The best of Italy: Art, history, and art history by rail

It’s not all beach! Well… Italy has a lot of beach, but if you have a mindset to explore, and a student’s wallet, Italy has a country full of cultural landmarks that are all accessible by rail.

The facade of the cathedral in Milan

If you want to explore all of Italy, we recommend moving down the peninsula north to south, making Milan the perfect city to start your trip. In Milan, Duomo di Milano (aka the Milan Cathedral) is the clear #1 tourist spot. Even if religious sites aren’t your thing, this cathedral is A) stunning to look at both inside and out, and B) an even blend of art and history. Don’t miss Da Vinci’s Last Supper while you’re there! 


Roof tops of buildings in Genoa

There are literally scores of art museums, installations, and galleries in Genoa. The art is never something you’ll have to go out of your way for, and the history of the city is well worth looking into. Keep an eye out for historical buildings as you walk, and preserved ships when you’re near the water. 


The red roof of the duomo in Florence

The Baptistry of St. John, the Neptune fountain. Sure, sure. But if you’re setting out for art and history, there are few pieces more coveted than the statue of David. Seriously, you skeptics might think it’s a tourist trap. It is. Go see it. 

That’s not to say the statue of David is all Florence has to offer. If you’re looking for a hidden gem and more of a relaxing stroll, check out the Boboli gardens and Pitti Palace. 


The Trevi Fountain in Rome

Rome is one of the best cities in the world for art and history. You will have no trouble finding beautiful buildings, historic monuments, and ancient masterpieces. Since it’s so easy to find the art and culture hotspots in Rome, allow us to direct you to the free ones: 

  • Most churches. Not all of them, but many of the churches are beautifully built and house some variety of relics. The cathedrals are the ones that might charge you to enter. 
  • The Pantheon: The pantheon has been preserved since ancient Rome. A must for anyone interested in the Roman empire. 
  • St. Peter’s: St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica are both quintessential examples of Roman architecture that are free to visit. 


Get the best flight deals to Italy with ScholarTrip student fares, and discover Italy by rail with the Eurail Italy Pass.

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