Traveling around Tuscany by train is definitely a good way to discover the beauties of our region. If you are scared of driving a car along the roads of the Belpaese, trains give you the opportunity to move around comfortably sit in your seat, and admire the different landscapes rolling out of the window.

The connection between the main cities of Tuscany by train is absolutely great. You can easily go from/to Florence and Pisa, Lucca, or Siena, and move up and down along the coastline. Instead, it could be more difficult to reach rural areas and small villages due to the lack of train stations. In this case, do not worry. Usually, public buses run between these hamlets and the closest rail stations.

how to travel in tuscany by train

In Italy, there are two main train companies. Trenitalia provides high-speed trains (the Frecce), and also a widespread coverage of the territory with national and local trains. The other company, Italo, operates only with high-speed trains connecting the main Italian cities.

Tuscany by train: how to do it

Here is a map of the Tuscan railway line. Trenitalia provides the service mostly with Regionale Trains, but also with a few Intercity IC Trains that run along the coast.

Trenitalia railway system tuscany by train

Instead, this is the map of the high-speed railway line provided by Italo.

Italo railway system

Main railway stations in Tuscany

The station of Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Firenze SMN) is obviously the main railway terminal of the region. It is located along the route between Rome and Milan. From Firenze SMN you get high-speed trains to Milan, Bologna, Rome, Naples (Frecciarossa or Italo), and Venice (Frecciargento).

Taking a Regionale train instead, you can reach all the corners of the region. From Florence, in approximately one hour, you can be in the Piazza Grande of Arezzo, or walk along the walls of Lucca. But you also reach the coast where you can rest in the sun in Livorno, or take a picture with the leaning tower in Pisa. To get a plane, trains also lead to Pisa International airport Galileo Galilei.

Pisa Centrale is another important station being a crossroad between the line coming from Florence and the coastal train route. Also, if you land at Pisa Airport, every 7 minutes, the train shuttle “Pisa Mover” runs from/to the central station. From there you reach your final destination in Tuscany by train. The journey takes only 5 minutes, and you can buy tickets directly on the platform from the ticket machines.

tuscany railway system
Train map of Tuscany

Explore the coast of Tuscany by train

The coastal railway line connects the main seaside resorts of Tuscany: Viareggio, Pietrasanta, Massa, and Carrara along the Riviera of Versilia; Livorno, Castiglioncello, Cecina, Campiglia on the Etruscan Coast; Follonica and Grosseto in Maremma. Moreover, if you take the south direction, you can reach Rome and Fiumicino International Airport. Instead, going north, you reach Cinque Terre, Genoa, and Milan.

Heading to Siena

Departing from Florence SMN, there are some daily Regionale trains heading to Siena. Instead, if you are in Pisa or Lucca, you have to get the train to Empoli, get off, and change locomotive. On the way, if you have time, do not forget to stop in Monteriggioni, one of our favorite villages in Tuscany. If you are heading to San Gimignano, stop in Poggibonsi and get a bus. From the southern Maremma, you can get a train to Grosseto or Montepescali.

Drink and don’t drive: Chianti by Train

Reaching Chianti by train is not that easy, but it’s not impossible. The only two train stations of the “shire” where the famous red wine is made are Poggibonsi and Castellina. They are both along the route between Empoli and Siena. From these points, you can catch a bus to reach the villages you wish to visit without getting worried if you drink one glass too many.

A train crossing the italian countryside
Train running along the Italian countryside

Getting to Val d’Orcia

If you decide to visit this fairytale part of Tuscany by train, there are two stations: Montepulciano and Buonconvento.

Montepulciano is on the line between Siena and Chiusi/Chianciano Terme. Buonconvento is on the line that connects Siena to Montepescali in Maremma.

From there, you can proceed by bus to Pienza, Montalcino, San Quirico d’Orcia, and all the other nearby villages listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites of Tuscany.

For the bus connections, check here.

Frecciarossa Locomotive
Frecciarossa high-speed train – Photo credit: Trenitalia Press Office

Getting to Mugello

To reach the beautiful nature of Mugello in the northeastern part of Tuscany, from Florence you can get the regional train that goes to Faenza (in Emilia Romagna). S. Piero a Sieve, Borgo San Lorenzo, and Marradi are the main places. If I were you I would not miss visiting the area in autumn when they celebrate the chestnuts, the traditional fruit of the fall, with many Sagra where you can taste it in many different ways and recipes.

Explore Garfagnana and Lunigiana

You can easily cross the wild and mountainous region of Garfagnana and Lunigiana by getting a Regionale train from Lucca or from Aulla. Along this railway line is plenty of places off the beaten path to discover. Borgo a Mozzano is known for the Devil’s Bridge and the Halloween festival. Barga is famous to be one of the most beautiful villages of Tuscany and for the summer jazz festival.

In Equi Terme, you can be an explorer for a day at the Geo-Archaeological Park, and during Christmas, visit the suggestive living nativity scene along the alleys of the village and into the grotto.

Castelnuovo Garfagnana and Fivizzano are other two lovely villages where to stop for a visit to their castles and taste delicious traditional food.

The train station of Aulla in Lunigiana tuscany by train
Regionale Train in Lunigiana – Photo credit: Trenitalia Press Office

How to get to Tuscany by train from the main Italian Airports

From Bologna Airport

If you do not land directly in Tuscany, the closest and more comfortable airport to fly to is the Bologna International “Marconi” Airport. Every 11 minutes there is a shuttle bus that connects the airport to the Central Rail Station. From there you can choose a Frecciarossa that in less than an hour will bring you to Florence SMN.

From Milan Airports

The International airport of Milano Malpensa (MPX) is connected with the railway terminal of Milano Centrale by the Malpensa Express train or the Malpensa Shuttle bus. If you land at Linate Airport in Milan, you can reach the central rail station by AirBus. In case you land at Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport, there is the Orio Shuttle bus. Once in Milano Centrale Terminal, head to Florence with Frecciarossa, or Italo. Instead, if your destination is the coast (Carrara, Massa, Viareggio, Pisa, Livorno) there are the Frecciabianca, the Intercity or Regionale trains at your choice.

Red Italo Train
Italo Locomotive – Photo credit: Italo Press Office

From Rome Airport

From the International Airport Leonardo da Vinci of Fiumicino (FCO) in Rome, take the non-stop shuttle train Leonardo Express provided by Trenitalia. Every 15 minutes it connects the airport to Roma Termini station. From there you can choose to reach Tuscany by high-speed trains (Italo, Frecciarossa, or Frecciargento) or by Regionale Veloce train.

How to buy tickets to travel to Tuscany by train

You can buy your tickets online on Trenitalia and Italo websites or directly at the train stations. Consider that only the biggest towns have a ticket office, while most of the small stations have only ticket machines and ticket desks open only a few hours per day.

What about rates? High-speed trains are not so cheap, especially if you buy tickets close to departure. Instead, if you book in advance you can find really nice prices and special offers. I suggest you look at both websites as they always do offers (for example Saturdays and Sundays offers, train + car offers …).

Online tickets are personal and only the named person can travel with them. They do not need to be validated before getting on the train and to be printed out too. The only thing you need is the PNR code to show in case of control. This rule works for all kinds of trains.

Paper tickets bought at the train station need to be validated at the specific machine before departure (in Italian we say obliterare il biglietto), otherwise, you can incur a penalty.

train at sunset
Train at Sunset – Photo credit: Trenitalia Press Office

A Helpful Train glossary in Italian

We end this post with a short glossary with Italian words that may help you organize your trip and also once in Italy.

  • Frecciarossa: the fastest high-speed train in the country. It reaches 300 km/h (186 mi/h) of speed making easier the connections between the main cities of Italy in only a few hours.
  • Frecciargento: comfortable fast trains that run both along the high-speed and normal railways. They reach the maximum speed of 250 km/h (155 mi/h).
  • Intercity and FrecciaBianca: fast comfortable trains that run along the normal railroads
  • Regionale: slow trains that stop at every station and allow visitors to reach even small destinations.
  • Regionale Veloce: local trains that go faster than Regionale and do not stop at all stations along the railway.
  • Treni in Arrivo: arrivals.
  • Treni in Partenza: departures.
  • Binario: platform.
  • In orario: on time.
  • In ritardo: delayed.
  • Obliterare: validate the ticket at the specific machine in the train station.

For other handy information about traveling in Italy by train, take a look here at this post written by the Italian Storyteller Eleonora. If you get any other questions, leave a comment and I will be glad to help you out.

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Travel in Tuscany by train

Cover Photo credit: Trenitalia Press Office

(Updated on 21 April 2022)

 

 

 

 

30 thoughts on “How to travel around Tuscany by train

  1. leona says:

    Great tips. We love hiring a car to drive to stations and catching trains in Tuscany. We love this means that we can stay more rurally

  2. VeryHungryTraveller says:

    What a very good idea to go by train. Both because the wine is great, and drinking doesn’t work if you stop at the vineyards. But also the twisty Tuscany roads are better suited to walking or bicycles than driving – they made me barfy! So I kind of wish we’d taken the train instead of driving on those mountain roads.

  3. Jessica - Independent Travel C says:

    A helpful resource for those wanting to travel by train in Tuscany. We have traveled through Italy in a few ways, but train is probably the way we have traveled most. Italy is really well connected, the only issue we had is that the trains (especially in smaller towns) were often not on schedule! 😉

  4. Punita Malhotra says:

    Travelling through Europe by train is a delight. And talking of Tuscany, the stunning countryside and the visions of hilltop castle towns is a treat for the eyes. Trains are the best way to experience this part of Italy.

  5. Amanda Kendle says:

    Very useful post! My father and stepmother recently returned from Italy and did lots of train travel around the Lucca/Pisa etc area, not always completely smoothly – so this would have been useful to them!

  6. Lori Simonetti Sorrentino says:

    We love traveling by train in Italy especially between Venice and Tuscany and around the Cinque Terre. There’s lots of good information here, especially the tip about validating your tickets or incurring a fine. I can’t tell you how many tourists we’ve seen that it’s happened to. It’s a great way and easy way to get around your beautiful country!

  7. Kelly Dunning says:

    Traveling via train is my absolute favorite way to travel! This post is quite informative – thanks for including the map and the timetables. This would be a great way to get around if you were doing wine tastings, as you wouldn’t have to worry about driving. Do you find that the prices for train travel are more expensive than other destinations in Europe? Or how do they compare?

  8. Medha Verma Bector says:

    We explored Tuscany by car a few years ago and I absolutely loved the experience of the road trip. However, travelling by train also seems like a brilliant idea! Especially to Pisa, I think it makes sense to go by train and even to Chianti, so that you can enjoy some wine tasting and don’t have to drive after that! What we didn’t do and I would love to experience that in the future is the coastal rail. I’m sure the views would be breathtaking!

  9. Tamara Wilcox says:

    The only trains we rode on in Italy were the Cinque Terre train and the train from Milan to Lake Como. We thought about using trains for more of our Italy adventure, but ended up using a rental car because our schedule was so jam-packed and it would have been very difficult to keep the schedule going by train! Still, train travel sounds so relaxing and romantic!

  10. Kevin Wagar says:

    Tuscany is absolutely magical. And with nights filled with delicious Italian vino, a train is the only civilized way to travel. You’ve provided fantastic information that I could even follow after downing a few too many glasses! Cheers!

  11. Scott says:

    Trying to determine the best way to get from Florence Airport to Marriot Hotel (Via Giovanni Pascoli, Castelvecchio Pascoli Barga Lucca 55051 Italy). Train? Shuttle? Then, the following day after arriving, finding a tour of the local area sights.

    • Nicola Bandini says:

      Rent a car is the best way. Also because you can easily move across the area, called “Garfagnana”. It is plenty of nice places to see (Barga, Castelnuovo Garfagnana, Vagli Lake, Orecchiella Natural Park…). The hotel is surrounded by nature and the biggest closest town is Lucca. A private transfer from Florence Apt to Il Ciocco Marriot hotel costs about € 200,00 each way. Train is an option but it takes time. From Florence APT, you need to take the tram to Florence SMN Train Station. Then get a train to Lucca. From Lucca another train to Barga/Gallicano train station. From there, ask the hotel for a shuttle. Another option may be to reach Lucca by train (from Florence Central Rail station) and then get a private transfer to the Hotel.

  12. Elaine Muncaster says:

    Please tell me what train line is best to take from Rome airport to Luca in Tuscany.
    The name of the stops to watch for so I will know where to get off. Do I need a transfer?
    Thank you if you can help

    • Nicola Bandini says:

      Dear Elaine, many thanks for the comment. There are a few options but the easiest way is this one: From FCO Rome Airport you take the train shuttle to Roma Termini Central Rail Station. From Roma Termini, you get the IC Intercity fast train to Pisa Centrale. From Pisa Centrale, you take the “Regionale” Train that in less than 30 minutes arrives in Lucca. A transfer from Roma to Lucca may be quite expensive but obviously is the fastest and more comfortable way. Feel free to drop me a private message at info@mytravelintuscany.com if you need other info.

  13. Melissa says:

    Nicola – great article! Need your advice now. We are traveling from Rome to Chiusi/Chianciano Terme and staying at agritourismo Casa di Fabbrini fron June 3-June 9. We will not have a car. What destination/activity suggestions do you have for us by train? We definitely want to do a wine tasting and we would love to do a Vespa or e-Bike tour. We have looked at a bunch of options but I am curious as to what local insight you can offer. Any information you provide would be much appreciated!

    • Nicola Bandini says:

      Dear Melissa, happy that our article is helpful for you. Being close to San Casciano dei Bagni I would not miss a bath in their hot springs. By train, you can easily reach Arezzo, which is quite close and is a lovely town not so touristic. You can also go to Florence for a day. By bus from Chiusi, you can go to Montepulciano, another unmissable town where you can also take wine tasting. Regarding activities, in addition to checking online, I would recommend you contact Casa Fabbrini directly. I am sure they have plenty of ideas, and contacts and they will be pleased to assist you with reservations. (I also work in hospitality in northern Tuscany and I am always happy to help my Guests so, I am sure the Staff in Casa Fabbrini will do the same).

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