New Ideas For One of the Oldest Routes
Rome to Venice: one of the more popular routes in Italy, and one of the most underestimated. It’s just far enough that it would make a fairly long day trip, but short enough that the overnight train ride is almost too short (at least, for those of us who believe that vacation means you are required to sleep at least 10 hours every night). Luckily for you, we’ve brainstormed a few creative ways to fit this journey into your ideal Italian itinerary.
1. Make a few stops along the way to Florence and Bologna.
Florence and Bologna are so perfectly situated along this routing that you barely even need to plan out an itinerary; everything is already mapped out for you. Florence is extremely walkable, and a casual stroll through the medieval city center will lead you right towards the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, and the Galleria dell’ Academia, home of Italy’s most famous (and toned!) male specimen, the David. Bologna is a good excuse to have a mid-afternoon snack (or seven), as it is considered by some to be the culinary capital of Italy. You could easily stop for a lunch break on your way to Venice… and maybe grab some gelato for the road.
A rail pass will cover all of the trains between these cities, and so you’ll just need to purchase a seat reservation supplement for the particular date and time you’d like to travel. You can purchase these reservations at the train station, however during the busy summer months it’s usually best to buy reservations before even getting to Europe, since a lot of the trains will sell out. Even if they aren’t sold out, train stations can be hectic and lines can get pretty long, which is quite the buzz kill when all you want to do is get on the train and start the next part of your trip.
2. Get the most for your money (and feel like you’re beating the system!).
If you decide to use point to point tickets rather than a rail pass, and if you opt for the new high-speed Italo train, your Italo ticket will earn you a bonus during your stop in Florence: free public transportation on the local ATF service (buses and trams) in Florence for the 24 hours before and after your travel on the Italo train. You’ll just need to present your ID along with your ticket showing that you were headed to or from Florence to an ATAF ticket controller within that time frame. This means you could technically have a pit stop for nothing more than the price of a gelato snack (to keep up your strength). If that’s not beating the system, then I don’t want to know what beating the system means.
3. Start a trend (and brag about it on your social media outlet of choice).
Speaking of the new Italo trains, they are so new that if you are traveling to Italy this summer, you could be among the first to experience them.
Faster, quieter, and more environmentally friendly than other high-speed trains, they seem like they would be as exciting of an experience as the Italian cities themselves. We are still waiting to read articles, Facebook posts, tweets, and see Instagram pictures from travelers who’ve taken these trains, and we are eager to hear what people think. You could be one of the first people to get the word out. Also, we need to live vicariously through you.
This doesn’t mean we don’t still love the Le Frecce high-speed trains, of course. Still very fast at 155 miles per hour, these trains will offer the same gorgeous views of the Italian countryside, the same standard of elegant meal service, and the same convenience of WIFI and a UMTS signal that you’ll find on the Italo trains. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because, as we know, even the “last season” fashions in Italy are still ridiculously fashionable.
4. Relive the joy of the sleepover.
If you do decide to opt for the overnight train, why not make the most of it? Maybe stock up on some snacks in Bologna, take the Italo train to Venice in the afternoon, pile up in a couchette with your friends on the overnight train to Rome, and spend the night diminishing your snack supply and laughing at all of the pictures you took with the pigeons in St. Mark’s Square. This would be the ultimate two-birds-one-stone scenario. Point to point tickets will include a sleeping accommodation in the ticket price (make sure to select the specific type of compartment you’d like when you’re booking on the website), and if you’re using a Rail Pass you’ll just need to purchase the reservation supplement to make sure you have a bed. Even if you don’t plan to sleep.
If you take one of the new Italo trains and have pictures or tweets to share, please find us on Twitter as @RailEurope! As jealous as it will make us, we’d still love to see. And as always, happy traveling!