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Getting from Florence to Nice - Fly or Train, anyone done this?

Next month we are doing a trip that combines Tuscany with Provence. We have two options and hoping someone out there with experience can chime in.

  1. TRAIN: Regional to Pisa, then Pisa to Genova, then Genova to Ventimiglia. Once there, a French train from Ventimiglia to Nice. This plan forces us to be on the first train at 7:00AM and we don't get to Nice until 3:16. There is a way to get there an hour earlier but there would only be at time 14 minutes between train transfers.

  2. PLANE: Train from Florence to Rome, then take the Leonardo Express to the airport, then EasyJet to Nice. With this plan you start around 8:30 in the morning and land at 1:15 or so.

BTW, originally we were going to spend a few days in Rome (we've been there) but had to shave off a few days of the trip for a family commitment. So yes, it would be a GREAT idea to just spend time in Rome but we had to nix that to make all the days fit.

Thanks,
Gary

Posted by
6876 posts

Let's face it, it's very difficult to get the 250 miles from Florence to Nice. Might be easiest to just drive it.

Even the train is difficult having to change trains a couple of times and maybe even catch a bus.

There are no direct flights into Northern Italy except into Milan Malpensa by "Twin Air", a very small commuter airline.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks for the reply but driving doesn't work because they charge approximately $1,000 to pick up a car in Italy and return it in France.

Posted by
849 posts

Take the 7:54 from Firenze Campo de Marte
Arrive Genova 10:45
13 minute transfer (you can do this)
10:58 Genova to Ventimiglia arriving at 12:58
27 minute transfer
1:25 Ventimiglia to Nice Ville arriving at 2:25 (This is a pretty ride)
Total time 6:31

The airport idea sounds like a headache with transfers to the airport in Rome, arriving early for the flight, and then the transfer from the airport in Nice. The train deposits your right in Nice town. If you are looking for a good hotel to walk from the train station, Ibis Styles Gare Centre is excellent. Nice size rooms, clean, most comfortable beds, great breakfast and superb staff. They also are highly rated above many other hotels in Nice.

Posted by
16836 posts

There is a train from Firenze Camp di Marti at 7:54, with changes at Genova Piazza Principe and Ventimiglia that gets you there by 2:25 PM, saving almost an hour on each end. There is a 13 minutes change at Genova, but that is reasonable.

Posted by
1339 posts

Investigate dropping a rental car in Ventimiglia and finishing with the train to Nice. Also consider going back to square one - reward yourself with two separate trips.

Posted by
423 posts

This is one of those overly-lengthy journeys but the train is the way to go.

Posted by
255 posts

I have done that approximate route by train and it is a beautiful, but lengthy journey.

Posted by
18 posts

OK, I am almost convinced this will work :-) A few more questions if you don't mind.
1. Should we buy tickets in advance? Seems like we should for the tight connection in Genova.
2. If a train is late and we miss our connection does the train allow us to trade our ticket in for the next train? I read that they only have to do this if we buy the base (highest priced) ticket, I think. Any thoughts on this?

Take the 7:54 from Firenze Campo de Marte
Arrive Genova 10:45
13 minute transfer (you can do this)
10:58 Genova to Ventimiglia arriving at 12:58
27 minute transfer
1:25 Ventimiglia to Nice Ville arriving at 2:25 (This is a pretty ride)
Total time 6:31

Posted by
16836 posts

Yes, you will get the lowest price, at least for the Florence-Genoa section as it is an all reserved Freccia train and the Genoa-Ventamiglia section is an all reserved IC train. This will be a nonrefundable ticket, like an airline ticket.

Yes, you will be protected if your Florence-Genoa train is delayed and you miss the connection.

Posted by
12923 posts

Don't fly. Too cumbersome as there are no non stop flights from Florence or Pisa to Nice or even Marseille.
The best would be to drive, but with the cost of car rental these days (plus the huge international one way drop off fees) it would be prohibitively expensive.
The train is the way to go, although it is one of the slowest trains in Italy, especially the Genoa-Ventimiglia section. But at least it's scenic. Take the faster FrecciaBianca from Florence Campo di Marte station direct to Genoa (there are a couple a day I think), to save one train transfer and some time.

Posted by
1290 posts

Have you looked at The website Man in Seat 61? I always start there for the best solutions for train travel.

Posted by
16836 posts

BTW, there are trains from Ventimiglia to Nice every 30 minutes during the afternoon. That in the off chance that you miss the connection at Genoa and have to take a later train. It is only an 8.20 EUR fare and it does not look like Trenitalia will sell that segment, so you would have to buy it at the station anyway.

Posted by
18 posts

I'm taking the advice to take the train and trying to figure out Ventimiglia to Nice. When I go to the SNCF site it shows a train at 12:25PM and 2:55PM, but none at 1:25PM. When I go to RailEurope the 1:25 is there - it's TER 86046. I can book the RailEurope, of course, but if it's it not showing up on the SNCF site is this still a legit time?

Posted by
16836 posts

SNCF is showing trains at 12:55, 1:25, 1:55, 2:25, etc. All costing 8.20 EUR, unless you are 60 or over, then it is 6.20 EUR.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you so much - Very strange as it was not showing those times just 5 minutes ago but I went back in and now they are there. Thank you everyone for all of your help.

Posted by
849 posts

Good luck Gary. Train was the smart choice in this situation. Enjoy the trip!

Posted by
27752 posts

good choice - and you will have done your part for the environment too... and yes, scenic.

When you get on the French train if your luggage will let you (speak to it firmly) go upstairs and sit on the left for great glimpses of the Mediterranean. Same as the left side facing forward leaving Genova.