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An off-season adventure in Tuscany and the Mediterranean

Discover a quieter side of two popular Italian regions during an off-season Interrail adventure. Start your trip in Milan and Parma and make your way to La Spezia, the doorway to the charming villages of Cinque Terre.

 

Then, take time to relax in Genoa and Portofino before finishing your itinerary with a trip through Tuscany to Pisa and Florence.

 

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

Destinations visited on this trip:

 

1. Milan

2. Parma

3. La Spezia

4. Genoa

5. Portofino

6. Pisa

7. Florence

 

For this itinerary, we recommend:

The facade and spires of the Milan Cathedral

1. Milan, Italy

Begin your Interrail journey with a visit to elegant Milan, famous for its fashion industry, history of design, and world-class shopping. 

  • In addition to visiting Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece "The Last Supper" in Santa Maria delle Grazie, take time to visit smaller galleries throughout the city. 

  • Continue your art tour with a visit to the Milan Cathedral, a marble behemoth with more than 3,400 statues. 

  • Treat yourself to a glamorous evening of opera at Teatro Alla Scala. 

Travel from Milan to Parma, switching trains in Piacenza or Piadena. Travel time: 2 hours. No seat reservations required. 

A close-up shot of the Parma Cathedral

2. Parma, Italy

Parma, with its parmigiano and prosciutto, contributed to making Italian cuisine famous around the world. Parma's museums, churches and charming historic lanes are perfect entertainment to whet your appetite.

  • Visit one of Parma's lively farmers markets to pick up some fresh produce and browse for souvenirs. 

  • Explore the Palazzo della Pilotta, home to a theatre, archeology museum, art gallery, and one of the most beautiful libraries in Europe. 

  • Visit the Basilica di Santa Maria della Steccata, one of Parma's finest Renaissance churches. Marvel at the imposing tombs and Italian frescoes.

Travel from Parma to La Spezia on a direct train. Travel time: 2 hours. No reservations required. 

The harbor of La Spezia at sunset

3. La Spezia, Italy

La Spezia is the gateway to Italy's famous "Five Lands," otherwise known as Cinque Terre. Along the northwest Italian coast, you'll find the five picturesque fishing villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Monterosso, Vernazza and Corniglia.

  • Lace up your walking shoes and spend an hour or two hiking up the stairways of La Spezia, which offer endlessly interesting views of the city.  

  • Cool off with a visit to the Museo Amedeo Lia, where you can admire Italian masterpieces housed in a friary built in the 1600s.

  • Using La Spezia as your home base, explore each of the villages of Cinque Terre. They can be reached by train, ferry or via hiking trails. 

Travel from La Spezia to Genoa. Travel time: 1 hour and 15 minutes. No reservations required. 

The brightly coloured, multi-storied Royal Palace of Genoa

4. Genoa, Italy

Continue your adventure along the Italian Riviera with a visit to Genoa, a coastal city bursting with art, culture and history. 

 

  • Marvel at the colourful Royal Palace of Genoa, home to a sumptuous collection of art, fine furnishings and beyond. 
  • Try as much pesto as you can during your visit; it's said that Genoa is the birthplace of this delicious green sauce made of basil, pine nuts, garlic and more.
  • Soak up the sun and sights of Genoa's bustling old port, lined with shops, restaurants and attractions designed to enterain locals and travellers alike. 

Travel from Genoa to Santa Margherita Ligure – Portofino by train (travel time: 20 minutes). Then, take five-kilometre bus ride from Santa Margherita Ligure – Portofino to Portofino. Note: The bus is not included as part of the Pass. 

 

A sunny view of Portofino from the water

5. Portofino, Italy

Portofino is a village of contrasts, mixing its heritage as a traditional fishing town with a modern, luxurious atmosphere. 

 

  • Get to know the waters surrounding Portofino by joining a snorkeling or kayak tour in the bay of Paraggi. 
  • Take the steps up to Church of San Giorgio and follow the path to Portofino Lighthouse for a unbeatable view of the Ligurian Sea. 
  • After exploring town, take time to experience the nature surrounding Portofino with a stroll through the protected Portofino Park, home to 80 kilometres of walking paths. 

 

Travel from Santa Margherita Ligure – Portofino to Pisa, switching trains in La Spezia. Travel time: 2.5 hours. No reservations required. 

The Arno River in Pisa at sunset

6. Pisa, Italy

Pisa is well known for its famous white-marbled landmark, the Leaning Tower. But there is plenty more for travellers to discover in this striking Tuscan city. 

  • Discover Tuttomondo, a mural by graffiti artist Keith Haring. The colourful pop of modern art covers one side of the rectory of the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate. 

  • Treat yourself to a slice of Pisa's beloved torta co' bischeri, a cake made of rice, chocolate, candied fruit and pine nuts made in bakeries around the city. 
  • Enjoy the fresh air at the Orto Botanico dell'Università di Pisa, the first university botanic garden in the world, founded in 1543. 

 

Take a direct train from Pisa to Florence. Travel time: 1 hour. No reservations required.  

A bird's eye view of Florence at sunset

7. Florence, Italy

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, will enchant you whether you're an art lover, a history buff or simply a curious adventurer.

  • Visit Michelangelo's Statue of David, one of the most recognised sculptures on the planet, in Galleria dell'Accademia.

  • Lose yourself in the Mercato Centrale, filled with vendors selling delicious fruit, cheese, meats, and other locally sourced products.

  • Walk to San Miniato al Monte above Florence and enjoy the beautiful view at sunset.

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