Rome, Venice and Florence are the top three destinations for Italy rail travel. The coastal southern cities have the Mediterranean Sea to draw visitors looking for sun, while the northern cities near the Alps profit from winter sports enthusiasts.
Traveling by train in Italy
Italy quick facts
Population: 59.6 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Dialing code: +39
Trains in Italy
The train is the way to travel in Italy. The service is frequent, and the trains are among the most modern in Europe. Most of them are operated by Ferrovie dello Stato (FS).
Places to visit
For the adventurers
Looking for more of a challenge? The Via Ferrata (iron ways) are the steel ladders and fixed cables in the Dolomite mountains (Dolomiti) that make climbing a safe experience for both beginning and advanced climbers. Spread throughout the Dolomites, these climbs offer spectacular views and stimulating challenges. There are many routes and difficulty levels to choose from, so the daredevil inside you is likely to be satisfied. One beautiful route for beginners is accessible by Calalzo train station (about 3 hours from Venice).
From station Calalzo, take a local bus to Santo Stefano di Cadore (about 20 minutes). Expeditions through the Via Ferrata in that region are offered at most difficulty levels.
Get close to genius in Florence
Florence offers art lovers the chance to stand in the presence of greatness. Almost all of Italy’s world-famous art pieces are on display there. Visit Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell'Accademia di Bella Arti. Next, take in the Uffizi Gallery and especially The Birth of Venus, by Botticelli. When you’re done, enjoy the culinary delights of this world-famous city. Whether you’re an art lover, a history buff or just a curious adventurer, Florence offers a celebration for the eye, and for the palate.
From Florence station Firenze SMN, Michelangelo’s David is only a 15-minute walk away.
Hike and climb in paradise
The Cinque Terre (five lands) includes the five picturesque fishing villages Riomaggiore, Manarola, Monterosso, Vernazza and Corniglia, all situated along the northwest coast of Italy. Nature lovers can hike along the cliff-side trails that connect the villages in a single day, but with the breathtaking scenery, you may want to stay longer.
From Stazione Riomaggiore, you can be in the Cinque Terre National Park in 15 minutes by foot, or even faster with a bus.
Modern magical Milan
Milan is a bustling center of high finance and higher fashion. Skyscrapers blend with historical buildings, and give the city a modern flair combined with an old-world feel. Known for its fabulous nightlife and high-energy pace, Milan is a modern mecca for the young and the young-at-heart. Read about traveling around Italy by train.
The world-famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping center is a 20-minute walk from Porta Venezia train station. But take a tram to save energy for all the shopping!
Rome: a royal adventure
Rome, known as the eternal city, offers a feast for the eyes and a festival for the soul. Drop a coin into the famous Trevi fountain, and take in the historical architecture and the unique beauty of this vibrant, ancient metropolis.
The Trevi fountain is a 20-minute walk from Roma Termini train station. And there’s plenty to see on the way.
Venice: sailing through the centuries
Venice can feel like the décor of your own fairy tale. Tour the breathtaking cathedrals and spectacular museums that make Venice a truly unique destination. Get lost in the winding streets that hide mystery behind every corner. Or discover Venice as it was meant to be seen – from a gondola. Either way, you’ll find mystery and passion wherever you look.
Vaporetti (city ferries) are the main mode of public transport in Venice. They stop right outside Venice’s Santa Lucia station (Stazione Venezia Santa Lucia).
Theater, dance and acrobatic performances: the whole of Venice comes alive during Carnavele di Venezia. The traditional masked balls of the festival are known around the world and make for a unique experience.
Get off at Autostazione train station to reach Venice and travel by boat to the different parts of the festival.
Expo Milan 2015
In 2015, Milan will be the centre of the world's attention as the host of Expo 2015. This enormous exhibition, covering over one million square meters, is expected to welcome more than 20 million visitors.
Tickets can be bought in advance at the Expo 2015 website.
High-speed trains from all directions stop at the Rho Fiera Expo Milano 2015 station. This is the fastest way to get the exhibition.
Verona Opera Festival
Every summer, Verona organizes this operatic delight for your ears and your eyes. The city's ancient Roman amphitheater is the epicenter of this event, which the locals call Arena di Verona.
Verona is less than 90 minutes by train from either Milan (Milano Centrale) or Venice (Venezie Mestre). From Verona central station (Stazione Verona Porta Nuova), the amphitheater is a 20-minute walk or 5-minute cab ride.
Palio di Siena
Twice a year the madness of this horserace, which dates back to the Middle Ages, takes to the city’s main piazza. Expect eating, drinking and partying with the locals!
The Piazza del Campo is a short walk from Piazza Indipendenza bus stop.
Umbria Jazz Festival
If you have a soft spot for jazz, use your Eurail pass to visit the city of Perugia (between Florence and Assisi) in July. The Umbria Jazz Festival is one of the leading jazz events in Europe. A great stop along this Italian scenic route through the Umbrian hills.
The best way to reach the festival site is by foot, 20 minutes from the main station.
Every year on the first Sunday in September, Venice hosts the Regata Storica, the annual trial of strength and skill for the city's gondoliers and other expert rowers. Venice’s Santa Lucia train station is closest to the action: just walk along the nearby Ponte della Liberta along the water.
Venice is only a 3 hr train ride away from Milan. The only way to get around in Venice is by foot or by boat.
Eurail passes for Italy
Most popular passes with Italy
Eurail Global Pass from USD$329
The Eurail Global Pass is the flexible and value-for-money train pass that lets you explore up to 28 countries by rail. Hop on board comfortable trains that take you right to the center of Europe's cities. One day you're relaxing on a gondola ride in Venice and the next you're discovering Prague's fairy-tale castle.View Eurail Global Pass
Eurail Italy Pass from USD$150
The Eurail Italy Pass is your key to uncovering Italy's rich history and vibrant culture. Step inside the ancient walls of Rome's Colosseum, take a gondola ride along the Grand Canal in Venice and in Florence, admire Michelangelo's masterpiece, the statue of David.View Eurail Italy Pass
Eurail France - Italy Pass from USD$225
The Eurail France-Italy Pass is your key to uncovering two of Europe's most popular countries by rail. Visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris, lie on the beach in Nice, gaze up at the Statue of David in Florence and get around Venice by gondola. Plus, enjoy breathtaking views of the French Alps and rolling Umbrian hills as you travel between cities.View Eurail France - Italy Pass
All Eurail passes with Italy
Here's a list of all Eurail passes for your travels through this country:
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Pass benefits in Italy
Check out the extra discounts for Eurail pass holders in Italy, including reductions and free travel on certain ferry crossings, plus a discount on the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
View the pass benefits in Italy