Here's an idea of what your itinerary may look like when you see Italy by train. It spans the country from north to south within seven days, taking in some of Italy's best sites and most exciting cities. You'll be amazed at how much you can see in a short amount of time.
- Day 1 – Milan
- Day 2 – Venice
- Day 3 – Bologna
- Day 4 – Florence
- Day 5 – Rome
- Day 6 – Naples
- Day 7 – Amalfi Coast
Day 1 – Milan
Milan is a logical starting point for any trip to Italy. It's only a few hours by train from France, Switzerland, or Austria, and it has three major international airports. Arrive early to make the most of your day in Europe's capital of fashion and glamour. Start by visiting Santa Maria delle Grazie and San Maurizio churches. While Santa Maria houses one of the most famous paintings by Leonardo da Vinci – The Last Supper, San Maurizio's impressive frescoes are also worth seeing.
From there, walk to Sempione Park and Sforza Castle, which houses works by Da Vinci and Michelangelo. If you're a football fan, San Siro Stadium, home of Inter and AC Milan, is something of a pilgrimage site. Alternatively, window shop in Milan's upscale fashion quarter and historic Vittorio Emanuele II Galleries. As evening approaches, climb up the Duomo for incredible city views. Milan Central Station is less than 10 minutes by metro from the Duomo – from here you can take one of the high-speed services to Venice, your next destination on this exciting 7-day itinerary in Italy.
Day 2 – Venice
A crucial part of following this 7-day Italy by train itinerary is speed. That's why we love the 2-hour Frecciarossa express train from Milan to Venice. And on Frecciarossa you’ll also get the chance to try the best Italian gourmet food – all classes provide the FrecciaBistrò catering service, which offers drinks and snacks, as well as gourmet breakfast and lunch options. If you travel in Executive, Business or Premium Class, a welcome service including complimentary drinks and snacks will also be brought to you shortly after departure.
Whether you travel at the end of your day in Milan or first thing in the morning, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy a day in the ‘City of Water’. From Venezia Mestre, take a 9-minute train to Venezia Santa Lucia station, a beautiful 30-minute walk from the Doge's Palace, St Mark's Basilica, and St Mark's Square. It passes the Rialto Bridge on the way.
The vibrant seafood market before Rialto Bridge gives a slice of traditional Venetian life. If you feel like getting away from the crowds of the Grand Canal, pop in for lunch at a neighbourhood restaurant in Cannaregio. A few of Venice's hidden gems are nearby, including the Bridge with no parapet and the old Jewish Ghetto. To complete your travel experience in Venice, head out to Burano or Murano islands for a glass-blowing or lace-making workshop.
Day 3 – Bologna
The trip from Venice to Bologna takes only 1h 15m by train, so you can spend the night in either city and still enjoy a full day exploring Bologna. Start with the University of Bologna, the western world's oldest university. The 16th-century Archiginnasio library, old anatomical theatre, and 14th-century Spanish College are some of the historical highlights you shouldn’t miss. Walk a bit further into the city centre to Piazza Maggiore – as it's Bologna's main square, it's surrounded by plenty of great restaurants.
Bologna is exceptional for its cuisine. It’s the home of fresh pasta and the namesake of ragù alla bolognese. Bologna to Parma, which is 45 minutes away by train, you can even go on parmesan, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar tasting tours. The train from Bologna to Modena, the mecca of balsamic vinegar, takes only 18 minutes. Once you're ready to move on, take the 38-minute high-speed Frecciarossa service from Bologna to Florence.
Day 4 – Florence
There's too much to see in Florence for one lifetime, let alone one day. Art lovers will be in heaven at the Uffizi Gallery, home to hundreds of famous works, including Botticelli's ‘Birth of Venus’ and Da Vinci's ‘Annunciation’. You can spend the entire day inside, or head to Galleria dell'Accademia to see Michelangelo's ‘David’. If your tastes are more modern, visit the famed Gallery of Modern Art and 20th-century Museo Novecento. For cutting-edge exhibits, visit the Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina.
However, Florence is not only about art. Squeeze through the crowds over Ponte Vecchio to the expansive Boboli Gardens. And if you fancy a picnic lunch, pick up your treat from Sant'Ambrogio Market on your way. See the St Francis of Assisi's robe at the quaint Ognissanti Church. For a unique local experience, take a fragrance tour to visit some of Florence's ancient herbalists – think of it as the perfume equivalent of wine tasting. In the evening, walk up to San Miniato, where you'll be treated to superb sunset views over the river and city.
Day 5 – Rome
It takes as little as 1h 15m from Florence to Rome using the high-speed Frecciargento, Frecciarossa, and Italo trains. All leave from central Firenze Santa Maria Novella station and arrive at Roma Termini, just 25 minutes' walk from the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Palatine Hill and Circo Massimo are just a short walk further on. And if you'd like to tick off more main sites in one afternoon, you can continue towards the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain.
However, if you'd like to do something a bit different, take the metro from Termini to EUR Palasport station. Located in the south of Rome, the EUR district is an open-air museum of fascist architecture. Mussolini chose it as the setting for the 1942 World's Fair, which never happened. But construction did, resulting in bold combinations of ancient Roman architecture and modern brutalist design. The most striking example is the Palazzo della Civiltà, or ‘Square Colosseum’. Other eye-catching buildings include the State Archives, the Museum of Roman Civilisation, and the obelisk at Piazza Guglielmo Marconi.
Day 6 – Naples
Travelling from Rome to Naples takes just 1h 7m on Frecciarossa and Italo high-speed trains. Both services arrive at Napoli Centrale, putting you right in the heart of the city. Walk down the crowded main street, Spaccanapoli and discover the beautiful churches, the National Archaeological Museum, and crowded café terraces in the centro storico (or ‘old town centre’). Get lost in the winding streets for a few hours or wander down to the old port and visit Ovo Castle, an imposing fortress boasting remarkable views back onto the city.
A trip to Naples wouldn't be complete without pizza. You can find satisfying ‘pocket pizza’ slices on every corner, or sit down in one of the city's world-class pizzerias. And if you like, you could even take a pizza-making class. Guided by an expert, you'll get to make your own dough, sauce, and mouthwatering pizza from scratch. Most of these classes take place around the old centre or nearby Quartieri Spagnoli (‘Spanish Quarters’).
Day 7 – Amalfi Coast
After all this city-hopping, the Amalfi Coast provides a relaxing finish to your 7-day Italy itinerary by train. This precious UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises 13 colourful seaside towns and villages. You can take a train straight from Naples to Vietri sul Mare. The 1-hour regional service is operated by Trenitalia and runs about 30 times a day from Piazza Garibaldi station. The train journey, an attraction in itself, traces the Sorrentine Peninsula to the rugged, cliff-lined Amalfi shoreline.
Once you arrive, you'll discover the real beauty of the Amalfi Coast. Go swimming at one of Vietri's large sandy beaches, explore the coves and caves along the coast, or stroll along the narrow streets with its tiled and colourful ceramic shops. And if you think you've come too far on your 7-day Italy by train itinerary, think again. From Napoli Centrale, you can be back in Milan within 4 hours on Frecciarossa and Italo high-speed services.
Convinced that trains make travelling in Italy easier? Browse the many train routes on our website to get an idea of where you can go and book your train tickets with us.