Whistle-stop tour of Italy
Why settle to explore only one city on your dream holiday in Italy? The extensive railway network of Italy has the whole country within your reach! And with Finnair, you can choose different cities as the starting and end points of your journey.
Are you one of those people who, after a holiday in Italy, is already planning the next city adventure in the country?
Instead of just exploring one Italian town at a time, what if you planned your next adventure with multiple destinations? Travelling from town to town in Italy is effortless and fast due to the excellent railway network.
Pick your starting point from the many of Finnair’s one-way destinations in Italy and buy the other one-way ticket from another destination. Clever, right?
Buy your ticket early
The Italian railway network is superb with its high-speed trains travelling between the major cities a dozen times a day. Tickets are easy to buy online either from the state-owned Trenitalia, from the private operator Italo or from Trenord, a North Italian company operating in the Lombardy region. You can also purchase tickets at the railway station. The biggest stations have staffed ticket desks and self-service ticket machines – or at least personnel assisting you in getting the right ticket.
Notice that tickets with seat numbers usually don’t need stamping before boarding the train. However, if the ticket doesn’t have a specified seat, you should validate it at the station before boarding; otherwise, you might be charged a penalty fare. If you are unsure, you can always ask the workers at the station for assistance.
Travelling by train in Italy is affordable even with the most expensive high-speed trains. For example, an hour and a half high-speed train ride from Florence to Rome costs around 30 euros in air-conditioned super economy class.
Train tickets should be bought as early as possible, because the most popular and cheapest travel classes also sell out early. There are usually three or four different travel classes, depending on the train.
High-speed trains are air-conditioned and have toilets in addition to the restaurant car. Slower and cheaper local trains, on the other hand, may be hot and without toilets. Railway station toilets often have a charge, so it's worth keeping a few coins in your back pocket if you feel like freshening up before the start of your journey.
Start from Venice
You should start planning your holiday travel route from the city where you want to fly to from Finland. Venice is a perfect starting point as Finnair flies there several times per week.
Venice can be reached from the Marco Polo International Airport by boat transfer, boat taxi, taxi or bus, taking passengers to the Piazzale Roma station. From there, the journey continues to the heart of the city by waterbuses – since there are no cars in the city of canals.
You can discover plenty of Venice in just a few days’ time. Walk across beautiful bridges connecting narrow alleys and canals or take the water bus to get around.
One of the most popular sights is the Rialto Bridge, which is especially crowded with tourists at sunset. St. Mark's Square and St. Mark's Basilica are also must-sees when you are in Venice. Next to the Basilica is the St. Mark's bell tower that dominates the skyline of Venice. You can reach the top by elevator for a fee. The tower is almost one hundred meters high and offers one of the best views of the city.
Please note that the restaurants in the St. Mark’s area are the most expensive. Even just a few blocks away, the prices of food and drinks drop by half. If you are up for an adventure by foot to the outskirts of the city, you will find small authentic Venetian restaurants whose menus are written by hand according to the dishes of the day. In the best case, the chef will come to your table and ask what you would like today.
Venice's main canal, the Grand Canal, is impressive, but even more adorable are the narrow little canals winding between the old buildings. A gondola ride lasting about 40 minutes costs 80 euros per group during the day, 100 euros at sunset or after.
Seek the treasures of Florence
The trip from Venice to Florence Santa Maria Novella station takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes at best.
Florence offers the culture lover magnificent treasures from the Renaissance. At the Uffizi Gallery, you can admire works of art by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The Accademia Gallery Museum, in turn, holds the authentic and original statue of David, also by the great Renaissance artist, Michelangelo. A replica of the statue can be seen at the beautiful square, Piazza della Signoria. Next to the square stands the town hall of Florence, a majestic palace from the 1200s, Palazzo Vecchio.
For each of these, it’s a good idea to buy tickets online in advance, if possible. This way, you will avoid the crowding at the ticket desks and queue directly at the entrance.
If you wish to visit the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, it’s best to enter the queue in the morning. By the afternoon, the mass of people wanting to go there grows into a long winding stream. It is forbidden to sell tickets to churches.
The Ponte Vecchio bridge, built in the 1300s, is also worth a visit. Crossing over the Arno-river, the bridge is home to plenty of shops and boutiques selling jewellery, souvenirs and glassware.
After Florence, the journey continues to the Eternal City, Rome, and the biggest railway station Roma Termini. Travel time by high-speed train is short, only 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The attractions to see in Rome are endless: the Colosseum, the ruins of Forum Romanum, the Pantheon, Fontana di Trevi, the Spanish Steps, Vatican and the St. Peter's Basilica – the list goes on and on.
If you are not ready to head home just yet, hop on a train to the rugged and beating Naples in Southern Italy in just 1 hour and 10 minutes. And perhaps your journey continues further down to Sorrento or the Amalfi coast for some beach bliss.
When travelling in Italy, it is good to have a flexible schedule and enough time to pause at places that give you a thrill. Another reason to ease up the timetable is that trains might be running late, or workers may go on strike. The more room for changes, the more relaxed your journey will be.