Are you thinking about taking a day trip from Rome to Florence by train?
Although this is a long day trip, it is easy to do. With a little forward planning, you can hit the highlights of Florence like a travel ninja.
Get the lowdown in my guide to taking a Florence day trip from Rome. Discover what to consider, how to get there and what to do. It also includes a map to help you find your way around and tips for a perfect day in Florence.
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Day Trip from Rome to Florence by Train at a Glance
- Distance from Rome to Florence: 170 miles
- Journey time: 1 hour 35 minutes one-way
- Cost of train ticket: From €10 one-way
Is One Day Enough for Florence?
However long you spend in Florence it will not be enough. I have visited the Cradle of the Renaissance on multiple occasions and there are still things that I would like to see.
Nonetheless, you will be able to tick off some of the items on your Florence bucket list in one memorable day. Just manage your expectations.
There is no way that you unearth all of Florence’s gems in a day. Therefore, you will need to have a cunning – and doable – plan up your sleeve to prioritise what you would like to see.
But when you get your first glimpse of the Duomo, all this will be forgotten. If this is your only opportunity to visit Florence, don’t hesitate.
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How to Get from Rome to Florence by Train
For your Rome to Florence day trip, you have the choice of two train operators: Trenitalia, the national rail company, or Italo.
Both of these operators have set allocations of seats in the lower fare classes. But in practice, I have found that unless you are travelling on a particularly busy service, you don’t need to buy your train ticket in advance.
Trains depart from Roma Termini and arrive at Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station (Firenze S.M. Novella).
Don’t opt for indirect trains between Rome and Florence which take close to four hours to make the journey. Instead, choose the high-speed direct train from Rome to Florence which will get your there in 1 hour 35 minutes.
These fast trains run up to three times an hour. One-way fares start from €15.
Italo also runs frequent train services between Florence and Rome.
The journey time is also 1 hour 35 minutes. As of November 2022, advance one-way fares start at €10.
You can check train times here or download the Italo app here.
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Getting from Rome Termini Station
As the main transport hub for Rome, Termini is easy to get to.
This is where the two main lines of Rome’s small Metro system intersect The main local bus station is directly in front of the railway station.
Getting to Florence’s Santa Maria Novella Train Station
Firenze Santa Maria Novella is one of the most centrally-located train stations in Italy. From here, it’s an easy ten-minute walk to the Duomo.
Getting Around Florence
The best way to get around Florence is on foot.
Most of the city’s historic attractions are on the north bank of the River Arno, within easy walking distance of each other.
Although there is also a hop-on-hop-off bus, this is of limited value if you are visiting Florence on a day trip from Rome
What to Do on Your Day Trip from Rome to Florence
Don’t aim too high.
Florence is a busy city with a lot to see and do. Attempting to squeeze too much into your day is only going to leave you feeling frazzled.
Instead, choose a smaller number of attractions that interest you and stick with them. You will need to pre-book popular attractions like the Accademia and Uffizi Gallery, or if you want to climb Brunelleschi’s dome.
Here is my pick of the best things to do on a Florence day trip from Rome, which you can use as a framework on which to hang your day.
If you like to map it out, here’s one that I prepared earlier. For an interactive map, simply click here or on the image itself.
You can save it to your Google Maps app by clicking on the star icon.
1. See David at The Accademia
Start your day in Florence by saying hello to David.
This buff biblical shepherd is one of Michelangelo’s most famous sculptures and is a symbol of the Renaissance and the city of Florence itself. He is a must-see even if you are only in Florence for a day.
Sculpted in 1501 from the finest Carrara marble, he stands 17 feet high.
Close by are the Prisoners or Slaves, also created by Michelangelo for the tomb of Pope Julius II.
READ THIS NEXT: 8 Places to Find Michelangelo Sculptures in Florence, Italy
2. Revel in the Renaissance splendour of the Duomo complex
The Italian Renaissance was a movement characterised by the pursuit of knowledge stretching across painting, sculpture and architecture. The Duomo complex – the Duomo, Giotto’s bell tower and St. John’s Baptistery – is ground zero of the Renaissance.
Brunelleschi’s iconic gravity-defying terracotta dome is the Duomo’s architectural claim to fame. The cathedral’s campanile, Giotto’s Tower, pierces the sky 270 feet above Piazza de Duomo.
The octagonal Baptistery of St. John is famous for its bronze doors, especially Ghiberti’s famous “Gates of Paradise” is on the eastern side of the building. Although this is a copy – the original is in the Duomo Museum – it’s a very good copy.
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3. Stroll around Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and home to Florence’s free open-air art gallery.
Guarding the entrance to Palazzo Vecchio is one of the city’s fake David statues. This medieval building is the city’s town hall and was the former home of the mighty Medici.
The nearby Loggia dei Lanzi is home to some of Florence’s most famous sculptures, including Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women.
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4. Take a journey through Renaissance art at the Uffizi Galleries
Even if you only have a passing interest in Renaissance art, don’t spend a day in Florence without visiting the Uffizi Galleries.
This banquet of Renaissance art includes some of the most famous works of art on the planet. Hit the ground running with a shortlist of the most important paintings in the Uffizi to make the most of your visit.
READ THIS NEXT: 20 Famous Paintings in the Uffizi Gallery That You Cannot Miss
5. Walk across the Ponte Vecchio
The medieval Ponte Vecchio is the oldest and most beautiful of Florence’s bridges across the Arno.
There has been a bridge spanning this point of the river since the 10th Century. The current Ponte Vecchio’s goldsmiths and jewellers replaced its butchers’ shops of medieval times.
Above the Ponte Vecchio is the Vasari Corridor, a covered passageway that links the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti. It has been closed for restoration since 2016 but is due to open to tourists again in 2022.
READ THIS NEXT: 7 Famous Bridges in Florence, Italy: An Amble Along the Arno
6. Take in views of Florence from the Oltrarno
To reach one of Florence’s best viewpoints, cross over Ponte Vecchio and start walking uphill to Piazzale Michelangelo. From this high vantage point, Florence is laid out before you like a toy town.
If you have time, take a stroll around the Rose Garden which is just below Piazzale Michelangelo. The views from here are just as good and it is a more tranquil – and fragrant – setting.
READ THIS NEXT: Top 10 Viewpoints in Florence, Italy That You Cannot Miss
Tips for Visiting Florence on a Day Trip from Rome
Set your alarm clock for silly o’clock.
The earlier you can haul your carcass out of bed, the better. Making an early start will give you a precious extra hour or two in Florence.
Expect Florence to be busy
You should also prepare yourself mentally for Florence’s crowds. Popular spots like the Duomo are likely to be heaving by late morning.
Another reason for making an early start.
Book tickets in advance
Don’t be a hostage to fortune. If you are planning to visit the Accademia or the Uffizi Galleries or climb Brunelleschi’s dome, buy your ticket before setting out from Rome.
Avoid visiting Florence on Sundays or Mondays.
Many of the city’s main attractions are closed on Mondays and some places have reduced opening hours on Sundays.
Rome to Florence Day Tours
If you want someone else to take care of all of the arrangements for you and want to benefit from the knowledge of a local guide, consider joining one of the Rome to Florence day tours on offer.
Here are a few to consider:
Florence Uffizi & Accademia Guided Tour from Rome
This is an excellent choice if you are an art buff. A high-speed train ticket is included.
>>> CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Walking Tour in Florence from Rome
Combine the Renaissance sights of Florence with food tastings – and gelato! – in this Rome to Florence day tour that includes pick-up at your Rome accommodation.
>>> CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Day trip to Florence and Pisa from Rome
If you want to combine Florence with Pisa, take a look at this full-day tour that also includes pick-up at your Rome accommodation.
>>> CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION