Manarola, one of the five villages of the Cinque Terre, is located about 100 miles (161 km) west of Florence and is easy to reach by train—and you'll have incredible views during your ride once you reach the coast. Another option is to rent a car or arrange for a private driver, a great option considering the many points of interest and charming towns along the way.

Manarola overlooks rocky cliffs and the Ligurian Sea, and from there you can explore the rest of the coastal villages, such as with this 8-day hiking itinerary.

By Train

Duration: 2.5 to 3 hours

From Firenze Santa Maria Novella station you can catch the Italian National Railway system, Trenitalia, to La Spezia Centrale and then you'll transfer to the Cinque Terre Express (which travels among all five villages, with combined train passes available) for the 10-minute ride to Manarola.

Travel time from Florence to La Spezia will vary from about 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on the type of train you catch (regionale or regionale veloce, which is a bit faster). You can show the conductor your ticket on your smartphone, for convenience. Trains run about every 30 minutes to one hour depending on the time of day and year and will leave from Florence until around 9 pm during peak seasons. There is only one ticket class available on these trains, and they are open seating.

By Rental Car

Duration: 2 hours, more with stops. 

If you'd rather have the convenience of renting a car, you'll find many options in the center of Florence, a few blocks from the train station, with several companies to choose from. It is possible to rent an automatic transmission car in Italy, but manuals are more prevalent and will be less expensive to rent. You’ll also want to factor in the cost of gas (prices are by liters, not gallons) for your road trip. 

If you'd like to break up your trip and see some of Tuscany as you make your way to Liguria on the A11 autostrada, you might want to start by stopping off in Lucca, about one hour west of Florence, where you can stroll along the high Medieval fortification walls that once protected the city.

From there, you'll make your way to Italy's west coast, and could consider a break in Marina di Pietrasanta, and artists' town filled with public sculptures, or lounge at one of the manicured beach clubs in Forte dei Marmi for some pre-sea time before getting to Manarola. As you continue on, you'll pass Carrara, which is famous as the source for the marble used to create Michelangelo's David sculpture (seen at the Galleria dell'Academia in Florence). 

Parking in the five villages can be a challenge, especially during high season, so it's best to check with your hotel in advance to be sure parking is available. 

By Private Transfer

Duration: 2 hours, more with stops. 

Hiring a private driver is a luxurious way to see the rolling hills of Tuscany to the dramatic coastlines of Liguria. Because the roads in Manarola and Cinque Terre can be narrow and difficult to navigate, hiring a driver can eliminate the stress of having to find a place to park your car once you arrive at your accommodation. 


Map of How to Get from Florence to Manarola
Map of How to Get from Florence to Manarola