The scenic route: From Milan’s bustle to Sicily’s serenity by train

ByAndrea Thompson

May 13, 2024

If there was ever a train ride to take perfect for a summer holiday which covers 956 miles and whisks you through nine beautiful cities and the countryside of Italy all for just over £33 then look no further.

Travelling from Milan to Palermo using the combination of high-speed trains and ferries from mainland Italy to the beautiful island of Sicily. Your journey takes you through Bologna, Florence, Salerno, Villa Giovannu. Messina, Syacuse and Cefalu before reaching the destination of Palermo.

You may ask yourself why this journey is special well its because the train boards a ferry to cross the Strait of Messina before its onward journey to Palermo. Operated by Trenitalia, all trains are equipped with amenities to ensure a comfortable journey, including air-conditioning, power outlets and dining options.

It is advised to book this trip in advance.  For those looking to enjoy the full experience, it’s recommended to travel during the day to take in the stunning views of the Italian countryside, coastal areas, and quaint towns along the way. Night trains are also available for those who prefer to save time and travel overnight. Departing at 8pm, and reaching its final destination at 5pm the next day, known as the Intercity Notte (ICN).

Sleeping cabins are available for the journey and there are various accommodation options to ensure a comfortable journey through the night. Here’s what you can expect:

Sleeper Compartments:

  • These are usually the more luxurious option, with some offering ensuite washbasins and private bathrooms.
  • Couchettes, are the most economical choice and tend to have 4-6 bunks per compartment but you share with others.


  • All cabins are air-conditioned, and some even have a private shower, washbasin, and toilets. They are equipped with power sockets for razors, laptops, phone chargers and safes.
  • Depending on your cabin and ticket type , you will receive a toiletry kit and a bottle of water and if required a wake up call, continental breakfast and daily newspapers.

The destination, Palermo is home to numerous architectural marvels, including the Palermo Cathedral, a stunning example of Norman architecture with elements of Arab-Norman art.  The Palatine Chapel, located within the Palazzo dei Normanni (Norman Palace), is renowned for its exquisite mosaics.

The Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio (also known as the Martorana), and the Norman-era Zisa and Cuba palaces. Together with museums, art galleries and plenty of shops.

Enjoy your journey and the comfort, wake up filling refreshed and ready to explore this beautiful city and island!