Travel by train around Tuscany

Becca

New member
Hi there,

Firstly, I have found your website a fantastic source of information to plan my trip to Italy- thank you!

I plan to go in October and stay in Florence for 7 nights. I would like to ideally have Florence as a base to travel around the region- Chianti is on my list and Pisa. Is all this possible by train? I would like to also visit the coast but am not sure where to visit! Any suggestions would be grateful! :)

Thanks

Becca
 

Valentina

New member
7 days in Tuscany by train

Dear Becca,

Florence
is a good base for your vacation in Tuscany, especially if you're moving by public transports ;) From and to Florence depart and arrive most of trains and buses for other destinations in the region.

Pisa is just 1 hour train distance from Florence. I suggest you spend half day there visiting Piazza dei Miracoli and the Leaning Tower, and the rest of the day in Lucca that is about 20 minutes away. Lucca, whose city center is very beautiful, is then about 1 hour train from Florence.

About Chianti, the best way to move around is by bus. There are just two main train stations in Chianti: Poggibonsi and Castellina. From there you have then to take buses for other destinations. Otherwise you can take directly the SITA bus 365 from Florence station. Here you find more information about moving around Chianti, both by train and bus.

Regarding the coast there are several places reachable by train. For example going south I suggest you visit Castiglioncello, that I personally love. The train station is within walking distance from the center and the sea and is about 1 hour and half from Florence. There are no sandy beaches but rocks and the sea is clear and blue. Otherwise closer to Florence, about 1 hour and 10 minutes, there is Viareggio, characterized by long sandy beaches, as well as nice shops and clubs. I recommend you read this article about top beaches in Tuscany to find more ideas.

Last but not least I strongly recommend you check train schedules ahead of time and plan your trips. I also recommend you read this other thread about trains in Tuscany.

Well I hope my suggestions helped for planning your vacation in Tuscany. Please don't hesitate to come back with any other question, I'll be glad to answer :D
 

Cr360

New member
Sounds really interesting, Thank you Valentina for such useful information i realy like it and this also help me because i am also planing to do the same trip like Becca, and i found your conversation, But one thing i want to ask is that if i take my car there then it would be better or train would be better.
 

Lourdes

Administrator
Staff member
Ciao Cr360,

If you're traveling to Tuscany by car, then by all means use it to get around the region, it will make everything easier. The only place where you really don't need a car is within Florence or Siena (within the historical centers as you cannot enter if you aren't a resident or have a special permit). You can make your base in Florence but outside the city center or in the immediate surroundings and then use your car to visit the rest of Tuscany. When you are in Florence just use public transport to get downtown. Take a look here to find accommodation in Florence outside of the city center, highly recommend il Palagetto just outside the historical center since it offers parking. Outside of Florence, take a look at Poderino as well as Poggio al Sole outside Florence.
 

Csula

New member
Thank you for everyone's comments and input...it makes planning trips so much easier. I'm on my way to Tuscany at the beginning of December for a week (not ideal, but it's all I've got). I want to land in Pisa and make my way to Siena, Cortona and San Vincenzo and back to Pisa (with stay-overs in two smaller towns/villages inbetween). I'm finding it VERY difficult to figure out what my train fares will cost for this 'trip'...the Italian train website has not been straightforward and it keeps saying the option I'm trying to book is not available. Could someone please help?
Many thanks
A South African in Europe
 

Cristina

New member
Hello Csula and welcome to the Forum!

I've checked your routes in the Trenitalia railway website (http://www.fsitaliane.it/homepage_en.html) and this are the prices I've found:

one way from Pisa (aeroporto) to Siena costs about 10€ (you need to change the train in Empoli train station)
Siena-Cortona (Camucia-Cortona station) is about 10€ (change in Chiusi-Chianciano Terme)
Cortona-San Vincenzo has not a good train service. You should take a train from Camucia-Cortona to Florence, here to Pisa or Livorno and then a third train to San Vincenzo. (it should cost totally about 25 €)
one way from San Vincenzo to Pisa (aeroporto) costs about 7€

It seems all tickets are available for purchase online, after registration here: https://www.lefrecce.it/B2CWeb/customerLogin.do?parameter=registerCustomer
 

Csula

New member
Thank you so much Cristina, I really appreciate your detailed input!
Kind regards


Hello Csula and welcome to the Forum!

I've checked your routes in the Trenitalia railway website (http://www.fsitaliane.it/homepage_en.html) and this are the prices I've found:

one way from Pisa (aeroporto) to Siena costs about 10€ (you need to change the train in Empoli train station)
Siena-Cortona (Camucia-Cortona station) is about 10€ (change in Chiusi-Chianciano Terme)
Cortona-San Vincenzo has not a good train service. You should take a train from Camucia-Cortona to Florence, here to Pisa or Livorno and then a third train to San Vincenzo. (it should cost totally about 25 €)
one way from San Vincenzo to Pisa (aeroporto) costs about 7€

It seems all tickets are available for purchase online, after registration here: https://www.lefrecce.it/B2CWeb/customerLogin.do?parameter=registerCustomer
 

MLM

New member
I have no idea how to do this forum thing and I'm sure I'm doing it wrong but here goes. I will be coming to Italy in April. Will be in Venice for a day, then will be coming to Tuscany for 6 days, then on to Rome for 4 days - at least thats what I'm thinking now. I'm struggling with this. First time I've been and have no idea what I'm doing. I want to see Volterra, San Gimignano, Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre maybe, Siena and I'm sure I'm leaving out a million other beautiful places. My husband is not keen on driving so we will be taking public transportation. I need to know the best place to stay that will let us have access to see all these places easily. Also any suggestions on places to stay in Rome or Venice would be greatly appreciated. I would love to stay within walking distance to the spanish steps etc in Rome. I've been told that from Rome we can do day trips to Pompeii which I hope is true. In Venice we would need to stay in the heart of the historic district because we will only be there one night. If I've left off anything that is essential please let me know. I know that I have not mentioned the sights in the cities but I do have those down.
 

Lourdes

Administrator
Staff member
Ciao MLM,
don't worry, you posted fine! you could have created a new thread too by clicking on "+ start new thread" at the top of the main forum but this works too!

Yes, don't worry about the sights just yet, first try to figure out your destinations.

I assume you're flying to Venice and flying out of Rome to make your itinerary work better. You definitely need to stay central to make the most of your time. For hotels in Venice, search here.
you definitely want something central to make it easy to get to as well as move around. From Venice you can catch a fast train to Florence (there is www.trenitalia.com as well as the new Italo company that is now competing with the national rail company and have very interesting ticket rates, so check them both out - http://www.italotreno.it/en/).
The same goes for Rome - search here for hotels in Rome, and the train schedules above to see what times are good for you.
As far as Pompeii goes from Rome, an organized tour is your best bet - the distance is about 250 km and trying to do it on your own with public transportation requires a lot of planning and organization. Take a look at this tour for example. There are many companies offering these tours so with a bit of research you can find one you like.

Coming back to Tuscany, if your husband isn't keen on driving, then he doesn't have to. But for 6 days, you have too many places listed and you'll need to make a selection.
From Venice, go to Florence - spend at least 2 days here.
Use Florence as your base - one day head to Siena, another to San Gimignano. Volterra would be doable with bus from Siena, so another possibility is to head to Siena for 2 days and use that as your base to visit Volterra and San Gimignano, on two separate days..... see, we're already at 5 days (2 for Florence, 1 each for Siena, SG and Volterra.
You can try to do the day in Pisa before heading to Siena or if you continue to use Florence as your base it will be easy to get there from Florence.
Cinque Terre are a bit out of your way once you're in Tuscany (takes about 2.5-3 hrs to get there by train from Florence. So I'd leave them out.... if you leave Pisa to your last day, you can head down to Rome directly from there rather than returning to Florence.

So you CAN see what's on your list of places without a car, you already have a good base of places covered and doable so far, don't try to fit too many more in because you're already doing 3 cities and a whole region (Tuscany) in 11 days.
Others off your list would require a car in any case! One you have your days somewhat set, you should check out the Tuscany Accommodation link in my signature to start looking at accommodation in Tuscany :D
 

kovsie

New member
I want to explore Chianti / Tuscany in July. I know this is rather late, but here goes: I have booked an apartment in florence for 3 days. Before that I want to stay for 7 nights somewhere in a small town: in my dreams this will be in a place with a stunning view of the countryside, within walking distance of a nice bakery (!) and a train station. I do not want to rent a car. Reading the posts above I realize that I can stay in florence the whole time. However, it will be lovely to stay in a smaller place for a few days. Please help - are there any small towns like this?
 

Lourdes

Administrator
Staff member
stay along the train route

Ciao Kovsie,

I would say your best bet is to start your search by looking for accommodation in specific towns along the train route that goes down from Empoli to Siena... the most beautiful towns that come to mind are Certaldo, Staggia Senese and Monteriggioni.... now Monteriggioni is a castle and there surely is a bakery and restaurants but it is on a hill and the train station closest is in Castellina Scalo (about 2.5km o 1.5miles away) so rather than stay within the castle walls you could stay somewhere in the countryside between the two. If you stay in Staggia or in Certaldo, you won't have problems are they both have the station in town, restaurants, coffee bars and bakeries.

Start your search here since you can search by town!

If you need any other suggestions, let me know ;-)
 

Paula R

New member
Hi there !!
So glad I discovered this site, very useful.
Next september I'm going with my husband on a 4-day honeymoon to Tuscany. Our plain will land in Bologna but we want to go to Firenze and other spots, on the coast too. very few time and we want to travel by train.
Can you please help us with some information about the most beautiful spots we can see in just 4 days ? And please give us some info about nice, clean and cheap places to stay in Firenze...not very expensive.
thank you and I'll wait for your reply
 
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Lourdes

Administrator
Staff member
Ciao Paula! Glad you found us and are finding the site and forum useful!

As far as traveling around the region - from Bologna, you can catch a pretty fast train to Florence without problems. Is this your first time to Florence? Then I'd recommend spending at least 2 days here to really see what Florence has to offer - you won't be able to see everything, but at least cover the main sights in this beautiful Renaissance city. See this suggest itinerary: http://www.visitflorence.com/itineraries-in-florence/two-days-in-florence.html

If you're traveling just with public transportation, then you can easily get to the coast passing through Pisa.
You can head to the Versilia area so basically to Viareggio, Camaiore or Pietrasanta - all of that area has nice sandy beaches.
Or to Tirrenia or along the train route down the coast south, all the way to Castiglioncello. There are many choices: the essential part here to remember is you have limited time!!
4 days isn't a lot, so the best choice will be to head to the area where you can get to the quickest so you don't waste too much time moving around. What direction are you heading to after the 4 days? back to Bologna or south to Rome?

I suggest 2 days in Florence, then heading to Viareggio (since you can do it by train) and then back to Florence if you have to head back to Bologna.
If you're heading south to Rome after the 4 days, then you don't need to head back to Florence... I'd suggest getting back on the train and heading south along the coast. If you go to Orbetello, you can spend a day on the coast there in this area of Tuscany called Maremma - beautiful! If you had more time.... I'd suggest Elba but for that you really do need more time and your own car would also be nice!
 

Paula R

New member
Ciao Lourdes !!
Thank you so much for your help !! I'll arrive in Bologna on september 18th and catch the train to Florence on that same day. On the 21st I'll have to get back in Bologna to see the city and catch the plane back to Portugal on the next day.
It's very few time but I hope to get back soon with more time ;)
Now I'll see your suggestions and take advantage of them the best i can !!

Thank you :)))
 

Lourdes

Administrator
Staff member
You're welcome! Yep, 2.5 days not enough time but you can get a taste and then plan another trip to come back longer!

As far as the coast, I'd definitely think Viareggio or any of the coastal towns right next to it (Lido di Camaiore, Marina di Pietrasanta, Forte dei Marmi) would be easiest to get to - they are all on the train line. Check timetables on www.trenitalia.com
 

HanaN.

New member
Hi everybody, i am new here, but as Becca, i will also be in Tuscany, Firenze, 2.-10.October. :) Eager to learn about the possibilities, and this thread seems so useful.
Can I ask you which places around Firenze would you recommend me to visit if i have alotted this quantity of time and not more:( ? I thought about Elba, San Gimignano,Pisa, Lucca, Volterra, Siena, Asissi, trip to countryside somewhere, to the coast to enjoy also see as we dont have sea where i live O:)
I know I cant see all in so few day and I have never been to Firenze before so I need lots of time for this too?
Any suggestions as to what choose to see as much as possible in the time I can spend in Tuscany.
thank a lot for all of your suggestions.

I would also like to ask you how far and easy it is to get in Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano from the train station to the historical centre? Walking not very far, or is there a frequently going bus perhaps??
p.s. i don´t drive and won´t be able to use a car. need info about public transport only.
 
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Lourdes

Administrator
Staff member
Ciao HanaN,

Seems we missed your questions in time to be of much help, so sorry about that!

You're here right now so hope you are enjoying your time in Florence and Tuscany - and not doing everything you had planned as there won't be enough days ;-).

As far as day trips and distance from center - all buses/trains practically always take you right into the town or close by, so that they can be reached really easily by foot. This is the case for San Gimignano and Siena (by bus) and Pisa and Lucca (by train).
 

Tony

New member
Train Travel in Florence

Hello

I am traveling with my family (4 of us) to Florence for 2 weeks from 2nd August to 15th August 2015. My daughter is attending the Scuola di Danza Hamlyn Ballet School at Via Maggio, 7, 50125, Firenze for the 2 weeks.

Ideally, we would like to stay outside Florence and travel into Florence city center to drop her off and collect her each day. Can you recommend an area to stay in which is not too much of a daily commute, has an easy and not too expensive train journey.

Many thanks in advance for any help you can give us.

Regards

Tony
 

Travi Risonanti

New member
Western Tuscany by Train and Bus Overview

Hi Becca,

Great that you are motivated to travel by train, and there are many places you can go, combined with buses from the station into town, e.g. Siena, but some parts of Tuscany are unreachable unless you have a car or are prepared to take long bus rides.

Train service in Italy is generally very good, and very inexpensive. I see others have given you links to trenitalia etc... Just keep an ear out for sporadic strikes so you can make alternative plans. Strikes only tend to last a day at a time so they won't ruin your whole itinerary.

The main train line through tourist Tuscany runs in a southwestern curve from Florence to Siena stopping at many small towns on the way, some that are well worth visiting.

Heading first west from Florence, Montelupo Fiorentino has a big ceramics tradition and has a lovely church on a very high rock.

The next main stop and interchange is Empoli, where you can get buses to Vinci, Leonardo's birthplace.

Trains from Empoli either continue west to Pisa and Livorno (a lovely naval city with seaside and canal walks, with lots of pretty barges and boats and seagulls!), or head south to Siena. You have to make sure you know where your train is headed when you get on at Florence, so if need be you can change at Empoli.

Heading south, Certaldo Alto is a lovely well-preserved medieval hilltop village, birthplace of the poet Boccaccio, that hosts a fantastic street theatre festival every July, this year from July 15th - 19th. The train station is right in the middle of the modern town, Certaldo, below Certaldo Alto, and you can either walk up to Certaldo Alto or take the funicular railway.

A few miles further south is Poggibonsi, a commercial and industrial town, but it is here you want to get off if you want to visit San Gimignano as the buses depart from the station and take about 25 minutes to get there.

Siena is the end of the line.

As for the classic Chianti region, which is southeast of Florence, the more beautiful villages like Greve, Gaiole, Raddha, Castellina...are not served by train, but you can get buses to most of them from Florence bus station - look for SITA buses.

There is a train line that runs southeast from Florence to Arezzo, another beautiful historic city, and this is also the line with connections to Perugia in Umbria which is a very striking and atmospheric ancient Etruscan town, well worth going to. You also need to take buses into the town from the station.

I hope this has given you a good summary of what is possible without a car!
 
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