Updated: May 4, 2018
How to get to Florence from Venice:
- By train: There are two types of trains connecting Venice with Florence, high-speed express trains and slower, regional trains. High speed trains are the best option for travelers, offering spacious seating, quick transfer (usually less than two hours), affordable rates, easy luggage storage, and amenities like wifi, electrical outlets, a food carriage with a café or vending machines, and restrooms (including those with wheelchair access). Local trains can be a great option for budget travelers, as these tickets are sometimes (but not always) cheaper than express tickets. Local trains usually take about three and a half up to five hours, with overnight trains taking over seven, so be sure to check the duration of the train ride before booking. Restrooms are on all trains, and some offer wifi and in-seat power.
- By bus: Buses cost about the same as trains, and usually take about three hours forty-five or four hours twenty minutes. Flixbus offers the fastest buses serving this route. All buses include on-board wifi, snacks, and restrooms. Flixbus routes depart from Tronchetto, an artificial island connected by the #2 vaporetto, and arrive at Piazzale Montelungo, the main bus parking area behind Firenze Santa Maria Novella, the main train station in Florence.
- By driving: Renting a car 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. Driving via the most direct route (which includes a toll road) takes a little less than three hours; driving along the coast allows you to avoid most tolls, but will take almost five hours. You can learn more about renting a car and driving in Florence here.
- By air: There are no direct flights from Venice to Florence. All flights include a layover, usually in Zurich, Munich, or Rome, and take at least two hours and fifty minutes. This is not recommended, as getting to and from each airport and clearing security makes this both a more expensive and more time consuming option than taking an express train.
Florence-Venice Train Schedules
Trains running from Venezia Santa Lucia Station to Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Firenze SMN, the main train station in Florence) depart every 10 to 25 minutes for most of the day, though trains are less frequent in the early morning and late evening hours.
Venezia Santa Lucia to Firenze SMN train service begins at 5:05 a.m. and ends at 7:42 p.m., though there are two overnight local trains leaving just after midnight and arriving at 6:33 a.m. and 7:53 a.m. Both of the overnight trains have two train changes, though, so you won’t be able to sleep through the ride. Train schedules are the same on weekdays, weekends, and holidays.
Florence-Venice Train Fares
Prices for tickets from Venezia SL to Firenze SMN vary widely, with express tickets ranging from €15.90 for a basic ticket to €66 for a first class ticket. Regional train tickets cost around €20; all tickets are the same type. Train tickets are cheapest if bought a few days in advance.
Express trains offer both first and second class seating options, while local trains only offer second class. The difference between classes is not much on the express trains. Second class seats are spacious, recline, and come with free wifi and power outlets. First class seats are a little bigger, usually have more luggage storage, and sometimes come with a welcome drink and snack. For such a short trip, it’s not worth paying for the first class upgrade, since tickets are two to three times the price, and the amenities are mostly the same.
Italo offers discounts for children, seniors, and families. Children under 36 months ride free with no seat assignment and sitting in an adult’s lap; if an adult travels with more than one infant, a second seat must be purchased. Italo’s Family program allows everyone in a family to have assigned seats together, and at a discount: a booking must be made for two to four people, where at least one is over 18. In that case all children under 14 in that group ride free (infants under 36 months aren’t counted, since they ride free anyway). Seniors receive a 40% discount when booking three days in advance.
Trenitalia allows children at or under 4 years old to ride free if they sit in an adult’s lap. Children from 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. They also have their Bimbi Gratis program, where children under 15 ride free. 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.
Italo and Trenitalia tickets can be purchased at the designated kiosks or ticket offices at the Venezia Santa Lucia station on the day of travel. They can also be purchased online (Trenitalia, Italo) 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 around 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.
Venice to Florence with Kids
In general, all children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Children ages 12-16 may travel alone with a signed consent form from their parent or legal guardian. Contact Trenitalia directly for details on unaccompanied minors.
Italo offers discounts for children, seniors, and families. Children under 36 months ride free with no seat assignment and sitting in an adult’s lap; if an adult travels with more than one infant, a second seat must be purchased. Italo’s Family program allows everyone within a family to have assigned seats together, and at a discount: a booking must be made for two to four people, where at least one is over 18. In that case all children under 14 in that group ride free (infants under 36 months aren’t counted, since they ride free anyway). Seniors receive a 40% discount when booking three days in advance.
Trenitalia offers children at or under 4 years old to ride free if they sit in an adult’s lap. Children from 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. They also have their Bimbi Gratis program, where children under 15 ride free. 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.
Food on Board or at the Station
Italo’s express trains to Venice have vending machines onboard with coffee, sodas, and snacks. Each seat comes with a table; groups of four have a larger shared table. Trenitalia’s Freccia lines have dining cars with Italian food and a bar; passengers can eat at one of the tables in the dining car or at their seats.
The Venice train station has a few dining options, including two pizza restaurants, a few cafes with grab n’ go pastries and sandwiches (one of which, Vyta, has a full bar), a chocolate shop, buffet, and even a Grom gelato shop (it’s a chain, but still one of the best gelaterias).
There are a few excellent restaurants near the station, including Osteria al Cicheto (great Italian food and wine pairings), Trattoria Il Vagone (seafood), Trattoria Alle Lance (casual Italian), and Kome Sushi (great sushi, bad service).
Location of the Train Stations
Venezia Santa Lucia Station sits at the west end of the Cannaregio neighborhood and overlooks the Grand Canal. It’s about fifteen to thirty minutes’ walk or twenty minutes by vaporetto (water bus) to the city’s best attractions, including San Marco Basilica, Palazzo Ducale, and Museo Correr. The Ferrovia vaporetto stop is right in front. The closest footbridge, Ponte degli Scalzi, sits on the northeast side of the vaporetto stop and connects the station to the Santa Croce and San Polo neighborhoods. The footbridge to the southwest of the station, Ponte della Constituzione, leads to the west end of Santa Croce and the Piazzale Roma vaporetto stop and parking lot. Several amazing hotels are located on its island or just across either of the bridges. The city’s best restaurants and bars are across the bridges in the San Polo, San Marco, and Cannaregio neighborhoods.
Santa Maria Novella is in the heart of Florence, walking distance to all of Florence’s major attractions, including the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, and the Accademia, though it is especially close to San Lorenzo Church, San Lorenzo Market, the Medici Chapels, and the Oficina Profumo. Several budget hotels surround the station, with some of the city’s best restaurants and bars within five to ten minutes’ walk.
Venice to Florence by Train
- Venice – Best Hotels
- Florence – Best Hotels
- Florence – Romantic Hotels
- Florence – Cheap Hotels
- Florence – Wheelchair Accessible Hotels
- Florence – Pet-Friendly Hotels
- Florence – Hotels with Private Pools and Jacuzzis
- Florence – Best Restaurants
- Florence – Best Bars
- Florence – Best Gelato
- Florence – Best Wine Tours
- Florence – Airport Transportation
- Florence – Renting a Car
- Florence – Rome to Florence
- Florence – Pisa to Florence
- Florence – Livorno to Florence
- Florence – Day Trip to San Gimignano
- Florence – Day Trip to Siena