Italy: Top 10 cities to visit by train
With 20 regions, all with their own charm, it’s tough to create a list of top 10 cities in Italy. Thankfully, the train makes it possible to visit your all-time favorites in one trip. Odds are at least a few of the below destinations will make the cut.
It is remarkable how compact Florence is. Firenze Santa Maria Novella station is located within walking distance of almost all of Florence’s main attractions. Oltrarno neighbourhood is one of the main places where young Florentines go to let loose. Start your evening at Piazza Santo Spirito with a panino from Gustapanino. Then, follow the crowds through neighborhoods such as San Frediano. Here you can enjoy the nightlife and experience the real Florence. Read how to get from Florence to Rome.
The train from Roma Termini station to Sicily takes 12 hours. The seaside capital of Palermo is an architectural wonder. However, some of the most unforgettable experiences in Palermo can be found at the city’s markets. Lose yourself in the surreal array of bright colors and joyful shouts of the Vucciria market. Find out how to get to Sicily by train.
If you are going explore southern Italy, you will certainly pass through Naples. This city is the birthplace of some of Italy’s best culinary traditions. Take metro 1 to Mater Dei to find Starita. This historic pizzeria was made iconic in numerous movies. Naples also has a vaunted pastry tradition. The city’s richest inhabitants shop in the Chiaia neighborhood. However, for the ones on a budget, Moccia is the place to go. Here you can order a baba (an Italian dessert) for just some pocket change. Your taste buds and your wallet will thank you.
Rome’s monuments are a storybook of European greatness. It can be quite overwhelming. Find a moment to relax by strolling through the Monti neighborhood. This charming area is easily reached from Roma Termini station and sheltered from the main boulevard by cobbled, picturesque side streets. Here you can find independent designer galleries, wine bars and one of the city’s coziest squares, Piazza Madonna. Read about the Florence to Rome route.
Turin is a compact city, nestled on the banks of the Po River. It was here where the Italian nation was born. The city has the feel of an old capital (which it was). While you’re strolling through downtown Turin, don’t miss a visit to the Museo Nazionale del Cinema. Even if you’re not a movie buff, you will want to see the complex’s iconic spire, the Mole Antonelliana.
This city needs no introduction. Visit San Marco and explore the canals of the city from a gondola. Whatever you do, don’t overschedule in Venice. This is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, so set out on a walk and get lost. Venice can be quite expensive. Staying near Venezia Mestre station, which is one stop and ten minutes away from the city center, is more budget-friendly. Read how you can reach Venice from Milan.
Lecce is the main city of Salento. This stunning sea-kissed region is located in the very southeastern corner of Italy. The city’s sandstone architecture shines with a brightness under the summer sun. The city comes alive at night. Check out the Santa Croce basilica, a masterpiece of baroque architecture. To satisfy your sweet tooth, try a pasticciotto at a cafe on Piazza Sant’Oronzo. If you have time to explore more of Salento, hop on a train to Otranto. Here, time seems to have stopped somewhere in the 12th century.
The five towns of Cinque Terre are what makes the Italian peninsula so unique. Vernazza’s quaint main street is a perfect place for an aperitivo. While Levanto’s beach is party headquarters. Hike along the nature trails connecting the towns or stop for a swim in the warm waters. When you tire, catch one of the trains that take you easily back to where you came from.
If photography is your hobby, head to Perugia. Perugia’s architecture is a medieval response to Florence’s renaissance splendor. As the city rises on a hill, it gives way to panoramas and details that your viewfinder was created for. The architecture may be ancient, but thanks to its universities, Perugia boasts a fun and youthful vibe. If you travel here in July, visit a show at the Umbria Jazz festival.
Not many European cities can combine architecture with high-end shopping like Milan. Stop for a moment to explore Milano Centrale station. The ceiling-high glass panes and large stone arches create an ideal atmosphere to take in the uniqueness of a train journey through Europe. Read about the Milan to Venice route.