View of FlorenceView of Florence
December 23, 2013

Rome to Florence by train

by Joel Weickgenant in Train routes

Rome and Florence: You will be hard-pressed to find any two cities that offer more to visitors and sit so close to each other on a map, and your Eurail pass allows you to make the most of their relative proximity.

How to get from Rome to Florence by train

Have a late breakfast in Rome’s upscale Monti neighborhood and the Frecciarossa high-speed train will get you to Florence by lunch. Or, for a scenic meander through the mountain towns of south Lazio and Tuscany, choose Trenitalia regional trains.

By high-speed train

Each hour starting at 6:25 a.m., between two and four high-speed trains depart from Roma Termini station, arriving in Florence at Firenze Santa Maria Novella station in approximately 90 minutes. The trains are convenient, quiet and clean, and your only outlay is a €10 reservation fee. If your plan involves letting your mind drift while you gaze at the passing landscapes, this is not the best way to do it. The trains travel fast, make no stops, and pass through a good number of tunnels along the way.

By regional train

Trenitalia regional trains offer you a slower option, cost nothing and give you the option of stopping off at a number of stunning cities along the way (see below). The trains generally depart from the tracks at the east side of the station, which take a bit of a walk to reach and are located at the opposite end of the left luggage office (located below the tracks near platform 24). If you’re on a tight schedule, be sure to leave plenty of room for error.

Getting to Rome train station

There are two main stations in Rome, Roma Termini and Tiburtina, but the more central Termini will more likely be your point of departure. The station is centrally located – you can reach Termini with a 20-to-30-minute walk down Via Cavour from the Coliseum. Both of Rome’s metro lines converge on Termini, and a train connects Fiumicino airport to the station every 30 minutes.

Arriving at Florence train station

Florence’s central station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella, is an architectural curiosity of its own, and you’ll enjoy walking down its striped, red-and-white marble floors while imagining the controversy its low-slung, rationalist design evoked when the station was completed in the 1930s. Left luggage is found at the side of track 16 and is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Florence is delightfully small, and from the station, most of the landmarks on the city’s tourist itinerary can be reached with a 15-minute walk.

Top 3 authentic Italian cities on the Rome to Florence route

San Giovanni train station
Orvieto, Italy
Restaurant in Arezzo, Italy

The regional train traces a quintessential Italian route, with stations set at the foot of medieval castle towns and enchanting lakeside resorts. Your Eurail pass allows you to branch off the Rome-Florence route and unlock a truly unique and unforgettable itinerary. The stops listed below are just a few highlights that will prove a welcome interruption of the road from Rome.

  1. Orvieto 
    From the train Orvieto, with its stone castle walls perched atop a steeply rising hill looks intimidating. But your perspective changes as soon as you hop aboard the funicular at the foot of the hill (a €1 ticket also transfers to the bus that takes you onward to Piazza del Duomo). Everything about the city center whispers enchantment, from the gothic façade of the duomo to the small side streets, embraced in ivy and a stillness only broken by locals on their late-evening walks. The city center is a pedestrian oasis, and while the cafes can be kitschy they’re surprisingly vibrant, with cobbled floors that make their interiors seem like covered extensions of the streets.
  2. Arezzo
    This would be the most striking city in a great deal of countries less striking than Italy. Roberto Benigni elicited the beauty of its historic center in the Italian movie, Life Is Beautiful (view movie clip), and it’s easy to imagine yourself, as Benigni, barreling through Piazza Grande on a two-wheeler at breakneck speeds. A better idea, though, is to sit in the arched arcade facing the piazza and watch the citizens stroll through the wide, sloped square in front of you. Despite being one of Tuscany’s most well-heeled cities, Arezzo is affordable – when I pulled €1.50 out of my wallet to pay for a cappuccino at the elegant Caffe Vasari, I was surprised to get 30 cents back in change.
  3. San Giovanni Valdarno
    One of the most important cities in the Valdarno region on the approach to Florence, San Giovanni is usually skipped over by tourists, and that is a shame. San Giovanni’s stately city center hosts the works or the homes of Florentine greats in arts and architecture such as Masaccio and Arnolfo di Cambio. Sit at Caffe Fiorenza in Piazza Cavour and study the peculiar façade of the 13th-century municipal palace. The loggia-style structure is covered in ceramic heraldry, made to identify the landowners who came to San Giovanni to live in the early centuries of the city’s existence. It’s essentially like reading through a colorful wall of 15th-century graffiti.