Italy train tours - 10 best railway journeys

Italy, with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture, is a dream destination for travellers. While there are many ways to explore this beautiful country, one of the most scenic and immersive ways is by taking an Italy train tour. You’ll find this country has an extensive railway network that connects cities, towns, and iconic picturesque countryside. Here’s our pick of the 10 best railway journeys in Italy.

How to plan a train tour of Italy

Italy's extensive railway network offers you a front-row seat to the soul of the country.  Before we delve into the specifics of the most scenic train journeys Italy has to offer, here are some important things to consider while planning.

If the intricacies of planning seem daunting, check our tailor-made trip service. We can simplify the process and ensure a seamless and personalised tour, taking care of all the details for you. Also, don't forget to check our customisable Italy itineraries.

Italy Rail Pass

If you're planning to roam extensively, an Italy Rail Pass is your golden ticket. This pass grants you the freedom to hop on and off trains across Italy within a predefined time frame, unlocking an abundance of travel possibilities.

Advance ticket booking

For the most popular routes, especially those connecting major cities, it's wise to secure your tickets in advance. This guarantees the best fares and ensures you won't miss out on a seat. Italy's trusted railway system, Trenitalia, offers user-friendly online booking options.

Timetable checks

While Italian trains are renowned for their punctuality, it's a smart move to double-check the timetable before embarking on your journey. This simple step ensures a smooth and stress-free experience.

Consider a travel planner

Some may wish to forgo planning and instead opt to hire an expert to book train tickets and plan routes. Our tailor-made service puts you in contact with local travel experts. 


Train station in Manarola in Cinque Terre © Shutterstock

1. Genoa to La Spezia

The journey along this coastal route tracing the Ligurian Sea is a visual symphony of landscapes. As you glide along the tracks, prepare to be enchanted by breathtaking vistas of the Italian Riviera, adorned with charming coastal towns and the iconic Cinque Terre, known for its picturesque houses perched daringly on cliffs.

2. Cinque Terre Express

For an up-close and personal rendezvous with the world-famous Cinque Terre, the Cinque Terre Express is your gateway. This dedicated train service links the five enchanting villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, nestled along the stunning Ligurian coastline.

3. Florence to Venice

Prepare to be spellbound as you traverse from Florence to Venice, meandering through the heart of the Tuscany and Veneto regions. This route is an artistic masterpiece, offering glimpses of rolling hills, expansive vineyards, and captivating towns, ultimately leading to the grandeur of Venice.

4. Venice to Rome

This scenic route seamlessly connects the mesmerizing canals of Venice with the historic streets of Rome. As you journey, you'll witness the ever-changing beauty of northern and central Italy, including the iconic Tuscan countryside.

5. Rome to Siracuse

For those yearning to explore the mesmerizing landscapes of Sicily, the train journey from Rome to Siracuse is a must. This odyssey unveils the transition from mainland Italy to the unique culture and natural wonders of the island.

Bernina Express in Switzerland ©  Peter Stein/Shutterstock

Bernina Express ©  Peter Stein/Shutterstock

6. Trans-Siberian of Italy (Ferrovia Circumetnea)

Embark on an extraordinary adventure known as the "Trans-Siberian of Italy," encircling the majestic Mount Etna in Sicily. This railway journey is a captivating exploration of volcanic landscapes, offering an exclusive glimpse into the geological marvels of the island.

7. Bernina Express

Cross international boundaries as you hop aboard the Bernina Express. This train ride will sweep you through the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Swiss Alps and the Engadin Valley, showering you with panoramic views of towering peaks, gleaming glaciers, and pristine lakes.

8. Trento to Malè

Venture into the heart of the Dolomites by taking the train from Trento to Malè. This journey is a deep dive into stunning mountain vistas, captivating Alpine villages, and the promise of outdoor adventures in a breathtaking natural setting.

9. Milan to Bolzano

From the fashion capital of Milan to the cultural gem of Bolzano in South Tyrol, this railway journey offers a seamless blend of urban sophistication and Alpine magnificence.

10. Rimini to Lecce

Unearth the irresistible charm of Italy's southern regions by embarking on a train journey from Rimini to Lecce. Along the way, be captivated by picturesque coastlines, historic towns, and the rich tapestry of Southern Italian culture.


Italian Trento © Shutterstock

Tips for your Italy train tour

To take your Italy train tour to the next level, here are some priceless tips to keep in mind:

  • Seat Reservations:  For a more comfortable and stress-free ride, especially on high-speed trains, consider securing seat reservations in advance.
  • Travel Light: Italian train stations can get bustling, so pack light to ensure you move through the terminals with ease.
  • Language: While English is commonly spoken, learning a few basic Italian phrases can enhance your immersion in the local culture and make interactions more enjoyable.
  • Scenic Routes: Whenever possible, opt for daytime journeys along routes known for their scenic beauty. The views will leave you spellbound.
  • Local Cuisine: Don't miss the opportunity to savour regional cuisine during your layovers in different parts of Italy. Each region has its own culinary treasures waiting to be discovered.

Let us plan your trip

Allow our team of local experts to plan incredible Italy adventures for you. Reach out to us at your convenience, and we'll create a personalised itinerary that you can fine-tune until it aligns perfectly with your preferences. Take a look at our pre-made Italy itineraries for ideas, and keep in mind that we can tailor all our planned routes to cater to your individual needs.

Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 26.09.2023

Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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