With their history, culture, and world-famous cuisine, it's no wonder that Rome and Venice are two of Italy's top cities for tourists. While they're about 288 miles apart as the crow flies, there are several ways to get from one to the other on the same vacation. Since Venice is a car-free city, the fastest and easiest way to get into the city is by train, which takes you directly into the center of Venice. If you want to go by plane, bus, or car, be aware that you'll need to use additional means of transportation to get into Venice.
How to Get from Rome to Venice by Train
- Train: 3 hours, 25 minutes, from $32
- Flight: 1 hour, 10 minutes, from $68
- Bus: 7 hours, from $16
- Car: 5 hours, 30 minutes, 326 miles (525 kilometers)
The train is the transport of choice for most visitors and Italians. Italy's high-speed rail system connects all of the major cities, and it's without a doubt the fastest way to get from Rome's city center to Venice, transporting passengers in as little as three hours and 25 minutes.
You can book a train through Italy's national rail service, Trenitalia, or the privately-owned Italo. Both companies provide comfortable experiences and competitive prices, so compare tickets at them both before making your purchase. The easiest way is to use RailEurope when buying tickets, which will show all available trains. Treinitalia trains leave from Termini or Tiburtina stations in Rome, while Italo trains leave from Tiburtina or Ostiense stations. If you're staying near the Termini or Ostiense station, it may be easiest to choose the respective company and save yourself a trip across Rome.
You may see trains that arrive at Venice Santa Lucia and others that arrive at Mestre station. Santa Lucia is the main station and the only one that is on the island of Venice itself. From there, it's an easy walk to the rest of Venice. If you want to ride on the water, take the vaporetto water bus, or you can splurge on a water taxi to get to your final destination. Mestre station, on the other hand, is on the mainland outside of Venice. From there, you'll still need to take another train, bus, or tram to cross the water and get into the city of Venice.
Even though it's a short flight between Rome and Venice, the added time that it takes to travel to and from airports, check-in at the counter, get through security, and wait at your gate makes the entire journey longer than the train. It takes about an hour to get from Rome's city center to either of the local airports, and just as much time when arriving in Venice as well. Venice also has nearby two airports: Marco Polo International Airport and Treviso Airport. Marco Polo is the larger and closer of the two, and most flights to Venice will arrive here.
Once you arrive at the airport, you have a few options for getting into Venice. Since Venice is a car-free city, renting a car or taking a land taxi can only get you so far. The ATVO Fly Bus shuttles passengers to Piazzale Roma in Venice in about 20 minutes, and from there you can continue on foot into the city. Being in Venice, however, the best way to travel from the airport is on the vaporetto water bus. It takes about an hour and makes various stops throughout the city. Personal water taxis are also an option, which take about half the time but will cost exponentially more.
Traveling from Rome to Venice by bus is the most budget-friendly option, with prices starting at $16 when booked in advance. Tickets get more expensive as the travel date gets closer—up to $70 for a one-way ticket—which cancels out the price benefits of using the bus. Direct routes from Rome take between six and eight hours and depart from Tiburtina station, with arrival options of Tronchetto or Mestre. Just as with the train, Mestre station is outside of Venice and requires further transportation to enter the city. Tronchetto is the bus station and car park that is on the water, and a three-minute tram ride will take you from Tronchetto to Piazzale Roma.
While driving typically gives travelers the most freedom when exploring a country, the trip from Rome to Venice may be more of a headache than anything. Driving in Rome can be a nightmare, with its constant traffic and winding streets. Once you get to Venice, where there are no roads, you can't even use the car anymore. You'll either need to park in Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto if you want your car in Venice, both of which charge hefty fees. The other option is to leave your car on the mainland in Mestre, and then take the train into Venice from there. It isn't quite as convenient, but it's sure to be significantly cheaper.
Even though your car is of no use once you arrive in Venice, the drive from Rome is a spectacular trip through the Tuscan countryside. If you want to stop in a small village for a night or make a pitstop in Florence or Bologna, then taking a car may be the best option for you.
Italian highways known as autostrade do use tolls, and the total cost depends on the distance driven and the type of highway. The fastest route from Rome to Venice along the A1 highway takes about five and a half hours and costs nearly $45. The E45, on the other hand, takes about two hours longer but will only cost you $5.
What to See in Venice
Venice has been called one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and despite the hoards of tourists, clogged streets, and tacky souvenir stands, this Renaissance city still has some je ne sais quoi that really makes it magical. St. Mark's Square is the main center of the city, with its looming cathedral and stunning views of the Adriatic Sea (at least when a cruise liner isn't blocking your line of sight). The over 400-year-old Rialto Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world, and no trip to Venice is complete without crossing the Grand Canal over this historic landmark. Gondola rides aren't cheap, but they are such an iconic part of Venice that many tourists don't mind paying for a romantic ride through the canals. But be warned: you're likely to be surrounded by other couples with the same idea.