Florence is the perfect side trip from Rome. It provides an essential introduction to Tuscany, with its local food and its awe-inspiring views around every corner. Whether you have one day or one week, a trip to Florence is worthwhile; And what better way to get there, than by an easy train trip from Rome?
Before You Go:
If Possible, Buy Tickets Ahead of Time
If your itinerary is unplanned, you can purchase a train ticket at one of the kiosks at Roma Termini station on the day before or day of your trip (though this will likely be more expensive). However, if you have a schedule to stick to, go ahead and purchase your ticket ahead of time online with Trenitalia – an official rail company operating throughout Italy. When purchasing, your departure station is Roma Termini, and your arrival station is Firenze S.M. Novella. You have the choice between a regionale train, which takes about four hours, or a high speed Alta Velocita (AV) “Frecciarossa” or “Frecciargento” train, which takes only one and a half. When booked in advance, the prices are similar. Taking the AV train makes an ambitious day trip very doable. (For tips in seeing Florence in a day see our Florence in a Day itinerary and video.)
Pack a Picnic
You have your tickets, now you need your fuel. While there is a food cart on the train, your best bet is to take along a few provisions, especially if you are taking the longer journey. Good options are easily portable. My favorites include olives, figs, a hunk of cheese, salame, chocolate, mineral water, and maybe even a tiny box of wine. You could also stop in one of the cafeterias in town before you leave and get pizza al taglio to bring along.
During Your Journey:
Location, Location, Location
If possible, grab a window seat on the right side of the train for truly delightful views. There is something rather romantic about enjoying your picnic while gazing out the window at hilltop villages as the train bumps along.
What about Luggage?
Similar to a plane, there are overhead spaces to place your luggage. Carrying a large suitcase? This will usually go in a specified location at either end of the car. In that case, sit nearby so you can keep an eye on it. Now that you are settled, relax. Enjoy the ride, and perhaps crack open that guidebook (and bottle of wine) and plan your time in Firenze.
Arrival in Florence:
A short trip later, you will be arriving in Florence at the Stazione Santa Maria Novella. This station is about as central as it gets, located very close to the city center. If you are in a rush, you can take a cab for about ten Euro. But, if you are eager to stretch your legs after your train journey, why not stroll? Both the Ponte Vecchio and the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (home of Il Duomo) are about a fifteen-minutes’ walk away, while the Mercato Centrale, with its delicious and informal eateries, is only ten. Perhaps food first, then sightseeing; The city of Florence is now yours to savor.