Two Weeks In Italy By Train
Planning a two-week trip in Italy by train can seem overwhelming. There is so much to see, and each village, city and region has something special to offer. Do you start in the north and work your way south? Or do you figure out a west and east coast circular route? Should you remain in one small region, or cover as much ground as possible?
Of course, there is no right or wrong answer to the question of how to spend two weeks in Italy. But the good news is that it is a country perfectly set up for rail travel. If you are looking for the ultimate highlights package, pick up that Pass and consider following this north-to-south route:
Days 1 – 2: Venice
If you are arriving by plane, there is a good chance your flight will land in Milan or Rome. Arriving in Milan allows you to follow a roughly north to south itinerary. If you have additional time, you could easily spend a night or two in the fashion capital, otherwise you could just hit the ground running. Hop aboard a train for Venice ― the romantic canalized city may be touristy, but it still retains an incredible amount of charm that you have to see to believe.
Inside tip: Accommodation in Venice itself can get expensive. If you are on a budget, consider staying outside of town on one of the bus routes ―there are even fixed camp sites that offer good amenities at rock-bottom prices.
How to get there by train: There are several direct daily trains between Milan and Venice that take approximately 3 hours.
Days 3 – 4: Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a famous string of seaside villages that is easy to reach by train. The journey will take you through Florence, which you will return to soon. But keep going to the coast to soak up a stunning sunset or two in one of the most idyllic destinations in the world.
Don’t miss: A sunset in one of the five small towns ― Vernazza is usually the best place to base yourself for an overnight stay.
How to get there by train: The train journey from Venice to Cinque Terre will usually take about 5h 30m and requires approximately three changes, depending on your route.
Days 5 – 7: Florence
Florence should receive a significant chunk of your attention during your trip of Italy. There are an endless number of art galleries, gelato shops, and enticing cobblestoned streets to explore. As with any short itinerary, you will have to skip over some of the main attractions, but a few days is enough to have you plotting a longer return visit.
Don’t miss: A trip up the bell tower, or Giotto’s Campanile, and if time allows, the Duomo dome. Both offer spectacular views over the city, and you can purchase a single ticket that allows you access to both.
How to get there by train: There are regular trains between Cinque Terre and Florence. Depending on your route you can expect to change trains two or three times during the 3-hour journey.
Days 8 – 9: Naples and Pompeii
The city of Naples feels like a bit of a culture shock compared to other parts of Italy, and that is a good thing. The streets are dense and chaotic, the pizza is the best you have ever tasted, and the views of the bay are sublime. You can also easily reach Pompeii as either a day trip from Naples, or en-route to your next destination of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.
Don’t miss: A pizza margherita in a traditional restaurant washed down with a bottle of cold Italian beer.
How to get there by train: There are regular direct high-speed trains between Florence and Naples that take approximately 3 hours.
Days 10 – 12: Sorrento and Amalfi (Or Capri)
The Amalfi Coast alone could soak up an entire two week trip, but if you are on a tight schedule head to Sorrento. There you have the option of boarding a bus all the way to Amalfi, via Positano, and back in a single day. Or take a ferry for a day on the island of Capri.
Good to know: You can purchase a hop-on, hop-off bus ticket valid for 24 hours for a flat rate ― perfect if you want to visit some of the smaller towns on the way to Amalfi.
How to get there by train: There are regular trains between Naples, Pompeii, and Sorrento that take approximately 1 hour. This is a private line not covered by your Pass, but the ticket is very affordable.
Days 13 – 14: Rome
Retrace your tracks all the way to Rome. It is an easy destination from which to depart by air. Though Rome is a complex city with dozens of must-see historical attractions, you will still be able to get a good taste of the capital with a few days there.
Inside tip: Do not spread yourself too thin if you are there for a short time. Focus on one or two attractions that pique your interest, such as the Colosseum, Forum, or Vatican.
How to get there by train: Take the train to from Sorrento to Napoli Centrale, and connect to the high-speed line all the way to Rome. Part of the journey is on a private line, but the overall travel time is approximately 2h30m.
Two weeks in Italy by train will never be enough to fully appreciate the gravity of the food, culture and history. But with a Italy Pass and this whirlwind two-week Italian itinerary, you will get an enticing taster of the top attractions that will no doubt have you coming back for more.