Anyone know how long this would be and/or train issues (it looks like taking a local train to the coastal line might be necessary) Thanks.
The trains from Florence to the CT run frequently throughout the day. It's about a 2.5-hour trip from Florence to Riomaggiore with train changes, depending on the run, in either Pisa or La Spezia. The trains are mostly regionals (R) (locals) although you can pick up an interregional (IR) or Cisalpino (CIS) train in Pisa which has fewer stops from Pisa to Riomaggiore. This faster train will only save you about 15 mintues. Expect a 2.5 hour local for the journey. Don't worry about advance tickets as these trains run hourly and in a few cases, 30 minute intervals. Note that regional trains accept no reservations. You just buy a ticket and get on any train making the run. This permits you to get off in Pisa for about 4 hours to see the tower and get back on a later train to continue your journey.