, you’d need to factor in petrol costs and traffic in Milan and Rome. If you don’t plan to visit rural areas where the train doesn’t go, I always recommend taking the train. Hope this helps. Cheers Jen

Definitely recommend the train…..much more relaxing, and when you get to cities like Rome you don’t want to be driving!

Couldn’t agree more Gloria!

We are planning a trip to Italy next October or November. We will have 14 or 15 nights in Italy. We will be flying into Rome and out of Venice. We want to see Rome, Tuscany, Florence, Cinque Terre and Venice. We would like to spend a few nights in Montepulciano. What would be your recommendation for getting around in Tuscany? Should we rent a car for this portion of our trip? If we rent a car, where would be a good place to pick up and drop off? I have heard they advise against driving in Florence. And in what order would you do this? Tuscany, Florence and then Cinque Terre and then to Venice?

Hi Wendy. Your trip sounds exciting! For your car in Tuscany, you could pick up in Sienna which is easily reached by train from Florence or Rome. Otherwise there are some great day trips from Florence that will allow you to see the highlights of Tuscany too. Also the order you have mentioned is perfect and makes sense. It is exactly what I would do. Hope you have a great time!

Hi Jen! If we have about 7 days could we do Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome??

Hi Katy, That will be very tight. Rome itself needs at least 3 days. I would suggest removing one of the places or adding an extra 2-3 days to your trip if possible.

Hi Jen, Thanks for the lovely article and insight; question 1. If you were to skip one/two destinations from the list and add the Amalfi coast in here and still fit them in a 15 day itinerary what would be your recommendations please?

Thanks Parya. If I had to pick two places to remove in place of the Amalfi coast it would be Assisi and Milan. Both I loved but the Amalfi Coast is really something special. Hope this helps.

Hi Jen, what a fabulous article! You have truly given me some real inspiration, thank you!! The only question I have, is if I were to miss out Rome (as I’ve been there a number of times, I have a family member who lives there) where would you suggest I spend the additional few days? Thanks again for all your help.

Thanks Hayley. Appreciate your lovely comment. I would highly recommend the Amalfi Coast/Sorrento area if you haven’t already been there. It is one of the most stunning parts of the country and if you love beaches and the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle then you will love it. Alternatively, if your more of a countryside person, a few days exploring Tuscany would be a great option too. Hope this helps and hope you have an amazing time in Italy!

Hi Jen! This article definitely sparked an interest in us! My wife and I will be doing 2 weeks in Italy in mid-April. We will be arriving in Naples and departing out of Venice 15 days later. I love your article, but figured we would like to streamline/tweak things a bit. We really want to do Naples, Rome (spent 3 days there a couple years ago and want to explore so much more of it), Bomarzo – The park of Monsters, Florence, Parma (1 day I’m guessing is enough), and Venice. Any advice you have for us as far as itinerary and such would be AWESOME!

Hi John. I am so glad you found the itinerary useful! On paper, your itinerary looks good to me however I haven’t personally visited some of those places so I can’t comment on how much time you will need in each place. If you have any specific questions about Rome, Florence, Venice or getting around Italy in general, I’d be happy to help where I can. Happy travels!

Hi, I am just in the beginning process of planning out trip to Italy this summer. We will be traveling with a check-in sized bag. How will that work out when traveling from city to city via train? Are there overhead storages available? Do they have to get checked into a certain area on the train? Would it be safe? Are there extra charges to have luggage on board? Any feedback would be appreciated.

Hi Christine, There are no porters or checked luggage on trains in Europe so whichever luggage you take, you have to be prepared to carry it around yourself. So when you pack, make sure you think about this. On the train there are overhead racks for smaller bags (will fit 60L pack or smaller) and luggage areas at end of each carriage where you can store larger suitcases. If you are taking a larger bag, I recommend taking a padlock and chain to secure your bag as the racks are not monitored. I’ve never had an issue but I have heard of others having their bags tampered with or stolen. If you are really worried my best advice is to take a smaller bag that you can store overhead. Hope you have a great trip!

Hi Jen, I just came across your article while searching for a “Budgeted” Italy itinerary and i appreciate all the information you have shared. I am planning for a solo Italy trip in October 2017 for 10 days from India. My main reason to go there is to visit the St Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel and the Shrine of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina located in the town of San Giovanni Rotondo (SGR). Rest of the beautiful places (Florence, Venice, Milan etc) are also on my list and yes i wouldn’t mind exploring them considering the days i have in my hand. It would be great if you could help me plan a good itinerary and suggest the best possible places to cover during my stay in Italy and yes to make the most memorable trip ever 🙂

Thanks & Regards, Merlyn.

Hi Merlyn, I’d be happy to help. Please email me [email protected] with what you have so far and I can help you from there. Cheers Jen

my husband and I are planning our first trip to Italy next year. Is there any problem with doing this itinerary in reverse?

Hi Jenni, Absolutely not. This is just a guide so feel free to change it around however it works best for you. Have a great time! Cheers Jen

Is there a website or a way you recommend to save money buying a lot of train tickets around Italy? I am flying into Rome and out of Milan. I am interested in also seeing Naples, Pompeii, Florence, Tuscany, Cinque Terre, and Venice. I only have two weeks, though. Is this enough time to do all of those via train? I couldn’t find a way to buy a cheap rail pass covering unlimited 2 weeks of travel. Is there a way to do that? THanks! Kateri

Hi Kateri, Thanks for your comment. A rail pass will likely be the cheapest way to go for this journey. Depending on which country you are from will depend on what is available and at what price. If you use the links provided in the post above that are specific to your country or region, you will be able to find out more information. Or feel free to email me and can provide you with more info. Cheers Jen

I would definitely do this itinerary with some of my favorite places to stay, great post Jen

Thanks Noel!

Wow great tour!

My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Italy in September and I don’t know where to begin with my planning. It can be a little bit overwhelming planning a trip to a place you’ve never been. We are staying for 13 full days( 15 total but considering those travel days) flying into Rome and leaving from Venice. In between we’d love to see Florence , Milan, Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast, and Tuscany . Are we in over our heads? Any suggestions you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Amelia, I can totally understand how it can feel overwhelming planning a big trip like this. I too feel like this with new places and that is why I wrote this post and all the others on this blog, to help people cut through the overwhelm. The itinerary I have outlined above would definitely work for you with a few adjustments. Change Asissi for Amalfi Coast and take a day off Rome and you should be able to fit it all in. It will be pretty hectic but if you only have 13 days then this will allow you to see the highlights of each place. If you wanted to travel at a slower pace, I would suggest just selecting 3-4 places from the list and spending more time there. Hope this helps and please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any follow up questions. Happy travels! Cheers Jen

We went back to the drawing board with our itinerary… 15 days and 13 nights total in Italy, flying into Rome and out of Venice. So far we are thinking 3 nights Rome, 3 nights in Florence (with a day trip to Tuscany) , 2 nights in Cinque Terre, 2 nights in Milan – with the possibility of a day trip to Lake Como and we are also thinking to spend a few hours at QC Termemilano ( the spa ) then ending it off with 3 nights in Venice. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated or if you feel it could be mapped out any better please feel free to let me know !

Hi Amelia, I think this sounds like a well balanced plan with enough time to see the highlights in each place. Except for maybe Milan if you want to do the day trip as well. Although if your main motivation for visiting Milan is to day trip to Lake Como and you don’t mind missing out on Milan, then that is fine also. Have a great trip! Cheers Jen

Hi Jen, Love all your information above! Not sure if you still look at the comments, I just have a couple questions. Firstly our flight was booked going into Milan and returning from Rome. 14 days total. From Milan do you suggest CT first and then onto Florence or Venice first? We were originally thinking of Florence and renting an apartment for 8 days and then doing a series of shorter trips to CT and Venice. Secondly my wife and I have traveled to Italy before. This trip is more for our teenage kids. It seems their patience may run low after a few of the gallerias and cathedrals. Anywhere you suggest they can blow off some steam? Thank You!

Hi Anil, Thanks for the comment. Happy to help where I can. From Milan I would suggest visiting Venice fist then CT and then Florence. Basing yourself in Florence may be a good idea although you would be spending a lot of extra time travelling to and from places. City bike tours are great for teenage kids. They get to be active, tire themselves out and the parents get to see the sites. I one day bike tour in Tuscany from Florence may also be a great thing the kids will love. In CT the walk between the towns is good for all ages and I guarantee the kids will be exhausted at the end. Hope this helps and if you have any other questions, I’d be happy to help where I can. Have a great trip. Cheers Jen

Dear Jen, Great Post. Congratulations! My brother (27) and myself (31) are planning our maiden trip to Italy around July for 2 weeks. We will be travelling from Kolkata (India) and my top priority is to taste all the Classical Italian food as it is my passion and profession for life. Could u suggest a clever itinerary to experience the maximum (food and must visit places to have a selfie 😏) and possibly where to start and end to fly back home stuffed with “The Been there , Tasted That” pride😁 P.S. my lil bro has No idea about this.. but I m sure he will understand 😉 Thanks.

Hi Kezang. Thanks for your message and kind words. You have definitely chosen the perfect country to explore if you love food. I would recommend my itinerary about for a first-time visitor to the country. You will be able to taste all that great food and see most of the major sites as well. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Have a great time. Cheers Jen

Hello would you recommend also going to the south of Italy within a two week tour? Like the Amalfi Coast (Positano)?

Hi Claudia, You would be very tight with time if you tried to fit in another stop. I would suggest if the Amalfi Coast is somewhere you would really like to go, that you either add an extra 2-3 days to your trip or take out something else from the itinerary and replace it with the Amalfi coast. Cheers Jen

We are doing 9 nights in Italy with 3 nights in Venice, Florence and Verona.

We are looking to a day trip out of each of the three places, thinking Lake Garda, Wine Trip in Tuscany and then not sure where from Venice?

Do you have any ideas and also how is best to book these?

Hi Lauren, For Venice I would spend the 3 days hopping between the islands like Murano and Burano near Venice. They are all easy to access on public transport from Venice at stops along the Grand Canal. For booking the other two day trips, I would suggest checking out They have a big range of day tours available and I have never had a problem booking with them. Have a great trip! Cheers Jen

Thanks for the detailed itinerary Jen. I shall surely plan my itinerary based on the pointers mentioned by you.

THanks Jesal. Enjoy Italy!

This is a great site. Thank you making it easier for us to plan our trip to italy for the first time with your receommended itinerary and other info. Questions: 1. If we skip Milan is there a train from La Spezia to Venice or it is better to train back to Florence, stay another night there, and then train to Venice from there? 2. We are trying avoid peak summer time. Is April or May a good time to go there?

Thanks Bill appreciate the comments. Here are answers to your questions: 1. Via Florence would be the long way. You can travel to Venice with one train change in Milan (6 hours travel time) or with two changes via Parma and Bologna (5 hours travel time). I recommend website for timetable info. 2. Shoulder season (March/April/May and Sept/Oct/Nov) are my recommended times to visit. The weather is still relatively good and mild and there are less crowds about. Hope this helps and have a great trip!

Hi Jen, Just dug up my last inquiry with you way back in 2017 and decided to just tuck this question to it. We just got back to planning our italy trip which we postponed due to the pandemic. We are now scheduling it for Sep 2022 next year. I have a question: originally we are thinking of doing the exact itinerary you have proposed above. But then we thought of splitting our trip and make the second half a cruise. But then, to not extend our trip so much we would need to remove Cinque Terre, Milan (and Lake Como) for our trip. This is the land/cruise combo itinerary we are looking:

Train: Rome, Assisi, Florence, Venice Cruise: Venice, Split, Kotor, Corfu, Naples, Rome

as oppposed to originally:

Train: Rome, Assisi, Florence, Cinque Terre, Milan (and Lake Como), Venice

What do you think? Is it worth substituting CT, Milan and Lake Como with a cruise with the above port stops?

Thanks for your input.

Thank you Jen for the wonderful itinerary. This is a perfect plan for a two week trip to Italy. Thank you for providing every single detail in the plan. Very helpful.

Thanks Madh. Glad I could help.

Thank you for this fabulous post! The husband & I would like to go to Italy for our honeymoon in December this year, and we were looking at tour packages but nothing has really caught our fancy yet. I suggested touring ourselves and this itinerary is really a great place for us to begin!

From what you suggest, staying at Florence is a good base for visiting other smaller towns? We both don’t speak Italian, would this pose a problem travelling in this country? Especially when taking trains – we somehow have problems with that sometimes 🙂

Appreciate your advice!

Hi Joy, So glad you found it helpful and congrats on your upcoming nuptials! Florence is a great place to base yourself for day trips. You can visit Tuscan countryside and towns, Pisa, Lucca and many more places quite easily either by organised day tour or on your own using the train system. Language will not be a problem as most signs in also in English. I recommend learning a few simple phrases in Italian to help you get by, however it isn’t necessary. The first time I visited Italy I didn’t speak the language and got by just fine. Hope you have an amazing trip!

Hi Jen can you give me some advice for 10 night itinerary – may skip Rome – want to focus on Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre and maybe Lake Como/Milan – is this doable in 10 nights/11 days??

Thanks Much!

Hi Elaine, Once you take Rome and Assisi out of this itinerary ti works perfectly for 10 days! Cheers Jen

Great travel blog!!!. I was looking for exactly this kind of detailed travel plan which not only covers the stops but the local attractions as well. Thanks for putting it all in one place.

My wife , I and our young daughter will be in Italy for 14 nights and 15 Days. We like historical sites .

1. I would like to visit a few more places Like Pisa (which I can cover on the way to CT from Florence) ,Siena and Orvieto. Please help me to add this places in my itinerary. 2. To save time , I planning to start from Rome in early morning and reach Assisi around 10 AM and leave for Florence in the evening. Would that be very hectic ?

Regards Anirban

HI Anirban, Thanks for the compliment. I am glad you found this useful. I would be cautious about loading too much into the trip as you will b exhausted and spend very little quality time in each place. You could definitely do a day trip to Siena and Tuscany from Florence. There are lots of historical sites in Rome, were you not planning to spend time there? Cheers Jen

Thanks for your response. I just booked tickets to Rome. We will stay 15 nights and 16 days at Italy.

Here is our tour plan.

Day 1-4 Rome; Will reach at 9 AM Day 3 Orvieto Day 4 Assisi Day 5-6 Siena & San Gimignano Day 7-9 Florence Day 10 Pisa; Start early morning from Florence and will spend the day in Pisa and reach La Speiza in the Evening Day 11 -12 Cheque Terre Day 13-15 Venice; Day 13 will start from La Speiza and reach Venice in the afternoon Day 16 Return to Home

Please let me know how it’s looking ?

Sounds perfect to me Anirban! I couldn’t have planned it better myself!!! Enjoy your trip.

Thank you so much for this itinerary suggestion. I am travelling to Italy in August and will be staying for 16 nights and will have 15 full days to explore this beautiful country. The most common advice I read on internet forums is that don’t try to cram everything in one visit but I have an illness which restricts my travelling and therefore would like to make the most of my visit because there may not be another opportunity to visit Italy again for me. I am quite an inexperienced traveller so any advice will be gratefully received.

My itinerary (so far) is looking like this:

Day 1 – Arrive in Milan (5pm), stay in Milan

Day 2 – Explore Milan, travel to Lake Como (late afternoon), stay in Lake Como

Day 3 – Explore Lake Como, stay in Lake Como

Day 4 – Early morning train to Venice, explore Venice, stay in Venice

Day 5 – Explore Venice, stay in Venice

Day 6 – Explore Venice, travel to Bologna (pm), stay in Bologna

Day 7 – Explore Bologna, travel to Florence (pm), stay in Florence

Day 8 – Explore Florence, stay in Florence

Day 9 – Explore Florence, stay in Florence

Day 10 – Day trip to Siena, travel Rome (pm), Stay in Rome

Day 11 – Explore Rome, stay in Rome

Day 12 – Explore Rome, stay in Rome

Day 13 – Explore Rome, stay in Rome

Day 14 – Travel to Naples (early train) explore Naples, travel to Amalfi Coast (pm), stay in AC

Day 15 – Explore Amalfi Coast, travel back to Naples Airport, stay at Naples airport

Day 16 – Early morning flight back home

Do you think this itinerary is doable, or would you cut some places out?

Thanks so much, Jen.

Hi Sajid, You itinerary looks great! Yes it is a little packed full but if this is your one and only opportunity to visit Italy then I say make the most of it. Only thing I might change would be more time in Amalfi Coast. You could take a night from Florence or Rome. The Amalfi Coast is beautiful and there is much to see there. It would be a nice relaxing way to end your trip. I hope you have a lovely trip and do wish that you return to good health one day soon. Cheers Jen

Thanks Jen. I really like your posted trip. I am considering following this exact itinerary (with an added day trip to Pompeii) this June with my wife and two teens. But I have one major question about travelling by train. We will have 4 standard 22inch rollerboard suitcases. What do we do with them in Assisi, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Venice when we arrive before check in times at our VRBOs? I don’t want to be dragging those down the streets all day before we can check in!

Hi Nick, Most train stations have luggage storage for a fee. These is also a baggage transfer service in Italy. Google Bagaglio Facile. Basically your bags are delivered door to door so you don’t need to worry about lugging them around. Hope this helps and that you have a great trip! Cheers Jen

Hi Jen Im planning to visit Italy in March. Would it be a suitable time to visit Italy. My plan is to stay for 15 days kindly guide me on the best 15days visit plan. Thanks and rgds Sami Khan

Hi Sami, March would be a nice time to visit and the itinerary I have outlined below is what I suggest. It is perfect for 15 days! Have great trip! Cheers Jen

This is a wonderful itinerary. I wish we could do it all. However we can only stay 10 days. Do you have a suggestion on what to change?

Hi Julie Of course, I suggest removing Assisi and Milan. All of the other places are so rich with history and full of stunning things to see and do. While I loved Assisi and Milan, with 10 days this is what I suggest. Hope you have a great trip! Cheers Jen

I am looking forward to visiting Italy this summer (late June-July) with my husband and adult son. Initially we wanted to revisit Paris for 3 days, but it seems like there’s so much to see and do in Italy that perhaps we should spend the entire 15 days there. I would appreciate your help with my itinerary. We would love to spend 3 days in Rome, 1 in Milan, and 2 days in Venice and Florence. I can’t decide between Amafi Coast or Cinque Terre. We are foodies and also on a tight budget. Help!

Hi Venita! Sounds like a great trip you have planned. Personally I would spend your time in Italy,as you mentioned you have visited Paris before. There is a lot of amazing things to see in Italy that you can easily fill your time. If I had to choose between Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre, I would choose Amalfi. It is honestly one of the most stunning parts of the world I have visited. That’s not to say that Cinque Terre isn’t also fantastic, but if I had to pick one, then Amalfi would be it. Have a great trip! Cheers Jen

Hi Jen – love your itinerary and we are basing our trip around it. I note you mention getting a morning train from La Spezia to Milan but the earliest I can find for a Monday in August is 12.38pm. Should I be looking somewhere else? Thanks

Hi Sally, Schedules are different on different days and at different times of the year. I’d suggest just getting a train as close to the morning as you can. Have a great trip! Cheers Jen

Hi Jen. I’m so glad I read this first as I’m just starting my research. My family of 6 (including 2 kids and 2 grandparents) will be in Italy from 8-21 June. We will be landing in Milan and departing from Milan as well. Booked the tickets last year as there was an airline promotion so unfortunately we won’t be able to land in Rome first. We definitely want to cover Rome, Pisa, Venice and Florence and Lake Como. Can you recommend an itinerary route that will work best for us? Many thanks!!

Hi Flora, No worries at all if you can’t start and finish in Rome. You can do exactly the same itinerary I mention above just start and finish in Milan instead. It work just the same. Have a great trip! Cheers Jen

I’m in my 60’s and visiting Italy is my all time bucket list item. Planning our first trip ever to Europe and it sounds so daunting. Your itinerary sounds perfect! Only one question – what is typical check-in time for hotels in Italy? When we arrive at any of these destinations do we have to drag our luggage around for a good portion of the day before check-in time? Doesn’t sound like fun.

Hi Jessica, It is a very daunting processing organising travel, but I am here to make it easier for you Check in time is typically around 3pm. Sometimes you can get into the room earlier. However, if you can’t, all hotels have a luggage room where you can store your luggage if you are early. No need to drag your bag around until check-in time. If you are staying in something like Airbnb which doesn’t have a reception, then you will find luggage storage at all major train stations in Europe too. Hope this helps and don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help with anything else. Cheers Jen

I am so happy to have found your site! It is well-written, thorough and takes the “overwhelm” out of planning our first trip to Italy. We will have two weeks late September/early October. Our plan was to stay in the north — Venice, Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Florence/Tuscany and fly out of Milan. In your opinion, is it a mistake to avoid Rome (we’re averse to huge crowds). Also, what are your thoughts about an overnight side trip to the French Riviera (Monaco, Nice etc.)?

Thank you so much for your lovely site and attention to detail!

Hi Trudy, Thank you for the lovely compliments. I am glad you have found this useful. If Rome isn’t your thing, then I say skip it. Travel is about doing what you want to do. It costs a lot of money, so follow what feels right for you. Take what others say as suggestions. For the French Riviera, you would be a very limited on time for an overnight trip. It will take hours to get there and back. Maybe look at Genoa in Italy as an alternative? It is closer to your route, just as lovely as the French Riviera and much quieter. If I can help with anything else, don’t hesitate to ask! Cheers Jen

Hi Jen, my husband and I will be traveling to Rome in September. We wanted to take a one day train trip to Venice, how long is the train ride? And how much? We would like to return back to Rome before dark if possible.

Hi Sandy, It is a long way to go for a day trip! Train time can range form 3.5 – 4.5 hours depending on the train. If you wanted to arrive back before dark, you’d have maybe 2 hours in Venice which means you would see virtually nothing. Sorry for the brutal honesty, but I wouldn’t want you to do something that wouldn’t be worth it. How long are you in Italy for? Maybe you can factor in some time for an overnight trip to Venice at the very least? Cheers Jen

Best site ever. We arrive 11 sept 2018 for 23 days. I have done Italy twice so what u say is so true. Last time went to Florence for five days and left after 17. I am leaning towards Foggia and eastern coast for few days but will still start in Florence as have done Rome and find it easy to do all the north with trains. Naples etc of course are fabulous and will finish week in Sicily so hope the east will be good.

Thanks Mike! Sounds like you are an Italy expert!!!! Love the idea of spending time in the east and I have been dying to visit Sicily so would be interested to hear what you think when you return. Have a great trip!

Hi Jen, Thank you for creating such an easy to read site with so many helpful tips! I especially love how you answer the comment section, as many of your answers have helped me out. I am planning a trip to Italy in late July/August and getting a bit overwhelmed. I am focusing more on outdoor, nature/scenery locations and love beaches. I have already been to Rome and have my heart set on the Amalfi coast and Cinque Terre. I am trying to spend the majority of my time near the water and looking for more of a relaxed vacation where I can enjoy each location properly.

I am flying into Venice and leaving from Rome.

Day 1- Leave for Europe (night flight) Day 2-5 Venice Day 6 Leave Venice for Cinque Terre Day 7-9 Cinque Terre Day 10 Leave Cinque Terre for Florence Day 11 Florence Day 12 Leave Florence for Amalfi Day 13-17 Amalfi Day 18 Leave Amalfi for Rome Day 19 Rome Day 20 Fly Home

My questions are: 1. Will travelling between Venice and Cinque Terre take too long? Should I stop somewhere? 2. How do I know if a train is a high speed train? 3. Does this look like a relaxing itinerary or should I take out/add something? 4. Should I stay in Sorrento for a couple days or will the Amalfi coast have beaches?’ 5. Can I take out Florence and instead head from Cinque Terre straight to Amalfi Coast?

Thank you in advance!! You are awesome : ) Laila

Hi Laila, Thanks for your comment and glad you have enjoyed this itinerary and comments. Your itinerary sounds fantastic. Plenty of time to relax and see it all. I love that you are spending more time in most places. Answers to your questions are below: 1. Will travelling between Venice and Cinque Terre take too long? Should I stop somewhere? The train will take about 5 hours with one change. I don’t think an overnight stop in between is needed here. 2. How do I know if a train is a high speed train? Once you have done the research on the trains you will be catching, i suggest Google search to find out if they are high speed or not. 3. Does this look like a relaxing itinerary or should I take out/add something? I wouldn’t change a thing! You have allowed plenty of time in each place with priority given to the coastal towns. 4. Should I stay in Sorrento for a couple days or will the Amalfi coast have beaches?’ The beaches are better on the Amalfi Coast than in Sorrento. If you plan to spend a lot of time on the beach then stay in Amalfi or Positano. I personally loved spending the night in Sorrento because the town has such a great atmosphere in the evening. 5. Can I take out Florence and instead head from Cinque Terre straight to Amalfi Coast? Yes you could take out Florence if you want to spend more time elsewhere. Alternatively, a smaller town in Tuscany might be more your speed. This would give you some time to get out in nature as well. Siena is one, although still quite big but very beautiful. Maybe San Gimignano. Hope this helps and have a great trip! Cheers Jen

Hi Jen thank you so much for your wonderful trip description, I am so thrilled to go to Italy this July for two weeks. I wanted to ask you since I see your trip started in Rome and everyone recommends flying into Rome from NY, I was thinking to start at Rome and fly out of Venice back to NY would that be just as fine. Also I read that it is advised to purchase a city pass to get quick access to museums and other sites, what would you recommend? We love art and wanted to see as much as possible, Thank you.

Hi Victoria, Thanks so much! Yes, as the itinerary suggests above, to make the most of your time I suggest flying into Rome and out of Venice. A city pass is a great option if you are going to access lots of the included activities on it. Cheers Jen

Thank you, Jen, for all this wonderful information. Planning a trip to Italy in September and you have helped immensely!

Great to here thanks Beth!

Love your recommendations and feedback to all the comments folks have thrown your way. We are planning a trip for 6 to 8 of us in early June 2019. We are trying to maximize 2 weeks, but not also over whelm ourselves. We are working on the two options and looking for what makes most sense between the two when it comes to utilizing the train system to get around and explore.

Proposal 1 Day 1 Sunday: Arrive in Venice in the morning/Explore and sleep in Venice Day 2 Monday: Explore Venice, sleep in Venice Day 3 Tuesday: Train to Vernazza (Cinque Terre area), sleep in Vernazza Day 4 Wednesday: Explore Cinque Terre, sleep in Vernazza Day 5 Thursday: Train to Florence via Pisa, sleep in Florence Day 6 Friday: Explore Florence, sleep in Florence Day 7 Saturday: Train to Sorrento to get transportation Praiano sleep in Praiano Day 8 Sunday: Explore Coast sleep in Praiano Day 9 Monday: Explore Coast sleep in Praiano Day 10 Tuesday: Look to book car and then train to Rome Via Pompeii, sleep in Rome Day 12 Wednesday: Explore Rome, sleep in Rome Day 13 Thursday: Explore Rome, sleep in Rome Day 14 Friday: Explore Rome, sleep in Rome Day 15 Saturday: Fly home

Proposal 2 Day 1 Sunday: Arrive in Venice in the morning/Explore and sleep in Venice Day 2 Monday: Explore Venice, sleep in Venice Day 3 Tuesday: Train to Vernazza (Cinque Terre area), sleep in Vernazza Day 4 Wednesday: Explore Cinque Terre, sleep in Vernazza Day 5 Thursday: Explore Cinque Terre, sleep in Vernazza Day 6 Friday: Train to Sorrento via Pisa to get transportation to Praino and sleep in Praiano Day 7 Saturday: Explore Coast sleep in Praiano Day 8 Sunday: Explore Coast sleep in Praiano Day 9 Monday: Explore Coast sleep in Praiano Day 10 Tuesday: Look to book car and then train to Rome Via Pompeii, sleep in Rome Day 12 Wednesday: Explore Rome, sleep in Rome Day 13 Thursday: Explore Rome, sleep in Rome Day 14 Friday: Explore Rome, sleep in Rome Day 15 Saturday: Fly home

HI Michael, Thanks for you message. happy to help where I can. The major difference I can see with these two is that in the second option you are skipping Florence in favour of more time in Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast. I guess the decision is down to which you would prefer to do more. If you like being by the water more than in a city full of museums then option 2 would be the best choice. If you want more variety from the trip then I would go with option 1. For option 2, I question whether you will have enough time to stop in Pisa. I would suggest looking into this a little more to see if it is viable. You also mention in both itineraries about booking a car. What are you going to use this for? If it is to drive to Rome, you could easily take the train. Once you arrive in Rome, traffic and parking will be an issue if you have a car. I hope this helps and if I can help with anything else, don’t be afraid to ask. Cheers Jen

Thank you for the feedback and response, the discussion for the car is to get transportation (private driver or taxi) for travel to and from a larger coastal city where there is a train to the smaller town of Praiano for our stay in Afani coastal area.

Hi Jen, I’m from Canada and really want to plan a trip to Italy. Your site was the first one I looked at and looks great. Are there alot of foodie spots on this tour as I’m very interested in the food culture there. Thanks Lisa

Hi Lisa, Italy is foodie central! Everywhere you go you will find amazing food. Just be sure to choose restaurants away from the tourist hot spots. Look to backstreets and unexplored local only areas and you will find great places to eat. Cheers Jen

Hi Jen, Great post and information! I am planning a solo trip to Italy this winter over the Christmas/New Year holidays (12 days) and was having trouble with finding ideas on itineraries. Needless to say – I LOVE your site. Great read and pictures, plus the comments are super helpful. I like your posted itinerary, with the exception of starting in Venice and ending in Rome while skipping Assisi. Do you (or any readers) have any suggestions on where to spend New Year? I will likely be spending Christmas in Budapest and then head over to enjoy Italy (which has been on my bucket list for YEARS). I know I won’t get to see everything this trip, but it will leave me wanting to come back again. Which is fine and dandy. Best!

Thanks Liz. Glad you have found this so useful.

Any of the bigger cities like Rome, Florence or Venice will have big fireworks displays, concerts and organised events for New Years. I guess it depends on what you are after. If you want to go to a club, Florence has good ones. If you want to be out on the street, Rome or Venice might be better. I think anywhere you be will be different from where you come from, so will be a great experience for you.

Hope you have a great trip!

Very helpful information — thanks for doing so much legwork for the rest of us. We have 10 days and will focus on Rome (6 days) and the Amalfi Coast/Pompeii (4 days). It’s our first visit to Italy, but I prefer going to fewer places with more depth. But, what do you think about a 1-day trip by tour bus to Assisi from Rome? The train-bus seems like a lot of work for a single day, and maybe the amount of time in Assisi isn’t very different on a tour vs. having to meet the train and bus schedule. Thanks.

Hi Kevin, Thanks for your compliments. A tour to Assisi could work. Another alternative could be a day trip to Orvieto. It is only just oven an hour from Rome by train and is similar to Assisi in that it is a hill town with lots of historic buildings, a beautiful cathedral and interesting local stores and restaurants. I actually enjoyed Orvieto more than Assisi as it was not at all crowded. Hope this helps! Cheers Jen

I’m going to Italy for 12 days and while I want to go to Rome, Florence and Pisa, I’m not sure if I should go to Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre. Which one is better travelled with family? I’m leaning towards Amalfi Coast but not sure who easy it is to go from town to town.

Hi Elli, How old are the kids? If they are teenagers and good walkers then Cinque Terre. If they are younger suggest Amalfi. Cheers Jen

Excellent detailed information of Italy. I am planning around 15-17 days tour to Italy in May 2019. Would like to visit scenic places more than museums kind of. Please help with the itenarary.

Hi Jyoti, All my suggested itinerary is above in the post including additional places to visit if you have more time. Please let me know if you have any specific questions and I’d be happy to help. Cheers Jen

We are travelling to Italy in May with our daughter graduating from HS before she heads off to college arriving in Venice and leaving from Rome. Here is my itinerary. PLEASE any suggestions or changes? We think we will take backpacks (60L??) and travel high speed train. Venice 2 nights Verona 2 nights Lake Como 1 night Rapallo 3 nights Florence 2 nights Assisi 2 nights Rome 3 nights This blog is so awesome.

Hi, I found it very interesting and loving the blog tips from you! Valuable tips to plan your trip to Italy and avoid beginner mistakes. Congratulations on the site and this post will help a lot of people !!!

Hi – we are doing round trip to/from Rome, woukd you please advise what is the best way to travel between Venice and Rome? Train vs Air by local airlines? Thank you so much

Hi Kat, Definitely train. It is just a few hours and drops you right in the centre of both cities. More convenient than flying. Cheers Jen

Hi Jen, We are coming to Italy in Sept. What would be your advise on budget hotels or guest houses. We are flying into Genoa(2 nites) then going to Cinque Terre (2 nites) Then onto Rome. (4 nights.) Thank you, Jim

All my suggested hotels are in the post above.

Hi Jen, We are traveling to Italy in Sept. 2019. We are flying into Genoa staying 2 nights then heading to Cinque Terre. We are planning to spend two days and exploring the 5 villages. Where would you suggest we stay in Cinque Terre? After Cinque Terre we head to a timeshare near Arezzo. Thank you for your advice, Jim

Hi Jim, Thanks for your message. I suggest as I mention above that you stay in Le Spezia which is just outside of Cinque Terre. It is cheaper and very easy to access all the towns from there. Cheers Jen

Greeitngs Jen,

We booked our 15 days trip in Italy arriving in Rome on September 20th and returning (from Rome) on October 5th.

What itinerary would you suggest given that we are obligated to come back to Rome for our return flight?

This is our first time in Italy.

Thank you so much for your input!

Francis Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Hi Francis, You can stick with the same itinerary, just on the last day take the train back to Rome. Make sure you leave plenty of time to get to the airport if doing this on the day of your flight. Otherwise take the train the day before and stay and extra night in Rome. Cheers Jen

Thanks Jen!!!

Hello, I’m going to Italy the last 2 weeks of June. I’m starting in Venice then going to Meta for 2 nights. I want to go through Cinque Terre then spend some time in Florence, Rome and Dolomites. Is there a way to go through Cinque Terre from the south then go straight to the Dolomites? I’ve heard it’s best to rent a car to go to the Dolomites. Thanks! Great blog!

Hi Elena, You’ll be able to take a train from Le Spezia if hiring a car isn’t for you. You may need to make a change of train during the journey but that is very easy to do in Italy. Cheers Jen

I love your itineraries! We are traveling to Austria for an event for 9 days and following this up with Italy for our 25th anniversary. We have never been to either country before. We plan to leave Vienna on the morning of the 2nd and fly home out of Rome on the afternoon of the 11th.

Our plan is: 2 nights(2,3) – Cinque Terre( Monterosso(old town)) (either train from Vienna to Montorosso or fly to Milan and train to Montorosso??) 4 nights Sienna(4,5,6,7)with: 1- day & 1/2 in Sienna 1 -day trip into Florence to see the market and a couple sights 1- day rent a car to visit a few small tuscan towns i.e. Voltera, Montecino? 3 nights Rome(8,9,10) Fly home afternoon of 11th

What do you think and do you have any suggestions, I’m really not sure (We are thinking Sienna as a base vs Florence as we will have a lot of a large city with Rome right after.)

thanks so much, Jan

Hi Jan, That sounds like a great trip and your plan definitely makes sense to me. I like that you will be basing yourself in Sienna instead of Florence, there is a lot to see in Tuscany. Cheers Jen

hi Jen, I am traveling to Italy in may of 2020 with your two week itinerary, and I have already purchased air line tickets. Should I book the hotels now… for each of the nights needed? also, should I book my train tickets now as well? also, i have downloaded to my phone both.. Rail Europe and Rail they work together?

just need your help on clarifying these questions for me.

Thanks Charlie

Hi Jen! Thank you for the amazing itinerary guides! I wish that i read this before my 16 Day Itinerary Italy trip last year because theres a lot of tips that i can use. Thank You again.

Hello Jen, Thanks for sharing your travel expertise and experience. We are planning our 1st trip to Italy, with 14 days to travel(not counting flight time) we arrive in Rome and leave from Milan; we like your itinerary but would like to make some adjustments: skip Assisi and add more night in Cinque Terre(its my husband must do) My question is can we book train from Cinque Terre to Venice? Im trying not to back track to Milan if I don’t have to. We appreciate and value your opinion.

Thanks for sharing this amazing Italy itinerary as I am going to Italy next week so it will help me a lot.

Hi Jen, I love your post, SO helpful! I am just starting to plan a trip to Italy in September or October of 2020. There will be 4 adults. The cities I would like to visit are Florence, Rome, Naples, the Amalfi coast and Sicily. I’m also interested in Malta (I just did my dna and found out I’m 27% Malta) but if the costs are high for that island I will omit it. We plan to be there two weeks. Would you have suggestions on how much time to spend in each place? Also what cities to stay in so that we can easily access the other locations? We do not want to be moving hotels every two or three nights. Any other info would be very helpful. Thank you, sue

Hello Jen Your itinerary is fantastic. We are taking our 10 children from Australia to Italy for 2 weeks in June July. and will pretty much follow your itinerary. Should we get eurail passes or just book trains when we get there ? The passes seem pretty expensive for 12 people.

Thanks Bill! 10 kids, wow, that is going to be a big trip for you all. If you are going to follow the itinerary exactly then it is likely that the pass will be the cheaper option. However if you do travel on the slower trains then it may work out cheaper as the slower the train the cheaper the ticket.

Thank you for this wonderful article. It was exactly what I was looking for. My husband and I spent our 30th anniversary in Italy. We flew into Naples, went to Positano by private driver, and then took the train from Naples to Rome, then to Florence, then to Venice. We hope to return in 5 years for our 50th anniversary. I told my husband I’d like to travel by train to all the parts of Italy we haven’t seen. That would be Assisi, Cinque Terre & Milan from your two-week itinerary. Would it be best to fly into Milan and travel south? How would we add Sicily and do you recommend any of the east coast of Italy?

The terrific post with an itinerary is excellent. I appreciate you sharing this very useful information.

Hi Jen, I would love to organise a trip to Italy with my husband and daughter. We are in our 60s and my daughter in her 30. I have to ask, is it safe to travel on your own in Italy? Regards Mary

Hi Mary It is absolutely 100% safe. You should always take precautions when you travel because you are in an unfamilar place. I have never had any safety concerns in Italy.

I first left this comment in March 2022 but never received a reply: Thank you for this wonderful article. It was exactly what I was looking for. My husband and I spent our 30th anniversary in Italy. We flew into Naples, went to Positano by private driver, and then took the train from Naples to Rome, then to Florence, then to Venice. We hope to return in 5 years for our 50th anniversary. I told my husband I’d like to travel by train to all the parts of Italy we haven’t seen. That would be Assisi, Cinque Terre & Milan from your two-week itinerary. Would it be best to fly into Milan and travel south? How would we add Sicily and do you recommend any of the east coast of Italy?

Hi Jen, How would recommend incorporating the Amalfi coast into this trip ?

Hi Kelly, You could definitely add the Amalfi Coast to the trip after Rome as it is easy to get to by train.

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The Italian Way of Life

How to Travel by Train in Italy: A Guide to Easy Rides

how to travel by train in Italy

Buongiorno, train travel enthusiasts! This is Max, your conductor on the journey through Italy’s splendid landscapes! Are you wondering how to travel by train in Italy?

You’re on the right track! Let’s discover together how to traverse Italy’s beauty, all from the comfort of a train carriage.

Planning Your Itinerary

When planning a train itinerary through Italy, accurate scheduling and route selection are crucial for a seamless journey.

1. Major City Connections

A sleek Frecciarossa train awaits departure at Florence's bustling Santa Maria Novella station.

Italy is home to some of Europe’s most iconic cities, including Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan. When planning your travel to connect these hubs by rail, consider distance, regional attractions, and train frequencies.

  • Rome to Florence: Approximately 1.5 hours on a high-speed train.
  • Florence to Venice : Around 2 hours, perfect for a swift transition to the canals.
  • Venice to Milan: It takes just under 2.5 hours to connect the city of Lagoon with the fashion capital .

2. Scenic Routes and Destinations

Train passengers at the Manarola station, with the stunning Cinque Terre coastline as the backdrop.

Creating an itinerary that enables leisure and exploration is essential for those planning to explore Italy’s rich history and culture.

  • Cinque Terre : The Cinque Terre Express train runs from La Spezia to Levanto, linking all five coastal towns.
  • Naples, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast : Accessible from Rome with regional trains.
  • Sicily : Longer journey with an overnight train option from Rome or Naples, including ferry crossing.

3. Planning Day Trips

  • Pompeii is a popular day trip . The local Circumvesuviana or Campania express service makes it reachable from Naples in less than an hour.
  • Layovers : Consider other picturesque towns like Siena or Lucca for short layovers.

4. Recommended Train Itinerary Sequence:

  • Start in Rome for its ancient allure.
  • Proceed to Florence , the cradle of the Renaissance.
  • Head north to Venice to experience its enchanting canals.
  • Conclude in Milan , intertwining history with modern sophistication.

Faster high-speed trains (Frecciarossa, Italo) are one of the most efficient ways to travel quickly between cities. Regional services offer a more scenic, albeit slower, journey. Let’s explore the train types in Italy.

Suggested Read : 35 Best Travel Guide Books for Italy to Read

Understanding Train Types in Italy

In Italy, trains are categorized based on their speed, the distances they cover, and their primary use. Grasping the differences between these train types is essential for travelers looking to navigate the Italian rail network efficiently.

1. High-Speed Trains (Trenitalia, Italo)

How to travel by train in Italy: a modern high-speed train in Milan's historic station.

Operated by Trenitalia and Italo, high-speed trains can reach speeds over 300 km/h, significantly cutting travel time between Italian cities.

Trenitalia , the country’s main train operator, is a joint venture between the Italian government and a consortium of private investors. It manages the renowned “Frecce” trains.

  • Frecciarossa , or ‘Red Arrow,’ is Trenitalia’s premier high-speed service. It connects major cities like Rome, Milan, and Florence with frequent daily services.
  • Frecciargento , or ‘Silver Arrow,’ reaches locations that are not accessible by the Frecciarossa trains.
  • Frecciabianca , or ‘White Arrow,’ covers long-distance routes at high speeds but not as rapidly as the Frecciarossa or the Frecciargento.

Italo is a private high-speed train service that offers a competitive option to Trenitalia’s Frecciarossa. Its focus is on passenger comfort and amenities.

2. Intercity Trains

Intercity trains bridge the gap between faster trains and regional services. They cover longer distances with fewer stops than regional trains.

3. Regional Trains

Regional trains connect local destinations within Italian regions. They make frequent stops and offer an economical way to travel short distances.

Purchasing Train Tickets

An array of train tickets showcasing the ease of access to Italy's rail network.

When traveling by train in Italy, you have various options for purchasing tickets, from online platforms to ticket machines at stations.

As tickets can become available 3 to 6 months before travel, booking your train in advance is often recommended to secure availability, especially for popular routes. 

Online Ticketing

Passengers looking for convenience can purchase Italian train tickets online. Websites like Trenitalia or Omio offer a user-friendly interface where one can check schedules and buy tickets. After purchasing, you’ll typically receive an e-ticket, which can be printed or displayed on a smartphone.

Buying Tickets in Advance

Securing train tickets in advance is advisable, particularly for faster trains or long-distance travel, where reservations are mandatory. Purchasing in advance can also lead to better prices and guaranteed seating.

Ticket Machines at Stations

Travelers can conveniently purchase tickets from Trenitalia's machines.

Italian train stations are equipped with ticket machines, which allow passengers to buy tickets quickly on the day of travel.

These machines, available in multiple languages, accept credit cards and cash. It’s essential to validate the ticket at the small machines on the platform before boarding.

Traveling Without Reservations

For regional trains, it’s possible to travel without a reservation. In this case, you can buy tickets at station ticket machines or counters shortly before departure. However, you should be aware that without a reservation, a seat is not guaranteed if the train is full.

Ticket Pricing and Fares

tour italy by train

Fare structures in Italy are categorized by train type and class. Ticket costs vary depending on the speed of the train, the class of service, and the route distance.

Regional trains are the most economical option, often with fixed prices that do not fluctuate with demand.

Intercity and faster trains like the Frecciarossa or Italo offer variable pricing structures, similar to airlines, where fares increase as the departure time nears or during peak travel periods.

Once again, you can save money by booking advance tickets , as last-minute fares tend to be more expensive. The most affordable base fare train tickets in Italy, known as Super Economy tickets, are available for early purchase and do not permit any modifications or cancellations.

Discounts for Children and Youth

Children typically receive discounts, with some rail operators offering heavily discounted or even free travel for children under a certain age when accompanied by an adult. Specifically:

  • Children under three years old travel free on Italo trains if seated on an adult’s lap. 
  • Children aged 4 to 15 years (or up to 12 years on regional trains) benefit from a 50% fare reduction on Trenitalia.
  • The Carta Verde (Green Card) is a special discount card designed for youths aged 12 to 26 . A yearly plan costs 40 euros.

Discounts for Seniors

Seniors may also be eligible for reduced fares, but these offers can vary between train operators.

They have the option to purchase Trenitalia’s Carta d’Argento (Silver Card) for €30 annually, which is available to individuals aged 60 to 75 and complimentary for those over 75. Additionally, Italo provides a 40% discount to senior passengers on select fares.

Travel Italy by Train: Using a Rail Pass

tour italy by train

Rail passes like Eurail offer travelers an efficient and cost-effective way to explore Italy by train. Passholders can enjoy flexible travel and often receive discounts on local transportation. 

Purchasing a Rail Pass

To use a rail pass in Italy, one must purchase it before arriving, as they are not available for sale within the country. There are various types of Eurail passes to choose from:

  • Italy Pass : Unlimited travel within Italy.
  • Global Pass : Unlimited travel in 33 European countries.

Validity Periods

Eurail passes are valid for different lengths of time, ranging from days to months, and can be flexi-passes (a set number of travel days within a longer period) or continuous passes (unlimited travel within the validity period).

Train Reservations

While many Italian trains do not require reservations, high-speed and overnight trains often do. Passholders are advised to book these in advance, paying a reservation fee.

Benefits and Discounts

Eurail pass holders may receive:

  • Access to ferries and buses.
  • Reduced rates on private railways and local transit.
  • Discounts on certain hotels and attractions.

Using the Pass

When using a Eurail pass, you must:

  • Activate the pass at a train station in Italy.
  • Write the date of travel on each travel day.
  • Show the pass along with a passport when requested by train staff.

Tips for a Smooth Journey

  • Check schedule changes : Train schedules can vary, especially on public holidays.
  • Keep your pass safe : Lost or stolen rail passes are like losing cash and can be costly to replace.
  • Understand pass limitations : The rail pass does not cover all trains and routes.

Finding and Navigating Train Stations

The entrance to Rome's Termini Station, a central hub for traveling by train in Italy.

Locating a train station often involves looking for the well-marked sign “ Stazione ,” which makes it easy to identify.

Main train stations across the country are uniquely named, with the most common including Milano Centrale, Venezia Santa Lucia, Bologna Centrale, Firenze Santa Maria Novella, Torino Porta Nuova, Roma Termini, and Napoli Centrale. 

Once at the station, timetables are prominently displayed, providing travelers with up-to-date schedules for all departing and arriving trains.

An essential first step is to identify your departure platform (binario), which is listed alongside your train number and target location.

Navigating Italian train stations requires attention to detail: signs indicate platform ( binario ) numbers, directions, and facilities.

Station staff is usually on hand to assist in case of confusion; they can be found wearing uniforms at information desks or throughout the station.

For those unfamiliar with Italian , announcements and station signs are often available in English, especially in main stations and tourist-heavy areas.

Suggested Read : 135 Basic Italian Phrases for Travel: PDF Cheat Sheet

Train Schedules and Frequency

A timetable display at a station keeps travelers informed on the Italian train schedules.

When traveling by train in Italy, passengers find punctuality and frequency to be critical aspects of the experience. Italian trains typically adhere to a regular schedule designed to cater to frequent intercity connections and less frequent regional services.

Intercity and High-Speed Trains:

  • As mentioned earlier, Frecce trains   primarily serve the major routes connecting main cities such as Turin , Milan, Venice, Bologna , Florence, Rome, Naples, and Bari. The table below represents their standard frequency.

Regional Trains:

  • Regional trains , or treni regionali , typically run less frequently, especially in more rural or less populated areas. Schedules for these services may vary from one train every few hours to a more consistent hourly basis.

Train schedules are available online, at stations, and through various mobile apps. They are routinely updated to reflect changes due to maintenance works or seasonal adjustments. You are encouraged to check the Trenitalia or Italo  websites for the most accurate train schedules. 

Pre-Train Departure Procedures

Before boarding a train in Italy, you must follow several key steps to ensure a smooth journey. Validating tickets, locating the correct train and carriage, and handling luggage properly are all integral parts of the pre-departure process.

Ticket Validation

A traveler validating her train ticket, a necessary step when traveling by train in Italy.

Ticket validation is a crucial step in the pre-departure process. Typically, you must use the validation machines located at the station before boarding.

This process confirms the date and time of travel, preventing ticket re-use. Unvalidated tickets can result in fines, so you should ensure to complete this step before heading to the platform.

Finding Your Train and Carriage

Once tickets are validated, proceed to find their train and carriage. The train number and departure information are displayed on electronic display boards throughout the station.

Train number and departure time are the key details needed to locate the correct platform. Upon arriving at the specified platform, carriage numbers are visibly displayed beside train doors or on electronic displays along the platform.

Onboard Train Amenities and Services

Comfort meets convenience aboard a high-speed train featuring spacious seating and on-the-go services.

Luggage Accommodations: Passengers are responsible for loading and unloading their own luggage on trains and can expect decent luggage storage on trains in Italy.

Overhead luggage racks are accessible for small luggage, while designated spaces at the ends of carriages are designed for larger suitcases. 

Dining Options: Most long-distance and high-speed trains offer food and beverages. A dining car or a trolley service provides a variety of meals suitable for a range of tastes and preferences, including options for those with dietary restrictions.

Comfort and Accessibility: You will find modern comforts such as air conditioning and power outlets for charging electronic devices. Seats are designed to provide comfortable travel, with options for first or second class, each differing in space and services offered. 

The Truth About Train Travel Classes: What Really Matters

Deciding between first class and second class for your train ticket? The differences are minimal, primarily in dining options.

First Class (also called Executive Class) often includes food service, whereas Second Class might only have a vending machine (or nothing at all). 

Both classes on fast trains like Italo and Frecciarossa offer comfort, making an upgrade optional. For a quieter journey, consider a first-class silent car with restricted cell phone use, ensuring a serene trip to your Italian locale.

Accessibility and Traveling with Children

A mother and child are waiting for their train ride.

When taking a train trip through Italy with children, one can anticipate a safe and comfortable experience.

Italian transportation law mandates accessibility for all, ensuring that train stations and carriages cater to the needs of travelers with disabilities.

For Parents and Guardians:

  • Documents: Children, including infants, require their own travel documents , such as passports.
  • Expectations: Train travel can be lengthy; pack snacks, toys, and entertainment to keep young travelers content.

Travelers with Disabilities:

  • Facilities: Most train stations offer wheelchair accessibility, including restrooms and ticket counters. Always verify in advance the level of accessibility available, as not all trains and stations may be equally equipped.
  • Assistance: It is advisable to contact the train company ahead of time if specific assistance is required.

While Onboard:

  • Seating: Look for priority seating, which is typically available for those with reduced mobility or those traveling with young children.
  • Safety: Keep children supervised, especially when boarding or disembarking the train.

Traveling with Infants:

  • Healthcare: If you have any health-related concerns, such as dehydration in infants or young children with diarrhea, seek immediate medical attention. Remember to maintain adequate hydration as a key element of travel health management.

Connecting Transports and Transfers

When traveling by train in Italy, passengers can enjoy seamless connections to various modes of transportation upon arrival at their destination station.

This section outlines the transition from trains to buses, station taxi services, and car rental options.

Taxi Services at Stations

A line of taxis stands ready outside the Milano Centrale train station.

Train stations, especially at major urban centers, are equipped with designated taxi areas . Taxis are a reliable option for direct transfers to a final destination, with clearly marked ranks and regulated fares. You should look for officially licensed, usually white taxis, and display a taxi sign.

From Train to Bus

At most Italian train stations, bus terminals are nearby or directly adjacent to the station. These buses serve local urban routes and suburban areas not covered by rail services. Timetables are typically synchronized with train arrivals, facilitating hassle-free transfers.

Car Rentals

For those requiring flexibility or planning to visit areas less accessible by public transport, car rental services are available at key train stations.

Rental desks are often located within or just outside the station. Renting a car in advance is advisable to ensure availability and potentially secure better rates.

Suggested Read : Traveling to Bologna and planning to rent a car? Read Renting a Car in Bologna: Your Essential Guide .

Overnight and Long-Distance Trains

Overnight and long-distance trains efficiently traverse the expansive Italian countryside and coastal regions, connecting cities like Rome, Venice, and Milan to lesser-known locations.

Overnight trains, such as Trenitalia’s Intercity Notte , provide sleeper cabins and couchettes, allowing you to rest and arrive refreshed at your destination. Comfort varies by train type and class, with options usually including:

  • Sleeper cabins: Private compartments with beds.
  • Couchettes: Shared compartments with bunk beds.

When you consider it, traveling overnight this way is not only a time-saver but often a cost-effective alternative to hotels. You awaken to new landscapes, having covered significant ground during the night.

Italo and Frecciarossa services present options for long-distance travel, shrinking the travel time between cities. Itineraries are straightforward, and stations are well-connected, making train travel a prime choice for those seeking efficiency.

Popular Train Routes

tour italy by train

Italy’s train network offers an extensive range of routes connecting major cities and scenic destinations efficiently and comfortably. Below are some of the most recommended train routes in Italy:

Rome to Florence : This route connects Italy’s capital with the heart of Tuscany. A high-speed train ride lasts about 1.5 hours on the Frecciarossa or Italo , making a day trip feasible.

Rome to Milan : Traversing the length of Northern Italy, the journey from Rome to Milan takes approximately 3 hours via faster train—ideal for business travelers or tourists.

Rome to Naples : A beloved route for travelers seeking the allure of the Amalfi Coast and historical sites such as Pompeii, Rome to Naples only takes roughly 1 to 1.5 hours on the fastest services.

Train Routes Table:

For an enriching travel experience, consider stops in smaller towns or detours along the way to fully appreciate regional diversity.

Certain local and regional train lines are favorites among international tourists, such as the journeys from Florence to Cinque Terre or Siena and the trips from Rome to Salerno or Sorrento along the Amalfi Coast.

Suggested Read : Craving a voyage along the Italian coast after your train adventure? Read 12 Top Cruise Ports in Italy: A Mediterranean Journey .

Tips for an Enjoyable Train Experience

It may seem like common sense, but it bears mentioning: for the best train travel experience , you should:

  • Arrive early : Arrive at the station at least 30 minutes before departure to find platforms and settle in without rushing.
  • Pack light : Travel with minimal luggage for ease of movement within stations and onboard trains.
  • Keep documents handy : Always have your passport and ticket accessible for inspections.

Understanding the rail system is key when planning to travel to Italy by train. Familiarize yourself with the different types of trains and select the one that best suits your travel needs and budget.

Traveling During Peak Seasons

Peak times typically include summer months, especially August, and key holidays such as Easter and Christmas.

Schedules : During these periods, train schedules are often more crowded, and ticket availability may be limited . It is crucial for travelers to book their tickets well in advance.

Holidays: As Italian holidays approach, train stations become hubs of activity. Locals and tourists alike tend to travel to their holiday destinations, which can significantly impact train capacity and punctuality. The increased demand during holidays may lead to higher ticket prices and longer transit times.

Staying Safe and Secure

When exploring Italy via rail,  safety should be a top priority . Remain vigilant, especially in crowded stations or on busy trains. Personal belongings should be kept secure at all times to prevent theft. Utilizing anti-theft bags or waist packs can be beneficial.

Here is a concise breakdown of safety measures:

  • Personal Belongings : Keep these items out of sight and secure to avoid attracting attention.
  • Awareness : Stay alert to your surroundings.
  • Health Safety : Train travel during certain health events may require additional precautions, like wearing a mask if necessary. Don’t forget to sanitize or wash your hands frequently.
  • Emergency Contacts : Keep a list of emergency contacts, including local police, your country’s embassy or consulate ( U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Italy ), and family members.

Frequently Asked Questions

tour italy by train

This section answers common queries about train services, ticketing options, and travel tips to ensure a smooth journey.

What are the most recommended train services to use within Italy?

Italy’s primary train service provider, Trenitalia , offers extensive routes connecting major cities and regions. It is renowned for punctuality and efficient service. Another notable option is Italo, which is known for its faster trains and modern amenities.

What options are available for purchasing train tickets in Italy?

Train tickets for trips in Italy can be purchased online, through mobile apps, at ticket machines, or train station ticket counters. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended, especially for long-distance travel, to secure the best fares.

Can travelers buy unlimited train passes for Italy, and what are the options?

Travelers can opt for the Eurail Italy Pass or the Interrail Italy Pass, which offers unlimited travel within Italy for a set number of days. These passes provide flexibility and can be cost-saving for tourists planning to visit multiple locations. I invite you to read this excellent article by Rick Steves about Italian rail passes. 

How far in advance should I purchase my train tickets? 

For smoother Italian train travel, booking your tickets 3 to 6 months ahead, particularly for busy routes, is advisable to ensure you get a seat.

What should one know about managing luggage during train travel in Italy?

Passengers are usually allowed to bring luggage on Italian trains without an extra fee. Storage areas are available at the ends of carriages or above seats. Still, passengers should monitor their belongings, as train stations and trains are public spaces.

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See Michelangelo's frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel

One of the most important structures of the Catholic faith, the Vatican City’s Sistine Chapel is a must-see on a tour of Italy. Though the chapel walls have witnessed centuries of worship, it’s the renaissance ceiling paintings of Michelangelo that will leave you in awe.

Visit the glamorous Isle of Capri

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Go shopping in Italy's fashion capital Milan

Armani, Gucci, Prada and Versace. These are some of the prestigious fashion brands that call the Italian city of Milan home. In between yearning through boutiques and department stores, stop to sample the city’s delicacies like breaded veal cutlet and ossobuco.

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Uffizi Gallery

The Tuscan capital is home to Uffizi Gallery, where the brushworks of art’s true masters are found. Names like Raffaello, Leonardo, and Michelangelo dress Uffizi’s grand pink walls, whilst internal courtyards leading to the Arno River will show you the building’s architectural brilliance.

Vatican Museums

A collection of Christian artwork that spans centuries and stirs the soul is found in Rome’s Vatican Museums. From the intricate ceiling by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel to the detailed Pope portraits from the 16th century to today, you will be lost for words once inside this blessed museum complex.

Doge's Palace

Home to the leader of Venice from its opening in 1340, Doge’s Palace summarizes the sparkle of this city. An opulent example of Venetian Gothic architecture and home to numerous historical works, this museum is a must when you visit Venice.

Best museums in Italy

The epicenter of the Catholic faith and the birthplace of art’s most renowned masters. Our guided tours of Italy will take you to the many museums found here, whether in the Sistine Chapel, by the canals of Venice or in the grand galleries of Tuscany.

The authentic carbonara experience will take place in Rome, covered in salty Pecorino Romano cheese. A simple dish inspiring heart-warming meal times, this pasta will connect you with Italy’s rich culinary customs - an impressive evolution from its supposed heritage as a coal-miner’s meal.

Pollo alla Cacciatora

Literally translating to ‘hunter’ in Italian, cacciatore offers an appreciation for Italy’s meals of days gone by. Typically a preparation of rabbit or chicken, it’s the simmering tomato stew that makes this dish so mouthwatering. Satisfy a genuine hunger and consume with hand-ripped bread.

Italy tours are best served with an oversized slice of tiramisu. Cementing this country's obsession with espresso, this cake of layered biscuits soaked in coffee is the perfect after hours pick-me-up before an evening stroll through the charming streets.

Best food in Italy

A date with Italian food will likely start and end with a slice of pizza. But it’s the menu items that we share with you in between that will take your appreciation to new heights; think cacciatore and Carbonara with a slice of tiramisu in between.

What to pack for Italy

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A classic linen outfit

The Italians are famous for their equal parts glamorous and effortless dress sense. Look the part with a few ensembles featuring classic linens in navy and white.

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With the wealth of inspiration tucked into every corner of Italy, you might find yourself compelled to write down notes or memories. At the very least to remember the traditional Italian recipes you learn.

With such a large expanse of space to explore, on some days, long journeys are unavoidable. The scenery will provide plenty of visual entertainment, while headphones can be used to listen to some local music or enjoy podcasts about Italian history, culture and politics when you're not enjoying the storytelling from your Travel Director.

A small blanket

When exploring the soul-stirring setting of Tuscany, a picnic may call. Come prepared with a small blanket to cover in wine and cheese.

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

A classic memoir that brought the romance of Tuscany to the world, there’s no better time to read this book than when venturing through the country yourself.

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Savoring global flavors along scenic european train routes.

Photo of author

By Norbert Figueroa

| Published: April 8, 2024

Europe is a destination for food, from traditional dishes to elegant cuisine and innovative cultural flavors. With many top food locales along popular rail routes, touring Europe by train is the ideal way to indulge your taste buds, experience incredible scenery and relax while traveling.

tour italy by train

Planning a European train trip and culinary tour

With global destinations like Paris, London, Berlin, Barcelona and Rome, Europe has endless cuisines to sample. Each city you visit offers an opportunity to explore local flavors and international influences, all against a scenic European backdrop.

Europe has an efficient transportation infrastructure to take you from one culinary destination to the next, and train travel is a leading option. The continent is highly interconnected by rail with multiple trains per day between the most populous cities, as well as access to smaller towns and cities.

When you want to sample food around Europe, traveling by train offers additional benefits. Train stations are often centrally located in the cities and towns they serve, putting you near the best restaurants immediately after you disembark. Train travel is often a more laid-back experience with fewer security checkpoints and more comfortable seats.

Train travel in Europe offers some of the best scenery, too. Many routes will take you past picturesque mountains, rivers, historic villages and more. Combining scenic train routes with delicious cuisine will make a European vacation a delight for the senses.

Mapping out a food tour by train

With an expansive rail network, you can rely on trains to get around Europe. You can map out the cities you want to explore and buy point-to-point tickets between your destinations. This lets you customize prices based on routes and times.

For ultimate flexibility and the chance to see Europe’s most beautiful scenery, the Eurail pass gives you unlimited rail travel in up to 33 countries across the continent. When planning how to use Eurail Pass for a European food tour, you can buy a Eurail Global to travel between multiple countries or a single-country pass if you want to dive deep into the food of a single region.   

tour italy by train

Travel by rail to northern European culinary destinations

In northern Europe, the towering Alps, winding rivers and historic castles perched on hillsides create stunning vistas. It is also a culinary mecca that brings together global flavors. Fine food and pastries in Paris, innovative restaurants in London and delectable street food in Berlin and Brussels make every meal a treat.

Experience Parisian food and Swiss scenery

Long regarded as the top food destination in Europe, Paris is a must for foodies. Between Michelin-starred restaurants and relaxed bistros, every meal is a delight. Parisian staples like a fresh butter croissant, macarons or a “jambon-beurre” — a ham and butter sandwich — are the perfect treat at bistros and patisseries. For dinner, try French favorites like roast duck, steak tartare and escargot.

Then take the Paris to Switzerland train through the Swiss Alps, often considered some of the most incredible scenery in Europe. When you arrive in Switzerland, enjoy traditional Swiss food like cheese fondue, Swiss chocolate and “rösti,” a traditional pancake made from grated potatoes.

Don’t miss taking the Glacier Express, one of the most scenic train rides in the world, according to Travel + Leisure. And here’s a tip: when riding the eight-hour Glacier Express route from Zermatt to St. Moritz, sit on the right side of the train to get the best, uninterrupted views of the Alps.

Travel from Prague to Berlin via the Elbe Valley

Prague has beautiful scenery and delicious, hearty food. Try Czech favorites like beef goulash served with dumplings and “smažený sýr,” cheese coated in breadcrumbs and fried to a golden brown. 

Berlin also has a diverse food scene that combines many cultures and flavors . Traditional schnitzel, spätzle or bratwurst with beer are must-haves in Germany, while döner kebab — combining shaved meat, fresh salad and flavorful sauces — is a favorite Berlin street food with Turkish influences.

Explore the UK food scene by rail

The food scene in the UK continues to grow, combining English flavors with global influences. Pubs offer comfort foods like bangers and mash or fish and chips, or you can partake of a traditional afternoon cream tea for a fancier experience. Originally an Indian dish, chicken tikka masala is also a quintessential London meal.

Then take the London to Scotland train through the English countryside. In Scotland, sample the country’s national dish, haggis, a flavorful sausage made from sheep’s innards, and wash it down with a sample of Scotch whisky.

Explore Mediterranean flavors on southern European rail routes

Traveling through the southern countries in Europe will take you through rolling hills, vineyards, colorful cities and ancient ruins. It will also take you to amazing food cities like Rome, Venice, Athens, Barcelona and Lisbon.

Travel and dine in Italy

Almost every city and town in Italy can boast incredible food, and rail connects many of these cities. Italian rail is an effective way to get around the country with options for high-speed rail and affordable tickets. Start by trying authentic spaghetti bolognese in Bologna, cacio e pepe in Rome and “gnocchi alla sorrentina” — gnocchi in a rich tomato sauce — in Naples.

Ride Belgrade to Bar by train

The train route from Belgrade, Serbia to Bar, Montenegro ranks as one of Europe’s most scenic rail routes. Both countries have a variety of local dishes, many of which showcase the unique flavors of Eastern Europe. Try traditional “sarma” in Belgrade, made by wrapping ground meat and rice in pickled cabbage leaves. With its coastal location, Bar is a great place to sample octopus, shrimp and squid.

Unique flavor experiences aboard trains in Europe

For the ultimate combination of delicious flavors and stunning scenery, check out the European rail companies with the best onboard food service. Longer train journeys often have dining cars or seat-side food service so that you can enjoy the passing scenery while you eat.

České dráhy, the Czech national railway operator, travels throughout Eastern Europe with destinations in the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany and Slovakia. While on board, you can sample traditional Czech dishes like schnitzel, steak, dumplings and local beer.

If you are looking for a luxurious train trip, the Royal Scotsman takes travelers through the majestic Scottish Highlands. The dining carriage serves multi-course meals with authentic dishes and local ingredients.

Many other European railways, from standard transit to luxury rail, offer excellent food that highlights regional flavors. Even if your train journey is simply a means of transportation, don’t miss a chance to experience the flavors of Europe on your journey.

Ride the train to Europe’s most beautiful destinations and top cuisines

Traveling by train offers the perfect view of awe-inspiring vistas in Europe, especially when you ride these scenic routes. These trains will also take you to the top food destinations in the UK, Italy, France, Spain and elsewhere.

As you plan your next European vacation, look into train schedules or the Eurail pass. This can be the ultimate way to get from place to place and restaurant to restaurant.

Norbert Figueroa of is an architect and travel writer on a mission to visit all 195 U.N. Recognized nations, and beyond. He shares his adventures and passion for travel, architecture and cultures on his blog and social media.

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Train strikes in April and May 2024: Full list of dates and lines affected

Overtime bans, an action short of a strike, also mean some services may not be running or may be reduced as drivers refuse to work their rest days.

Monday 8 April 2024 06:40, UK

tour italy by train

Drivers at 16 rail companies have started a fresh wave of strikes, plus overtime bans, causing disruption to the rail network.

The strikes are part of a long-running dispute over pay and will take place across April and May.

Tube strikes planned for April and May have been called off.

In an "entirely separate dispute", ASLEF members will also strike and refuse to do overtime at LNER on specific dates in April "because of the company's failure to adhere to the agreed bargaining machinery", the union said.

LNER's alleged failure to adhere to bargaining machinery refers to it using managers to drive trains on strike days.

People are advised to check before they travel.

Here's what's happening when:

Rail strike dates

Friday 5 April

Strikes will affect Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, and CrossCountry.

Saturday 6 April

Strikes will affect Chiltern, GWR, LNER, Northern, and TransPennine Trains.

Monday 8 April

Strikes will affect Greater Anglia, c2c, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway main line and depot drivers, and SWR Island Line.

Overtime ban dates

Thursday 4 April

Tuesday 9 April

People are advised to check before they travel, as some areas may have no service.

LNER action dates

Members will strike on Saturday 20 April and refuse to work non-contractual overtime from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 April .

Why are the strikes happening?

ASLEF says the LNER strikes are because of "the company's persistent failure to comply with existing agreements".

Nigel Roebuck, an ASLEF organiser in the northeast, said the operator had been trying to get "every driver manager and driver instructor to work on strike days".

A spokesperson said: "LNER has used managers - paid £500 a shift - to drive trains on strike days and, after the expiry of the last non-contractual overtime agreement, on most days of the week now.

"There is no agreement in place for management to drive services on mainline infrastructure.

"It results in branch line services - such as Lincoln, Skipton, and Harrogate - being cancelled because of a lack of route knowledge and means virtually no driver training is being done."

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Mick Whelan, ASLEF general secretary, said of the rail strikes : "Last month, when we announced renewed mandates for industrial action, because under the Tories' draconian anti-union laws we have to ballot our members every six months, we called on the train companies, and the government, to come to the table for meaningful talks to negotiate a new pay deal for train drivers who have not had an increase in salary since 2019.

"Our members voted overwhelmingly - yet again - for strike action."

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tour italy by train

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: "Nobody wins when industrial action impacts people's lives and livelihoods, and we will work hard to minimise any disruption to our passengers.

"We want to resolve this dispute, but the ASLEF leadership need to recognise that hard-pressed taxpayers are continuing to contribute an extra £54m a week just to keep services running post-COVID.

"We continue to seek an agreement with the ASLEF leadership and remain open to talks to find a solution to this dispute."

When the strikes on the London Underground were announced, Finn Brennan, ASLEF's full-time organiser on the network, said in a statement: "ASLEF Tube train drivers will strike in April and May in a long-running dispute over London Underground's failure to give assurances that changes to our members' terms and conditions will not be imposed without agreement and that all existing agreements will be honoured.

"Despite a previous commitment to withdraw plans for massive changes to drivers' working conditions, London Underground management has established a full-time team of managers preparing to impose their plans.

Sadiq Khan said they had been called off after "talking and engaging with transport staff and trade unions rather than working against them".

Related Topics

  • London Underground
  • Rail strikes


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    About the tour. Experience the very essence of Italy as we discover the Eternal City of Rome, Renaissance Florence, labyrinthine Venice, and iconic Pisa with its unmistakable Leaning Tower. View Dates & Pricing. Call to book 1-877-929-7245. Enquire about this tour.

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    Italian explorer: Venice to Amalfi by rail. 9 night independent rail tour from Venice to the Amalfi Coast. Venice, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi. 10 days from US$2495.

  10. Exploring Italy by train

    Exploring Italy by train. With some of Europe's fastest trains and most scenic routes, Italy is a great place to travel by train. The country might be more famous for its deluxe sports cars and challenging driving conditions, but Italian trains are economical, comfortable and direct, offering an insight into local life, often with great views ...

  11. Train Travel in Italy: The Ultimate Guide

    We have a great feature with general tips on how to pack for travel to Italy by Sarah Murdoch, a Rick Steves tour guide and Italy expert. Train Travel Times for the Most Common Italian Routes Rome - Florence 1 hour 31 minutes (Frecciarossa - Trenitalia) 1 hour 23 minutes (Italo) Rome - Venice

  12. Train Travel in Italy

    Train travel in Italy - all of your questions answered. Decide if you should use a train for your trip, learn how to purchase Italian train tickets, and get helpful tips for travel, including traveling by train in Italy with kids! Traveling by train in Italy is a beautiful way to see the country and understand Italian culture.

  13. See Italy's Art, Wine, Ruins, & More By Train

    Travel By Train In Italy Exploring Italy by train allows you to embrace the country's culture and cuisine in places where airports are scarce. The Trainline app caters to the precise pre-planner and the on-a-whim wanderer, allowing you to browse routes, compare timetables, and purchase tickets whenever you please.

  14. Italy By Train: Easy 21 Day Rail Itinerary For 6 Destinations

    For this rail itinerary, I recommend choosing a Eurail Italy Pass with 8 travel days in 1 month, meaning you can catch as many trains as you like in a one month period providing you don't spend more than 8 calendar days on trains. This pass costs US$278 for an adult in 2 nd class or US$371 for 1 st class.

  15. Italy Train Guide

    Italy is a joy to travel by train—the views of the countryside are amazing, the rail system is efficient, and booking tickets is easier than ever. Furthermore, Italy has a highly-developed high-speed rail network that quickly connects all major cities and slower local trains connect most of the small towns. It's simply the best way to ...

  16. The Best Of Italy By Train by Flag Travel Holidays with 4 Tour Reviews

    Start in Milan and end in Naples! With the Explorer tour The Best Of Italy By Train, you have a 12 days tour package taking you through Milan, Italy and 11 other destinations in Italy. The Best Of Italy By Train includes accommodation in a hotel as well as meals, transport and more. Day 6 Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and Chianti winery lunch.

  17. One-week Italy by train itinerary

    The Italy by train itinerary involves four travel days in one country, so the best option is the One Country Italy pass for 4 travel days within 1 month. This pass costs €153 for adults, €126 for youths (aged 12-27) or €138 for seniors (aged 60+) in second class. Venice's Grand Canal.

  18. 11 Italy Train Trips: Exciting Itineraries from North to South

    Basic Info on Italy Train Travel Types of Trains in Italy. There are several types of trains in Italy and also several classes of train travel. Knowing which is which will help in planning your trip and also when booking your train tickets, whether you do this online, at the station, or on the train.. Italy's high-speed trains are super fast, reaching speeds of up to 187 mph.

  19. Train travel in Italy, a beginner's guide

    Naples to Sorrento costs around €4.50 one-way, journey 55-65 minutes. Naples to Sorrento by ferry. You can also travel from Naples Beverello ferry terminal to Sorrento by fast ferry with around 5 departures a day, journey time 45 minutes, fare around €13, bags €2.10, see .

  20. The Best of Italy by Train: A Two Week Itinerary

    Day 5 to 7 - Florence. Train: Assisi to Florence - approx. 2.5 hours with about half a dozen direct departures each day. Take an early morning departure from Assisi to maximise your time in Florence. Florence is a Renaissance city in the heart of one of the most beautiful regions in the world, Tuscany.

  21. How to Travel by Train in Italy: A Guide to Easy Rides

    Rome to Florence: Approximately 1.5 hours on a high-speed train. Florence to Venice: Around 2 hours, perfect for a swift transition to the canals. Venice to Milan: It takes just under 2.5 hours to connect the city of Lagoon with the fashion capital. 2. Scenic Routes and Destinations.

  22. Highlights of Southern Italy & Sicily

    Day 5 - Matera. At over 9,000 years old, Matera is one of the oldest constantly inhabited cities in the world. This Southern Italian gem is perhaps best known for its caves, which have laid the foundation for many homes, businesses, and shops that creep up the hillsides.

  23. Italy Tour Packages & Italy Travel Guide

    Travel guide. As the world leader in travel experiences since 1947, we connect you to the real Italy in a way like no other. From the canals of Venice to the hills of Tuscany, we explore the pockets of Italy that make this country a classic. Though they may have been etched into travel brochures many times, with Trafalgar, you will peel back ...

  24. Savoring global flavors along scenic European train routes

    The train route from Belgrade, Serbia to Bar, Montenegro ranks as one of Europe's most scenic rail routes. Both countries have a variety of local dishes, many of which showcase the unique flavors of Eastern Europe. Try traditional "sarma" in Belgrade, made by wrapping ground meat and rice in pickled cabbage leaves.

  25. Train strikes in April and May 2024: Full list of dates and lines

    Strikes will affect Chiltern, GWR, LNER, Northern, and TransPennine Trains. Monday 8 April. Strikes will affect Greater Anglia, c2c, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick ...