Getting to Florence By Rail

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Getting There By Rail

The Italian state railway is Ferrovie dello Stato (tel: (147) 888 088; website: www.fs-on-line.com; website:www.trenitalia.com), which is reliable and fairly priced, although hefty supplements can be added depending on the type of train (Diretto, Inter-Regionale or InterCity). By law, passengers must validate their train tickets, by stamping them in the yellow machines on the platform before boarding – failure to do so can result in a large fine.

Services operate from the central train station in Florence, Santa Maria Novella or Firenze SMN, 1 Piazza Unita’Italiana, which is known as Piazza della Stazione (tel: (055) 235 2061). Situated in the north of the city, the station takes its name from the nearby church and provides a good orientation point. Facilities include an all-night pharmacy, a bureau de change, left-luggage and an accommodation booking service. The squat building at the far end of the station complex is a tourist information office.

 

Rail services: Florence is on the main Rome–Milan line, which ensures a fast service to Italy’s most important business and tourist centres. Services include the InterCity, with links to Milan (journey times – 3 hours 25 minutes) and Rome (journey time – 1 hour 30 minutes) and the express service, which links the city to Naples (journey time – 3 hours 30 minutes). Both services are subject to supplementary fares. For rail access to ports, there are regular trains to Venice, changing at Bologna (journey time – 3 hours 15 minutes), or on a fast direct service (journey time – 3 hours) and to Genoa, changing at Pisa (journey time – 3 hours 30 minutes). The EuroCity train service links Florence to more than 40 other European destinations, including Paris, Basel, Munich and Brussels.

Transport to the city: Buses stop at the station, although it is just a ten-minute walk to the city’s key attractions. Visitors should follow Via de’ Panzani, then Via de’ Cerretani to reach Brunelleschi’s Duomo in the heart of Renaissance Florence, or catch bus 14.

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Getting to Florence

Situated in the northwest of Italy, surrounded by the wine-growing hills of Chianti, the city attracts rapture and frustration in equal proportions.

When's best to visit Florence?

It is best for visitors to avoid the peak summer months of July and August, when the weather can be unbearably sticky and the prospect of trailing around museums becomes unappealing. Early autumn, when the countryside glows with mellow fruitfulness, is the best time to visit, avoiding the heat and the queues and capitalising on the soft light, empty streets and the abundance of wild mushrooms and just-pressed olive oil.