A month in Italy by train: the ultimate Italy train itinerary

A month in Italy by train: the ultimate Italy train itinerary

A month in Italy by train is the ultimate slow-travel indulgence. Our favourite country offers the most stunning landscapes. All can be enjoyed from the comfort of your carriage. Plus, it is also home to one of the most efficient rail networks in Europe.

Train travel in Italy is something of a hidden secret. That said, more of us have definitely become aware of the climate crisis. Many of us now want to adapt to a more sustainable way of travel. As a result, now is the perfect time to get on board and enjoy everything that Italy has to offer.

month in italy by train

Our Bookings For You Italy itineraries have already proved incredibly popular. As a result, we thought it was time to add a month in Italy by train itinerary to our library. Between us, we have so many years of experience travelling in Italy. So, we’ve put our heads together and come up with the best way to enjoy a slow-travel trip to Italy by train. We have planned a month in Italy. But you can, of course, pick and choose your destinations depending on time and budget.

There are some recommendations for how long to spend in each location but just use these as a guide. Everyone wants something different from a holiday. Make the effort to plan your activities and tours in each base to make sure you have enough time. We’ve also included Italian accommodation options for each stop. These include Italian hotels, Italian villas, and Italian apartments fit for a trip of a lifetime or a more budget-friendly holiday in Italy by train.

Base 1 for your month in Italy by train: Venice by train

Could there be anywhere better to begin a holiday in Italy than Venice? Arriving in Venice by train will make you feel like you’re in a movie. What is more, you’re the star of the show! Venice has two train stations. The first is Venizia Santa Lucia which is the main rail hub. The second is Venizia Mestre, a smaller station for more local journeys.

Venice is almost completely unspoiled by automobiles. Tourists and locals alike use the city’s extensive network of vaporetti (water buses) to move around the city. Alternatively, you can opt for a private water taxi. These same boats can also be used to make trips to the islands (Murano and Burano) along with Marco Polo Airport and the Lido. That said, we would recommend seeing most of Venice on foot. This is nearly always the quickest way to move between the city’s iconic sites and so much of Venice’s charm is tucked between its ancient alleys. This is always where you will find the city’s most authentic bars and restaurants.

Two to three days in Venice will allow you to do the city justice and not have to rush to see everything. While in Venice, we would highly recommend booking tours or experiences in advance with our trusted partner Get Your Guide. One of our favourite’s is a food tour led by a local. During the tour, you will be whisked around the city’s most authentic bakeries, markets and even a gelateria. Getting to sample the treats at each stop was a real highlight for us! Read more about our experience here.

Accommodation in Venice by Train

The beauty of arriving in Venice by train is that you’re right in the heart of the city. Venice hotels are so often steeped in history with stunning architecture to match. We would recommend using our partner to make hotel reservations. We particularly like how easy it is to filter hotels by their proximity to the two main rail stations. If you’re looking for some luxury, Hotel Ca’ Bonfadini and the Radisson Palazzi Nani are great choices. Both feature all the luxuries you’d expect from a high-end hotel with the bonus of being just 800m from Santa Lucia station. There are of course hotels in Venice to match all budgets and party sizes. One thing for sure is that any trip to Venice will be a trip of a lifetime. Find more information on Venice hotels by train here.

month in italy by train

Getting to Venice by train

Both of Italy’s biggest rail operators Trenitalia and Italo offer high-speed links to Venice from Milan (2hrs 25 mins), Florence (2hrs) and Rome (3hrs 45 mins). When we’re traveling by train in Italy, we always recommend using Trainine to book tickets and compare routes and prices for your trip. Not only does Trainline compare all rail operators on each route, but it also allows you to search stations in both English and Italian – perfect if you’re still getting to grips with the language for your trip. We always opt to use their e-tickets: better for the environment and it eliminates the risk of losing your tickets too.

Both of Venice’s stations are just a 20 minute walk from the city’s main attractions such as the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square. However, if you’re arriving with luggage or just prefer to cruise along the canal and take in the sights, we’d recommend using the Vaporetto to transfer to your accommodation. These run every 10 minutes, departing from Venice Ferrovia “E” and arriving at Rialto “B” all year round. Or, if budgets allow, opt to really travel in style in a private water taxi.

month in italy by train

Base 2 for your month in Italy by train: The Italian Lakes by train

From Venice, we’d recommend taking the train to Milan. We absolutely love Milan but its main sights can actually be seen very quickly. Spending just the day here before moving on will give you a good feel for the city, but of course you can opt to spend longer and enjoy Milan at a slower, more relaxed pace.

From Milan Centrale station you can then be on the shores of both Lake Como and Maggiore in a little over an hour. It’s no secret that we LOVE the Italian Lakes at Bookings For You. Mountains spill into the azure waters. Here, backed by the most mesmerising colours, the sun lights the iconic Italian architecture. We’re not sure that there is a more beautiful place on earth. What’s more, the Italian lakes are a wonderful addition to your month in Italy by train. After all, the area boasts an extensive rail network linking so many of these picture-perfect locations.

Our recommendation is to use Lake Maggiore as your base. For this stop we would recommend at least a week to enjoy all the area has to offer. Remember lake Maggiore crosses into Switzerland too and the trains run seamlessly across the border. We’d definitely recommend a day trip into the Swiss valleys to see yet more breathtaking scenery.

Accommodation in the Italian Lakes by Train

As this is a slightly longer stop on your month in Italy by train, we’d recommend staying in a villa or apartment in the Italian lakes. Self-catering for a few days gives you the chance to visit some of the area’s wonderful food markets. Plus, you can enjoy meals on your terrace or balcony as the sun goes down.

Our top pick for couples or smaller groups is Villa Lesa, a stunning 2 bedroom villa in the charming lakeside village of Lesa on Lake Maggiore. Occupying one wing of a large country house, it boasts a private terrace and is set in mature gardens, part of which guests are welcome to enjoy. Villa Lesa is less than a 15-minute walk from Lesa train station and is within easy walking distance of beaches, shops and restaurants.

For more information and to book this Italian lakes villa click on the link below:

Villa Lesa

month in italy by train

If you’re travelling as a larger group or just fancy some luxury while enjoying your month in Italy by train, Villa Ermelinda is a wonderful choice. Situated on Lake Maggiore, less than 15 minutes walk from Baveno train station, it is the true definition of a luxury Italian Lakes villa. It offers a host of facilities. These include a private swimming pool heated by solar panels, a wellness area, a gymnasium, table tennis table and table football. With every possible creature comfort you could wish for during your stay, we can guarantee that a week in Villa Ermelinda will make it quite difficult to move on to your next stop!

For more information and to book this Italian lakes villa click on the link below:

Villa Ermelinda

Getting to the Italian Lakes by Train

While we recommend Lake Maggiore as a base for this stop on your month in Italy by train, it doesn’t mean you can’t explore the other lakes too. Lake Como and Lake Orta in particular are easily reached by train using Lake Maggiore as a base.

Incidentally, the same is even true for Lake Garda. From Milan Centrale railway station you can be in Varenna or Sirmione in just over an hour. However, if you want to visit Lake Garda during your month in Italy by train, you’re probably best doing so from your first stop in Venice. After all, there are 15 direct trains from Venice to Peschiera del Garda each day.

The best way to the western towns and villages on Lake Maggiore is from Milan Porta Garibaldi station where you can be in Lesa, Stresa and Baveno in around 1 hour and 30 minutes. A similar journey time will take you to one of Lake Maggiore’s unsung gems and a Bookings For You favourite on the lake’s eastern shores, Luino. Read more about it here.

The only thing to be aware of is that on Lake Maggiore the trains are great between Verbania and Arona and all up the Eastern shores of the lake. However, it’s not as easy to travel by train along the Western shores from Verbania up to Locarno. Not that this matters though. One thing to remember is that when you’re travelling car-free in the Italian Lakes you also have the network of boats and ferries to call on. These will quickly zip you across the lakes and from town to town. As a result, you’ll soon see why the Italian Lakes are a must-stop destination while enjoying your car-free month in Italy.

Base 3 for your month in Italy by train: Cinque Terre by train

Next on our itinerary for a month in Italy by train is the Cinque Terre. The good news is that a trip to the Cinque Terre is a trip by train suitable for everyone. It really is a perfect destination to add to your month in Italy by train. This stunning collection of five villages are car-free with visitors arriving by train or boat – unless you fancy a long walk! Clusters of multi-coloured houses and steeply terraced vineyards cling to the cliff sides which have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It doesn’t really matter which of the five towns you choose as your base – they are all stunning – as you can hop on trains to jump between each town in as little as 6 minutes.

If you’re feeling adventurous there are a series of well-kept (but quite steep!) hiking trails which link the five towns or opt for my favourite way to explore any coastal location and join a kayak tour. This way you can admire the beauty of the Cinque Terre, away from the crowds on dry land. Both our partners Viator and Get Your Guide offer some amazing group kayak tours and also organised hiking excursions. There is also the opportunity to enjoy this stunning stretch of coastline by boat with various trips organised from all five villages and La Spezia. Click here for more information.

Two or three days is enough to take in the main highlights of the Cinque Terre and we would always recommend trying to avoid the peak summer months, as it can become very crowded with everyone trying to get their slice of picture-perfect Italy.

month in italy by train

Getting to the Cinque Terre by Train

Direct trains from Milan to Monterosso run regularly, taking just under 3 hours. This is the largest of the five towns and many people choose to make this their base to explore the area as there is a greater choice of accommodation. La Spezia station can also be used as a starting point to your train journey to the Cinque Terre. It’s also around 3 hours directly from Milan. From here, local trains will take you to each of the towns of the Cinque Terre in as little as 7 minutes.

Accommodation in the Cinque Terre by Train

Space is at a real premium in the Cinque Terre so you won’t get many metres for your euros in any accommodation, It’s for this reason that we recommend choosing a more basic hotel option for this stop on your month in Italy by train. Again, using we found many options to suit all budgets with stand-out options being Villa Accini for a bit more luxury and Hotel Palme for a more budget option. Both are within easy reach of the station and Monterosso’s sandy beach. However, it is worth mentioning that all the towns of the Cinque Terre involve walking up steps and hills. Do bear this in mind when looking at accommodation and making your plans.


Base 4 for your month in Italy by train: Tuscany by train

Tuscany is so crammed full of incredible towns and cities that a month in Italy by train would not be complete without at least a week in this region. Tuscany enjoys great train connections between its major cities. Not only that though. Tuscany also boasts superb connections from town to town along its coastline too. From Viareggio to Pietrasanta to Forte dei Marmi and then down to Grosseto, the train is a great way to explore Tuscany’s coastal beauty.

If you’re looking for a base in Tuscany, one of the most obvious options is its principal city, Florence. We think Florence should be on every Italian holiday itinerary. When you’re spending a month in Italy by train, Florence is an ideal city break. What is more, as you approach the city, Florence’s famous skyline, with its stunning Duomo taking centre stage, is an awe-inspiring sight from a train carriage. The main station is Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Florence Santa Maria Novella) or Stazione di Santa Maria Novella. It is right in the heart of the historic centre.

Florence is popular all year round. As a result, we strongly advise planning your tours and experiences in advance booking with Get Your Guide or Viator. Opting for a combined ‘skip the line’ ticket can save you hours of queues and guarantees that you will see both the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery. One of our top tips is to book tickets in advance to the Palazzo Vecchio which includes the ‘Secret Passage’ tour. Here you’ll be treated to behind-the-scenes access to masterpieces by celebrated artists of the Renaissance and the secret rooms of the Medici Family.

Another great base to stay on the Tuscany leg of your month in Italy by train is Lucca. You’ll find it smaller and quieter than Florence. But, it also has excellent train links.

All in all, we would advise spending seven days in Tuscany in total if you can. Choose one base for your stay – Florence or Lucca work well – and use it as a base for day trips out of the city. Head out on trips into the rolling Tuscan hills to enjoy the historic hilltop towns and world-famous wine country. Just be aware that some hilltop towns aren’t, admittedly, as easy to reach by train. The train station in Volterra, San Gimignano, Cortona and Pienza for example, is quite far from the town centre. As a result, your journey may also involve a bus or taxi transfer from the station. But don’t let this put you off.

After all, take the train to Castellina in Chianti or Poggibonsi and you’re in the heart of Tuscan wine country. Or Rufina is near the Pomino wine region and is just a 20 minute train ride from Florence. Plus, if you’re keen to explore the vineyards that draw so many of us to Tuscany, this is another moment when you’ll be happy to be car-free. Some of the best tastings are organised tours from Florence with transfers included. No need to flip a coin to see who’s doing the driving! Instead, you can all enjoy a delicious glass of Tuscan vino with your lunch! Book your wine tour here.

month in italy by train

Getting to Florence by Train

From La Spezia, trains take you to Florence (via Pisa) in about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Florence’s main station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella is right in the heart of the city.

Accommodation in Florence by Train

In Florence, our first choice is Aappartamento Cestello. Just a 10 minute walk from the train station this is a traditional Florence apartment in an incredible location. It also boasts a beautiful terrace overlooking the River Arno. All the main sights and attractions of Florence are within an easy walk. These include the Santa Croce church, Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery, Il Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio. It’s also just a short stroll from the Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace.

For more information and to book click on the link below:

Apartment Cestello

Florence’s hotels cater for all budgets and many of these are reached easily from Firenze Santa Maria Novella. Once again, comes out top in our recommendations for sites to search hotels. Their filter to list hotels closest to the station is unbeatable. Also if you click on the ‘Map’ link you will see the exact distance and walking time from each hotel to the station. Our top pick is the Rivoli Boutique Hotel – just a 6 minutes from the station on foot and a 15 minute walk from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Ponte Vecchio. For a more budget option, Hotel Cosimo De’ Medici is just 4 minutes from the station and is very good value for money.

Base 5 for your month in Italy by train: Umbria by Train

Umbria’s hilltop towns are so well connected by train that we find it hard to recommend a better location for a holiday by train in Italy. Several of Umbria’s hilltop towns are on main or secondary rail lines. Plus, with towns such as Orvieto and Spoleto, where the train arrives at the lower part of the town, you can still easily reach the historic upper town. This is because there are other easily accessible modes of transport leading from the station. These include elevators, funiculars and lifts cut into the rock.

We always use Spello as a base when travelling by train in Umbria. After all, it’s perfectly placed to visit Foligno, Assisi, and Perugia. All of these towns are less than 30 minutes by train from Spello. However, in fact, it’s even easy to cycle between them if you fancy hopping on two wheels for a bit!

Not only is Spello a seriously convenient base to explore the area by train, Spello is also a stunning splash of colour amongst Italy’s green country. Winding alleys made from ancient stone are exquisitely dressed in all seasons with carefully cared-for flowers. To live in Spello is to commit to decorating gardens, steps, facades and windowsills with floral delights. We can assure you that its residents take this commitment very seriously!

Spello’s train station is situated just outside the town’s historic walls and it’s about a 10 minute walk from there to the gates of the old town. Being a hill-top town this is quite a steep walk. But luckily you’re in Italy so there’s always something lovely to look at as a good excuse for a rest!

Accommodation in Umbria by train

The Courtyard is luxury 1 bedroom apartment situated in the old part of Spello. It’s also within walking distance of some superb restaurants, cafes and wine bars.

For more information and to book this Umbria apartment by train, click on the link below:

The Courtyard Spello

Villa Giardino is a beautiful villa in Spello in Umbria. The villa is set within the town’s narrow cobbled streets. Nestled against the town walls, it enjoys incredible west-facing views of the valley, farms and hills. Its central location within the town means guests can walk to a number of restaurants and yet it has the feel of being in the heart of rural Umbria.

For more information and to book this Umbria villa by train, click on the link below:

Villa Giardino

Getting to Umbria by train

Travelling to Spello from Florence, the journey time is about 2 hours 45 minutes. During this time, you’ll be whisked through some of Italy’s most stunning countryside.

month in italy by train

Base 6 for your month in Italy by train: Rome by train

Does Rome need an introduction? Italy’s capital city is one of the most admired cities in the world. You’ll be almost tripping over UNESCO World Heritage sites on this stop of your month in Italy by train. Rome’s main train station – Roma Termini – is an impressive piece of modern architecture. It delivers its passengers right into the heart of the city. It’s less than a 30 minute walk from the station to all the main sites. What is more, Rome also has a very efficient metro system you can use to travel across the city. ‘Line A’ links Roma Termini with St Peters Square and the Vatican Museum in just a few minutes. Line B links Roma Termini with the Colosseum & Circus Maximus in a similar journey time. Book your tickets in advance here to make sure you don’t miss out on these bucket-list attractions.

In reality, you’d need at least a week in Rome to do it justice. But you can see a fair amount of the major sights in just 48 hours in Rome if you simply don’t have the time to spend longer in the city.

Accommodation in Rome by Train

With so many hotels to choose from, it’s a good idea to plan your Rome itinerary before you choose your hotel. If you’re going to be spending every minute sightseeing then there’s little value in splashing out on a swanky hotel. Equally, if you know you’ll need some downtime away from the buzz of the city, choosing a hotel with a Spa or garden to relax in is a great idea. Our top pick in Rome is Camplus Hotel Roma Centro – right in the city centre and just a short walk from the station. Many of the rooms have balconies and there is a lovely garden too. Book here with and once again their train station filter makes this search super easy.

Getting to Rome by Train

Traveling to Rome from Spello by train will take you around 1 hour and 50 minutes. Incidentally, if for any reason, you omitted Umbria from your itinerary, you can be in the heart of Italy’s capital city in just over 1 hour and 30 minutes from Florence.

In fact, there are incredibly fast links to Rome from all of Italy’s major cities. The journey time from Naples is just over 1 hour. Even from Milan, you can be in Rome in 3 hours and 30 minutes. This is a great time to be reminded of just how luxurious a train journey can be in Italy. You can enjoy decadent multi-course Italian meals and relax in some seriously comfortable seats. Many of these seating options are more like traveling on a private jet than a train! You can read all about this in our guide to all of the practicalities of traveling in Italy by train in Italy here.

month in Italy by train

Base 7 for your month in Italy by train: Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast by train

Our final stop on this month in Italy by train takes us to one of Italy’s most Instagramable locations: Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast and the breathtakingly beautiful island of Capri. This is the perfect place to sit back and relax after a few weeks on tour. The colour of the water here really will take your breath away. Not to mention all the picturesque towns perched atop sheer cliffs! You’ll definitely want to stop here for at least 3 or 4 days if you can.

Sorrento itself has everything you need for a car-free holiday. The station in Sorrento is just a 5 minute walk from Piazza Tasso. The train station is also just a 10 – 15 minute walk to the port and ferry terminals. Pompeii is a must-see site if you’re visiting this area. Hop on board the Circumvesuviana train and you can been in Pompeii from Sorrento in just 20 minutes.

That said, we’re the first to admit that many of the towns along the Amalfi Coast are not well connected by trains. But, using Sorrento as a base, you can very easily use the SITA bus network to explore.

Plus, if you’d like to explore further afield, there are, in any case, also regular boats sailing from Sorrento to Capri, Ischia, Positano and Naples. In all these destinations you can enjoy tours and activities. Our favourites include a day at Capri’s Blue Grotto. For history lovers, we can also recommend a fascinating trip into Naples’ underground tunnels to admire the remains of the Greek-Roman aqueduct and the Roman theatre. Both can be booked here with our partner Get Your Guide.

month in italy by train

Accommodation in Sorrento by train

Villa Sorrento is an elegantly furnished, five bedroom, two storey villa rental situated right in the heart of Sorrento. It’s within walking distance of plenty of wonderful shops and restaurants. The beach and port are also just a short walk away. The house has a private garden and enjoys sea views.

For more information and to book this Sorrento villa by train, click the link below:

Villa Sorrento

Again, you can of course opt for a hotel in Sorrento. However, our recommendation is to make this final base on your month in Italy by train a restful one. The gardens at Villa Sorrento are certainly the perfect place to recharge and reflect on this amazing trip.

Getting to Sorrento by train

The journey to Sorrento by train from Rome takes just over 3 hours. It involves a change in Naples. You can of course opt to spend a night in Naples. Naples is a bustling port city famous for being the home of pizza. Actually, even if you decide against spending a night here, be sure to make time between trains for a pizza lunch – you won’t regret it!

For more information on travelling in Italy by train, click here to read our post on Train Travel in Italy: all you need to know. It includes all you will need to know about the practicalities of tickets, seat reservations and train operators.