Getting to Florence
Florence is a city famed for its iconic artworks, sculptures and monuments, from Michelangelo's David and Doni Tondo panel painting to the Fountain of Neptune. The museums themselves are marvels to behold and include the Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell'Accademia and Palazzo Davanzati Museum. Even if you're not that into art, the buildings themselves are architectural beauties well worth visiting.
Be sure to take a stroll along the banks of River Arno and Ponte Vecchio, the “Old Bridge” dating from medieval times. Then, snap a photo of the domed roof of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo, before spending the rest of the afternoon exploring the chambers and galleries of the Pitti Palace. Be sure to stop for some gelato too, made fresh in the many parlours dotting the city. Firenze Santa Maria Novella is the city's central train station.
How to get around Tuscany by train
No matter where you're starting from, it's easy to reach the various destinations of Tuscany thanks to the regional trains operated by Trenitalia. For example, you can travel by train from Florence to Pisa in under an hour. This means you can easily set up base in Florence and head to Pisa for a day trip before returning at night. Hop on at Firenze Santa Maria Novella station and you'll alight at Pisa Centrale station, the city's main station. Get that photo with the Leaning Tower, and also visit the gardens of Piazza del Duomo next door.
It only takes 30 minutes to get from Pisa to Lucca by train. Lucca is a tranquil haven of traditional Italian life and features sights including the Guinigi Tower, with its distinctive reddish-orange colour and unusual tree-topped roof. This is a wonderful place to visit grand medieval churches such as St Martin Cathedral, and you can also walk the path around the city's old walls.
The train journey from Florence to Siena is about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Siena is well-known for its richly decorated buildings, including the distinctive Piccolomini Library next to the cathedral. Inside, literature lovers can admire the colourful frescoes and ancient texts housed beneath them. Il Palio di Siena, the famous biannual horse race, also takes place here in the summer.
Cities with direct connections to Florence
Pisa, Lucca and Siena all have direct rail connections to Florence, meaning you can take on all of them as day trips, or spend a couple of days in each place on a longer tour. Other Tuscan locations with direct train links to Florence are San Gimignano and Livorno.
In hilly San Gimignano, you can lose yourself among the winding cobbled streets of this quaint and scenic part of Tuscany. When you alight here, take a walk around in the sunshine and follow the paths leading just outside of town. These offer superb panoramic views from atop the hills, where you can admire San Gimignano's ancient skyline. It's just an hour by rail from Florence.
Livorno is a port town on the Tyrrhenian Sea, so what better place to explore the coast with a boat tour than here? Livorno also features its own Venice Neighbourhood, which resembles its namesake city, with its scenic canals and bridges. To top it off, Livorno offers a selection of thermal spas to visit, so you can connect to the town's Roman roots and unwind in the heated pools. It's just over an hour from Florence.
Go on a wine tour by train
Another advantage of travelling by train is the option of a wine tour of Tuscany. This is one of Italy's, and indeed Europe's, finest regions for wine. With the ever-present sunshine, the conditions are perfect for growing Trebbiano, Vermentino, Vernaccia, and Malvasia varieties of grapes. This is the home of the modern “Super Tuscan” wines, now popular in cellars around the globe. Favourites such as Chianti and Carmignano varieties also come from here.
Chianti is an excellent area to go on tours. Here you can take trains to the Castellina in Chianti-Monteriggioni station, putting you in the heart of wine country. This trip takes 1 hour and 15 minutes by train from Florence. San Gimignano is also a wine-producing town, where you can go on tours of the local vineyards just beyond the city limits. Rufina is close to the Pomino wine region, also easily accessed by train, and only a 20-minute rail trip away from Florence.
You'll also find that these destinations have excellent wine shops within the towns, which are excellent options for gifts if you're not inclined to go on actual tours. Plus, the local restaurants are excellent places to try the specialities of each place you visit.
Make the most of Tuscany with train travel
With jaw-dropping scenery and a rich artistic and historical heritage, it's no wonder Tuscany is one of Italy's most visited regions. From the rolling vineyards to the many small towns dotting the hills and the great cities that make Tuscany famous, it's all easily reached when you travel by train here. Visit our website to get competitive ticket prices, a wide range of schedules, and special deals on tickets.