Updated: April 11, 2018
The central train station in Pisa. Trains between Florence and Pisa run almost constantly, about every 7 to 30 minutes, depending on the time of day.
How to get to Florence from Pisa:
- By train: From the airport, take the 5 minute PisaMover train to Pisa Centrale train station. Then take a train to Florence, about a 50 to 80 minute ride, depending the train’s speed and number of stops. This is the best option, as is offers a great combination of affordable rates, flexible times, more spacious seating, and easy luggage storage. Plus riding the train is a totally Italian experience! More info and photos on taking the train below.
- By bus: There is direct bus service every day by Autostradale from the Pisa airport to Santa Maria Novella, the main train station in Florence. Buses run every hour and fifteen minutes from 9 a.m. until 12:40 a.m. The rates are €14 for adults and €7 for children. Bus rides take approximately 70 minutes, but can fluctuate depending on traffic. Though bus fares are comparable to trains, seats are smaller and total trip times are less reliable due to traffic. Large luggage is stored in a compartment under the bus with room for some small items above the seats.
- By taxi: Taxi is a much more expensive option than the train or bus, but if you are traveling with children or unwieldy luggage, this is the easiest and most flexible way. A taxi costs about €180 one-way, depending on mileage and time. There are always taxis waiting outside of the airport. This is a suitable option for groups of up to four.
- By private transfer: There are daily shuttles from the Pisa airport to Florence. It is cheaper per person than a taxi (though still not as cheap as a train or bus), but you do need to book ahead. Sun Transfers is the best private transfer company running from Pisa to Florence. Rates listed are round trip, beginning at €281 for up to three passengers, with fares per person falling for larger groups of up to eight.
- By driving: Renting a car is cheaper in the long run than taxiing, and the rules of the road in Italy are similar to those in the U.S. The drive from Pisa to Florence will take a little over an hour, and the route includes tolls. Driving is a great option if your trip to Florence includes a few day trips to other Tuscan cities or into the wine country. But if the bulk of your travel days will be spent in Florence itself, then a car is more trouble than it’s worth, due to the limited and expensive parking and the fact that most hotels in Florence are inside the pedestrian-only zone. You can learn more about renting a car and driving in Florence here.
The PisaMover runs between the Pisa International Airport to the Pisa Centrale train station every 5 to 8 minutes every day from 6 a.m. to midnight. The 2 km journey takes about 5 minutes total and makes only one stop (at San Giusto Aurelia, where there are two parking lots) before continuing on to Pisa Centrale. The timetable is the same on weekdays as it is on weekends and holidays.
Trains running from Pisa Centrale Station to Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Firenze SMN, the main train station in Florence), run almost constantly, about every 7 to 30 minutes, depending on the time of day. The first train of the morning is an exception, with an hour after its departure until the next one. Pisa to Florence train service begins at 4:15 a.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m. Train timetables are the same on weekdays, weekends, and holidays.
The PisaMover costs €2.70 per adult one-way or €5.40 round trip. PisaMover tickets can be purchased via credit card or cash (in Euros) at any of the four kiosks at the airport station. Cash purchases can also be made at one of their offices, but none are at the airport. One child under one meter tall rides free, accompanied by an adult. Two adults can accompany two children under one meter tall each, with both children riding for free. But if one adult is with two or more children, only one child rides for free; the rest are charged at the standard rate.
Tickets from Pisa Centrale to Firenze SMN cost €8.40 per adult one way; Trenitalia operates this route. Children at or under 4 years old ride free if they sit in an adult’s lap. Children between 4-11 are charged at a 50% discount off adult fare and get their own seat. Seats can be purchased for children under 4 at the standard child rate, too (do this if using a car seat). Trains are rarely full, so if the train starts moving and there are empty seats near, it is ok for the younger kids to use them.
Bimbi Gratis: Children under 15 can ride free as part of Trenitalia’s Bimbi Gratis program. To take advantage of this, tickets must be purchased two days in advance as part of a family group of 2-5 people, with at least one adult. Adult fares remain the same, just the child tickets are free.
Trenitalia tickets can be purchased at any of the kiosks or ticket offices at the train station on the day of travel. They can also be purchased online 24 hours or more before the train’s scheduled departure.
Wait Times and Delays
Italian trains (and buses, for that matter) are frequently delayed by a few minutes. Delays can happen anytime, but they are most frequent near the major holidays of Christmas and Easter when there are more passengers.
Delays can also be caused by worker strikes, though these are never by surprise. All strikes must be announced two weeks in advance, cannot last more than 24 hours, and are never allowed in July, August, late December, early January, or in the days around Easter or elections. In the case of a strike, trains still operate but on a limited schedule.
In the case that a delay is long enough that it causes a passenger to miss a connection, the purchased ticket can be redeemed on the next train out, within an hour after the original train’s departure time. If the train they need to connect to is the last train of the evening, let the conductor know; they may be able to have that train wait.
Traveling with Kids
On Trenitalia, Children under 4 years old ride free with no seat reservation, or at 50% of the adult rate (€4.20) with a reserved seat. Children 4-11 ride at half price, too. However, for groups of 2-5 where at least one is an adult and at least one is a child under 15, then all children under 15 in that group ride free and get their own seat. To take advantage of this offer, tickets for the group must be purchased at least two days in advance.
In general, all children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Children between 12-16 may travel alone with a signed consent form from their parent or legal guardian. Contact Trenitalia directly for details on unaccompanied minors.
Food On Board or at the Station
The train from the airport to Pisa is a short ride, so no food is offered on board.
There are several options for grabbing a bite at the airport on the way to the PisaMover station. Walking directly from the arrivals hall, making a left takes you down the long hallway to the PisaMover station. Along this hallway, there is a pizzeria, pasta restaurant, and several cafes, mixed in with shops. There is an escalator to the left a few meters down, which goes up one floor to more restaurants and shops.
In Pisa Centrale station also has several restaurants on the ground floor facing the Piazza, including a Chef Express snack bar/buffet, McDonalds, and a few cafes; none of these area great, but they are filling. Vending machines are located on Platform 1. However, if you exit the station and walk across the Piazza, there are several great restaurants right there, the best being Pizzeria Da Filippo and Istanbul Bar Kebab, right next door to each other.
Location of the Train Stations
The PisaMover train is at the airport station less than 40 meters from the passenger terminal, connected via indoor hallway followed by an outdoor covered walkway. The route from the arrivals area to the station is clearly marked. If in the arrivals hall and facing the airport exit to the Piazza with the gates behind you, the train station will be to the left. Walk straight and continue to follow the signs. This will lead outdoors. Continuing straight will take you to the station, marked with a large sign with stairs or elevators going up to the platform.
Pisa Centrale station is located on the south side of the Arno River, walking distance to most of the city’s attractions, which area all north of the station. Heading due north, it is just a 2 km (23 minute walk or 10 minute taxi ride) to the Leaning Tower and the Duomo. Palazzo Blu Museum, the Royal Palace, and Santa Maria della Spina church are only 1 km north of the station, while the Piazza dei Cavalieri and the Botanical Garden are in between the aforementioned attractions and the Leaning Tower.
Pisa Centrale offers luggage storage. If you have the time, it’s worth it to drop your bags here, and check out the sights (the Leaning Tower at the very least!) before moving on toward Florence.
Getting to Florence from the Pisa Airport or Pisa Centrale
Map of the Pisa Airport. Restaurants are shown in black, shops in yellow, airport services are blue, and restrooms are the small white rectangles inside the main building. Most of the airport is on the ground floor, but there is an upper floor with more restaurants, restrooms, shops, and services that can be seen in the smaller inset map to the bottom right. The PisaMover train is the green section on the righthand side of the map. The orange sections are various parking lots in front of the airport; P6 all the way on the left side of the map is where to catch the bus to Florence.
View from in front of the Pisa Airport. The airport arrivals hall is in the right. Straight ahead leads to the P6 parking lot, where the Florence buses park.
In front of the arrivals hall.
Inside the arrivals hall, facing the exit as shown in the previous photo. Heading straight out these doors will take you to the taxi stand. Taking a right out of these doors leads to the P6 parking lot and Florence Buses. Stay inside and make a left to get to the PisaMover train. There is a sign for the train in the top left. Stop by the currency exchange first, to the right of the doors, if you need.
Standing in the same spot as the previous photo, just facing the other way. See the PisaMover sign above the travelers.
Several shops and restaurants line the hallway that leads to the PisaMover train.
The hallway passes more shops. The PisaMover is straight ahead. The escalator to the left leads to the upper floor with more restaurants. There is also an ATM that dispenses Euros in the wall of the escalator to the left.
The ATM near the escalators.
The hallway passes the departure gates to the left. There is another currency exchange counter here on the left. The exit toward the train is now visible on the right.
There are pay phones in this area.
In the PisaMover check in area, with the exit to the PisaMover train visible to the right. There is a yellow sign for the restrooms near the PisaMover exit, marked “Bagni, Toilettes.” Follow the arrow to find the restrooms, located behind check in counter #21. The sign for the restrooms there is visible on the left side of the photo in yellow.
Exit toward the PisaMover train, with one last café on the right.
Exit to a covered walkway to the PisaMover train.
Entrance to the PisaMover shuttle train station.
Straight ahead, stairs lead up to the platform. To the right are the elevators up.
Once at the platform level, buy your ticket for the PisaMover at one of the blue kiosks. The black kiosk is a change machine for Euros. The ticket kiosk gives a maximum of €5 change.
Ticket kiosks accept Euro notes in the bottom, coins to the right of the screen, regular credit cards inserted in the middle, and contactless cards by swiping past the sensors.
To begin, select your language. Choose “single ticket” for a one-way ticket.
Select the number of tickets you need, and touch “confirm.”
Choose how you want to pay, by card or cash.
Pay now. If using a credit card, you will need to enter your PIN number.
Receipts are delivered from the top. Tickets and change are dispensed at the bottom.
Open the plastic cover to retrieve your ticket and any change.
A PisaMover ticket with a QR code.
Turnstiles to get to the train are next to the ticket kiosks.
Scan the QR code at the turnstiles to gain access to the train. Tickets are valid until 11:59 p.m. on the day of purchase.
Take the PisaMover headed toward the “Stazione FS, Railway Station, City Center”
Your chariot awaits.
Inside the PisaMover.
Airport flight information is displayed on screens inside the shuttle train – this is good information to have if you’re making a return trip.
Arriving at the Pisa Centrale Station.
Exit the train at Pisa Centrale.
Enter the station through another set of turnstiles.
Hang a right after the turnstiles, then continue straight to get to the main area of the station.
On the way, you’ll find several kiosks where you can buy tickets for Florence, as well as paper and electronic timetables for train departures, as shown here. Of course, you may also buy a ticket at the ticket counter located in the main terminal area.
A paper timetable is displayed. These show all scheduled departures to all stations for the whole day.
Electronic screens like this display only the most immediate upcoming departures. The first train listed here is going to Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station, listed on all signs as Firenze SMN. You can see the train number, in this case RV 3110, scheduled for 11:32 leaving from Platform 8. (Sometimes they’re hard to read.) See also the two later trains to Florence, departing at 11:54 from Plaform 12 and at 12:01 from Platform 1. All of the trains listed here are on time. If there is a delay, it will be shown here in the column between the time and platform number.
A newer (and easier to read) departure display screen.
To purchase a ticket at the kiosk, first choose your language, then select “Buy Your Ticket.”
Choose “Firenze S.M. Novella” as the arrival.
Select the date and time for your departure. If you plan on visiting the sights in Pisa first, buy one for a few hours later, so you’ll have plenty of time. Notice the time selections are listed in military time, where 16:00 is 4:00 p.m. and 20:00 is 8:00 p.m.
Once you’ve selected your basic time window, the trains for those times are listed. Notice that they all vary in time and price. All tickets on these routes are listed as 2nd class, since this is not an overnight or long train ride.
Select your ticket, number of travelers, and proceed to payment.
Similar to the PisaMover kiosk, the Trenitalia kiosk accepts credit cards, contactless cards, and Euros in coins or bills. The ticket is dispensed at the bottom. Lift the plastic cover to retrieve the ticket.
If you prefer to buy from a ticket agent, want to grab some food, need the restroom, or want to visit the Leaning Tower before you leave, you’ll want to head toward Platform 1. Otherwise proceed to your designated platform. The PisaMover always arrives and departs from Platform 14 (Binario 14) in Pisa Centrale. It is connected to the main terminal and other platforms by some underground walkways. Restaurants, ticket windows, and most other services are near Platform 1.
You’ll pass several numbered platforms on the way. Access the platform levels via elevator or stairs. This elevator goes to Platforms 8 and 9. The sign above points the way to the other platforms, or “binari.” It also guides people toward the exit (uscita) and the Piazza Stazione, which is the piazza in front of the main entry and exit to the train station. If you want to grab a taxi to the Leaning Tower before heading to Florence, go to the Piazza.
Stairs to Platforms 8 and 9.
On Platform 8 with the train to Firenze SMN.
Elevator on the platform.
View of train tracks from the platform.
If you need the restroom, restaurants, or ticket office, keep walking along the underground walkway toward Platform 1. All of the main services are in this area.
On Platform 1 facing east, there are several restaurants immediately to the left. Ahead is a ticket office, a lounge, and a baggage drop off. This also exits to the Piazza.
Facing west, you can see the sign for the restrooms.
Heading toward the restrooms. “Bagni A Pagamento” means “paid restrooms.” The price is €1 per person, cash only.
Restrooms on the left. The doors to the right lead to the main station ticket office.
There is a large area with several ticket windows. This is where to go if you prefer to purchase tickets from a human, or if you have questions. There are also electronic kiosks to the right of the windows and an electronic timetable of arrivals.
The ticket office or “biglietteria.”
On the opposite (left) side of the ticket windows, there is the departure timetable.
Opposite the ticket window are several more self-serve ticket kiosks. This is also where to exit to walk or taxi to the Leaning Tower or other attractions.
There’s a tobacco shop here…
…and a newsstand near the exit to the restrooms.
Head back out to eastbound Platform 1 to find a pharmacy, indicated by the green cross, and a newsstand, where you can grab a quick bottled drink. There is a lounge in between the newsstand and the pharmacy. There is another entry to the ticketing office here.
The waiting lounge on the left and another entrance to the food court.
The ticket office and piazza exit are to the left. There are also pay phones here.
Just across from the ticket office, there is a vending machine for water, soda, and hot coffee.
A police station is just past the ticket office on the left. On the right in the background is a blue sign with a suitcase on it. This indicates the baggage drop off area.
Taking a left at the suitcase sign will lead you to the baggage drop off, or left luggage area.
Drop your luggage in this office. You can also rent a bike by the hour or for the day here.
The baggage drop office. Baggage is left at a flat rate of €5 for the day. Bikes can be rented by the hour or day here, as well as ponchos and umbrellas. Drop off bags at the left window, and pick them up at the right window.
A little before your train is due, head to the correct platform. You’ll need to validate your ticket before boarding. Look for the ticket validating machines scattered around the station. They are red, white, and green machines, as seen in this photo. Above the machine is a blue sign illustrating the ticket validation.
View of the ticket validating machine from the front.
Validate your ticket by inserting it into the slot face down (oops, I did this one in reverse!). Hold it in until the ticket gets a time stamp. Always validate your ticket before boarding. There are officers who check each passenger’s ticket once on board. Anyone with a non-validated will face a hefty fine.
Seats are available on two levels. Relax and enjoy the ride.
Restrooms are small and located near the stairs.
Welcome to Florence, and the Santa Maria Novella train station.
Exit the train toward the main station area. The trains arrive on the same level, so the main area with shops, restaurants, and station agents will be visible immediately.
Firenze SMN station has several restaurants and shops inside, and a mini mall in the underground level. Facing the shops, the main exits will be on the left past Platform 16 or straight ahead-ish, through the ticket office marked “Salone Biglietteria,” seen here to the right of the tobacco shop.
View of Santa Maria Novella Church directly across from the Florence train station. You can catch a taxi here, or walk to most hotels in Florence’s City Center (Duomo), San Marco, and San Lorenzo neighborhoods.