Tuscany is well-connected by a network of trains, making traveling within the area convenient and accessible. The regional capital of Florence serves as the primary railway hub, boasting several Tuscany train stations that connect it to the rest of the region.
From Florence, travelers can easily reach destinations such as Pisa, Lucca, Siena, and Arezzo by train for overnight or day trips, allowing them to explore the stunning landscapes, medieval towns, and rich cultural heritage that Tuscany has to offer.
The region’s extensive rail system includes stations owned by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) and Rete Ferroviaria Toscana (RFT), two branches of the Italian rail network. There are high-speed services that connect Tuscany to larger Italian cities, as well as regional lines that cater to smaller towns and scenic routes.
Utilizing trains as the primary mode of transportation within Tuscany not only offers a reliable and efficient way to see the sights but also provides a unique opportunity to experience the charm and beauty of top city destinations as well as the Tuscan countryside.
Tuscan travel by Train: How to Do It
Before heading to the train station be sure you know what time your train departs and leave yourself plenty of time to get to the station and get to the right platform. Nothing further is required if you have already purchased your ticket and seat for a specific date and time. If instead you need to purchase a ticket, be sure to get to the station early as there are often lines at the ticket office. It is important that you can easily roll and lift your luggage, and the smaller the better as the overhead luggage storage is often limited and you will not be allowed to block the train aisle with your luggage.
Getting to the train station is often as easy as walking just a few blocks from your accommodation, but using local taxis or buses is also an option as the train stations are always on the bus line and in some cases they double as the town’s main bus station as well. For taxis, you can have your concierge call ahead to order a taxi or go to a nearby taxi stand (in large cities) for a ride to the station. In more remote areas, you will want to reserve a private driver (also called NCC driver or limo service) several days or weeks in advance who can take you to the train from your accommodation at a predetermined date and time.
Once you arrive to the train station, in very small towns there might be no way to purchase tickets and only one or two platforms to wait on. If you cannot purchase a ticket, ask the conductor as soon as you get on and you might be able to pay a surcharge to purchase a ticket onboard. Some trains also require seat assignments, so this is not a recommended way to use the trains.
In larger towns, you will usually find a cafe selling coffee and snacks, a pay toilet (public toilet which costs between 50 cents and 1 euro to use) and a ticket machine for purchasing tickets. There is usually a small screen with departure and arrival times for upcoming trains with the final destination and any delays listed as well as the platform you will need to go to. Sometimes using the underground tunnels is necessary to reach the desired platform. The trains usually only stop for a few minutes at each station, so be sure to be on the platform and ready to board when the train arrives.
For bigger stations, such as the main station in Florence, you will find a large ticket office with staff to help you purchase your ticket and lots of automated ticket machines as well as restaurants, cafes, large public restrooms (oftentimes even showers), luggage deposit and even shopping. There will also be many platforms and a huge arrivals and departures board that you will need to check so you can make your way to the appropriate platform for departure.
How to Buy Tickets to Travel in Tuscany by Train
Traveling in Tuscany by train is a convenient option for tourists and locals alike. There are various ways to purchase rail journeys in the region, ensuring a hassle-free experience.
Trenitalia is the primary Italian train operator, and their website (www.trenitalia.com) offers an easy-to-navigate platform for purchasing online. Simply input your departure and arrival stations, select the travel date and time, and choose the ticket type that suits you best. Once you have completed the transaction, keep the confirmation email or print the ticket for future reference.
At station ticket offices, you can purchase tickets in person. These offices are available at major train stations, such as Florence’s Santa Maria Novella (SMN) and Pisa Centrale. Ensure you have your final destination and preferred travel time – the ticket agent will provide a ticket per your request.
Ticket machines located on train platforms and inside the stations are another option for purchasing tickets. These machines are usually available in multiple languages and accept various payment methods, including cash and cards. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to buy your desired ticket.
Once you have your ticket, don’t forget to validate it before boarding the train if it doesn’t have a specific date and time or seat reservation already on it. Validation machines are typically located near the platform entrances or on the platforms themselves. Insert your ticket into the machine, and it will print a validation stamp with the date and time. Failure to validate your ticket may result in a fine, so complete this step before boarding.
A Helpful Train Glossary in Italian
When traveling through Tuscany by train, it is essential to familiarize yourself with some common Italian terms. Here are a few key phrases and words to help you navigate the Tuscan trains:
- Treni Regionali – Regional Trains: These local trains connect smaller towns and cities in Tuscany and nearby regions. They are usually slower and have more frequent stops.
- Treni Intercity (IC) – Intercity Trains: Intercity trains offer service between major Italian cities, including those along the Tuscan coast. They are slightly faster than regional trains but may still have multiple stops.
- Alta Velocità (AV) – High-Speed Trains: Reserved for long-distance routes, these trains are the fastest option for travelers. Both Trenitalia and Italo provide high-speed train services.
- Regionale Veloce – Regional Express Trains: These are similar to regional trains but offer more rapid service, featuring fewer stops and, therefore, shorter travel times.
When navigating the train system in Tuscany, keep in mind the following terms related to tickets and boarding:
- Biglietto – Ticket: Purchase your ticket at a train station, an authorized ticket seller, or via mobile app.
- Validazione – Validation: Validate your ticket at a validation machine near the station entrance or platform before boarding the train.
- Binario – Platform: Check the platform number for your train on the station’s departure board.
- Orario – Schedule: Consult the train schedule posted at the station or available online to determine departure and arrival times.
Finally, you may encounter some general terminology while exploring the Tuscany train stations and its train stations:
- Ferrovia – Railway: The rail network that connects various cities and towns throughout Tuscany.
- Stazione ferroviaria – Railway station: The place where passengers can board or disembark.
- Servizio Clienti – Customer service: Reach out to the customer service desk if you have any questions or need assistance during your day trip.
Main Railway Stations in Tuscany and Popular Routes
Florence‘s main train station is an easy walk from most places in the city center and is called Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Firenze SMN). It is located on the main train route between Rome and Milan. From Florence you can catch high speed trains to other major Italian cities like Milan, Bologna, Rome, and Naples.
Pisa and Siena are two other important cities in Tuscany with important stations. Pisa Centrale, the town of the famous leaning tower, connects to Florence and Livorno, while Siena’s central station connects to Florence, often via Empoli. These trains are an essential means of transportation within the region and are well-suited for exploring the best towns in Tuscany.
Even moving between regions is easy, like the train journey from Florence to Rome, spanning over 170 miles, which is only takes about an hour and a half on a fast train. Early morning trains offer the least expensive fares, making it even more convenient for travelers who plan their trip ahead of time. Eurostar (ES) and Intercity (IC) trains run between the major Italian cities, ensuring fast and comfortable journeys.
Explore the Coast of Tuscany
Tuscany’s coastline offers picturesque seaside towns and pristine beaches. Train travel is an excellent way to explore the region’s coastal Tuscan towns, with several train routes offering convenient connections to popular destinations such as Piombino, Castiglioncello and San Vincenzo.
One of Tuscany’s must-visit coastal destinations is the Etruscan Coast. Easily accessed by train from Florence, this stretch of coastline is known for its stunning natural beauty and charming historic villages. Some highlights include Piombino, a town overlooking Elba Island, and Castiglioncello, a seaside resort known for its lush pine forests and pristine beaches. Train stations in both towns make traveling along the coast a breeze.
San Vincenzo, another enchanting destination on the Etruscan Coast, offers a beautiful sandy beach with clear blue waters perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The town’s train station is within walking distance from the beach, making it a hassle-free journey.
Not actually on the sea but slightly inland, you’ll find Torre del Lago, town of the famous composer Giacomo Puccini. This tranquil lakeside town hosts the annual Puccini Festival, celebrating the composer’s work with a series of outdoor operas at the Gran Teatro all’Aperto. The train station is conveniently located in the heart of the town, providing easy access to the lake and surrounding attractions.
Traveling by train allows you to avoid busy roads, parking hassles, and fully immerse yourself in beautiful places and see the many other Tuscan towns along the Tuscan coast.
See Related: Italy Travel Blog
How to get to Siena by train
Siena is the rival city of Florence and home of the Palio horserace and it is brimming with art and culture. It can be reached by train from Florence in about one hour and offers connections via local bus to nearby cities such as San Gimignano, Volterra, and Colle di Val d’Elsa.
Because the train station is not located in the city center, reaching the city’s historic downtown area high on a hill above will require either taking a bus or hailing a taxi. Walking is discouraged as the distance and terrain make it challenging and time-consuming, although escalators that go up the hill do make the climb easier than it was years ago.
When planning to explore Tuscany by train and without a rental car, visitors should consider the following optimal routes:
- Livorno to Pisa: Direct connection
- Pisa to Lucca: Direct connection
- Lucca to Prato: Direct connection
- Prato to Siena: One transfer in Empoli
With proper planning and effective use of train schedules, travelers can efficiently reach Siena and navigate around the Tuscany region by train, providing a convenient and enjoyable experience.
How to get to Chianti by Train
Chianti is renowned for its wine production and offers a stunning countryside of rolling hills covered with vineyards and small boutique wineries. Exploring Chianti by train is a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to driving.
To reach Chianti from Florence, travelers can take a regional train to towns like Siena or Arezzo and then continue their journey through the heart of Chianti via public transport or organized wine tours with tasting of top wines.
Tips for planning your trip to Chianti:
- Regional trains: Trenitalia’s local trains provide a comfortable and cost-effective mode of transportation between cities and towns in Tuscany.
- Wine tours: Numerous wine tours include transportation and allow visitors to experience the world of Chianti wines in depth while leaving the logistics to professionals.
Visiting Chianti by train opens up a world of possibilities for wine enthusiasts and travelers seeking an authentic Tuscan experience.
Getting to Val D’Orcia by Train
To visit Tuscany’s Val D’Orcia region, located 1.5 hours south of Florence, one has several options for transportation. Many travelers opt to take the unique Val d’Orcia steam train. This nostalgic experience is available during specific times of the year: from April to June and from September to early December. The day trips begin and end at the Siena station, with each journey stopping at a different spots along the Asciano – Monte Antico railway, allowing passengers to disembark and walk around charming monuments, museums and the countryside.
The city of Siena serves as a gateway to more rural areas and smaller villages in the Val D’Orcia. Keep in mind that reaching some of these quaint hamlets by train might prove challenging due to a lack of train stations, however there are lots of local buses connecting them. For example you can take bus number 114 from Siena to Buonconvento, reaching Montalcino in just 30 minutes. From Montalcino you can continue on to reach Pienza, Montepulciano, and other enchanting towns in the Val D’Orcia region.
Other good towns to use as a base because of their train stations are Chiusi and Buonconvento. Both towns offer bus connections to Montepulciano, Pienza, and Montalcino, making it an excellent option for those without a car.
Getting to Mugello by Train
Mugello is home to the famous Mugello Race Track and charming towns like Borgo San Lorenzo and Rufina. Accessing Mugello by train is a smart choice as it helps to avoid traffic congestion commonly experienced on roads during peak seasons.
Florence’s main train station, Santa Maria Novella (SMN), is a central hub for traveling through Tuscany, and connecting to Mugello is possible via a combination of train and bus. From Florence, take a train to Borgo San Lorenzo, a town in the heart of Mugello. Upon arrival, consider exploring the local attractions, such as the Church of San Lorenzo and the Medici Villa of Cafaggiolo.
For travelers keen on a more scenic route, hop on Dante’s train from Florence, which takes you on a picturesque journey through the Mugello area. The Treno di Dante stops along this route include idyllic, lesser-known towns and natural landscapes that are perfect for those looking to experience authentic Tuscany and go all the way to Ravenna in neighboring Emilia Romagna.
For those who prefer cycling, renting a bike in Florence or Borgo San Lorenzo is a great option to explore the Mugello region at your own pace. Many bike rental companies offer convenient pick-up and drop-off services at the train stations, enabling you to embark on your cycling adventure with ease.
In addition, the nearby town of Rufina is worth a visit for its renowned wineries and the Wine Museum. To reach Rufina from Florence, take a regional train heading towards Arezzo and disembark at the Rufina station. From here, you can easily explore the town by foot or rent a bike to venture further.
Explore Garfagnana and Lunigiana by Train
Garfagnana and Lunigiana are two enchanting regions in Tuscany, known for their wild and hilly landscapes, charming villages, and rich cultural heritage. Traveling through these areas by train provides a unique experience.
The Lucca-Aulla railway, aka the “Garfagnana Railway,” is the main train route passing through Garfagnana. This line connects the towns and villages in the region, making them easily accessible for tourists. A notable stop along this route is the medieval town of Barga, which boasts a stunning cathedral and panoramic views of the surrounding Garfagnana valley.
Lunigiana, situated north of Garfagnana, has its share of scenic train rides as well. One of the prominent stations in the area is Pontremoli, an ancient town with a rich history dating back to pre-Roman times. Pontremoli features a well-preserved old town with narrow streets, historical buildings, and the impressive Castello del Piagnaro.
How to Get to Tuscany by Train from the Main Italian Airports
Tuscany is well-connected by tram and train to many of the major Italian airports. Here are some of the airports to use when visiting Tuscany:
From Florence Airport
The Florence airport has a convenient and ecological tramway (pictured above) that connects the airport to the city center in just 30 minutes on the T2 line. It costs about 3 euro a person, kids are usually free.
From Pisa Airport
You can use the Pisa Mover from Pisa Airport to Pisa Centrale station, with tickets available directly from the platform’s ticket machines. This journey takes just 5 minutes and makes for a seamless connection to the city to see the leaning tower or continue on to more Tuscany cities such as Florence.
From Bologna Airport
From Bologna Airport, take the shuttle bus (Aerobus or Marconi Express) to the Bologna Centrale station. With frequent high-speed trains, you can reach Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station in just 35 minutes. Slower trains are also available and take around an hour and a half.
From Milan Airports
Travelers arriving at Milan Malpensa Airport should take the Malpensa Express train to Milano Centrale station. From there, high-speed trains will get you to Florence in about 1 hour and 40 minutes. If you’re flying into Milan Linate Airport, catch bus 73 to Milano San Babila, then take the M1 subway line to Milano Centrale where you can board a train to Florence.
From Rome Airport
Upon landing at Rome Fiumicino Airport, visitors can take the Leonardo Express train to Roma Termini station. From Roma Termini, high-speed trains to Florence take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, while regional trains take about 2 hours and 50 minutes. Once in Florence, passengers can easily travel to other Tuscan destinations via connecting trains.
See Related: Best Tuscany Castles For Rent
What is the most picturesque train route in Tuscany?
The magic and beauty of Italy are on full display in Tuscany, so any route you choose will be filled with exciting sights and beautiful scenery. However, if you want to go between the main cities of Tuscany, you can relax in comfort on the train as you easily reach Pisa, Livorno, Siena, and Cortona, among other destinations.
There are also coastal routes with the main north-south connection going through Orbetello in Maremma and linking Livorno, Pisa, Viareggio, and Massa in the Versilia region. For day trips to smaller towns near these main stops, you might need to use a local bus or private transportation. If you’re also planning to visit the Cinque Terre, it’s worth noting that train travel makes this experience simple and efficient going through La Spezia.
For those who prefer an immersive exploration of Tuscany’s countryside, consider renting a villa in the region, as it provides a unique opportunity to enjoy the local cuisine, attractions, and surroundings. For more inspiration and ideas for your next trip to Tuscany, refer to a curated list of the 20 best things to do in the area.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I travel from Florence to Tuscany by train?
To travel from Florence to other cities in Tuscany by train for day trips, first go to Florence city’s main station: Firenze Santa Maria Novella. From there, you can reach Lucca, Siena, Pisa, and many other locations. The Frecciarossa high-speed lines connect Florence with major Italian cities like Rome, Milan, and Venice, taking around two hours each way to reach all three destinations.
What are the main cities in Tuscany with train stations?
The main cities in Tuscany with train stations include Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and Arezzo. These cities are well connected by regional and high-speed lines, providing a convenient way to explore the sights and attractions of Tuscany. Small towns like San Gimignano often have a bus station instead.
How can I plan a Tuscany itinerary using trains?
When planning a Tuscany itinerary by train, identify the cities and towns you want to visit. Remember that while larger cities have train stations, many smaller towns do not. For these destinations, consider using buses or renting a car. Once you have decided on your stops, check the train schedules and connections using Trenitalia or Italo websites, or an online platform like Trainline, to purchase your train tickets in advance.
Organize your visits according to the proximity and train connections between the destinations. For example, you might start in Florence, then head to Pisa and Lucca, which are very close to each other, and then make your way to Siena before going to Arezzo and finally circling back to Florence.