Getting around in Tuscany is relatively easy, even without a car. Chances are there’s a bus or train that can take you where you need to go.
Bigger cities in the north of Tuscany are well connected with the train network, and Florence is at the centre of it, directly connected with Pisa, Pistoia, Lucca, Livorno and Arezzo.
If you’re travelling to southern Tuscany, where the only big city is Grosseto, (a train journey from Florence with at least one change is around 3 hours) you might consider renting a car to make the most of your time. Buses do run here but be mindful that services can be infrequent.
Getting around in Tuscany by train
As a general rule, it’s easy to travel around Tuscany by train if you’re visiting the bigger cities. Connections between Florence and all the main cities is good – from the slow rattling ‘treno regionale’ stopping at all smaller towns, to the faster Intercity. With a combination of trains and buses you can go practically everywhere in Tuscany, even the most remote little town. But you’ll need to do a bit of planning and have plenty of time on your hands.
Tuscany has four main rail artieries. The fastest is the Milan-Florence-Arezzo-Orvieto-Rome line. Another is a line that runs along the coast between Genoa-Pisa-Livorno and Rome. The third and fourth lines connect the first two. The Florence-Viareggio route stops in Prato, Pistoia, Montecatini Terme, and Lucca. Meanwhile the Florence-Pisa line has stops in Empoli and Pontedera.
NOTE: When travelling between Florence and Siena, the bus is the easiest and quickest option. At the time of writing, the train line between line Pisa airport to Florence city centre is under renovation. A frequent bus service connects the two in the interim.
Italian trains are as generally clean and fairly comfortable. Remember that First class (prima classe) is only a touch better than second class (seconda classe). On Friday evenings, weekends, and in high season, trains can be hot and crowded.
Buying a regular ticket. Ask for either andata (one-way) or andata e ritorno (round-trip). If the train you plan to take is a high-speed service, ask for the ticket con supplemento rapido (with speed supplement) to avoid on-train penalty charges.
Ticket supplements. If you board a regular train without a ticket (or board an IC/ES without the supplement), you’ll have to pay the conductor a “tax” on top of the ticket price. Remember to stamp your ticket in the little yellow box on the platform before boarding the train. If you don’t you are liable for a fine.
The Frecciarossa (ES) is the high-speed train that connects Salerno, Naples, Rome, Milan, and Turin, stopping at Florence along the way. It’s the fastest and most comfortable option. But it’s also the most expensive. It has its own ticket window at the stations and requires a seat reservation. Other Eurostar/Frecciabianca/Frecciargento (ES) trains connect most Italian cities. These are the quickest of Italian trains. They offer both first and second class and you’ll need a supplement.
Eurocity (EC) and Euronotte (EN) trains connect Italy with international destinations. Intercity (IC) trains have first and second class seating and require a smaller supplement, but are often rather slow. Regionale (R) and the slightly faster Regionale Veloce (RV) don’t require supplements.
For information and reservation visit the website of Trenitalia or call: 89 20 21 or 199 892021. Helpline for disabled passengers at 199 303060
You may find the following terms useful when at the train station:
treni in arrivo – arrivals
treni in partenza – departures
binario – platform
in orario – on time
in ritardo – delayed
How long does it take?
Firenze S.M. Novella – Pisa Centrale 1h. to 80 minutes
Firenze S.M. Novella – Lucca 80 minutes to 100 minutes
Florence S.M. Novella – Pistoia
Florence S.M. Novella – Arezzo 45 minutes to 90 minutes
Florence S.M. Novella – Livorno 1h and 40 minutes
Florence S.M. Novella – Siena up to 100 minutes (often with a change) – TAKE THE BUS!
Getting around Tuscany by bus
The main bus companies in Tuscany are:
Services between Florence and the areas of Chianti, Siena, Arezzo, Valdarno, Casentino, Mugello.
Office in Florence (for info and tickets): via Santa Caterina da Siena, 15 (near S.M. Novella train station) – number to call for information: 800 373760
This is the best and quickest option to travel from Florence to Siena.
This company connects Florence, with the areas around Prato, Pistoia, Mugello. (it was previously called LAZZI)
Office in Florence (for info and tickets): Largo Fratelli Alinari, 10 – tel. number: 055 214637
This is the main bus company for southern Tuscany. It operates in the areas of Arezzo, Certaldo, San GImignano, Siena, Grosseto, Piombino and Maremma’s coastal areas.
For information call: 800 922984 (from mobile phone: 199 168182)
There are many options from Florence for daily trips by bus. They are also the best options for travel between Florence and Siena (they are quicker and more frequent than the trains) and between small towns around the region. Bear in mind that service is sparse on weekends. From small centres there are usually a couple of buses a day headed to the main city in the area. If you do plan to travel like this you’ll need time, and a little patience.
They do not operate on the 1st of January, on Easter, 1st of May, Christmas day. If travelling on a bank holiday, make sure you check with the bus company.
FLORENCE BUS ATAF
In Florence the ATAF (Azienda Trasporti Area Fiorentina; 800 42 45 00; www.ataf.net) cover the city centre and surroundings. Ticket costs 1.20 € and they’re valid for 90 minutes. Buy the ticket at the tobacconist or at the ATAF Information Office “Ufficio Informazioni dell’ATAF” (Piazza Adua; 7-20 in front of the train station). If you buy them on board, the price is 2€.
ATAF Buses are the best way to get from Florence to Fiesole and Piazzale Michelangelo. This company also connects Florence city centre with Florence airport.