The borders of Italy have been closed to Russian tourists for more than a year, so we can only dream about it. But who said that the time spent in dreams is wasted! I invite you to think about your future route through the country of pizza and high culture and read my story about traveling through Italy by train.
Italy by train
- San Marino and Rimini< /li>
- Pros and cons of trains
Italy is one of the favorite destinations of our tourists. Almost all of my friends who have been abroad have been in this country. Therefore, I decided that I urgently needed to correct the situation and took myself tickets Yekaterinburg – Bologna – Yekaterinburg in September 2018. & nbsp;
I took a vacation for two weeks, so I immediately understood that I needed to look for a way to move around the country. I don’t have a driving license, so renting a car was not my option, buses in early September in hot Italy were also not suitable. A long time ago, I heard that the country has a very well-developed railway infrastructure, so the choice fell on trains! But let's start from the very beginning, that is, the arrival in Bologna.
This city is often underestimated, although it is the birthplace of the famous Bolognese pasta, the gastronomic capital of Italy, and it was here, at the oldest university in the world, that Copernicus, Dante, Beckett studied! All this makes Bologna the perfect place for students to study during the day and have fun at night. This is indeed a very strange but amazing city. Its galleries are painted with ancient frescoes, historical buildings come across at every step, but it does not feel old at all … a young life is in full swing in it, which does not let him sleep for a minute. & nbsp;
Photo – Bologna, Italy
I stayed in a hostel in the city center, two nights with breakfast cost me 65 euros (5,500 rubles as of September 2018). Alas, at that time it was impossible to find something cheaper, although I made a reservation three months in advance. In the morning I had breakfast in the hostel, went for a walk in the center. There are many things to visit within the city limits (even for free), such as the medieval church of Madonna di San Luca. Due to the amazing history of the city's university, there are many interesting places inside the academic buildings. One of these is the anatomical theater, where for a very long time, doctors studied the structure of the human body, dissecting corpses. Entrance to the building costs 3 euros.
As I said above, Bologna is a gastronomic paradise. It was here that I tried the best gelato in my entire trip! It is located at Via San Vitale 98/b, a ball in Il Gelatauro costs 1.5 euros. Chocolate and pistachio were my favorites! For bolognese, you should definitely go to Osteria dell'Orsa! However, do not expect that the institution will have a wide menu. Every day, the chef prepares only two specialties to choose from, a wide range is available only in the bar. The portions are big, the food is incredibly tasty. Pasta and aperol syringe cost me only 8.5 euros.
After two days in Bologna, I went to Florence. Before leaving Bologna, I was very worried about the ticket I bought online. Suddenly it needs to be confirmed at the box office? Will I be able to find the platform? As it turned out, everything is very simple and pleasant! The station itself was very convenient. My ticket to Florence cost 17.90 euros, as it turned out, my train was new, so there was a toilet and Wi-Fi in the car. The suitcase could be put in a special section. To be honest, I don’t remember if they checked my ticket, but as far as I know, the controllers really rarely go around the cars. However, if you get caught… the fine will be more than 100 euros.
I will not talk much about the sights of Florence and what to see, almost everyone knows about this city! So I'll give you some advice. First, book your room well in advance! I did it quite early, but, alas, I was able to grab a hotel only 30 minutes on foot from the center … Secondly, it is better to look for accommodation immediately with breakfast. Prices in the city bite, so while you are looking for where to eat cheaper, cafes can simply close for a break.
Photo – Florence, Italy
Florence has a lot of tourists and great restaurants! I was lucky that I traveled alone – you could always find an extra table for me, but couples or groups of people could wait for hours! Book in advance and don't forget that many restaurants open only in the evening. Of the interesting, I advise you to run into the central market. There is an excellent restaurant food court with a huge selection of dishes. Nearby, in the trattoria Trattoria Za Za, I ate the best pizza of the entire trip for 11 euros (with eggplant and olives).
I was in Florence for three days, I can safely say that the fourth was not enough for me! In this city, even simple walks are already an adventure. From the mandatory list of visits: the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery in Florence, the Boboli Gardens and Santa Maria del Fiore. I think that these iconic places are worth visiting even for those who do not understand art at all. Everyone grew up on the images that are exhibited in the halls of these places. This is a culture that we see every day, so looking at the originals of the great masters is a minimum program. Other museums of the city can be visited depending on your interests.
Photo – Florence, Italy
For 25.50 euros, I quickly flew from Florence to Venice! And if I thought that it was expensive in Florence, then I realized that I was very wrong … Therefore, if you do not have an impressive budget, or you would like to spend money on a symbolic gondola ride, then you should look for housing in Mestre. This city is considered the mainland area of Venice. The cost here is 3 or even 4 times cheaper! However, there are several “buts”. Before choosing a hotel, carefully study the address where it is located. I lived in the depths of the area (to the bus station to Venice 10 minutes), but every time I walked to the bus stop, I was sure that someone would hit me on the head. Therefore, it is better to choose a large hotel that is closer to bus stations.
Photo – Venice, Italy
I spent two days in Venice itself. This, of course, is blasphemously small for this city. Alas, if your wallet is not full of euros, you can basically just walk along the winding streets. One item on my must-have agenda was a trip to the nearby island-cemetery where Brodsky is buried. You can move between the islands on budget vaporetto transport, but you need to carefully read about the fare you buy. The simplest ticket costs 7.5 euros and is valid for 45 minutes. During this time, you can transfer to different routes and return to the mainland. If you are going to visit several islands and stay on them longer, then it is better to buy a single card for a day or two (from 20 euros and more).
Venice is a city of a hiding place, a labyrinth, a mystery. If you came here without money (like me) – do not despair! Stock up on food in the store and just walk along the streets of the city. You can enter many buildings here for free (a nice bonus of Venice sights). So I wandered into the ancient and incredibly beautiful hospital Scuola Grande di San Marco. In 2018, the entrance was for a donation, but the situation may have changed.
San Marino and Rimini
From Venice I returned to Bologna for an amazing 12.60 euros. As it turned out, all this time I was traveling on “elite” trains! Ordinary ones turned out to be much cheaper, but at the same time they also had a toilet (but without the Internet).
I took tickets to Rimini already at the Bologna station on the evening before departure. I did not have to communicate with the cashiers, the ticket could be easily bought at the terminal. But you can only go to San Marino by bus from Rimini itself. When I went there, I was sure that San Marino is an amazing fairy tale on the tops of the mountains! However, a trip by public transport to these parts is not at all worth it. The bus is usually crowded with Russian tourists who go … for fur coats! Because of this, the tiny republic is teeming with souvenir and clothing vendors. The views, of course, are very beautiful here, but nothing more. If you have a car, dropping into San Marino for a coffee can be interesting, I do not recommend using public transport.
Photo – San Marino, Italy
In Rimini itself, it becomes boring in the off-season. This is an exclusively tourist city, designed for bathing people, so when the Adriatic Sea cools down, the city falls asleep. Walking around Rimini before the train was not bad, but if the sea is cold, then there is no point in going here. The rest of the days I spent in Bologna, eating my fill of ice cream and pasta!
Cons and pros of trains
Summing up, I can say that trains in Italy are a convenient, comfortable and fast mode of transport. If you want to visit several cities for your vacation, then feel free to choose electric trains and trains (you can book on the Trenitalia website). Even if you choose a route less compact than mine, the train will not be very expensive, and it will definitely not work for more than three hours.
The only thing worth remembering is the lack of punctuality of Italians… All morning flights run on schedule and without delay, but not always in the evening. Firstly, they are often canceled, be prepared for the fact that it will be almost impossible to understand where you are going to run due to the noise at the station (a lot of disgruntled Italians). Secondly, in the evening, delays can be more than two or even three hours! I encountered such a nuisance in Rimini. I hoped to leave at 16:00 for Bologna on one route, but in the end, only at 18:00 I got on a train that made a detour in several other cities.
Photo – Venice, Italy
Generally speaking, it's hard to complain about Italy! Even with a minimal budget and without a companion, this country is able to give you an unforgettable and delicious vacation.