If you’re planning on a trip to Italy, remember that there’s more to the country than the capital. Now, don’t get me wrong, Rome is a beautiful city, and you could spend days, weeks, months even exploring all its nooks and crannies. However, with travel from Rome to Florence by train only taking about 90 minutes, you’d be crazy not to break from the capital’s hustle and bustle and make your way to the birthplace of the Renaissance.
Florence is a beautiful city, home to some of the world’s most amazing sites and an opportunity, if even only for a day, to soak some of them in is an absolute must. Train travel from Rome to Florence has never been easier. But, to help you along, here’s a complete guide with everything you need to know to get you from Rome to Florence. All Aboard!
Rome’s two major stations are Termini Station and Tiburtina Station. Both offer train services to all major Italian cities. So, if you’re going to travel from Rome to Florence by train, these stations are your best bet.
Termini Station is the largest train station in Rome and is located at Piazza dei Cinquecento. It is open from 4 am to 1 am and has a baggage consignment that operates 24 hours. Rates decrease the longer your baggage is stored. Restrooms are open from 6.00 am until midnight and charge a small admission fee. There are also a number of restaurants, cafes and fast food options for food.
Rome’s second largest train station is Tiburtina. It located in the north-eastern part of the city at Piazzale della Stazione Tiburtina. There are a wide range of cafes and restaurants to eat at and a shopping gallery too. There are restrooms on both floors that are open between 7.00 am and 8.00 pm. Admission costs 1 Euro. There is also a luggage consignment for storing your luggage.
If you want to travel from Rome to Florence by train, the Frecce train service is a great place to start. Frecce you say? What’s that? Categorized as followed, Frecce are Trenitalia's high-speed trains: Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, and Frecciabianca.
The quickest train travel from Rome to Florence is aboard this bad boy. The Frecciarossa is the fastest of the Frecce bunch and connects major Italian cities with few to no intermediate stops along the way. Frecciarossa trains travel at 300 kph (186 mph) and enjoy four classes of service: standard, premium, business, and executive.
It provides services to the following cities:
Not dissimilar to the Frecciarossa, the Frecciargento is the second fastest high-speed service that connects major cities in Rome. These trains travel at 250 kph (155mph) and offer 2 classes of service: second and first.
The Frecciargento provides services to and from the following locations:
The Frecciabianca, unlike its high-speed brothers, operates on traditional lines and at slower speeds. That said, it still reaches speeds of 200 kph (125 mph). What separates Frecciabianca from Italy’s Intercity trains are the refurbished cars. These trains also have second and first class compartments.
Frecciabianca provides services to the following cities:
All Frecce routes provide services that connect Rome with Florence, leaving the decision for which to travel on up to you. However, if you’re making a day trip from Rome to Florence by train, Frecce’s high-speed service will suit you best. Travel times vary depending on which station you depart from. If leaving from Rome’s Tiburtina Station the journey time is 1 hour and 21 minutes and from Rome’s Termini Station, travel time is 1 hour and 16 minutes. Average time on the Frecciabianca service varies between 1 hour and 40 minutes and 1 hour and 38 minutes. Either way, by the time you’ve sat down, had a coffee and a read of your book you’ll be pulling into Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station.
If you don’t fancy the Frecce trains, there are alternatives. Frecce’s high-speed competitor is NTV’s Italo trains. They run routes from Rome to Florence, and their compartments all boast free wifi and leather seats. There are also the Intercity trains which have routes to and from many of Italy’s major and minor cities. Although these do not meet the Frecce brand’s standards of comfort, they are by no means uncomfortable and a great way to travel from Rome to Florence by train. Generally, an Intercity train journey between Rome and Florence enjoys the same travel times as Frecciabianca trains.
Given the frequency of trains that travel between Rome and Florence and the number of seats available on them, it is very rare that tickets sell out. This means that, in theory, you can buy tickets on the day you travel from the train station. However, be aware that train tickets from Rome to Florence will be more affordable if purchased in advance.
Tickets bought in advance from Trenitalia are charged at the cheap-advance ticket fare and can cost as little as 19.90 Euros. Whereas, those bought on the day are charged at the fully flexible base price, seeing the price rise to 45.50 Euros. Which is a pretty big difference. Remember that with a ticket purchase comes a seat reservation, tying you to a train that leaves at a specific time.
You can buy tickets both online and onsite. These are three great online options.
The official Trenitalia website offers information on times and fares for all routes it services and the trains it uses for them (including sleeper trains + direct international trains). There is an English version of the website, but place names remain in Italian (i.e., Firenze as oppose to Florence). You can also book specific seats.
The Italia Rail website is all in English, place names included. If booking in groups larger than 2, Italia Rail can sometimes work out cheaper. Unlike Trenitalia, it shows the full day schedule for trains. And, because this is an online agency, tickets can be purchased in Euros, GBP, and both American and Australian dollars. However, they do charge a small booking fee.
Loco2 is a UK based, European booking site that sells tickets at the same price as Trenitalia. It is in English and uses English place names for Italian cities. There is no booking fee, and the site allows you to connect up with other European train stations meaning you can book international train journeys.
You can also buy tickets directly from Rome’s two main train stations: Termini and Tiburtina. Located on the ground floor of the entrance hall is the Termini ticket office. It is open daily between 6.33 am to 10.05 pm. Here you can buy tickets for regional trains as well as national and international trains. Trenitalia ticket offices at Tiburtina are on the second floor, also known as Galleria Vetrata. You can also use the ticket machines that are dotted around the stations and have an English language facility.
For many, this will seem a little strange given the digital age we live in. However, validating train tickets in Italy is still a thing.
If you have booked a paper ticket that does not have an assigned seat, you must validate the ticket’s use before you board a train with a timestamp. This process is to avoid reuse of tickets across multiple journeys. Failing to validate a ticket before boarding a train will result in a fine.
Those who have booked tickets in advance online with an assigned seat don’t have to worry about validating their ticket. However, do make sure to have a copy of your ticket on you, digital or print. When the ticket inspector boards the train he will ask to see it and scan the QR code on the physical or digital ticket.
You can find machines to validate your tickets in all of Italy's stations. In most cases, they are white and green. However, some have stayed the old yellow color. To validate your ticket, simply slide it into the slot on the machine and wait for a metal snap sound. Then, remove your ticket, it will be time stamped with the day's date and time. And with that, you’re good to go.
Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station is the city’s major station. And, conveniently located in the city center, Santa Maria Novella Train Station is close to many of Florence’s best attractions. The station is serviced by all the main ATAF (the city’s bus system) lines, so you get off a train, jump straight on a bus and make for sights. There is also a baggage deposit, so if you’re only in Florence for a few hours, you don’t have to worry about lugging your bags around with you. You can drop them off and go.
Okay, so you’ve made it. Your fast train from Rome to Florence has pulled in. Time to get to it and explore. For those only making a day trip, there is plenty to see and do and, unfortunately, only so many hours in a day. While we can’t help you make the difficult decisions as to what to see and what to (sadly) miss, we can definitely tell you about all the goodies Florence has to offer.
The Duomo is Florence’s most iconic landmark and worth the price of a train ticket alone. Brunelleschi’s dome dominates the Florentine skyline. This marvel of architectural genius will take your breath away. After you’ve taken in the beauty of the Duomo’s white, pink and green facade, head inside. Here, be sure to look up and check out the ceiling’s stunning, wood carved paneling. Then look down and take in the beautiful inlaid marble floor before making your way down a flight of stairs near the main entrance, where you will find the Crypt. No trip is complete without also climbing up to the dome’s terrace and taking in the spectacular views of the city below.
Art buffs, you’re in for a treat. The Uffizi houses the world’s greatest collection of Italian Renaissance art. The collection is displayed in chronological order. So, begin with the works of Greek artists and slowly make your way through art history right up until the paintings of 18th century Venetian artists. With over 101 rooms, be sure to wear comfy shoes.
If you’ve got your mind set on catching a glimpse of Michelangelo’s magnificent Statue of David, then a trip to the Galleria dell’Accademia is a must. There’s a queue, but the statue is worth the wait. Don’t forget though, that this museum also houses other extraordinary pieces of art. There are some fantastic paintings from Florentine painters of the 13th and 16th century as well as Giambologna’s full-size plaster modello for the Rape of the Sabine Women.
Donated to the State in 1919, the enormous Renaissance palace was once used as the personal residence for the Medici Family. Now, it makes up a series of museums that houses a silver museum and two art museums. Here, you take in beautiful artworks by Raphael and Ruben as well as a fashion display that dates from Cosimo I to the 1990s.
Essentially the Palazzo Pitti’s backyard, the Boboli Gardens are a sprawling space of greenery. And, if you’ve just traveled from Rome to Florence by train, you may want to get some fresh air and stretch the legs. Designed by Niccolo Pericoli to function as an oasis in the city, the gardens date back four centuries. Don’t miss the centerpiece of the Gardens, the Buontalenti Grotto. The artificial cave is an amazing piece of work decorated with rocks, stalactites, stalagmites, sponges and shells that all depict pastoral and animal figures.
Remember, you’re in the city that gifted the world gelato. So, make sure you put some time aside to sample some of the world’s finest. Or, you could snuff out a gelato tour. Spoons at the ready. For those with more time, check out the city’s many gelato making classes and sign up to learn all about the sweet confection’s history, its basic ingredients and how to make your own.
If you’re only in Florence for a day, a great way to soak the city in is to find yourself a tour that will whip you around the city and all its major attractions. For the traditional out there, look for a walking tour, there are heaps. A guided walking tour usually lasts three hours and takes you through the city’s beautiful streets and squares, stopping at the Duomo, Baptistery and Giotto’s Bell Tower.
If you want to see some of the beautiful Tuscan countrysides that surround the city, then consider a Tuscany or Chianti bike tour. It's a fantastic option to explore the region beyond its capital city. For those that don’t feel like pedaling and who’ve got an afternoon or evening to spare then check out Segway tours of Florence. You can cover more distance in less time and enjoy the city from a different perspective.