Traveling in Italy is simple and enjoyable when you know and understand your options. An extensive rail system with both high speed and local trains makes it easy to travel between the big cities as well as to most small towns. Another way to get around is by taking the bus. Each region has its own bus line that works within specific cities for local transport as well as connects town and big urban centers.
Click Here for a map of the major train lines in Italy to see possible routes to your destination and the cities along the way. The larger lines indicate faster and more frequent trains.
If you’re traveling further away or even beyond Italy, you may want to consider a low cost flight. From Perugia, for instance, planes leave for London, Brussels, Sicily and Sardinia. From Florence, they leave for Sardinia, Reggio Calabria and Sicily. Check out the links below for more travel information and tips. Although you will never be short of ideas or places to visit, here just a few of Italy’s most popular destinations!
The birthplace of the Renaissance and home to many famed artists and poets, Florence is a stone’s throw away from Perugia and makes a great day trip or even a weekend stay. Besides the Uffizi Gallery, the Academia, and the Bargello art museums, Florence is surrounded by beautiful Tuscan countryside. The city is only two hours away by train, but can also be reached by bus or by car. Don’t miss Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome on the main cathedral, Ghiberti’s Baptistery doors, or even just a stroll along the Arno.
What can be said about the nation’s capital other than that it is a fabulously vivacious city with over 60% of Italy’s art treasures, home to the Vatican City, and is one of the most visited capitals in the world? There is no off-season in Rome, but it is certainly more crowded in the summer months. Worth seeing are: the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi fountain and, of course, the Vatican. With a good map, you can cover a lot in a day, but Rome is a world of its own and needs time to be enjoyed!
An all-time favorite of poets, bohemian travelers, lovers, and just about every tourist who comes through Italy these days, Venice never ceases to please the crowds. It is a spectacular city in just about every season, with its narrow water-ways, gondolas, and bustling markets. Venice is fascinating whether it is during winter when the fog rolls in off the Adriatic, or during the hottest months when the streets fill not only with pigeons but also many many tourists.
Cinque Terre (literally meaning “the five lands” or “five towns”) becomes a more popular destination every year, both for visitors to Italy and the locals themselves, and has recently been dubbed “the Italian Riviera.” Found on the Ligurian coast, these delightful little towns are better reached by train, as there are few roads that lead into the residential areas. The villages literally cascade down the cliff faces, making it impossible to construct anything other than staircases and winding alleys. There is a great trail that connects all five towns, offering spectacular vistas over the Mediterranean, as well as the possibility of swimming, boating, and biking in the warmer months. It’s a bit of a haul from Perugia (6 hours by train) and is recommended as a weekend trip. During the high season, it can be difficult to find inexpensive accommodation – try a neighboring town, Levanto, for a place to stay (some have ventured to call it the “sixth cinque terre”).
How to reach it: You have to take a train till La Spezia (www.ferroviedellostato.it) and then catch a bus to the different destinations (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Riomaggiore)
Bologna is relatively close to Perugia (approx. 3 hours by train), and has been judged one of Italy’s most livable cities. Bologna is surrounded by hills though it sits on the plain of Emilia Romagna, and has much to offer in the way of Renaissance art and architecture, culture, and cuisine, not to mention a happening student ambiance that really brings this ancient city to life. There is much to see in Bologna: the university, founded over 900 years ago, is a competitive academic center that attracts people from all over the world. There is also the Piazza Maggiore and the Fountain of Neptune – both with great historic importance and both excellent photo ops!
By Train: www.ferroviedellostato.it (in English)
Ravenna is not often the first place that comes to minds of travelers in Italy since it is a little more difficult to reach because it does not lie on the main train routes. It was of great historic importance to the Romans, as it was the capital of the Western Empire in 402 AD and one of the main ports on the Adriatic. Ravenna spent much of its history looking to the East; its greatest art treasures show how much the Byzantines affected the city. Ravenna is probably most known for its mosaics, which are undoubtedly the finest in Western art.
Where to Stay: http://en.venere.com/hotels_ravenna/
If you are not traveling by car, the only way to see the beautiful Amalfi coast is to go by bus from Sorrento or by boat. Spend the night in the coastal towns of Sorrento or Amalfi for a wonderful Southern Italian experience. Check out the links below to have an idea on how to do it. If budget permits, a night on Capri is magical.
Also known as Paradise on Earth, the island of Capri is a long-time hang out of the rich and famous. It is found 25km off the cost of Naples and is famed as one of the most beautiful visitor destinations in Italy. It is easy to get to, but in the summer months tourists swarm the island, which takes away from its charm and “small-town” feel. It also means that food and accommodations are exorbitantly more expensive than you would find on the mainland. For that reason, many find it convenient to combine a trip to Capri with a visit to Naples, Sorrento, or near-by Pompeii, using the mainland as a base to explore other areas. Not to be missed on the island are the whitewashed towns of Capri, Anacapri, the famed Faraglioni rock formations, and Villa Jovis.
Italy’s fashion capital is a bustling urban center in the country’s north, not far from beautiful Lake Como, the Alps, not to mention the French, Swiss, and Austrian boarders. Apart from great shopping, there are noteworthy attractions in Milan such as their 15th century gothic Duomo, the impressive Sforza Castle, and the Pinacoteca in Brera Art gallery. For Da Vinci fans, Leonardo spent over 20 years in Milan where he painted the famous and awe inspiring “Last Supper”. The 15×30 foot painting can be found in the refectory of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie – a must see for all who visit Milan. It is, however, a five-hour train trip from Perugia, and is not recommended as a day trip.
Way down in the southwest corner of Umbria, Orvieto is on the main railway line between Rome and Florence. From Perugia, it can be reached most easily by intercity bus. Orvieto sits on a hill made of volcanic tufa rock and has marvelous views of the surrounding countryside, as well as an awe-inspiring duomo. While you’re there, try the great white wine and take the cheesy “hidden Orvieto” tour of the grottoes that the Etruscans carved into the rock underneath the city. One of the coolest underground attractions is an enormous well carved into the rock on the orders of a sixteenth-century pope. It has interlocking staircases so that a continuous line of donkeys could ascend to get water and bring it back up without blocking each other.