One of the most convenient and comfortable ways to travel around Italy is by using a Eurail pass on the train. The trains are usually timely and allow you to see the Italian countryside. A true tour of Italy includes the major tourist attractions as well as small Italian villages to get a taste of real Italian life. You can tour Italy in as little as ten days but could spend weeks or more if you plan to visit many cities and want to spend multiple days at each destination.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You'll Need:
- Eurail pass
- Eurail pass
- Italy guidebooks
Choose the cities in Italy that you want to visit. If you are spending less than two weeks in Italy, you should pick no more than five cities to visit, as you do not want to be rushed.
Find a Eurail pass that meets your travel needs. If you are only traveling in Italy, you can purchase a single country pass for Italy. If you are also traveling to other countries in Europe, you can choose a Global pass that is valid in 21 countries, a Regional pass that is valid in select regions around Europe, or a Select pass that is valid in three to five bordering countries of your choice. For the Regional pass, Italy is a part of the following passes: Greece-Italy, France-Italy, and Spain-Italy. You can purchase Eurail passes on the Eurail website or from a travel agent.
Choose your starting point. Flights usually land in Milan in the north of Italy or Rome in central Italy. Landing in Milan allows you to travel down the country by traveling through Milan, Venice, Florence, Tuscany, Rome and then Naples in the far south. You do not want to waste time traveling and back-tracking all over the country, so mapping out your trip is particularly important. For example, if you start your visit in Rome, head south to see any cities you wish to tour on the boot tip of Italy. Then return north past Rome and visit Tuscany, Florence, Venice and depart from Milan. You want your vacation to have an organized flow.
After planning your route through Italy, make train reservations, if necessary. Use the TrenItalia website (found under "References" at the bottom of this page) to find timetables for all trains in Italy. You do not need to purchase any additional rail tickets as long as you have a Eurail pass for Italy. For regional trains, you do not need to make reservations, but you must make a seat reservation for all travel on Eurostar Italia, Alta Velocita and EuroCity trains. Reservations are not required on trains traveling from Florence to Pisa and Cinque Terre. Reservations are an additional fee and can be made at a ticket counter at any train station in Italy.
Have your rail pass ready when you board the train, and be at the train station at least 15 minutes before your train departs. You must bring your luggage on the train with you because there is no option to check your luggage.
Vanessa Padgalskas was born and raised in Spokane, Wash. and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. Padgalskas graduated from American University in 2007 with degrees in international studies and economics. She is currently a third-year law student at Lewis and Clark Law School.