Last Updated on October 25, 2023 by Ingrid & Alex
It’s hard to choose the most romantic town in Italy, but I’m pretty sure Florence would make it pretty high on anyone’s list. That’s why if you are considering taking a day trip from Rome to Florence, you should go for it.
Back when I was during my 2 months in Rome experience, I got the chance to spend a long weekend in Florence. It was a warm sunny November and nature decided to complement the city’s colors with bright shades of orange, yellow, and red.
I’ll never forget waking up early in the morning, strolling through the empty streets, passing by coffee shops luring me with the smell of fresh coffee and delicious cookies.
The smell of “salumeria” and “formaggeria”, how you can feel the olive smell as soon as you enter a supermarket, for me Italy is all about the senses: smell, taste, enjoy!
And Florence is all about food and wine! But let’s not forget about the art!
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Planning the perfect Rome to Florence day trip
Getting from Rome to Florence
My favorite means of transportation in Northern Italy is always the train. It can be fast, it can be cheap, or it can be both when you plan way in advance.
You can always choose to buy the tickets from the machines at the train station, but especially for the fast trains that will turn out to be super expensive.
That’s why I always prefer to book my ticket online as soon as I start planning my trip to Italy and I know what I’ll include on my itinerary.
However, note that Southern Italy is not so well equipped when it comes to trains, thus I would always rent a car or book a tour.
From Roma Termini get the train to Florence Santa Maria Nocelle.
Something you’ll have to know about trains in Italy is the fact that you have 2 choices to make:
- the regional train – cheap, but it takes up to 4 hours to get you from Rome to Florence.
- the fast train (freccia = arrow) – more expensive, will take you in around 1h30 min from Rome to Florence. You can get great deals when you book in advance.
As a comparison, if I were to book a train ticket today for next week: a regional train is 22 EUR, while a fast train is 42 EUR.
The train station in Florence is within walking distance from the center of town, thus you won’t have to worry about getting around Florence.
Options to book your train ticket for Florence and save money:
- Omio.com – an aggregator that will show you all the available options. You can choose from trains operated by Trenitalia or Italotreno, set your departure time, and see the duration of the trip, number of transfers, and price. They will also show you available buses and planes. I think it is a great tool to plan your transfers but make sure to book ahead of time in order to get the best prices.
- Italiarail.com – another aggregator designated for Italy and trains only. You can pay an extra fee and book flexible tickets when you’re not sure about your travel dates. You can also add insurance to your trip.
- Eurail pass – covers a number of countries in Europe and offers great passes for multiple days, especially valuable when you plan to travel to multiple towns during your trip. If your one day trip from Rome to Florence is part of a wider tour throughout Italy and you’ll be using the train a lot, it is definitely worth considering a pass because it will save you a lot of money.
- Trenitalia – book directly on their website or at the train station
- Italotreno – book directly on their website or at the train station
Maybe not the best option if you only have one day to spend in Florence because it will take you 4 hours to get there from Rome.
Bus prices start from 22 EUR, and they leave from Roma Tiburtina.
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Of course, you can always rent a car and make your way to Florence from Rome. However, if you want to make the best out of your trip to Tuscany and do a wine tasting or a wine tour, I wouldn’t recommend going by car.
Especially since there are so many trains linking the two Italian towns.
However, if you are planning a longer trip, I recommend checking prices on Skyscanner.com and booking in advance for the best rate.
Make sure to have a valid driver’s license and a credit card.
BOOK A TOUR
Booking an organized tour is always an option, especially when you don’t want to think about all the nitty-gritty details: transfers, attractions, tickets, etc.
Here are 2 great options for Rome to Florence tours you might want to consider:
Read next: Go on a virtual tour to other places in Italy!
What to do in Florence in a day
While I think one day in Florence is not enough, I totally get it that sometimes it is what it is, and time is limited. Especially when you only have a few days in Italy and want to make the best out of it.
Just know you’ll have to take an early train (if you leave at 7:35 from Rome you’ll be at 9:11 in Florence) and allocate as many hours as you can to Florence.
Learn about art at the Ufizzi Gallery
Any trip to Florence should include a visit to the famous Ufizzi Gallery, especially if it is your first time here.
Here is where you’ll see some of the most famous paintings like the Birth of Venus by Botticelli or Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation, along with works by Raphael, Titian, and Caravaggio. For me, it was worth paying for the headset guide so that I could learn about these masterpieces.
We hadn’t thought about booking the ticket online, so we had to wait in a huge line and waste precious time. That’s why I suggest you learn from my mistakes and book your skip the line priority entrance ticket online.
Know that you can always cancel or change the tour if something happens and you cannot make it or need to change the dates.
Stroll along the Ponte Vecchio
The Old Bridge crosses the Arno River at its narrowest point, where it is believed that the Roman Via Cassia crossed the river. This is the only bridge in Florence that survived the Second World War, and it is today home to many jewelry shops.
Seeing the bridge from every angle is a must because it is such an iconic landmark of Florence and an amazingly photogenic location in town.
See David at the Galleria dell’Accademia
One of Michelangelo’s most famous sculptures, the biblical figure of David, is definitely something else worth seeing in Florence, even if you only have one day to spend in town. The artist started working on it in 1501, and it took him 2 years to complete it.
Especially with that in mind, I suggest you book a skip the line ticket and a guided tour through the Galleria dell’Accademia. You will not only save lots of time but will also get the chance to learn more about Renaissance sculpture and the life of Michelangelo.
Something else worth knowing is that there’s a replica of David in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Don’t think that’s the real deal when you cross by it.
Piazza del Duomo
Maybe the most famous place in town (and in the world), and consequently the most crowded, the Piazza del Duomo cannot be slipped.
The buildings in the Piazza are truly breathtaking, and packed with history, but the one that stands out is of course the Florence Cathedral. The building constructed in the Gothic style dates from the 1200s and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
As you would expect, the lines for seeing the interior of the Cathedral and climbing the cupola are immense. The only workaround is to book a priority ticket for a Dome climb. You will not only get to see Florence from the imposing cupola but will get to learn about the history of the city and of the Cathedral.
Take on the view from Piazzale Michelangelo
Here is where you’ll be introduced to that panoramic view over Florence you see everywhere.
Go there for the most magical time of the day, the sunset, and have a panoramic view of the town as the light plays with the buildings.
This romantic spot never fails to capture the heart of anyone who heads up for a special moment.
How to get there: walk up the hill from Porta San Miniato via Scalea del Monte alle Croci and Scalinata del Monte alle Croci. Or take the 12 or 13 bus from downtown Florence.
TIP: want a less crowded viewpoint over Florence? Head to San Miniato al Monte church! Even though it is not a secret, many don’t come here.
Another iconic location in Florence, the main meeting point for locals, but also a place packed with history surrounded by buildings hosting many museums and cultural points.
There are many imposing statues rounding the square and the Palazzo Vecchio that hosts now the town hall of Florence.
Eat a bistecca alla fiorentina
When in Florence, apart from the many delicious sweets, you must try a bistecca alla fiorentina. This is basically a steak seasoned with rosemary, garlic, and all the Italian goodness.
I remember having a delicious one at a restaurant just steps away from the Ponte Vecchio – “La Galleria Il Vino dei Guelfi cucina tipica fiorentina” , and it was epic.
Try it at Osteria di Giovann (Via del Moro, 22) or at Mamma Gina (Via Nazionale, 79r).
Go on a wine tour
How can you go to Tuscany and skip the wine? That’s something you simply cannot do!
No matter if you choose to go on a wine tasting in town, or go on a short trip outside on the hills of Tuscany, that’s one experience not to miss.
As you only have a day in Florence, the Chianti Colli Fiorentini Winery tour is perfect for you. The winery is not far from the city center, but you will get the chance to emerge in the Tuscan countryside, taste organic wines and olive oil.
The tour only takes one hour, but you have an exquisite encounter.
Go to the local market
The best way to get to know a place is to go to the market. Especially if you visit during the weekend, you shouldn’t skip a stroll through the stands packed with local products.
Taste tens of types of cheese, vegetables, salamis, and fresh bread. Buy some great quality leather goods for affordable prices, and get to interact with the locals.
I just love that about Italy! The colors and the flavors of the local market.
When to go
If you allow only one piece of advice, don’t go during summer. That’s when the streets are packed with tourists and prices are pretty high.
I would always go during spring or autumn. Shoulder season is not only the best for its lower prices but also for the beautiful colors you’ll get to see.
April or late October would make perfect months for visiting Florence. Just avoid the last weekend of October because that’s usually when Italians have a public holiday and the streets are much more crowded.
Other things to do in Florence
If this is your second time in Florence, you might want to consider skipping the most popular destinations and going for something more authentic.
I’m always a fan of just wandering around town and discovering all kinds of hidden streets and places, but I would also love different tours.
Here are a few ideas if you are looking for something new:
- Ferrari test drive
- Go on a day wine tour to Chianti and San Gimignano
- Discover the Boboli the Medici Gardens
- Go on a Dan Brown’s Inferno 2-Hour Walking Tour
- See the Palatina Gallery and Pitti Palace
PIN FOR LATER!