10 of the best railway journeys in Italy

Louise Roddon

One of Italy’s loveliest rail routes is the coast-hugging observe alongside the Cinque Terre in Liguria. Called an categorical, it’s extra of a delicate pootle above all 5 of the Unesco-listed seaside villages in this celebrated nationwide park. Setting off from La Spezia, the route ends in Levanto. You can hop on and off for strolls alongside the labyrinthine lanes of vibrant villages, akin to Riomaggiore, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola – or keep put and drink in the sight of tiny village-crested bays and inlets, fronted by pristine thumbnail seashores.

The Cinque Terre Train Card permits entry to all climbing routes and limitless practice journey between the villages. One- to three-day choices from €18.20 at cinqueterre.eu.com

The Circumetnea, Sicily

(*10*)The Circumetnea railway hyperlinks the Sicilean cities of Catania and Giarre/and goes round Mount Etna. Photograph: Pablo Zulaica Parra/Alamy

If you don’t fancy climbing Sicily’s most well-known volcano, an exciting different is the Ferrovia Circumetnea from Catania that encircles Etna’s base, ending its journey in Riposto.

This dramatic journey sees you rattling throughout lava beds, previous fields of prickly pears and little hamlets, then absorbing throughout Etna’s foothills views of its snow-capped, smoking peak. Constructed in 1898, it’s 110-km lengthy and the entire route takes round three-and-a-half hours. Try to board one of the inexperienced or crimson classic rolling inventory that appear like dinky classic college buses – they had been made by Fiat in the Fifties.

Tickets price €7.25 from circumetnea.it

The Bernina Express
The Bernina Express
Photograph: Roberto Moiola/Getty Images

Train buffs contemplate the legendary Unesco-listed Bernina Express route from Italian Tirano to St Moritz to be one of the most spectacular rail journeys in the world.

The highest railway in Europe, it has spiral viaducts to rise up the mountains. At occasions, the practice clings to the mountainside hundreds of ft up – and also you’re rewarded head-swivelling with views throughout the Brusio viaduct, then there are waterfalls and glaciers, and as much as the ear-popping peaks of the Italian and Swiss Alps. Autumn is fairly when the leaves change color and start to fall and winter, when the mountains are snow-draped.

The Italian part of the Bernina Express begins from Tirano, which has hyperlinks with trains from Milan. The four-hour practice journey prices from £49. Panoramic carriage seats must be booked in advance at rhb.ch

Reggio Calabria to Scilla
Reggio Calabria to Scilla it
Photograph: Aliaksandr Antanovich/Getty Images

It solely takes 20 minutes, however if in case you have time to kill earlier than catching the ferry to Sicily, the practice journey from Reggio Calabria’s promenade-set Stazione Lido to the seaside city of Scilla is a delight.

Leaving the relatively ugly port space, you’ll be able to anticipate glimpses of neat coves and sandy seashores, then little islets and fishing boats, and, on the strategy in the direction of the Strait of Messina, Mount Etna itself. Arriving at Scilla, spend time exploring this charming fishing village set on ochre-green cliffs.

Highlights embody its sprawling clifftop fort, broad sandy seaside and wonderful seafood eating places.

Tickets a technique from £2.10 by Rail Europe

Trenino Verde, Sardinia
Trenino Verde, Sardinia
Photograph: Alamy

Sardinia’s dinky Trenino Verde (little inexperienced trains) trundle alongside narrow-gauge tracks throughout some of the island’s most beautiful areas – all the method from the coast to the mountains. Don’t anticipate pace: tThese devoted routes are famously gradual as recounted by DH Lawrence in The Sea and Sardinia.

But who must be in a rush when you will have the likelihood to find the wild coronary heart of this extraordinary island? Pulled by a 1956 diesel locomotive, one of the most dazzling routes travels from Arbatax to Villagrande. Across the flats of Tortoli, you climb to mountainous Gennargentu nationwide park.

Daylong guided Trenino Verde practice journeys together with a number of stop-offs at factors of curiosity and scrumptious meals tastings price from €55pp, sardegnatreninoverde.com

Little Trains of the Dolomites
Little Trains of the Dolomites it
Photograph: Alamy

The elegant classic Renon narrow-gauge mountain railway is one of the oldest and steepest funicular railways in Europe. It chugs all the strategy to Collalbo, previous undulating meadows and towering jagged mountain ranges.

Join an escorted rail vacation and also you get professional steerage round the mountainous rail routes. The journey features a journey on line 700 between Mezzolombardo and Caldes, with spectacular views over Dolomiti castles and a dramatic ascent up one of Europe’s steepest tracks, the Mendola funicular railway.

The nine-day Little Trains of the Dolomites tour runs in September and May from £1,499pp, together with B&B lodging and excursions, arenatravel.com

Rome to Siracuse
Noto, the capital of baroque stylethe street leading down at the famous town of Sicily – Noto, the capital of baroque style
Photograph: Anita Bonita/iStockphoto

Travel to Sicily by rail doesn’t sound simple and but it’s one of the best direct long-haul Italian journeys round. Your practice is shunted throughout the Strait of Messina by way of ferry when you can go up on deck for a breath of sea air.

Kick off from Rome in your air-conditioned carriage for the 11-hour scenic journey to Naples and Salerno, then on to Taormina, Catania and Syracuse. Once in Sicily, coastal and mountain views flip to seascapes in addition to glimpses of snow-dusted Mount Etna.

Book in advance for super-economy tickets from £66.70 a technique, second class at Rail Europe, hyperlinks with Trenitalia

Venice to Florence
Venice to Florence
Photograph: iStockphoto

Ditch the automotive and hyperlink two of Italy’s prime must-see cities by rail. It takes simply over two hours to swap the canals of Venice for Florence’s meandering Arno. Travelling by practice ensures a stress-free journey and a few of the most beautiful snapshots of the nation alongside the method.

En route you go the beautiful Renaissance cities of Bologna, Prato and Ravenna, then by the mountains of Emilia-Romagna and alongside the vine-terraced hills of Tuscany. If you’re after a direct route, catch the high-speed Frecciarossa – however a extra leisurely journey, admittedly with modifications, ensures time to soak up these dreamy panoramas.

Tickets from £26.50 one method, booked in advance from Rail Europe

Venice to Rome rail vacation
Venice to Rome rail holiday
Photograph: Seng Chye Teo/Getty Images

A small-group rail vacation is an effective way to take in Venice, Florence and Rome, staying in resorts alongside the method and experiencing native tradition. Highlights embody leisurely walks, museum visits and sipping an Aperol spritz in the quieter canal-side cafés of Venice; then a detour rail journey to Pisa.

In Bologna, the focus is on meals, with a tasting session of DOP meats, cheeses, wines and tortellini-making in the meals markets of the Quadrilatero quarter, and in Florence and Rome, there’s a lot of time to discover the highlights of each these cities.

A seven-day Venice to Rome by Railway tour prices from £1,498pp, together with return flights, with responsibletravel.com

Rimini to Lecce

Follow Italy’s glowing Adriatic by regional rail and also you’ll be rewarded with dreamy sea views and glimpses of historic cities and small fishing villages.

The line from Rimini all the way down to Lecce is an absolute deal with – and although it takes about six hours, you’ll shore up some unforgettable photos. Swapping Rimini’s glitzy seaside golf equipment for workaday Pesaro, the Frecciabianca stops at Ancona, Pescara and Foggia in Puglia. Occasionally, the observe heads inland beneath the hills of Umbria and Tuscany, lastly reaching dazzling baroque Lecce. Celebrate with a neighborhood pasticciotto and a spritz – virtually as pleasant as the journey itself.

Tickets a technique from £55.70, by Rail Europe or Trenitali

Courtesy: theguardian