Do you know what the "Stendhal syndrome" is ? It is the reaction (elevated heart rate, trembling, palpitations...) to a work of art of extreme beauty. Stendhal coined the term when he visited Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance that houses the masterpieces of geniuses such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo**.
If you have already decided that visiting Florence is one of the things to do during your trip to Rome, first you should know the different ways to travel from one city to another, either by bus, train, car or plane.
The best way to get to Florence from Rome: an organized tour
My favorite option to visit Florence from Rome is to do it as part of an organized tour that you can book online in advance. The best part? You don't have to worry about anything, you will enjoy a heightened experience with an English speaking guide and you can even take the opportunity to see other cities such as Pisa and its iconic leaning tower.
In this case, the trip that has as its departure point one of Rome's main stations in the center usually takes place in an air-conditioned bus (very important in summer in Rome!) and lasts about 3 hours. However, if you choose the option of booking a small group tour to Florence from Rome you will be picked up and dropped off at your hotel. Also, with this option you will travel with only a few other people in a comfortable minivan.
During the tour you will cross the Ponte Vecchio, the only bridge in Florence that was not destroyed in World War II, and you will admire the marvelous dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria di Fiori, made of four million bricks. And the icing on the cake: you will visit **Michelangelo'**s famous David.
Types of tours to visit Florence from Rome
The minimum duration of the excursions from Rome to Florence is usually about 12 hours including the round trip, but you can also book a multi-day tour if you want to take advantage of the trip in Italy and visit Rome, Bologna, Siena, Florence and Venice.
If you are looking for a customized tour you have the option to book a full day excursion from Rome to Florence and Pisa for a small group of up to 15 people, transfers in private vehicles and tickets for the Accademia Gallery in Florence and the Baptistery and Duomo in Pisa with a price around 257 euros. Perfect for the most demanding travelers!
Or, if you prefer, you can book a day trip from Rome to Florence that includes bus travel with 50 passengers, local guide and all for €121.
What do excursions to Florence usually include?
- A professional guide in English.
- Transfers between cities.
- Free cancellation.
- Hotel accommodation and meals on the multi-day tour.
In this article I compare the different tours that you can book from Rome so that you can choose the option that best suits your interests and your budget. There is something for all budgets, take a look!
How to get to Florence by train: the most comfortable option
Particularly, the train seems to me the most comfortable option to get to Florence from Rome. The trip takes only 1 hour and a half and you will hardly notice it. For example, the Italo company operates every day from 5:40 am, with a frequency of 15 minutes or half an hour, depending on the time of day, until 8:40 pm.
The price usually ranges in total, one way and return, between 40 ¤ and a maximum of 90 ¤ on days of high demand, such as weekends and during the summer season. You can find offers for 21,75 € one way, but be careful because these trips usually take about 4 hours, instead of an hour and a half. To find the best price I suggest you book your tickets online as far in advance as possible. There is a lot of demand!
Specifically, trains depart from Rome Termini, the most important railroad station in the capital, and arrive at Santa Maria Novella in Florence, located in the heart of the city and very well connected by public transport.
- Train fare: from 40€ round trip.
- Operating companies: Italo, Frecciarossa and Frecciargento.
- Travel time: one hour and a half.
- Recommended if... you have little time during your trip.
How to get to Florence by bus: the most economical option
Are you on a tight budget? Don't worry because buses in Italy are very cheap, especially the route between Rome and Florence, since it is one of the most common trips for travelers but also for Italians. You will find real bargains from 4,97€ one way. However, be careful, because the journey usually takes between three and a half and four hours, depending on the selected ticket. If you don't mind taking longer, go ahead!
In this case, I advise you to use the Itabus buses, one of the cheapest companies and one that runs a large number of routes between these two cities every day. The first buses from Rome leave at 6 am and the last ones at 11:45 pm. They are also quite comfortable and have air conditioning, free wifi service (very important for hanging out) and they give you a bottle of water. Can you ask for more?
Disadvantage of the bus
The downside? Time is money when traveling and compared to the train it takes twice as long. On the other hand, the main disadvantage of the bus is that the bus station in Rome (Largo Guido Mazzoni) is quite a bit further from the center than the train station, which will waste even more time as you will have to take another transport first. My advice is to forget about these hassles and hire a tour.
- Price: from 10€ round trip.
- Operating companies: Itabus, the cheapest one; MarinoBus, Flixbus...
- Duration of the trip: 3 hours and a half or 4 hours.
- Recommended if... you are a born saver.
Nuria's Traveller Tip
If you don't mind wasting time and want to go by bus to save money, I advise you to use a ticket comparator, such as "checkmybus". You will save a few euros!
How to get to Florence by car: the most practical option
If you are a free soul and you don't like to depend on anything or anyone, renting a car will be the best option. The advantage is that you will be able to stop in places like Cinque Terre, where you will see the five most charming villages I have ever seen in my life, and the stunning Amalfi coast. Don't miss a tasting of the best Italian wine on your trip to the capital of Tuscany either. Chinchin!
The drive takes about 3 hours or three and a half hours on the highway and you have to pay a toll of 18,40 €. Please also note that there is no route that allows you to avoid tolls. For example, if you are traveling alone it will cost you a total of about 42 € each way, between this fee and the gasoline, plus the car rental!
In my opinion, if you add up all the expenses it is a quite expensive means of transport compared to the previous ones. It is only recommended if you are a group of 4 or 5 people. Also, the car rental companies usually charge an extra fee for returning the car in another city.
- Price: from 42€ between gasoline and tolls.
- Companies operating: Sixt, Europcar, Rentalcar
- Travel time: 3 hours and a half
- Recommended if... you are traveling in group
BlaBlaCar: the more adventurous option
If you are a globetrotter and love to meet local people on your travels... Read carefully! In Italy lately it has become fashionable the BlaBlaCar platform, a service where people agree to share vehicle and travel expenses. If you're not shy, I recommend it - it's perfect for chatting and meeting new people! In this case, the ride will be part of the experience.
Generally the minimum price on BlaBlaCar is around 12€ one way. What's the downside? Drivers usually post their trips two or three days in advance so you won't be able to plan anything far in advance.
Plane: the worst option to get to Florence from Rome
If you have in mind to travel by plane to Florence from Rome, I recommend that you discard this idea. Why? Very easy: the prices are exorbitant (in low season you can pay about 160 €), there are few companies that make this route and the routes are usually with a stopover.
However, you can find some "bargain" in low cost airlines like Ryanair or Vueling for 90 €. Of course, as I said, you will have to transfer at an airport and buy the ticket well in advance. It will take you twice as long as in other transports and on top of that it is the most expensive way. So, from my point of view, in any case it is not worth it.
- Price: 160€ average price
- Operating companies: Ryanair, Vueling
- Travel time: 4 hours with stopover
- Recommended if... you find a bargain.
In short, we compare the different options to get to Florence
But... Which is the best option? You already know the pros and cons of each of the means of transport, if you still can't decide between taking an excursion, the train or the bus I will give you some tips that will help you make a decision. As I said, I would discard the car or the plane because of its very high price.
Is it better to take a tour, train or bus?
- I recommend the excursion if... you are only going to be in Rome for a few days, but you want to take advantage of the trip to get to know Florence. In this case, the best thing to do is to book a day trip to Florence because the guide will take you to the emblematic monuments and masterpieces and you won't waste time in planning, mapping or in the endless queues at the museums... You'll be on your way!
- I recommend the train if... you like to travel on your own. It is the fastest option and also the most comfortable, but book in advance! Ideally, you should buy your tickets one month in advance.
- I recommend the bus if... you have more days, you are the king of low cost and you like to travel cheap. I promise it won't be as uncomfortable as you imagine! It is another of the most popular transports in beautiful Italy.
Summary of the different options to get to Florence
The best option
Price: from 121€ round trip
Duration: one day excursion
You can book it with Hellotickets
The fastest option
Price: from 40€ round trip
Duration: 1 hour and a half
Companies: Italo, Frecciarossa and Frecciargento
The cheapest option
Price: from 10€ round trip
Duration: 3 hours and a half or 4 hours
Companies: Itabus, MarinoBus, Flixbus...
The most practical and expensive option
Price: 100€ one way
Duration: 3 hours
Rent a car with Sixt, Europcar...
The most expensive and cumbersome option
Price: from 90€.
Duration: depends (almost all with stopover)