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Traveling from France to Italy

We are 2 couples who will be spending time in Sept./Oct. driving from Auxerre France to the Burgundy, Loire, Dordogne and Provence regions. Our goal is to leave France from Marseille or Nice and travel to Florence. For those of you who have made this journey in the past, what are your suggestions for the best way to get to Florence. Fly or take the train? We don’t really have any time constraints ( the beauty of being retired), but want to be as efficient as we can be. Many thanks in advance!

Posted by
15489 posts

Train.
Not a great option either, since it will require several hours and multiple train changes, but the flying option would be just as bad, because there are no non stop flight from Nice or Marseille to Florence or Pisa, so you would need to fly to up Paris (or other major European hub), then fly back down to Florence. In the end it would be just as long as with a train.
In non pandemic times RyanAir flies from Marseille to Bologna, which is not far from Florence (about 35 min via train from Bologna Centrale station). I don't think it's a daily flight and I don't know if they'll resume it when you travel, but that would be the only flying option which would make sense.
From Nice definitely take the train.

Posted by
84 posts

Thank you Roberto. You were amazingly helpful (through this forum) when I planned a Tuscany trip back in 2019. Of course we were going to return before 2022, but the pandemic put the stops to those plans!! On this upcoming trip, we will be driving through regions of France and just wasn’t comfortable keeping the rental car to drive into Italy. But should I think about that more or is it truly a headache?? Thank you again. J

Posted by
2595 posts

I have always flown from France into Florence. Flying would be my first choice, unless of course the only option were Ryanair, in which case I would take the train.

Posted by
1599 posts

"On this upcoming trip, we will be driving through regions of France and just wasn’t comfortable keeping the rental car to drive into Italy."

We drove a car in Italy and it was no real problem. However, the problem you would face is a large drop off fee in a different country than where you obtained the car. A much larger concern.

Posted by
1469 posts

I've noticed a trend with "private car transfers": Nice to Florence, 5 hrs door to door, including your luggage in sanitized car, price starting 122 euros per seat. Saving a day of travel? Priceless!

Posted by
4480 posts

My preference would be to do Italy at beginning of trip: fly to rome, train to Florence. After Florence, hopefully fly from Florence to Paris to begin the French part of your trip. To fly home, maybe fly back to Paris from Nice?

Posted by
33337 posts

It isn't really all that difficult by train. Not too quick, but scenic.

I can envision this - I have never done the exact trip all in one but I have done all the parts separately.

Try a short train at 9:43 from Nice to Ventimiglia and board at the IC train that has been in for a while now to Milano Centrale. 24 minutes to change in Ventimiglia and 15 in Milan (all platforms are side by side and easy to change in Milan). Then a fast train from Milan to Firenze S.M.N. to arrive at 17:04. So two easy changes.

Or for more scenic, Nice - Ventimiglia - Genova (Genoa) - La Spezia (having ridden through the Cinque Terre) - and then the La Spezia to Florence train is straightforward but slow.

So scenic or faster?

I don't think that flying will buy you much.

Posted by
84 posts

Thanks Everyone! The private car transfer seems like a great solution. To Cala - the idea fo starting from Rome would not really work. Once we arrive in Florence, we will rent a car again and spend a week in the Tuscany region visiting the towns and villages. We will drive back to Florence, spend some time there, then fly back to the states. Anyone know of specific private car companies?

Posted by
33337 posts

you might save an hour or so by car. As long as you don't stop for food, toilets or scenery.

Posted by
1321 posts

We are planning the opposite from Italy to France ... we had two options 1) fly from Milan to Marseille 2) drive from Milan to Seguret (our villa location) and keep the car for another 6 days to tour the region. But that's not my point... although slightly cheaper to fly it would take longer since there are no direct flights. We opted to drive which will also allow to stop along the way.

Posted by
968 posts

We just went through this as we were traveling from Aix-en-Provence to Florence in October 2021. I planned to go from Aix to Lyon for a night or two then go by train from Lyon to Florence with a change in Turin. It seemed like a lovely way to spend the day.

In the end, we changed our plans and took the TGV to Paris for a couple nights and flew to Florence.

Sounds like a great trip!