What are the best places to take weekend trips when studying abroad in Italy?

Posted by Melissa Janson 4 years 2 months ago

I think I want to study in Florence... but I want to see the whole country! Is this possible? Are the trains really that good?


I studied abroad in Perugia back in 2006 and did my best to explore as much of Italy as I could. While there's the obvious trips to take (Rome, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terra), my favorite weekend trip was to Cortina d'Ampezzo way up in the Italian Alps. Not many of my fellow study abroaders made it up this way, which definitely made it feel like an unique experience.

I took a train up here from Venice and was immediately blown away by the beauty and scale of the mountains. Otherworldly. If you enjoy the outdoors and want to escape the hustle and bustle of the rest of Italy, definitely taking a trip to Cortina. The Italians here are also very different from the rest of the country (to be honest, a lot friendlier).

I came here during the summer, but would definitely love to come back one day to ski.

You can absolutely see a lot of Italy during your time in Florence! Perhaps save the trips South for when you have a longer break from school so you can maximize. For my program, we didn't have courses on Fridays - so most Thursday nights after class I was taking a night train somewhere in Italy. My friends and I would sleep on the train and wake up in a new part of Italy for the weekend, capitalizing on our weekends :) I'm not sure how long you plan to study abroad, but the trains (especially out of Florence) are a great way to get around. Enjoy!

Some highlight trips from my semester abroad:
-Naples / Sorrento / Amalfi
-Cinque Terre
-Rimini (during the spring)

Since Italy isn't such a large country, it's fairly easy to get about anywhere, especially if you are studying in a central location, like somewhere in Tuscany (Florence). I particularly loved visiting Rome, Naples, Cinque Terre, Siena and Venice. Don't forget - it's fairly easy to find flights to other European locations, so on my long weekends I enjoyed visiting Paris, London, Barcelona, and Madrid!

From Florence it was incredibly easy to get to other cities. I took trips within Italy to Rome, Cinque Terre, Amalfi coast. Some places are close enough that you can go just for the day, such as Bologna, Siena, Luca.

I also took weekend trips (all via train) to Munich for Oktoberfest, Amsterdam, Grindelwald (Switzerland). Even these places are within reach if you are able to take a 3 day weekend.