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.
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.
Instead, this is the map of the high-speed railway line provided by Italo.
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.
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.
Getting to Val d’Orcia
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Cover Photo credit: Trenitalia Press Office
(Updated on 21 April 2022)