10 Day Italy Itinerary: See the Best by Train

You have just 10 days to explore Italy and want to make the most of your time.  The perfect Italy trip will have you seeing as much as possible but not heading home feeling like you need another holiday to get over the holiday.

This is where touring Italy by train is the perfect choice for you.

If you’re from the US, Australia or maybe other parts of the world, you will know that our countries long distance rail systems are not what you would call efficient, time or money saving. Visit Europe or Asia and you will wonder why we just can’t seem to get it right because really it seems so simple over there.

Europe is perfect for train travel and Italy is no exception. Services are fast, efficient, reasonably priced and generally run on time.

Being able to hop on the train in the centre of one place and arrive in the centre of another in a matter of hours is much more convenient and less stressful that negotiating busy airports. The seats and carriages are clean and comfortable plus you get to spend some time relaxing and gazing out the window watching the stunning scenery pass by.

Italy’s train network runs to every major city and most smaller cities and towns making it easy to get from place to place. There is a lot to see in Italy but with only 10 days you will need to be selective in the places you visit.

So, I’ve put together what I think is the perfect 10 day Italy itinerary by train.

This Italy train itinerary takes in three of the country’s major cities, and offers plenty of time for day trips to nearby regions. It gives you just enough time to see the major sights in each place without making you rush around from place to place.

Day 1 to 4 – Rome

Day 1 arrival in Rome. This itinerary assumes that you arrive in the morning giving you three quarters of a day to start seeing the sights.

Rome is the capital of Italy and once capital of the Roman Empire. This sprawling city is famous for its Roman ruins, incredible architecture, collection of world class artworks and home to the worlds smallest country, Vatican City.

What to See & Do in Rome

  • Vatican City – The home of the pope and catholic church. Inside you will find incredible architecture and world class art including Michelangelo’s famous painted ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Take a small group guided tourof the Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica to save you time queuing for hours.
  • The Colosseum – The largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire and the world. While not still in tact today, it still gives a fascinating glimpse into its past. Book a guided tour (which includes the Forum below too!) to skip the queues and learn from an expert.
  • Roman Forum – As the heart of ancient Rome, the Forum was, and still is, one of the most celebrated meeting places in the history of the world. Your ticket to the Colosseum also includes entry to the Forum where you can wander around the ruins and take a walk up Palatine Hill for views over the Forum and the city.
  • The Pantheon – One of the best preserved Roman buildings remaining in the world. What is most incredible about the Pantheon is that most of its original features remain including the marble floors.
  • Spanish Steps – The worlds most famous staircase is constantly abuzz with people day and night.
  • Trevi Fountain – Do as the legend says and throw a coin in the fountain to ensure you one day return to Rome.
  • Piazza Navona – The city’s most beautiful square, featuring three spectacular fountains and surrounded by some of the city’s best baroque architecture.
Orientate yourself with a tour!

Book a Hop-on-Hop-off bus tour to maximise your time.

Where to Stay in Rome

Budget

Hotel Picasso
Located in the heart of the old town making it easy to walk to all the important historic sites. Rooms are basic, each with a private bathroom.
Check availability, prices and book this hotel

Mid Range 
Al Viminale Hill Inn & Hotel
Walk everywhere from this old town location. Rooms have either a garden or city view and some have acity area to relax after a busy day.
Check availability, prices and book this hotel
Luxury
Hotel Raphael – Relais & Chateaux
Just steps away from the Piazza Navona, enjoy luxury treats like bathrobes and slippers in these exquisitely decorated and well appointed rooms.
Check availability, prices, and book this hotel

Or why not book an Airbnb stay. Use this link to get up to $45AUD off.


Day 5 to 7 – Florence

Train: Rome to Florence – from 1.5 hours with over 100 direct services per day. Take an early morning departure from Rome to maximise your time in Florence.

Florence is a Renaissance city in the heart of one of the most beautiful regions in the world, Tuscany. It is home to some of Italy’s most incredible churches and some of the worlds most famous works of art.

What to See & Do in Florence

  • Duomo, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – This massive cathedral in the heart of Florence is a must see for it’s pink and green marble exterior, interior that holds 20,000 people and bell tower which you can climb for views over Florence.
  • Piazza della Signoria – The heart of Florence’s old town. Visit to see the free open-air sculpture gallery including a copy of Michelangelo’s David and to check out the impressive medieval Palazzo Vecchio.
  • Pont Vecchio – Florence’s first bridge built over the Arno river in 1345 and the only one that survived WWII bombing of the city. It is lined with shops selling gold and silver jewellery. Make sure you view it from one of the adjacent bridges as well as walk over it.
  • Galleria delgi Uffizi – Home to the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art including painting, sculptures and tapestries from medieval times up to the modern day. (Don’t miss out, with a timed entry ticket!)
  • Galleria dell’ Academia – If you want to see the original Michelangelo’s David, then this is where you will find it. Along with this famous statue are paintings and sculptures from the 13th to 16th centuries as well as a collection of instruments started by the Medici family. (Pre-book a timed entry ticket to avoid the massive queues!)
  • Mercato Centrale – If your looking to do a bit of shopping in Italy then this market in Florence is the perfect place to purchase genuine leather goods, souvenirs, antiques and food.
  • Day Trip to Tuscany – Enjoy a day outside of the city visiting some of the wineries and hill towns this region is famous for. Check out these tours offered on GetYourGuide.

Where to Stay in Florence

Budget
Hotel Por Santa Maria
Steps away from the popular Uffizi Gallery and walking distance to all other Florence attractions. Rooms are clean but basic, some with shared facilities.
Check availability, prices and book this hotel
Mid Range
Florence Dome Hotel
Great location in the heart of Florence. Rooms are air-conditioned with free wi-fi and comfortable furnishings. On-site bar tops it all off!
Check availability, prices and book this hotel
Luxury
Portrait Firenze
Beautifully appointed hotel right on the river. Easy walk to all that Florence has to offer. Luxurious bathrooms and in room coffee machine makes this an excellent choice.
Check availability, prices and book this hotel

Or why not book an Airbnb stay. Use this link to get up to $45AUD off.

 

Day 8 to 10 – Venice

Train: Florence to Venice – approx. 2 hours with over 15 direct services at day. Take an early morning train from Florence to optimise your time in Venice.

Italy’s sinking city, Venice, is made up of 118 islands connect by bridges and separated by canals, and is literally sinking into the marshy ground it was built on. It’s a city renowned for it’s beauty, architecture and artworks and is best experienced without a map, getting lost in the maze of cobblestone streets.

What to See & Do in Venice

  • Piazza San Marco – The city’s largest square and main meeting place. It is surrounded by cafes, shops, museums and some of the city’s best architecture. Beware of the very tame pigeons!
  • Basilica San Marco – Located in Piazza San Marco, this basilica is one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture in the city. Inside you will find incredible mosaics and paintings by some of the areas best artists.
  • The Grand Canal – This is the main and largest canal that snakes it way through the centre of the main island. It’s always busy with boats and barges running up and down carrying goods and people from dock to dock. A great way to do a quick sightseeing tour is by jumping on a vaporetto (Venice’s public transport) at one end and hopping off at the other.
  • Doge’s Palace – Once the residence of Venetian leaders, now a museum where you can get a glimpse at some of the rooms used in it’s day including stately reception rooms, offices, living quarters, prison cells and torture chambers. (Skip the long queue’s, buy a priority entry ticket!)
  • Rialto Bridge – This ornamental stone bridge spans the Grand Canal and is the most popular of Venice’s bridges. It’s a very lively spot where you will find shops and markets lining the bridge.
  • Take a Gondola Ride – While prices for a private gondola ride are close to €100.00 these days, to me, it is still worth the cost for this quintessential Venetian experience. If your lucky to get a chatty gondolier, he will entertain you with stories and maybe even serenade you as you punt along the canals. Most gondola’s seat 6-8 people, so sharing with others is a great way to save money (and so is booking in advance!).
  • Explore the Islands – Just a short boat ride away from the main island of Venice are a number of popular islands you can explore. Murano is know for it glass makers, Burano it’s canals lined with coloured houses and lace making and Lido is lined with beaches, restaurants and shopping. You can reach all of these islands from the ferry terminal near Piazza San Marco or you could join this three-hour guided tour to see it all with a local!

Where to Stay in Venice

Budget
Hotel ai do Mori
Located just steps from St Marks Square. This hotel offers free wi-fi, basic yet comfortable air conditioned rooms and the choice of shared or private bathroom facilities.
Check availability, prices and book this hotel
Mid Range
Hotel Del Sito & Berlino
5 minutes walk to St Marks Square with some rooms overlooking the canal and others with views of the quiet courtyard. Rooms are decorated in typical Venetian style and are well appointed and comfortable.
Check availability, prices and book this hotel
Luxury
Hotel Danieli
This Luxury Collection Hotel features spacious and comfortable rooms with Italian marble bathrooms and plush furnishings and an onsite restaurant with panoramic views. Located 200m from St Marks Square.
Check availability, prices and book this hotel

Or why not book an Airbnb stay. Use this link to get up to $45AUD off.


Train Tickets

While travelling by train is never going to be as cheap as taking a bus, or in some cases flying with a budget airline, it is going to be more comfortable, scenic and time saving.

There is a lot of debate about whether purchasing a rail pass is the most cost effective option when travelling by train in Europe. Really, it all comes down to the amount of travel days you plan on taking during your trip.

For this exact itinerary above (not including day trips), you will have two travel days, Rome to Florence, Florence to Venice, or three travel days if you choose to return to Rome at the end of the trip to fly out. Here are the average prices based on one adult travelling alone for both point to point tickets and rail pass.

Point to Point

Two Travel Days – Adult point to point tickets including seat reservation fee where applicable – €63.00*.

Three Travel Days – Adult point to point tickets including seat reservation fee where applicable – €113.00*.

Rail Pass

Adult Italy Rail Pass for  up to three days of travel in a one month period – €130.00* plus seat reservation fees where applicable.

The cheapest option by far for this itinerary is to purchase point to point tickets.

Visit the Rail Europe website in your country using the links below to purchase tickets.

Alternatively, tickets are available at all Trenitalia train stations across Italy on the day or in advance but prices will likely be higher and there may not be availability for specific trains, especially high speed services.

For a comprehensive guide to Europe train travel I recommend The Man in Seat 61. Or for an accurate one stop shop of Europe train timetables check out the German Bahn website.

* Prices correct as at time of publishing.


A few things to note:

  • Flying into one city and out of another will save you time rather than having to double back to your original destination to fly home. The way airlines work in terms of pricing these day you should not be penalised for doing this.
  • Pack light. A backpack or light weight soft case is a good option as it makes getting on an off trains much easier.
  • Discounts are available on train tickets when traveling in groups of 2 or more, as a family unit, or for people aged under 26. Prices for point to point tickets above are averaged and may be cheaper or more expensive depending on how far in advance you book and whether there is a sale on at the time.
  • Got more than 10 days? Check out my two week Italy itinerary by train.

PIN THIS FOR LATER!

10 Day Italy Itinerary: See the Best by Train - The Trusted Traveller
10 Day Italy Itinerary: See the Best by Train - The Trusted Traveller

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Over to you!

What is your favourite part of Italy or where are you most keen to visit?

Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.

1 thought on “10 Day Italy Itinerary: See the Best by Train”

  1. Thanks so much for posting this.

    I am taking my family (daughters 8 and 12) on the train to explore northern italy in April and this has influenced my route.

    We are going for two weeks – this is my plan so far. We are nor wanting to stay over in Milan or go to Rome during this trip

    The plan is Paris (2nights) to Milan- Lake Guarda (4 nights)- Venice (1) -Florence 2 nights)- Cinque Terre- (3night) – Milan (or Turin) paris home…

    Thinking it sounds really busy and alot of travelling. Would love to know your thoughts. Perhaps we could do a day trip to venice or get the train to paris home from there.

    Reply

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