Florence Train Station

A Guide to One of Italy's Oldest
and Busiest Transport Hubs

Welcome to your Florence train station insider guide!

The main Florence Train Station is called Santa Maria Novella (SMN) and is conveniently located in the heart of town just a few minutes walk to all the main sights.

Remember this ‘SMN’ because that is what you need to look out for when booking tickets or pulling into town: ‘Firenze S.M.N.’.

There are other minor stations along the way, but don’t get off at those,

Italian trains are efficient, clean and very affordable. 

Train Station in Florence Italy on a winter's day

Rail travel is also a great way to take day trips from Florence.  

With a train you arrive right in the downtown area of most Italian cities.

And Italian trains are also getting faster and faster.

Now you can zip over to Rome, Venice and Milan in a fraction of what it used to take.

The Florence train station can seem very confusing at first however…

No worries - with these guidelines, and you’ll be getting around like a Florentine veteran!

Train Information

There are two ways to get train information at the Florence train station.

  • Use the ticket vending machines in the station (more on this below) – even if you’re not buying, you can use the machines to see all the train schedules
  • Look at the yellow train schedule boards found on each platform  - these list every train that leaves from the Florence train station.

(To get train information online use the links at the end of this page).

Reading the Train Schedule Information

Examples of train information to go to Naples and Rome

Here are some examples of how to read the train info.

At the top is a train to Naples

The red color and writing that says 'Frecciarossa' means that it’s a high speed train (these cost more).  

On the left you see the time it leaves (9.04 am) whereas the number in the blue dot on the right tells you the platform it usually leaves from, track 11 (but always check the up-to-date monitors to be sure!).

The second is a train going to Rome, and you can see that it makes many stops before arriving at Termini station at 12.47 pm.  

This is handy if you want to go to one of those smaller towns, for example, Montevarchi, a VERY popular destination for shoppers – that’s where the Florence mall for designer outlet shops are!

Getting Tickets

To buy tickets you have four options:

  1. the ticket counter
  2. vending machines
  3. Insider Tip!  Newsstands
  4. Insider Tip! Florence travel agencies
  5. buy over the Internet

Option no. 1

This is the tried-and-true old-fashioned way to get a train ticket, you just go to the ticket counter at the Florence train station where there is a person who serves you.

But this mean you'll have to wait in a line that could be long and slow...do you really want to waste precious vacation time?

Line at the ticket counter at the Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence

Option no. 2

Using the handy ticket vending machines is fast and easy.

There are 3 types of machines though, see pics below and read to recognize the difference.

The shot below shows the most useful machine for getting all types of tickets to go basically anywhere - notice it says 'Fast Ticket' at the top.  

Machines at Florence train station for all types of tickets

This machine below only sells tickets within the region of Tuscany - notice it says 'regionale' - you won't need this, see tip below

Machine for only regional tickets in Tuscany

The red 'Italo' machines are for a new private rail company - trains only go to major cities but prices may be a bit lower than Trenitalia trains

an Italo machine

Option no. 3

Insider Tip: do like the locals do and save time!

There’s a ticket called ‘biglietto regionale’ that you can use to get anywhere in Tuscany, at it takes just a second to buy!

You simply go to any newsstand at the station that shows the sign ‘biglietti’ or ‘biglietti regionali’.

You ask for the destination of your choice, pay the person, and you’re done!

Remember though to stamp the ticket before you get on the train - see 'Stamp Your Ticket' below.

For a two-way trip you need to buy two tickets as each ticket is only good for one way.

These tickets cost exactly the same as buying the other ways, but are MUCH faster to purchase.

Some examples of cities in Tuscany these tickets are good for:

  • Pisa
  • Siena
  • Arezzo
  • Prato
  • Grosseto
  • Livorno
  • Lucca
  • Viareggio
  • Empoli

Here an example of a sign where they sell regional tickets:

Sign indicating that you can get regional tickets here

Option no. 4

This is a great insider tip! 

Almost all travel agencies in Florence provide a train booking service for a very small surcharge.  

Just go into any agency you happen to see and ask them to book for you.  

They do all the work and print out your ticket on the spot, and you're done in a jiffy!

Option no. 5

If you prefer to book online you'll find the link to the official Italian railway site, Trenitalia, and another good site for booking at the end of this page.

Payment with Ticket Machines

Machines are a snap to use, just choose your language and follow the instructions.

Most machines take both credit cards and cash, but some only take credit cards.

It’s so annoying to go through all the touch-screen selecting, choose your tickets and then find out when it comes to pay that the machine doesn’t take cash!

It’s easy to avoid this.

Just look for the symbol at the top of the machine – if it takes bills and coins it will have an image like this:

Machine saying, 'I take cash!'

Stamp Your Ticket Before Boarding

Once you have your ticket you must stamp it before getting on the train.  

This validates the ticket for use.  

There are fines for non-stamped tickets so look for the machines on the platforms and stamp before getting on the train. 

A regional ticket that you can buy at a newsstand
Remember to stamp your ticket using the validation machines at the head of platforms at the Florence station

Train from Rome to Florence

Many people fly into Rome and then take a train to Florence – this is often cheaper than flying here directly.

If you need to catch a train from Rome to Florence there are basically three options:

Note: the first train from Rome to Florence leaves at about 6 am and the last at about 8:30 pm, outside of these hours you may be stranded in Rome!

  • A Regionale Veloce, literally a ‘fast regional’ but it’s a misnomer because it takes nearly 4 hours!
  • A Frecciarossa (or Frecciargento), a high speed train run by the Italian railway company Trenitalia
  • An Italo train, a private run high speed train 

Here’s a chart with more information about these three choices

Train from Rome to FlorenceTimeHow Often Trains GoBase Price
Regionale Veloce3 hrs 45 minsabout every hour€ 20
Frecciarossa1 hr 25 minsevery half hour€ 40
Italo 1 hr 37 minsabout 7 per day€ 35

Important If You're Coming from Rome Airport

If you are coming from the airport in Rome and you’re then getting a train from Rome to Florence, you will have to first get a train from the Rome airport to Termini train station.  

Then, from Termini to Florence SMN.  

NOTE: the track where you pull in coming from the airport is VERY far from the tracks with trains that go to Florence.  

Give yourself a good half hour or even 45 minutes between connecting trains so you have time to get to your connection.

You can easily buy your ticket at the ticket machines in Rome, but if you want to book your train from Rome to Florence ahead of time, see the links for train information in Italy at the end of this page.

Station Exits, Taxis and Buses

There are two main exits/entrances to the Florence train station.  

To go towards the heart of town, go out from the side near the pharmacy.  

Leaving from this side also takes you to the stops for the most used bus lines and the taxi stand too.

To get to the cabs, go right after exiting the station from the pharmacy side.

Taxi rank in Florence Italy Train Station

And BTW, the exit on the other end of the station has a lot of steps so avoid if you have lots of luggage!  

Lots of steps on this side!

Steps leading down to tram stop in via Alamanni Florence

Pharmacy open 24/7

The pharmacy near the exit at the Florence station

Some Facts about the Florence Train Station

  • It is named after the Santa Maria Novella church, located right in front. 
  • The station was built low and on a horizontal plane (see pic at top of page).  This was done intentionally so as not to over-shadow or block the view of this great cathedral.
  • The Florence train station was built in 1935 after its design was approved by none other than Mussolini who was in power at the time in fascist Italy. 
  • Near platform 8 is a plaque in memory of those who were deported from Florence to concentration camps during the second World War, leaving from this very track.
  • SMN is one of the few examples of modern architecture in Florence (although a new and very modern Florence Opera House is currently being built at the Cascine park).

Useful Links

Official site of the Italian railway Trenitalia

A good site for booking and info about trains in all Europe

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