On average, Americans have only two weeks of vacation per year. With the high costs of flying and bad exchange rates, it is sometimes impossible to make an international trip. If you have chosen Italy as your destination, every moment of your stay in Italy is precious. You want to pack in as many cities and sights as possible while you are there.
Italy is only about the size of Arizona and mostly rugged and mountainous with some plains, lowlands and about 4,700 miles of coastline. While you are there you have the option to rent a car, hire a driver, fly, or use public transportation like trains and buses. You’ve got choices.
What if you could travel cheaper and faster to more cities with less hassle?
We have chosen traveling in Italy by train as the best mode of transportation because of 3 reasons:
One: It’s inexpensive, with extensive routes, and now you have more options with the introduction of Italo.
Two: Many cities in Italy have the ‘no go zones’ called ZTL (zona a traffic limitato). That could pose a problem if you are not familiar with the road systems and can’t speak Italian. Italians like to use their horns and major city traffic could be nerve wracking.
Three: Flying is really not necessary when you are in Italy. It is small and most destinations are only a few hours away. Why pay more for flying?
As you might expect, choosing the cities to visit is already quite difficult. To narrow it down, we have chosen 3 cities: Venice, Florence and Rome. Don’t try to see too much because you will be spending the majority of your time packing, unpacking, waiting in train stations and traveling in trains.
Fly into Rome from your home country.
Rome to Florence
We suggest three nights in Rome. Using the Travelmath calculator, it’s about 180 miles (290 km) between Rome and Florence. That is a less than a 3 hour train ride from station to station.
Most train stations are centrally located and are within walking distance to your centrally located accommodation in the city.
Florence to Pisa and Venice
We suggest four nights in Florence with a side trip to Pisa. Through the Travelmath calculator, we found that the distance between Florence and Pisa is only 52 miles (84 km), which is about an hour train ride.
You can either walk or take a local bus from the train station to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The distance between Florence and Venice is 161 miles (259 km). It takes less than 3 hours for a train ride from Florence to Venice.
Fly out of Venice for home after your 2 nights stay.
Tips on traveling by train in Italy
#1 There are two major train operators in Italy. Trenitalia and Italo. Check out their websites for details before making reservation.
Trenitalia (watch the video below)
#2 Purchase tickets online before you leave for Italy or before getting on the train while in Italy. You could purchase tickets through travel agencies, ticket dispensing machines or stay in line at the ticket booth in the train station. The line is usually quite long.
#3 Stamp train tickets before boarding at one of the yellow machine on the platforms before boarding.
#4 Leave enough time before boarding your train. You never know what you may need while at the train station.
#5 Relax, enjoy and explore. You are on vacation.
It is always a great adventure to venture out into another country. Traveling by train in Italy could give you a strong sense of the place, the authenticity and being with the locals.
How do you know what’s the best mode of transportation for you in Italy? Use our Travelmath tools, research and plan out your itinerary before you leave home. Leave your comment below.