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Introducing the best of Italy by Rail

Italy possesses some of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes in Europe. Imagine exploring the most remote towns of Italyby rail.

Whether you are visiting Italy for art, architecture or simply the delicious, authentic national cuisine, Italy is best seen from the window of a train. The Italian rail system is one of the least expensive in Europe and is one of the most efficient way to get around Italy. With a network of more than 140 daily train connections accessing all Italy's major cities you'll be able to reach every destination.

 

Italian trains are run by Trenitalia (government run) which operate three high-speed trains called Frecciarossa, Frecciabianca and Frecciargento. A private company NTV also operates Italo trains. It is worth considering a Eurail Italy Pass (Italian Rail Pass) as it saves you having to purchase multiple train tickets at the station. Booking your seat reservation in advance is worthwhile, especially during the summer months when most train seats sell out well in advance.

Trenitalia Frecciarossa in station
Trenitalia Frecciarossa in station

Frecciarossa

The red Frecciarossa travel up to speeds of 300km/h and are the fastest trains connecting Milan with Bolongna, Florence, Rome and Naples.

Trenitalia Italy Map
Trenitalia train in Italy

High-speed Frecciarossa trains will transport you from;

 

Milan to Rome: 2 hours 59 minutes.

Florence to Rome: 1 hour 20 minutes.

Venice to Rome: 4 hours 30 minutes.

Naples to Rome: 1 hour 10 minutes.

Read more in our Italian train overview,

 

Frecciagento

The red Frecciagento trains travel speeds of 250km/h and are the fastest trains connecting north Italy with the south.

North Italy: Rome, Venice, Verona, Bolzano, Udine, Trieste and Brescia.

South Italy: Lecce, Reggio Calabria, Lamezia Terme,  Bari.

 

Frecciabianca

The white Frecciagento are the slowest high-speed trains which reach a speeds of 200km/h. These trains cover almost all of the country and connect the East and West part of boot shaped Italy.

 

ROME

Theres so much to see in Rome. Getting lost in this big city can yield the type of surprise that only aimless travelling conjures. With every turn, you'll be greeted with an incredible sight; an ancient statue, a Baroque fountain or galleries housing some of the worlds greatest hoard of art treasures.
 

Trenitalia train in Italy
Trenitalia train in Italy

Not to be Missed

 

  • St Peter's Bascilla (book ahead to enter a tunnel leading to St Peter's underground tomb).
  • Trevi Fountain in Rome. Make a wish and you'll return to Rome.
  • The Vatican City Sistine Chapel. Okay, not technically in Rome buy very close. Marvel at the works of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Rosselli.

 

 

From the Collesseum, Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, St Peter's Square to Auditorium Parco della Musica, Galleria Nazionale dÁrte Moderna and Pantheon; there is simply too much to see! So toss a coin in a famous fountain and promise to return to Rome once more.

The Trevi Fountain in Rome
The Trevi Fountain in Rome

VENICE the place for la bella vita

Once you've had your fill in Rome, take a train to to the romantic canals of Venice. The journey traces a line along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, alighting in Trieste - a wondrous city replete with fabulous architecture and jaw-dropping ocean views.

Venice weaves it's magic all year round with her winding canals, ancient churches and dappled light of the sun casting shows over ancient churches. The dazzling lagoon promotes Gondola journeys and the city has become musically gifted. Drifting down the grand canal by gondola is the only way to witness the marvel of the waterway.

venice
Venice by Gondola

Not to be Missed in Venice

  • Glide down the Grand canal on a gondola ride and learn the Venetian legendary stories that inspired Shakespeare and Marco Polo.
  • Basilica di San Marco. Italys most exotic cathedral beckons with her golden mosaic domes.
  • Visit the small town of Murano to see artisans blow beautiful creations from glass.
  • The Dolomites aren't far and worth zooming down especially during ski season.


 

Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, Venice
Venice Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria

 

NAPLES, introducing the origin of pizza

Naples is a feast for the taste buds. You can eat Italian pizza any where but nowhere is it as good as Naples. The pizza here is gourmet and contains mozzarella di bufala (buffalo mozzarella).

San Francesco di Paola
San Francesco di Paola

Not to be Missed

 

  • San Francesco di Paola. Naples largest square, is blessed with a stunning church Chiesa di San Francesco di Paola
  • With candlelight in hand, explore Roman secret passages on a Napoli Soterranea guided tour.
  • Explore the evocative underground tombs at the Catacomba di San Gennaro.

 

 

THE AMALFI COAST, reminds you that life is short

Here is a tip to change your life. Go and see the stunning, cobalt blue Amalfi Coast, at least once in your life. You won't regret it!

The Amalfi Coast is a stunning area of Italys coastline located south of Naples. With scented lemon groves, flower strewn cliffs and fisherman boats this coast will stop you in you tracks. Cliffside villages that make up Amalfi are Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Ravello, and of-course Amalfi herself are known for their picturesque houses, rugged terrain and unmistakable scenic beauty.

Although the Amalfi Coast does not have a train line, it is still accessible by bus services or ferry. From Rome you can take a train down to Naples, and swap to the Private line between Naples and Sorrento. From Sorrento you will then need to take a bus.

The private Circumvesuviana line from Naples to Sorrento is NOT covered on any Train ticket or Rail Pass. For this travel you will need to purchase a separate ticket in Naples or Sorrento at the station. Tickets from Naples to Sorrento and vice versa are approx. ¬3 one way per person, and depart every 30 minutes. The train usually goes via Pompeii and will take about 1hr and 10 mins to get from Naples to Sorrento

 

Amalfi coast in Italy
Amalfi coast in Italy

Not to be Missed on the Amalfi Coast

 

  • Grotta Azzurra is a magical blue cave with mystical light and eerie echoes.
  • Try Limoncello, a lemon flavoured digestive drunk ice cold.
  • Positano is divine for it's fresh seafood, angels in the architecture and boutique laced lanes.

 


Tuscany

Fine art, fine wines, architecture ranging from Romanesque to Renaissance, spectacular landscapes, and a wealth of history and culture  does this sound like your kind of holiday? If your answer is yes, you will love our 10 days in Tuscany, suggested rail itinerary. If you only have a few days to explore the  rolling hills, art packed towns, idyllic olive groves and vineyards of Tuscany then some of the best places to see are, Siena, Poggibonsi, Florence, Pistoia, Lucca, Pisa, Livorno, Viareggio and Massa.

Florence is the largest city in the Tuscan region, yet other highlights of the region include the leaning tower of Pisa, Chanti wine region, the medieval village of San Gimignano, Duomo of Siena, Duomo of Florence, Lucca and its Roman amphitheatres. Go for a bike ride around the Tuscan hills. Taste some local cheeses and olive oil. Soak up the atmosphere in a busy local restaurant.

 

tuscany route map onpage
Caption

Not to be Missed in Tuscany

 

  • Climbing The Duomo, Brunelleschi's dome is a must do.
  • The leaning tower of Piza is still defying gravity but book in advance to avoid disappointment as only 40 people can access the tower at one time.
  • Visit Chianti, the wine region and drink in the landscape, literally.

 

 

Trains connect most of the region with many regional trains servicing the main routes. Florence to Pisa is just over an hour by regional train (it is not possible to reserve seats on this service), which passes through some gorgeous small villages giving you a real feel for the Italian countryside.

tuscany
Tuscany's Rolling Hills

MILAN

Modern living, fashion forward, avant-garde art galleries, Milan puts its best foot forward with its attention to detail and aesthetic design culture. As Italy's city of the future, Milans fast paced lifestyle is a direct contrast to the slow style of the Cinque Terre.

Milan Cathedral
Milan's Cathedral

Not to be Missed in Milan

 

  • Soccor is Italy's favourite sport. Why not visit the famous San Siro Stadium.
  • The ultimate example of Gothic is Milan's pink marbled Duomo cathedral.
  • Admire Da Vinci's The Last Supper, a famous mural in the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie.

 

 

Cinque Terre 

The Cinque Terre is perched on an unspoiled stretch of the Italian Riviera in Italy's Liguria region. The five rustic villages are embedded within the world's most dramatic coastal scenery. Built into a rugged cliff face, these quaint villages descend into the picturesque turquoise Ligurian sea. The five cinque coastal towns are; Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore, ManarolaVernazza and Corniglia. Learn more, and discover the Cinque Terre - Italy's untouched seaside paradise.

The colourful patchwork of terraced houses are uninterrupted by traffic (cars aren't allowed) making this is a peaceful haven for those that enjoy a more sybaritic pace. Explore these towns by rail on a day trip from Florence and spend at least a week exploring the town on foot.

 

Corniglia train station

Not to be Missed in the Cinque Terre

  • Discover intimate pebble beaches and tiny coves. Monterosso has the largest beach and Corniglias has a long shingle beach.
  • Sample the local cuisine and enjoy crisp white wine and romantic fish restaurants. Riomaggiore is described as the prettiest town.
  • Hike along the trails from village to village taking in the quaint pastel coloured houses. Takes the Via dellÁmore (Path of love) a 1.6km walk between Manarola and Riomaggiore.

 

The best way into the Cinque Terre is by train.

The most common way to get to the Cinque Terre by train from the North of Italy is to go via Genoa or Levanto. If you are coming from the South to the Cinque Terre, the best starting point is La Spezia. Once you get to Levanto or La Spezia you will need to take a regional train to get to one of the 5 villages. There are up to 25 services a day that run this routing in each direction, so you will never have to worry if you miss one.

Village of Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre
Village of Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

The best way around the Cinque Terre is also by train.

Regional trains provide access to all five villages. If travelling by car you will encounter narrow roads with heavily restricted access. It is impossible to drive directly between the five villages and signage is poor, as is parking possibilities. The best way to travel the Cinque Terre is by train as it runs through coastal tunnels that link five villages. Cars were banned over a decade ago but a 19th-century railway line cut through a series of coastal tunnels will allow your to travel from village to village.

Pass me a Eurail Italy Pass, it's time to see Italy by train!

Cover all your travels in Italy by purchasing the Italy rail pass (Note: the private line from Naples to Sorrento is not covered and tickets for this service can only be purchased locally). This pass provides unlimited travel on Trenitalias Network, either in 1st class or 2nd class. Passes are valid for 3, 4, 5 & 8 days of travel within a 1 month period and can be used consecutively or non-consecutively.

Trenitalia offers even more...

Trains offer great value for money, travel at regular intervals and discounted seat reservations are available (and required) with an Italy Rail Pass. Alternatively, you may find more affordable individual train tickets, if you book either Trenitalia or Italo train tickets, at least three months in advance. Call the experts at Rail Plus to find the best option for you...

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