Some trains going through Firenze don't stop at the main station Firenze Santa Maria Novella [Firenze S.M.N.], but rather at Firenze Campo di Marte.
For example, many overnight trains to/from places like Sicily, Vienna, Munich, Nice, Geneva, Zurich, and Paris stop at Firenze Campo di Marte instead of Firenze S.M.N..
Also, some fast day trains to/from Roma, Venezia, Trieste, Milano, Genova, and other places to/from Firenze stop at Firenze Campo di Marte instead of Firenze S.M.N.
Don't let this discourage you from taking one of these trains to/from Firenze.
Trains go between Firenze S.M.N. and Firenze Campo di Marte about every 15 minutes, even early in the morning or late in the evening. And, the journey takes only about 8 minutes.
Also, bus#12 stops in front of the Firenze Campo di Marte station and goes to Firenze S.M.N.
Upper right corner of map shows Bus#12 route at Firenze Campo di Marte
[tip created 1/07, modified 1/09]
Trains are the most useful transportation for other cities. If you wanna go to Pisa or even to international lines, Santa Maria Novella is your station.
You can buy your tickets from offices or the machines at stations. Region tickets are valid for Toscana region. To Montecatini or Pisa it's the best to buy regional ticket.
Information office at the left side just after the entrance. There are staff who can talk multi-languages. And they're very helpful. You can get destinations, timetable or whatever for free.
If you want to come back to Florence again, better to buy one more ticket to not wait in a queue. Also check the timetable from Trenitalia's website.
Trains are comfortable but many of them not clean at all (depends on your train). Need to get some fresh air, open some of windows when you get in.
There are taxi and bus stations next to SM Novella.
You can take the daily train from Rome to Florence. Florence is Tuscany's rail hub, with connections to all the region's major cities. To get to Florence from Rome, you can take the Pendolino (4x daily, 1+3/4 hr.; make sure it's going to Santa Maria Novella station! Must reserve tickets ahead), an EC or IC train (24 daily, just under 2 hr.), or an interregionale (seven daily, around 3 hr.).
Most trains roll into the Stazione Santa Maria Novella, which you'll often see abbreviated as S.M.N. The station is on the NW edge of the city's historic center, 10-minute from the Duomo and 15-minute from Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi.
The ticketing room (Salone Biglietti) is located through the central doors at the train station; at sportelli (windows) from 9.00 to 18.00 hours, you can buy ordinary unreserved train tickets. The automatic ticket machines have taken some pressure off the ticket windows, but still attract long lines (when they aren't out of order). Around the corner from the ticket windows is a smaller room where you can buy international tickets (window 7), make reservations for high-speed and overnight trains (windows 1-4), or pay for a spot on the Pendolino/ETR express to Milan, Bologna, or Rome (window 5).
Exit out to the left coming off the tracks and you'll find many bus lines as well as stairs down to the underground pedestrian underpass which leads directly to Piazza dell'Unità Italiana and saves you from the traffic of the station's piazza.
Note that some trains stop at the outlying Stazione Campo di Marte or Stazione Rifredi, both of which are worth avoiding. Although there's 24-hour bus service between these satellite stations and S.M.N., departures aren't always frequent and taxi service is erratic and expensive.
Remember: If you're leaving Florence on the train, stamp your ticket in the yellow box at the start of the track before getting on the train.
I think one of the things I liked the most about Florence was how easy it was to get around by train. The Santa Maria Novella train station is located close to the city center, which makes it possible to pick a hotel located within easy walking distance from both the station and the downtown attractions. There are multiple daily trains connecting Florence to most Italian cities (Rome, Venice and Bologna are very easy to get to, for example), and daytrips to Lucca and Pisa are also easily done - you don't even need to book your ticket in advance! The Santa Maria Novella station was built in the 1930s and on top of the platforms you'll find several cafes and a small shopping centre in the basement. Tickets can be bought at the ticket booths but also from ticket machines that provide instructions in several languages. The intercity ones (Rome, Bologna, Milan...) accept most credit cards and allow you to reserve a seat, while the regional ones (Lucca, Pisa...) only take cash.
Took train from Rome Termini stazione to Florence S.Maria Novella station. When you purchase tickets either through a teller or a machine be sure what station you want to go to. Most cities have more than 1 station, you may get off at the wrong one! We bought most of our tickets using the ticket machine, they have several language options so their is no language barrier to overcome. The tellers do speak quite good english though, if you have several stations to go through or a specific need for a train, the tellers may be a better choice. Not all the machines accept cash/euro. Look for the right one, some only take credit cards and I have heard the CC companies add extra service charges. We never used a credit card in Italy! The ATM's worked perfectly Visa/AMex/MCard
I considered getting a 4 trip Trenitalia pass but, they require reservations for a certain time. We saved quite a bit of money by just purchasing tickets at the station a day before our travel. You will have no problem...even I figured it out!
Would you believe that we were in a queu for approximately 2 hours just to buy a train ticket for a trip from Firenze to Rome. We arrived at the Santa Maria de Nouvella Centrale Train Station a little after 9:00PM (after a whole day sightseeing) because we thought that it would be easier to purchase the train ticket an hour or so before they close the counter/s. We were very wrong! There were around 10 customers in the queu in front of us and a couple of customers have to be in the counter for barely 20 minutes. Unbelievable!!!!
Then, we had our turn. Gave specific ticket order and alas.....DONE in less than 5 minutes.
For 2 hours lining up, I did not see any incident that any of the counter people smile to their customers. They did not show that they like their job or at least they enjoy the job they are doing. Customer Service in question.....And mind you, our departure time was delayed for 30 minutes. Very inconvenient!
Do take the train in Italy! It was convenient, cheap, comfortable and went everywhere. Be careful, however, to stamp your ticket BEFORE you get on the train...you can do this up to six hours prior to boarding. The ticket punch boxes are yellow boxes located on the train platforms and are very easy to miss! The first time we took the train we didn't punch our tickets and were fined 5 Euros each for the offence (Regional trains charge 5 Euros but we learned that the National trains charge 20).
Punching the ticket (thereby cancelling it) is required as tickets can be purchased a month or two in advance.
You can go from Florence to almost everywhere in tuscany and Italy with train. Florence main station is SANTA MARIA NOVELLA. Another two important stations are CAMPO DI MARTE and STATUTO. Everytime you get on the train don't forget to validate your ticket in the yellow validation machines on the tracks. If you forget you could get a fine. If the machines don't work, just write on your ticket witha pen the date and hour of your departure.
We continued on from Florence to Siena using the train. It is such a convenient way to travel and it's inexpensive too. I enjoyed being able to relax and watch the scenery go by, not to mention having enough room to stretch my legs.
It's commonplace for Europeans, but for Americans going to Italy take the train. It really is easy and enjoyable. You don't need to buy a Eurail pass either, we just bought our tickets as we needed them. You can buy your tickets at the window or just use the self-service machines. The machines are easy to use, have instructions in English and you can use cash or credit cards.
Italy like most of Europe is best travelled by the train. Florence has more than one train station but the biggest one is Santa Maria Novella. Florence in Italian is called Firenze so when looking for train timings etc look for Firenze.
The train connections are pretty good and I guess from Rome there is a train every hour or so.
I reached Florence by a local train from Pisa which cost about 5-6 Euro. It takes about one hour from Pisa and the local train is not too crowded. Theres free seating so just enter and find a seat for yourself. I think the express trains would be costlier(obviously)
I took a Eurostar from Florence to Venice which cost about 28 Euro in 2nd class with pretty comfy seats and nice window seat. Its a three hour journey from Florence
The website of Trenitalia below is in English and one cannot book local trains here. For that you would need to do so at the station. Unlike my home country(India), I dont find getting a train ticket in Europe that big a problem. But for long distance its always better to book early.
I hadn't pre-booked my ticket, instead I turned up at Santa Lucia in Venice, to buy a ticket for the next train from Venice to Florence, I'd tried to purchase a ticket the previous night from one of the automatic Ticket Machines but wimped out when the info went from English back to Italian as I was about to make my payment.
While waiting in the queue at the ticket office (I got there early as I'd seen the length of the queues earlier in the year!) we were informed that there was a problem with the computers, so purchasing from the machines was recommended to save time.
I followed the man who had made the announcement to the nearby ticket machine, and asked for his help in selecting my ticket. He had some problems completing the procedure, but eventually my Venice to Florence return ticket was dispached. The cost was 42 Euros each way. The machine accepted Bank notes, coins or credit card - Change given - Check this before purchasing because I've noted some take either notes OR cards, and some don't issue change (just a 'credit note')
My train was due to depart in nearly an hour, so plenty of time to have a coffee and stock up on snacks for the journey. I hadn't realised at previous visits that there was a shop in the station buffet with a selection of food and drink.
I still can't get used to the idea of having to pay for your coffee at the central till, then take the receipt to 'claim' your drink.
The toilets are on platform 1 - 80 cents -no change given, but there are change machines at the turnstyle.
Train times, train number and platform details are posted on electronic boards on the platform, as well as on posters (pic 5). All the platforms at Santa Lucia are on one level, and are adjacent to each other so it's very easy to find your train. Platform 1 is at the right side -I think there are 12 platforms.
The train was waiting at Platform 10 (It had been there quite a while, and I had been impressed to see a team of cleaners sprucing up the carriages)
Before boarding, I validated my ticket in the yellow machine at the end of the platform-this is a legal requirement. Hefty fines are issued for non-validated tickets.
I'd already checked which carriage I was in- The number is on the door. I had been a bit disappointed that it wasn't one of the double decker trains, but it was comfortable.
We set off on time, and we were soon heading over the Ponte Libertie to Mestre. We also stopped at Padua and Bologna. The last part of the journey was mainly through tunnels, with fleeting glances of the Tuscany countryside.
In the carriage was an information board showing the train and carriage number and stations we'd be stopping at. Announcements were in Italian and English.
The 2 hour journey had sped by, and we were soon pulling into the Stazione di Santa Maria Novella-Florences Central Station.
Outside the station is a taxi rank and bus station.
There is a Tourist Info Office and hotel booking desk in the station.
Exiting the station the church to the right with the distinctive tower (Santa Maria Novella) there is a helpful Tourist Info office, where I was given maps, directions to my hotel and a print off of events in Florence for Christmas Eve.
The night before my return to Venice, I checked my ticket, and was puzzled to see that although the time was correct, it had the date as 24th December- the date I'd travelled TO Florence. I was annoyed with myself for not checking the ticket at the ticket machine, but as one of the station managers had done the transaction, I'd not thought about this.
Apparently after purchasing your train ticket you have One Hour to correct any errors!
Luckily I'd saved my old ticket too, which verified the time of departure from Venice etc (If I hadn't, I don't think that I could have proved that it was a genuine mistake
I had to purchase another ticket, then reclaim my money in Venice. I was assured that there wouldn't be a problem, as it was obvious that this was an error - I would have been leaving Florence before I'd arrived!
Arriving in Venice I managed to reclaim my 42 Euros without any difficulty-phew!
The best way to arrive in Florence is by train at Santa Maria Novella, the main train station in Florence. We took the Eurostar from Venecia Santa Lucia and took 2 hours and 30 minutes, we seated in second class and all was right. Summer time is busy time to travel by train in Italy and it´s better buying tickets in adavance, we tryed by internet but we had to logged in trenitalia and wasn´t sure so we did it 2 days before the trip and we didn´t have any problem.
La mejor manera de llegar a Florencia es en tren a la estación de Santa Maria Novella. Nosotras cogimos el Eurostar desde Venecia Santa Lucia que tarda unas 2 horas y media en llegar, fuimos en sengunda clase y todo fue muy bién. En verano es mejor comprar los billetes con tiempo, lo intentamos por internet pero nos teniamos que dar de alta en trenitalia y era algo lioso, así que los compramos un par de días antes del viaje y no tuvimos ningún problema.
If you are on a real tight budget, or even if you are not on a tight budget and just want it to be cheap for the sake of being cheap without much downside then there is no option but to go for the Regional Train. 2nd Class of Regional Train costs 16 Euros, takes less than 4 hours, and runs frequently between these two cities.
On a typical day, the train leaves Rome at 05:57, 06:57, 09:05, 11:05, 12:57, 15:00, 16:57, and 18:57 hours. Further, there is no need to reserve a seat in advance, as you will find one quite easily. You may buy the open ticket, valid for one month, from the vending machine of any Italian train station or from other sources, and whenever you are like going to Florence, just go to the relevant platform, validate the ticket, and get aboard. This is simpler than it sounds. This train touches two stations in both of the cities: Roma Termini & Tiburtina in Rome and Santa Maria Novella & Campo di Marte, making it more flexible.
There is another cheaper option available but with some downside: a train "Freccia del Sud" leaves Rome at 06:13 on a typical day, takes less than 3 hours, and the 2nd Class fare is just 13.90 Euros (after incorporating 20% Amica discount). And what are the downsides. The train does not leave from Rome Termini, the main train station of Rome, but from Roma Tiburtina and arrives at Campo de Marte and not at Santa Maria Novella, the main train station of Florence. The fact that main train stations of both these cities are located in the city center makes this train less cheaper than it seems. Further, 20% Amica discount is only applicable when booked 24 hours in advance. But then this is the cheapest of all the options.
Other faster trains also run between these two cities with journey time of as low as 1 hour and 31 minutes and the base fare going up to 39.90 Euros and 56.10 Euros for 2nd Class and 1st Class respectively.
We arrived at the port in Livorno and got a taxi right at the ship for 20 Euro's to take us to the train station. Some taxi's can hold 6 people, so it's good to share if there are others wanting to go as well. Once at the train station, it's easy to buy a RT ticket to Florence, and the train is nice, safe and comfortable. The station in Florence is the end of the line and well placed in the city - you come right out and walk a few blocks for historical sites or shopping. We just checked our times for when we needed to be back, and came back to the station to catch a return. Once back in Livorno , taxi's were waiting - so we just grabbed one back to the ship. It is too far to walk to the train station from where the ship is docked, so don't think you can do that.
Due to start service on December 14, 2008, this new high technology train service will link Rome and Milan in 3 hours (initially 3hours 30). The Florence-Bologna section will be cut down to 37 minutes, and Bologna-Milan 65 minutes!!
So, it's an exciting time for anybody who thinks Ialy is just old-fashioned and stuck in the past. Trenitalia have released a video you can see here: