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Tuscany/Florence to Rome Itinerary help!

Hello everyone! Husband and I are planning a trip in October, 2021 to visit Florence. Yes, late planning, but had no other choice. We stayed in Florence in 2013 for one day and saw most of the touristy areas, including Michael! We wanted to base ourselves in Florence and take day trips to Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, and Clinque Terre. We are thinking 4/5 days in Florence and then head to Rome for 4 days. We've been to Rome 4 times before and love it! We are in our early 60's, are fit, however find it a little stressful climbing stairs. I've had a torn meniscus for 5 years and it hasn't stopped us from traveling. We are traveling from California (LAX or Ontario).

I'm hoping this forum will help me with our itinerary. These are my questions:
1. Since we plan on visiting Florence first, which is the best airport to fly into besides Rome?
2. Any recommenations on accomodations in Florence close to the city center?

3. Which is the best way to get to Rome from Florence. We've traveled in a group of eight before and hired a driver from Germany to Austria to Prague, which was very comfortable and affordable.( I did not do the travel planning for the driver on that trip, I also believe the hotel helped us find a driver.) Any recommendations on hiring a driver to Rome?
4. We would love to visit Assisi and hoping to visit Assisi on our way to Rome. Any suggestions?

Any suggestions are appreciated! Thank you very much and look forward to reading any recommendations. Thank you again!

Posted by
1461 posts

1). That’s quite a lot of day tripping for only 4-5 days in Florence - leaving yourselves very little time for the city itself.

2). Do you have an objection to taking the train to Rome?

Posted by
8 posts

Hi I believe there is one day trip from Florence which includes Siena, Pisa and San Gimignano which can be done in one day and the other day trip from Florence is to Clinque de Terre. We can add a day to Florence. We had a bad experience on a train which we took from France airport to our hotel. A group of men and women (7) took my husband's wallet and tried to pull our luggage to distract us, There were 4 of us during this trip. Many observors, no one helped. We did however travel via train from Munich to get to Salzburg but there were eight of us traveling during this trip. Easy, peasy. We still are concerned/afraid/uncomfortable to travel via train and would rather hire a driver but might try if it's recommended.

Can we fly into Florence?

Thank you for your comment.

Posted by
25724 posts

The RER from the airport into Paris is a commuter train which anybody can board without any reservations.

The FrecciaRossa (or Italo) train from Florence SMN to Rome is all reservations mandatory.

The RER stops frequently which gives any pickpockets a chance to escape.

The train from Florence to Rome is nonstop which means that pickpockets have nowhere to go.

We have warned for years about pickpockets on transport in Paris. Pickpockets on the high speed trains are exceedingly rare.

Posted by
2163 posts

You can fly into Florence or Pisa. But a taxi from Pisa to Central Florence would be quite expensive, you'd better book a private driver in advance.

If you could overcome your fear of public transportation, you could also fly into Genoa. There are many trains with reserved seats from Genoa to the Cinque Terre. You could spend a day in Monterosso to relax, recover from jet-lag and enjoy the village when the crowds of day-trippers have left. Then take a train from Monterosso to Pisa and Florence. If you are scared of local trains pick only Intercity an Freccia-somethin' Trenitalia trains.

From Florence to Rome you could also take an Italotreno train; Italo is a private competing company that runs only high speed trains with reserved seats on profitable routes.

The Buses from Florence to the Cinque Terre take ages, but trains are faster also between the 5 villages.

Posted by
2785 posts

We flew out of the Florence airport once and loved it. We were on Air France and connected in Paris for our trip back to the States.

We once took a day tour from Florence to San Gimignano and Siena. It was great but I think adding Pisa would make it too rushed.

We have taken trains in the UK, Scotland, Italy and Germany and never been robbed or felt unsafe. If you take a train, be aware that in major destinations like Florence and Rome, there are many trains to the same destinations that leave within a few minutes of each other so don't think that a train leaving for Rome and few minutes earlier than yours is actually your train.

Posted by
12479 posts

Hi ccab3 -
IMHO the best way for you to do this trip is by rail. Oodles of us have traveled all over Italy by train with nary an issue, and you're generally going to get from A to B quicker that way. Pickpockets anywhere at all in the world are 99% successfully deterred by not placing articles of value where their fingers can easily reach them, such as an exterior pocket or purse. There are umpty ways to accomplish that!

Florence to Rome by Italo or Trenitalia Frecce high-speed train takes abt. 90 minutes. Reservations are required so you'd be assigned a specific carriage and seats. I doubt many, if any, here have done Florence>Assisi>Rome by private driver but without looking, I can promise that it would be very expensive. Personally? I wouldn't consider Assisi "on the way" to Rome as it would eat more time sitting on a train or in a vehicle than I'd prefer for 1 day but that's just me. :O)

Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano in a day? Sounds like a lot, and I would expect a LOT of walking, including some hills/slopes. Pretty sure our Siena lovers would tell you that it deserves an entire day all by itself but it's your trip, eh?

Cinque Terre (CHEEN-kweh TER-ray): this is where that torn meniscus could be trouble as the villages, aside from much of Monterosso and some of Vernazza, are not exactly flat, are almost completely pedestrianized, and parts of them can only be accessed via stairs. Can it be done as a (long) day trip from Florence? Sure, but many of us recommend spending at least one night in one of the villages as the early/late hours the mob of day-trippers aren't around are golden. Hard to tell what Oct. crowds will look like this year, though.

We stayed in Florence in 2013 for one day and saw most of the touristy
areas, including Michael!

I think you meant David? 😉
If you've only had one day in Florence so far, you've a LOT more of her to discover, trust me. We had 5 days - no day trips - and our to-do/do-over list for next time is long.

Yes, you can fly into Florence, but I'm liking the itinerary Dario suggested (Genoa>Monterosso> Florence via a stop in Pisa> Rome). If landing into Monterosso on arrival day from the U.S., I'd probably give that one 2 nights/1 FULL day for banishing jet lag and exploring some of the villages (by train + ferries) before moving on to Florence.

Posted by
1 posts

Instead of staying in Florence, you could stay in one of the smaller towns near by and drive to all of those places including Florence. We stayed in Volterra at a wonderful Air B&B and drove to San Gimignano, Pisa, Sienna, Luca, and Florence. Driving isn’t difficult in Italy (outside of Rome) and you are in control of your itinerary that way. The train from Florence to Rome is fast and smooth and easy to book. If you do take the train, be aware that there are several train stations in Rome so pick the one closest to your hotel.

Posted by
2163 posts

The above message must have been written by a Member of Florence City Council who is worried for the City Budget after Covid.

Google "ZTL fine" before driving in or out of Florence.

When you say "outside of Rome" are you implying that driving in Naples and Palermo is easy?

Posted by
18869 posts

The thing about trying to stop over in Assisi is that it means instead of taking a fast Freccia train (1:20 to 1:40 in travel time), you have to take regional trains. The fast trains don't stop in Assisi. Doing that increases the pure train time to over 5:30. That's before you get off the train and start sightseeing.

This might be a day when a private driver makes sense, if you don't have a problem paying the freight. With stop in Assisi and for lunch it would be a nearly full day for the driver, so I assume you'd be charged for a hotel night as well as the round-trip mileage and nearly two full days of his or her time. But I've never done this, so I don't know for sure.

Be aware that, though the area immediately around the basilica in Assisi is flatish, the lovely, relatively untouristy medieval part of town is on a hillside. Many of the streets are quite steep and pedestrianized. If you want to see that area, you'd need to get transportation up there; would you be able to walk downhill quite some distance? I loved that part of Assisi, but I'm quite sure many people only go there to see the magnificent church.

Posted by
8 posts

THANK YOU EVERYONE! Yes, I meant David, not Michael, couldn't sleep and the melatonin was kicking in. Thank you for the information about the trains. It makes sense to take direct trains to avoid any thefts. Thank you for that! Dario, I think flying into Genoa would be the way to go and then explore from there. I've never been to Genoa and never even thought of it. Florence, we only spent one day there. Saw David and explored very little. I think we will stay there also and explore the city. I've been watching Rick Steve's on You Tube and see Florence has a lot to explore.

We then took the train to Rome. We were traveling with a relative who was based in Naples and they did all the arrangements and it was a smooth ride. Both husband and I are not comfortable with the trains but I think we can overcome our fear since it seems quite easy to do. We like easy cities like Rome, Prague and London because we we're able to walk everywhere and the tube(London) was easy to get off and on. We really wanted to stop to see Assisi and Pisa but now understand these places might take up a lot of our time and it could be quite expensive. The Clinque Terra we do plan on visiting but will take it easy.
In Rome, we just relax and walk around. We like to celebrate our wedding anniversary there. This time we plan on visting Hadrian's Villa and Borghese.

Thank you all for the information. We can plan our trip with all the information in mind. Any additional suggestions are also appreciated. I need to schedule this trip no later than the 18th of August. This forum has always been so helpful, THANK YOU AGAIN!!! Hearts, hearts!

Posted by
12479 posts

Thank you for the information about the trains. It makes sense to take
direct trains to avoid any thefts.

ccab3, you can't ALWAYS take fast trains with seat reservations depending on where you're going. For instance, getting around the CT (Cinque Terre; best to spell it correctly) usually means taking regionale trains from one village to another with no seat reservations. But honestly? Trains are not the biggest opportunity for being pickpocketed so, very kindly, don't hold that belief too tightly. Tourists observing sloppy security habits on the street are most at risk, IMHO.

The Clinque Terra we do plan on visiting but will take it easy.

Not sure what "easy" means?

This time we plan on visting Hadrian's Villa...

You understand that this attraction isn't in Rome?

Pretty sure a lot of us here are interested in helping you have a WONDERFUL anniversary trip!I it's just really important that you understand that transport advice for one day trip might not work for another. As well, do you understand which websites to use to explore or book train tickets?

Posted by
8 posts

No, I don't know the train websites. Can you please kindly provide. Thank you!

Posted by
2163 posts

It makes sense to take direct trains to avoid any thefts.

It's not the number of transfers between trains that makes avoiding thefts more or less easy, it's the number of intermediate stops and the train type.


As suggested above, you can stop in Pisa while training from the Cinque Terre to Florence. There is a manned luggage deposit inside the station.


If you really want to visit Assisi after Florence, there are some Regionale direct trains departing from Florence SM Novella station. The trip takes 2 h and 30 m. There is also a daily Intercity train #35731 taking one hour less, but it leaves from Florence Campo di Marte station at 21:57 and calls at Assisi at 23:37. Your choice.


Get some Info about Genoa before deciding where to stay. Just to be clear: it's an harbour city famous for its medieval city center, picking the right hotel in the right neighbourhood matters.


You can get there by bus from Florence, it's not expensive. Than you can go back to Florence or take another bus to Roma Tiburtina Station.

In a nutshell: if you put all the cities you want to see on a map, you'd see that some like Monterosso, Pisa and Siena may be visited while transferring from A to B. Others, like Assisi are a little out of the way if you limit yourself to high speed and Intercity trains.

Posted by
12479 posts

We like easy cities like Rome, Prague and London because we we're able
to walk everywhere and the tube(London) was easy to get off and on.

Just a little more to try and relieve some of the anxiety you have around trains? If you are comfortable with the Tube in London and the Metro in Rome, you've nothing to fear from Italian trains!!! Even the Regionale trains (no seat assignments/can have many stops) are going to be much more comfortable than either one, and I'd personally be much less concerned about pickpockets than on Tube or Metro...and I've done both plus the Metro in Paris, subway in NYC, 'L' in Chicago, and various other commuter-type systems here and abroad. That said, follow the same security practices with your cash, credit cards and passports that you should on the street and you've little to worry about.

Here is a really good website for learning all about Italian trains. It looks like a LOT to read, I know, but you can skip over the sections which don't apply to your trip, like night trains. :O)

The site offers ticket purchase through Italiarail but best to use the Trenitalia or Italo sites Christine provided. Italo, BTW, has only high-speed trains, and mostly to the bigger cities so they don't travel to many of the small locations Trenitalia does by slower Regionale trains.

You will need to be able to manage your baggage at the stations and getting on and off the trains so the smaller, lighter, and fewer pieces, the better! As it's not unusual for Italian accommodations not to have elevators, the same applies.

Posted by
8 posts

Wow!!! My anxiety level just went down a lot! Thank you very much for your continued input! I feel confident and at ease. Each and everyone of you, thank you!!

Posted by
10 posts

Just a reminder about luggage if you are taking trains. It’s easiest with a carry-on sized bag.
I’ve been the tourist with a larger bag (years ago and we were going to a wedding) - and that one time cured me and probably saved my marriage.

Posted by
246 posts

I think everything's been covered pretty well, so I will simply make recommendation for accommodation in Florence. Locanda Orchidea. It has a lift. Luciano is a great host and very helpful. Great breakfast. Good location in center. We've stayed there twice. Have a great trip.