Although Antwerpen Central Station in Belgium is often named the most beautiful train station in Europe (at least in English and Dutch studies), Italy is considered to have the largest diversity in train stations in Europe. Traveling by train through Italy allows you to see all kinds of train stations; from small, romantic railway platforms to immense, industrial buildings. Never a dull moment.
Traveling by train in Italy
Compared to other Mediterranean countries, traveling by train is relatively reliable and affordable in Italy. The Eurostar and Intercity lines can take you to most of the larger cities in Italy, especially in the north and near Rome. Reserving a seat is mandatory, but this also guarantees that you have a place to sit.
Traveling by train can be a very fast way to move across the country, but it depends on where you want to go. For example, traveling from Rome to Florence (around 200 miles) takes about an hour and a half, but a trip from Rome to Venice (just under 350 miles) will cost you almost five hours. Plan well before you leave, but as you can purchase your train tickets up to 60 days before departure, this is very well possible.
Another option to travel through Italy would be to take the regionale or interregionale, the regional train lines. If you can avoid taking the train during rush hours, you will most often have a comfortable place to sit. Otherwise, taking prima classe (first class) might be a better option.
Taking the regionale is the only way to travel by train on Sardinia and Sicily, as the faster trains do not service these islands. The small provinces Molise and Valle d'Aosta also don't have lots of train stations, so it's probably better to plan your trip well, if you want to visit these regions.
Are you just taking the train for fun? Then one of the famous tourist train routes might be a good option. From Torino to Trieste, in the north of Italy, will take you about 7 hours, and offers stunning views and allows you to visit beautiful cities.
Will you be traveling to Sardinia? Then taking one of the trenino verde, the green trains, is a must. These trains will bring you to beautiful small towns, like Nulvi, Nuoro, or Palau. The train route along the Amalfi Coast is also highly recommended.
Just like the Italian cities you will visit, the Italian train stations are very diverse. From the apparently beautiful (I think it's a matter of taste) station of Florence to the imposing Milano Centrale, and anything in between - every single one of them is amazing in its own way.
Team Brogan said on 11 Saturday 2010 pm31 1:23 pm:
Over six months of living in Italy and I never rented a car and only once took a taxi. Unlike other European countries, the price of ticket is cheap and doesn't change depending on when you buy it. Want to go to Lucca for the day on a whim? Run to the station, buy your ticket in the automatic machines, validate and hop on board. Watch your bags (use caution, not abject paranoia), young (under 45) solo women travelers would do well to stick to open seating or choose compartments with other women or families, give yourself at least 30 minutes for correspondences (trains rarely leave late but almost always arrive late) and don't freak out if the train just stops somewhere and everyone gets out. This happens. You'll eventually get there, maybe just a couple hours later than you planned. Oh, and the further south you go, the more all these unforeseen adventures will occur. Thumbs up to everyone who mentions light luggage. I travel for 9-14 months at a time with a back pack and a carry on and this includes my service dog's 'stuff' (extra food, coat, medical/grooming kit), two laptops for work and a printer/scanner. Travel light and don't be in a hurry and you'll be fine! Forze e coraggio!
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