Railway system in Tuscany

How to get to Tuscany by train.

2021 warning

Due to Covid-19 pandemic affecting Tuscany as well, travelling among regions could be restricted. Please refer to official sources before planning your vacation. Each Italian region could apply different rules regarding people's movement and public places restrictions.

The railway connections

The main railway station in Tuscany is Firenze Santa Maria Novella, which is connected to the Italian route Milan-Rome-Naples by fast trains operated by Trenitalia or NTV.

railway map of Tuscany

The map of the railway system in Tuscany (download)

Coming from Europe

If you come from nordern Europe, in some cases you would have to change train in Milan or Turin. From Eastern Europe, the exchange stations are usually the Venice ones.

France uset to have, but has no more, a direct train connecting Paris to Florence. If you travel from France there are two trains operated by Thello arriving in Italy, one departing from Paris (stops in Dijon), another one from Marseille (passing from Toulon, St-Raphael, Cannes, Antibes, Nice, Monaco). In both options you can get down in Milano Centrale, then take a fast train to Florence. While the train from Marseille stops also in Genoa, the trains connectin Milan and Florence are faster. The train operated by Thello from Paris arriving in Venice (Venezia Santa Lucia) stops in Milano, Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, Padova.

EuroCity trains daily connect Italy with Innsbruck (Austria) and Munich (Bavaria, Germany). The connected railway stations are Verona, Venice and Bologna. There is also EuroNight connecting Milan&Verona and Venice to Vienna. From Germany and Austria there is also a direct link to Florence, please read below.

From Switzerland you always have to change in Milan.

Direct connections with Florence

Germany and Austria are connected to Florence by ÖBB trains. German Munich Central Station (München Hauptbahnhof) is directly connected by Euronight/Nightjet train to Firenze Santa Maria Novella, as Innsbruck and Vienna in Austria. In addition, from April to October, a EuroNight train from Livorno, Pisa and Florence to Vienna and back, with car and motocycle transportation service from/to Livorno.

The rail operators in Tuscany and Italy

Actually there are two operators in Tuscany, while there are others involving local transport in other parts of Italy. These operators are Trenitalia and, since 2012, NTV.

Trenitalia

The regional and most of the Italian train service is managed by Trenitalia, a state-owned company. Regional trains are very cheap and connect many Tuscan cites, while faster and more expensive Eurostar AV and Frecciarossa trains connect Florence to other Italian cities. Intercity trains are cheaper than Eurostar, but have been cutted in recent years and very few survive. Regional and Intercity trains require the ticket to be stamped before boarding, otherwise you'll be fined. Regional tickets once were valid for months, since 2016 they are valid only 24 hours when bought at the machines in the stations. Tickets sold online are valid for the specific booked train only.

Where to buy Trenitalia train tickets

Trenitalia train tickets are sold at many travel agencies, inside the stations and online. Inside the stations usually you have these options:

Stations' ticket offices
most stations have got a ticket office, but smaller stations have got a limited opening time (morning only) and stations in small villages don't have it at all.
Self-service ticket machines
The ones that sells regional tickets are almost always present, even in the smaller stations. The ones that sell also Frecce tickets are present only in selected stations (Firenze Santa Maria Novella, Firenze Campo di Marte, Pisa Centrale etc). They are touch screens with multiple languages available, they accept credit cards and some of them also accept cash.
Trenitalia web site

You can buy tickets also on Trenitalia website, paying by credit card. It is not mandatory to print the receipt for most trains. You can use the ticketless option for Treno Notte, IC, Frecciabianca, ES*, AV Frecciarossa/Frecciargento or wagon-lits, couchette car, Excelsior/Excelsior E4 coaches. With Ticketless, after you have paid you are given a receipt with a PNR code that you must tell to the inspector once on board, it's send by e-mail and SMS, there is no paper ticket. Ticketless is not available for subscriptions, so you are given a code to use to stamp your paper ticket at the station using the self service machines. Regional tickets bought on-line are personal, being associated with your first name and surname, so they can't be used by others and are also associated with the train. More precisely, it is associated with a starting time, as you can start your trip within four hours from time written on the receipt, so you could get the train following the one stated on the receipt, if there is one (there are almost always). That's not happening if you buy them in the railway stations, they have no name on it and the ticket can be used within two months of the date of issue.

Regional train tickets can also be bought with the ticketless option. After the payment you are given a receipt in PDF format with an AZTEC code (not a PNR code like fast trains) that you have to show the inspector on board or at the gates before boarding (it happens in Firenze Santa Maria Novella). You can print the receipt or show it to the crew using your smartphone, tablet or portable PC. The travel has to be valid 4 hours from the moment they are stamped at the machines. The hourly validity starts when the ticket is validated. The journey must end within 4 hours from the validation, except for exceptions provided for by specific regional tariffs. Tickets purchased online are valid for 4 hours from the departure of the chosen train and do not require validation.

Trenitalia application
You can buy tickets with your mobile devices with the Trenitalia app for smartphones until 5 minutes before boarding.
Travel agencies
Many travel agencies are authorized resellers of Trenitalia tickes and they usually apply a charge for the service.
Newsstands
Regional trains tickets (and only regional ones) used once to be sold as kilometric range tickets in many places, including newsagents inside the stations. This is no more possible since July 2016. To save you time at peak hours and avoid long queues now you can use the Trenitalia app for smartphones.

When to stamp your ticket

The following are the rules for Trenitalia trains. Printing and stamping is not required for all tickets like it was a few years ago. Only some paper train tickes must be stamped at the yellow (or white&green) machines before getting on the train, usually the regional trains. If you do not stamp your ticket when due, you will probably be fined. If you are taking the train from a small village with all the stamping machines out of order or you couldn't find a way to buy a ticket, remember to search for the ticket inspector or the train guard (located in the first coach ahead) as soon as you get into the train (they apply an extra fee).

When seats are reserved, stamping is not required (high-speed trains Frecciarossa and Frecciargento, Frecciabianca, Intercity and Intercity Notte as well as cuccette, VL and Excelsior services) you just need to provide the reservation code (named PRN code).
In the case of a regional train, if you buy the ticket on-line you have to print the confirmation e-mail on an A4 paper or you must be able to show it using your electronic device (tablet, smartphone, notebook PC). On the contrary a paper regional ticket train must always be stamped at the machines and it is valid only for the 24 hours of the specific date shown on it (it used to last two months before 2016). So when buying a regional ticket you must be certain of the day you will be using it.
For more information visit this Trenitalia page and this one for regional trains.

NTV - Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori

A new high speed train operator started its service the 28th of April 2012, it's named NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori) and its trains are called Italo. Regarding Tuscany, it is connected to other Italian cities by these two routes:

  • Turin, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Salerno;
  • Venice, Padova, Bologna, Florence, Rome.

Tickets are sold in the NTV's Casa Italo (an office inside the stations reached by NTV trains), on official ticket site and in some travel agencies. Please note that you can't use Trenitalia tickets on NTV trains as they are two completely different companies.