Italy’s rail network is one of the best in the world. It’s fast, it’s clean, it’s cheap, and can easily take you from somewhere as far as Rome from Florence in just a couple of hours.
When I travelled around Italy, I made Florence my base, and used the rail network extensively to take me to a number of cities around the country.
It meant getting up early in the morning sometimes, but it was seriously worth it as it meant I got to see a lot in a short space of time (given I work full-time so can’t always have lots of time off work in one go!)
If you’re up for a similar Italian adventure, then here are 7 of the best day trips from Florence that you can easily take by train…
Journey: 1 hour 20 mins
Found within Tuscany, Pisa is most famous for its ‘Leaning Tower’. On this spot, you’ll not only find the leaning tower (Campanile) though, but you’ll also find the Duomo and Baptistry – another couple of buildings which are incredible to see in the flesh.
Journey: 1 hour 30 mins
Also found within Tuscany, Lucca is one of Italy’s lesser known destinations. One of the most extraordinary things about Lucca is that the entire city is enclosed within stone walls (known as The Ramparts), and once upon a time, no cars were allowed in. Nowadays, it’s a charming and very Italian city perfect for whiling away a few hours.
Journey: 1 hour 35 mins
Located within Italy’s northern Veneto region, Verona is well known for its connection to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It’s one of the most charming Italian cities to walk through, seeping history, romance and character at every turn.
Journey: 3 hours 40 mins
Also found within Italy’s Veneto region, Venice is well known as being one of the most picturesque Italian cities, thanks in large part to its 177 canals. The entire city is waterlocked, which means once you’ve arrived into the city by train, you’ll spend the rest of your day on foot, or on water.
Journey: 2 hours 10 mins
Located within Italy’s northern Lombardy region, Milan is best known for its Gothic architecture and high-fashion. This is Italy at its most chic, welcoming a day spent shopping, sipping wine and people watching.
Journey: 1 hour 40 mins
Rome, Italy’s capital, is very popular with travellers around the world, thanks to its iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, which used to see vicious Gladiators fight eachother in front of crowds as large as 50,000!
Journey: 2 hours
Located on Livorno’s coast, Castiglioncello is a sleepy seaside town where few locals speak any English, and where tourists never seem to go. When searching for a quiet beach away from it all, Castiglioncello should most definitely be on your list.
3 Must-Know Tips for Travelling Italy By Train
1. It pays to book your train tickets in advance.
I booked most of my tickets (especially the longer haul ones) online 3 months before my trip. This allowed me to get some First Class tickets for the same price as a Standard Class ticket! You can book all of your tickets online via the Trenitalia website, or read this guide about booking train travels in Italy for more tips.
2. Take note of the PNG code before boarding your train.
For all pre-booked tickets, you must have a note of the PNG code to show the conductor. You can opt to either show him on your phone or the code will be shown on any print outs of your tickets.
3. You must validate your train ticket before boarding the train.
This is only necessary for tickets you’ve bought on the day that do not have a reserved seat or carriage. On the platform, you should be able to see yellow or green and white machines which stamp your ticket to validate it. Notice on the ticket that there is a space for the validation stamp – just insert this end into the machine and stamp away.
Which day trip from Florence do you think you might try first? Let me know in the comments…
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